Friday, 10 December 2010

Time management skills, bollocks to them!


When Esmie woke up this morning, she had no idea what was going on, despite her efforts, her eyes were still shut, she was just crying, pointing at her little eyes saying “Look!” scrunching her nose up and pulling all manner of strange faces to try and dislodge the gunk, thus freeing her eyes……..I bathed them and we were on our way,  Doctor bound, after first dropping 3 out of 4 kids off at school.

The doctor is his usual fab self, sorts everything out, heals the sick, gives back the sight to the visually impaired….that sort of thing. Not true stories, but you get the idea how efficient he is! Which is why I drive to St Jean de Luz for every appointment, 25 minutes on the motorway from us, but it’s worth it. Except today, I had a fleeting arrangement with ‘Makeup Lady’ that I would try and take her later on in the week (ie Thursday), although weeks are like dominos, more and more sh*t goes down as the week picks up speed, and there is consequently more piled up at the end of the week, than the start. Or maybe that’s just me? I do try and utilise “Time Management” skills, but fail miserably. For example earlier on I had in my head “Time management, Tamsyn, use your time management skills, go on…” And so begin attempts to put skills into practice. So there I was, on a roll, I put the kettle on first, as by the time that had boiled I would have finished the veg chopping, then I can add that to the stew, clearing up as I go, wiping arses, sweeping raisins up, giving out cuddles, nursing bobos, playing “who am I” (still trying to find myself….!!), making cups of tea, putting washes on, well you get the pic. But then something inevitably happens that restricts me from doing what I need to be focusing my intentions on and I lose it, completely lose it. My head spins, there are usually cats mewing at me, children’s voices (hundreds of them), dogs at my feet, chickens (that are so getting stewed if they don’t start laying soon) pecking at windows……Time management skills, bollocks to them, they’re for those woman who can work and have a family, I am not one of those….! And I am not ashamed at being incompetent! Anyway, I was talking about Makeup Lady. On the way back from the Doctor’s I am redirected. Now this for me, I live in sheer dread of being redirected. Is going to be of HUGE consequence…..and sure enough, it is. I am diverted, one junction too early, off the motorway and down to a place where I have never been before. Well if truth be known, I probably have been there umpteen times before, but I get so hopelessly lost all the time. I have no sense of direction what so ever, and if you blind folded in my own house, spun me round a few times and told me to find my own toilet, I am not sure that I would ever successfully arrive there. In all sincerity, my orientation skills suck. Unfair, but I have to deal with it frequently. I was passed on to roads/roundabouts/ there were cones EVERYWHERE. It looked like someone had sat the coneman down, asked him earnestly to place as many cones as he possibly could, with no necessity to organise them, just put out as many as physically possible…..Willy nilly they were strewn. White knuckles gripping on to the steering wheel sucking myself in, as the road where these cones were, was barely wide enough for me to skate down, let alone drive. I get hopelessly lost, as I knew I would, 45 minutes later I am panicking as I still don’t see anything familiar, although I think now I recognise this cone layout……the Coneman was trying to recreate a rabbit, I think, from this angle. When I see the light….a sign to Bayonne (15 minutes form me) so I follow it, and get stuck behind Barry brum brum in his electric car. Why bother? O.k, for the environment I see his point, but what, does it just run off triple A batteries or what? What makes them so pants? Here’s where Makeup lady comes in, thought I’d forgotten in my ramblings didn’t you?! I am supposed to be taking her shopping. In all this, my desperate bid to get home, I am this stressed because well 1) because I am lost in France, and 2) because I have a date with Makeup Lady. How does that work?! Oh well, when the internet comes back on (so intermittent it is very frustrating) I shall ring her, explain, and I guess, try and do it another day. Sorry Lady…….

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Good god, give me strength.....!


Bedtimes are always fun. They are indubitably too raucous, too long, too stalled, too tiring! The way I try and organize myself is to put the youngest two up first with a story and lights out together, sometimes Esmie, the youngest goes up first, and I stagger them all separately, but the best laid plans aft gan agley (as my sister assures me they say?! though unsure who the '"they"are...!)). The big two then come up: I do a puzzle with Lola and Monty plays under his den with his star wars lego.  I then read them a story, Lola goes down, and Monty reads me a story! Actually, I am helping him to learn English, as living in France, he can read in French, but the French phonetic system is obviously very different to the English one. Anyway, he can read in English too, but practice makes perfect! And it is a precious 20 minutes on my own with each of them, which I never get as frequently as I crave. … I stop halfway up the stairs, stooping to pick up all the crap that they have strewn on their way up, Esmie in my arms clinging onto me like a koala on acid!……She is used to me carting her around, tolerating the various bends/skips (oh yes, I skip at times too, eg when I know they are off to bed!), trips, because I do trip often, rarely on my bottom entirely, but it has been known to happen. Here’s where I hear “Oh, mummy watch out!” Too late, the deed is done, and I now have wee everywhere to clear up. The potty I leave them up there every night so as they do not have to come downstairs to wee in the night, one of them had obviously decided to go for an early wee, and I kick it over spectacularly (all that football practice!) and now have wee dripping through the ceiling, down the stairs and all over my legs. Lovely! Thanks kids.

Dog walking in France. Here goes: to begin with in France, I did as I normally do, and went round conscientiously clearing up after my dog, passers-by regarding me as if I was a lunatic. Four kids: one in the front carrier; one on my back; one in the pushchair; one holding on to the buggy for dear life, having orders spouted at them every second, “Come on, sweetheart, a snail could manage a faster pace, keep up! (not wanting to give them a complex about their walking skills, but really...!). No, no, we musn’t do that! Watch out for the shhh….oh it’s too late! Let’s not skip, because it kinda makes the buggy fall to one side, and mummy can’t push it quite so well at a tilt….”,. Also in tow, a dog and Weetabix the cat who liked to tag a long too at the time. Right sight for sore eyes! But that is not why I had onlookers, rather it was due to the fact I pick up my dog’s pooh. They generally do not practise this behaviour, and I am quite sure they were under the impression I was collecting it up just for laughs. As I bend, I make concerted efforts (well, you’d hope so) not to plunge Esmie’s head in the sh*t, as the front carrier is very practical when one is vertical, not so sturdy on the horizontal tilt. The French could not careless where their dogs do their business, whether it be in front of the Eiffel Tower, in their garden, a pavement, a back yard, the beach, who cares? I didn’t believe this when I first moved here- surely it’s just logical to clear up after your dog, and thoroughly rank for everyone else if you do not? But anyway, my parents-in-law tell me of the time they were stunned to witness a French lady bend down after her dog had done what it wanted to do, reaching to get tissue out of her bag, presumably to pick up and chuck the pooh away. Oh no, not here, not in France, she got the tissue out, bent over, and wiped the dog’s arse….!!!!

I shall be off to the Doctor’s tomorrow, a nasty case of conjunctivitis for Esmie has seen to that, makeup lady is due to call too to find out when I am “free” to take her to the shops…….Good god, give me strength.....

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I could do with a P.A (any offers?!)


I sat down yesterday evening to be interested and “share” a moment with Alex, watching surfing………..the girl presenting had obviously not conquered the art of not moving your eyes when you read from the camera roll, and her eyes went frequently a bit cross eyed in attempts to read without appearing to be reading. Poor girl. But I sat through another surf movie regardless. Big up for the supportive wife! Actually I have to say I do love the fact that my husband surfs. I would rather that, than he was  “oot wi lads” at every verse end! So I cannot whine, well not today I can’t, he hasn’t been!

As I have continually been either pregnant/breast feeding/both since meeting my husband, past times for me are exactly that, a thing of the past! I love to paint, the evenings used to be my time to do a few things like that and to have time with Alex, but now it has come about that collating leaflets is my evenings’ past time…….woopidoop. But as needs must, and the fact that I still get to be around the kids, it doesn’t stop me being with them, or doing the House, school thing, so for that I am extremely grateful. Although this week, I could do with a P.A (any offers?!) I seem to have so much to trawl through. Surely I’ll succeed this week??

The kids are permanently filthy, I strip them when they come in from school, and everything goes straight in the machine. I did this tonight and, without realising, had accidentally managed to get my scarf (I rarely take clothes off when I come in, time and coldness contribute to this) caught in the door of the machine which had clunked and gone on to start it’s duty…..I nearly garrote myself as I stand up to walk away, then dread sets in, I am going to have to press “cancel” then I will be obliged to wait for the cancel to take effect, and two whole minutes later, release my scarf, thus releasing myself……..I was left bent there, flustered and in a wild state of panic, the washing machine is in the garage, no one can hear me shouting……. For a whole ½ minute, I am left there, and then I realise something, I could probably just take my scarf off, and retrieve the scarf later, at my own leisure……….

All day today I have had a chicken (Margo) acting crazy. She hopped into the car with me, every time I got in the car she would do a flappy flying leap splaying herself in the driver seat and later refusing to get out of Esmie’s car seat when I was rushing around trying to pick up kids, I have shooed her out of the house on numerous occasions. She has even been pecking me………nasty b*tch….! My friend at school informed me, when I recounted Margo’s behaviour to her, that she was obviously going to lay an egg, and that by the sounds of it I would have to “induce” it. Uh, uh, nooooo way, nothing and no one is going to make me interfere with a chicken to help it lay an egg………No thank you!

Although extraordinarily proud, I was also astonished to hear Monty (7) ask me tonight, as I tucked him in and gave him his good night kiss, if he could have a maths’ test tomorrow……………and in one fell swoop, right there, I doubted he was my son……..! Swat! Love it.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

I really do make an effort..........


After school, if it does not rain we hang out in the garden, in a desperate bid to tire the kids' endless Duracell energy out. We have a game of football, although I always seem to be at a handicap with Esmie in my arms…..Oh yeah, and my complete ineptitude, much to the frustration of my 7 year-old son, Monty, at the sport too! My lack of football capabilities and my general bit too girliness does not stand me in good stead next to my “come on mum, let’s have a fight and rub mud in each others faces” son of 7. And plus, he has 3 sisters….poor thing! But I really do make an effort, flinging myself on the floor in a halfhearted sort of attempt to look like I have done a running skid across the pitch to impress my son. However this time, Dad is there too…..Girls V Boys, uh oh! The girls in our house may tip the scales, no, not because we have collectively bigger bums, but our sportive qualities are, unfortunately, nothing on the lads. Still, the girls have time to learn, at 5, 4 and 2 ½….for me, however at the ripe old age of 32, I believe everything is now too late. And life has snowballed me up on the way down a never ending, well, one day ending, mountainside, and you do not even have youth on your side……Boooo! Anyway, the football. Alex was not showing me any special treatment, and I was in goal with him pelting footballs at my shins like his life depended on it. I have touched upon the fact that I am a complete whoos when it comes to pain, and therefore I was floored, on several occasions in agonising pain, saving the ball. My pain was obviously hilarious to both Alex and Monty, who turns round to me and says “suck the pain in mum and get on with it.”…..Now where have I heard those words before?? ALEX! (shouting voice necessary here).

Still, suffice to say the boys won. (23:1) Lola mooches around on the pitch, randomnly sprinting at any given moment as if there is a live wolf after her, half laughing, half terrified, with daddy coming after her to get the ball. She is very tall for her age (none of the others is, she is 18 months younger than Monty, and has nearly always been taller than him! But don’t tell him I said that), as she runs she is a little gangly and a wee bit jerky in her running skills, bless, but she makes a concerted effort nonetheless. A typical girl, the minute she is tackled, she bursts into tears. Mitzi joins in a bit, but after a while I think she sensed the competitiveness between mum and dad, and mum and son (!) and looks on from the safety of the swing, in intense horror. Esmie stays clinging for dear life in my arms and I am still unsure as to whether or not she enjoyed the experience……….

I turn my attentions to haircuts, as I have to. Monty has a “pretty” face and with 3 sisters already, I am quite frequently asked if I have 4 girls, (again, do not tell him I mentioned that either!). So out come the clippers. Note to self: get to grips with clippers, before trialling haircuts on the family. That’s how well it went, Monty asks me repeatedly, “mum, MUM! Why are you attacking me?”, he didn’t believe me when I said it was just a haircut. The impression he had of my technique tells a story of how delicate my hand is! I am somewhat disappointed with the results, but I am going to apply myself, practise on the girls' Barbies (I imagine they’ll all come out as Rogers, Bobs and Barrys after…..), and anyway, it’ll grow back right?!

Monday, 6 December 2010

And from here on in, I shall be taking ‘Makeup Lady’ to the shops every week……superb!



With all the complicated paper work that there is endlessly to do….I have enlisted the help of a ‘Social Assistant’, who are people in France that help….wow. She is fab, and has been a huge help, which I have told her on many occasions (trying not to burst into tears as I a little too enthusiastically shake her hand (not a French sport…)), and she looks at me a little weirded out explaining she is just doing her job. Poor girl, didn’t know what had hit her when I walked through her doors! Anyway, she has obviously found her way of sending karma back round my way in the form of ‘Makeup Woman’, which is how I refer to her, although I think she must too, have a name….! The other day I received a call from a slightly desperate woman, informing me of how she had just moved here, how she knew no one (I told her it probably wasn’t worth getting to know me……but she babbles on regardless) and she had no car, no job, a son and couldn’t get to the shops…….O.K, so here’s where I come in, she wants me to take her shopping in Bayonne (15 minutes on a good day from here). I do not shop there, 1, and 2, who the hell is she??? She tells me that the Social Assistant had given here my number……..So I hit her that hard??! None of what she was asking I minded about, it’s good to get out I find…….! And it’d be, different with someone else in the car, rather than the usual 4 little voices…! So I tell her to stop crying, unnecessary to be fair. And from here on in, I shall be taking ‘Makeup Lady’ to the shops every week……superb!

Another week has gone by, still no eggs from me chooks, and I await patiently the day when they will come good…….I can smell the roast coming on………I briefly chatted with the Land Lady the other day who had popped by to check out the chickens, Margo, Meg, Majrorie and Molly, I was saying how I hoped the feathers around their necks would grow back soon, (it's sooo ugly., not a good look to look like one has a disease...sorry girls!) and I learned something; apparently they are bred specifically that way, to have no plumage around their necks, as it makes  it easier to cut their heads off…!!!!! As if?! But it appears to be true! The vegetarian chicken owner has a special breed of chicken that have featherless necks to make chopping their heads off more easy. Fantastic!

We had a lovely family trip to “Planetkidz” on Sunday afternoon, and we came back with the fully tired out kids, whey hey! The dog we have been looking after for a few days, “Pashtoun”, went home today, which I am pleased about, as I had to clean out the gunk from her eyes 6 times a day, which made some work I can tell ya!

The week beckons, and I am sat here freezing my bits off, waiting to find out what this week will bring……..