The Story Of Sweep….

The story of Sweep starts on a warm spring day in 1993.

There was a young girl just six years old. And she was sitting in a hospital ward, in a hospital gown, eating hospital food. She had been a regular visitor to hospitals in her early life.

When she was born, her parents spent the first year taking her to doctor after doctor, because they knew something was wrong. And they were right. After many months, doctors found the little girl had a hole in her heart. And it was making her super poorly. In fact, if it had been left any longer, it could have been….well. You know. Worse.

So when she was a few years old, she had an operation. Pioneering keyhole surgery which was pretty cool, because not only did it save her life….It also put an umbrella in her heart. And she didn’t know anyone else who had something as awesome as an umbrella in their body.

After the surgery, she became a different child. She wasn’t so poorly anymore. But she had a weak immune system and would easily have big crashes in her health. She caught every bug and then some. She also had asthma, so the doctors liked to see her every so often to see how she was doing.

When she got her first nasty bout of tonsillitis at the age of six, the doctors made the immediate decision to remove them. And because of her previous medical history, it meant a few days in hospital.

By this point, she was old enough to know what a hospital was. But she didn’t quite realise that they made her better, she just thought they meant pain and horrible medicines and needles and people prodding at her.

Despite her small and weedy size, and the fact she looked more like a four year old than a six year old, she was a tough little thing. So tough in fact, that it took an adults dose of anesthetic to put her under for the operation. Luckily, everything went OK with the op and she spent the night resting and trying to wake up from her large dose of sleeping magic.

Everything was scary the next morning though, mainly because when she woke up, she fell hard out of the high hospital bed, landing on her back and gave herself a few bruises, which for obvious reasons wasn’t great after an operation.

She also felt empty. It was a weird thing to feel. Somehow it seemed like she didn’t have any food or anything inside of her. Or blood, or bones, or anything. She felt like she was floating. She just wasn’t herself. She had her Mum with her of course, but she was away from all her siblings. She was away from her home and her toys.She was away from everything she knew and she wondered if it would always be like this. She hadn’t seen her Dad for a week because he worked away. She was sore and achey and everything seemed tough for the little girl who was really too young to realise that she could have been in the hospital for much worse.

Evening came and dinner was ready at the hospital. It was the first time the little girl had been allowed to eat for some time. The menu was lasagne and she couldn’t wait to eat. Her Mum helped her over to a table and said she had to go down to the hospital shop but that she would be back soon.

The little girl cut up her steaming hot lasagne, and was amazed at how good it tasted. In fact, it was the best thing she had ever eaten. She only had a few mouthfuls left to eat, and she wondered where her Mum had got to, so she looked behind her at the door. Just as she did, she saw her Dad standing in the doorway, across the ward.

He was in his work jacket and smiling at her. She got up and started running to him shouting….”Daddy, My Daddy!” just like in The Railway Children. Exactly like in The Railway Children. She looked very funny in an over-sized gown with lasagne on her face as she ran quicker than she should have been running the day after an operation.

Before she could give her Dad a hug, he held out a present for her.

It was Sweep. From Sooty and Sweep, one of her favourite TV shows. Sweep had always been her favourite. It was a puppet and it even made a squeaky noise like Sweep did in the show.

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It was the best thing she had ever seen. She loved it so much that her pain and aches somehow vanished, and she wasn’t even scared the next day when her Dad had to go back away for work and her Mum couldn’t stay the night because she had to be home with the other children. She wasn’t scared because she had Sweep.

And she has loved Sweep for many years. And she knows she always will.

Because that little girl was me.

 

**I know you all saw that one coming. And yes, it is weird to talk about yourself in the third person. And I know the story wasn’t even exciting, but it is one of my stories, and I love it.**

 

Getting To Know You – Lex Style!

Today, I sat the Littles down and recorded their answers for the following questions. It was a great way to get into their minds and see what they really think about things. Now it’s Lex’s turn!!

What do you like to dream about?

Being a footballer. With Daryl Murphy. For Ipswich Town.

What was your best memory this school year?

Learning how to swim better. I can swim about 14 times better than I could.

Who is your hero? Why?

Daryl Murphy. Because he plays for Ipswich Town and we live in Ipswich Town.

How would you describe your family?

Nice. Kind. How many do I need to do? OK. I’m done.

If you could change anything about the world, what would it be?

Hhhmmmm. I don’t know. The attacks in France.

What are you most proud of yourself for?

Being good at football.

Who is the kindest person you know? Why?

My friend B. Because when I hurt my um…knee and it was bleeding and I couldn’t really walk on it at school, he helped me to first aid.

What do you like most about your best friend?

He’s very kind and good at football.

What is one thing you would like to learn to do well?

Swim.

If you were an animal what one would you be and why?

A cat. Because they aren’t as much work as dogs.

When is the last time someone hurt your feelings? How did you react?

*shrugs*Um. I don’t really get, I’ve not had my feelings hurt. Um…maybe when Ipswich Town lost to Stevenage? That was annoying.

Do you know someone who is going through a hard time? How can you help them?

R in my class. Because other people don’t like some things he does. I can tell other people to be nice to him.

What is the scariest thing that happened this year?

The things in France again. The attacks. And in the Euros when some of the fans started fighting each other. That’s bad.

If you could keep only one thing, out of everything you have, what would it be?

My football table. Because it’s the only football table I’ve ever had.

Who do you think is really successful? Why?

Dwayne Johnson. Because he’s a wrestler and an actor. He is in a lot of movies like The Tooth Fairy.

What was the best thing about your teacher this year?

She let us go on lot’s of school trips. She let us play for a really long time on some activities.

When do you feel misunderstood by grown-ups?

When I talk about football because Mum doesn’t really know what the offside rule is and stuff.

What three words best describe you?

Fun, Active and Sporty.

What’s something that makes you angry?

When Ipswich lose a match.

What’s the best compliment you ever received?

You are amazing at football. My best friend said it.

Getting To Know You – Leona Style!

Today, I sat the Littles down and recorded their answers for the following questions. It was a great way to get into their minds and see what they really think about things. First up….Leona!

What do you like to dream about?

Being an actress. Oh, being an actress and acting with Indina Menzel.

What is your best memory from school this year?

Erm….Eh….Probably doing the, what was it? Oh yeah, Probably doing the cross country because out of 400 people I came 8th because that’s under half way.

Who is your hero? Why?

Indina Menzel because I’ve always wanted to be an actress and she’s a famous actress and I’ve got asthma and so has she and she can still do it.

How would you describe your family?

Erm….kind, irritating (haha), helpful, annoying at times and funny.

If you could change anything about the world, what would it be?

Violence like street violence and poor people. Like I don’t want to get rid of poor people haha, I want to help poor people and give them money. I wish there was no poor people and everyone had money.

What are you most proud of yourself for?

Reaching goals like when I’m in school I have to reach my English goals and Maths goals and Science goals and P.E goals and I usually succeed. And I get stamps for my charts and get rewards if I reach my goals.

Who is the kindest person you know? Why?

Think I’m going to have say one of my friends because all my family are kind and I don’t want to choose so erm…. my friend K. Because when I first came to school she has been my best friend since I got there and she’s taken care of me and looked after me and she helped me with times tables. I’ve never ever ever had a fight with her. She’s one of my only friends who doesn’t argue.

What do you like most about your best friend?

She’s kind. She’s helpful. She always is there for me and plays games. If she goes on holiday or somewhere special she writes me a letter or postcard.

What is one thing you would like to learn to do well?

Act. Because I want to be an actress.

If you were an animal what one would you be and why?

A puppy. Because puppies are cute and they are cuddly.

When is the last time someone hurt your feelings? How did you react?

A few weeks ago because my friend had a falling out with everyone and only liked one person. She made everyone upset. We told someone at school how we felt and they told us to try and sort it out but they also said not to talk to her so we were confused then the boys in the class started being mean to the girls and that was before the summer holidays so I don’t know what’s been sorted out.

Do you know someone who is going though a hard time? How can you help them?

*Sneezes* **Blows nose very noisily** I think my friend S is having a hard time because she has been bullied. Well two girls bully her. And whenever it gets sorted out by an adult they start again. I give her advice and tell her it is their problem not hers because she’s lovely.

What is the scariest thing that happened this year?

The scariest thing that has happened in the world is all of the attacks in France because people keep dying because we learnt it school and they keep being attacked. So that is scary and also, earthquakes.

If you could keep only one thing, out of everything you have, what would it be?

My build a bear because that reminds me of my eighth birthday because we went into town as a family and I made it and picked it. It’s mine to keep forever.

Who do you think is really successful? Why?

Indina Menzel because she’s been in Wicked and Broadway. And she was Elsa. FROZEN!! Frozen!! *Sings Let It Go, loudly*

What was the best thing about your teacher this year?

She let us do fun activities sometimes.

When do you feel misunderstood by grown-ups?

When I speak Spanish because I’m not very good at it so nobody understands me.

What three words best describe you?

Three words that best describe me? Fun. Clever. Chatterbox.

What’s something that makes you angry?

When people don’t eat pasta.

What’s the best compliment you ever received?

That I’m epic because my friends told me. Oh and when you did my hair how you did , someone told me ‘That is an awesome hairstyle’.

 

It Doesn’t Matter.

Bright and early this morning, as I sipped at a coffee that wasn’t strong enough while thinking about my dream from the night before (-Superman, but not actual Superman, just Dean Cain from the Lois and Clarke adventures show that was on years ago, was my best buddy, and we went to dinner where he ran into an unrecognisable waiter who was his enemy so we left after noting that the sky was pink-) the two Littles bounced around me as I tried to wake myself up.

Leona: Mum, what are we doing today?

Lex: Can we go out today?

Leona: Let’s go to the big park with the sprinklers.

Lex: No, we went there the other day. How about the park with the football goal so we can play footie.

Leona: No. Mum, tell him no. We always play football. Why don’t we decide on something we both like. Cinema? We still haven’t seen Finding Dory. (Breaks into an operatic version of Just Keep Swimming from the original Finding Nemo and mashes it up with Queens We Will Rock You)

Lex: (Completely ignores his sisters absurd singing because her screeching tunes is pretty normal in this house) Oh I know, let’s go swimming!!

Leona: How about the soft play place? Ooooo I wonder if the big slide is open.

Lex: Ooooo yes. Good idea Leona. Mum? So can we??

Leona: Mum? Are we going out? Will we do that? That or the cinema. (Starts singing again, thankfully non operatic this time.)

Both: Mum???? What shall we do Mum, hey Mum what do you think?????

Me: Makes another coffee, stronger this time, while wondering if I can put all the clocks forward to convince the Littles it’s time for dinner and bed. Mwahahahaha. Serious note, I saw that in a movie once and I always wondered why the kids didn’t get it was still daylight and that they skipped lunch. My kids would be on it like Albert Einstein.

After all that, do you know what we ended up doing today? All those options, all that choice and more that wasn’t said. We ended up doing nothing. I mean, not nothing as in NOTHING, but really nothing. The day for me kind of went like this……

*Drinks coffee, makes (different, as always) breakfasts for two Littles while telling them we might go somewhere. Thinks about my Dean Cain dream again and what it could mean. <<< Not much, according to the dream website I looked at.

*Turns the TV on and lets the Littles have their eyes glued to cartoon network for a solid hour while I click on pointless articles on Buzzfeed.

*Puts three loads of washing on, folds a gazillion items of washing and puts them away, tells the Littles to help me put clothes away and sort the DVDs that have all escaped out of their cases. Basically a crappy parent game of ‘This is a chore but let’s see who does it fastest’ which always seems to work no matter how old they get. *TEENAGE YEARS ENTERS. LAUGHS. MUTTERS ‘YOU’LL SEE’. LEAVES*

*Makes early lunch for us three because being lazy can have that affect on you.

*Washes up lunch things and sends Littles out into garden for a few hours in the sunshine while vaguely agreeing that maybe I would take them to the library later.

*EndS up not taking them to the library and instead puts on more washing, does a spring (summer) clean behind the sofa to retrieve lost lego and books, passes the growing Littles snacks and drinks out to the garden every so often.

*Smiles while listening to them playing nicely. Scowls as they constantly bicker. Clicks and reads more pointless internet articles.

*Dinner time creeps up on us and before I know it, it is time for baths and bed.

So as you can see, it truly was a day spent doing not much. And sometimes today, I have felt guilty. I can’t help it. Logging on to Facebook and seeing my friends with children all filling their summer holidays with lavish and expensive trips. It just seemed like the day I chose not to do anything, everyone else was doing something.

But as I sit here typing this, I realise that it just doesn’t matter. This time last year during the summer holidays, I had a job that saw me working through so much of the holidays that I barely knew they had come and gone. Before I knew it, the Littles were back at school. This year, I am fortunate to have a job where I can spend more time with them during the holidays and we have definitely tried to make the most of them. But it’s six long weeks, and sometimes…you just need a day to do nothing, ya know?

I guess I am a great believer in getting out and making memories, so if I feel that a day has been wasted, the guilt kind of creeps up on me. But that is just stupid because everyone needs days to sit in and laze around as well. Children are going to remember the times you were there with them, and the times you had fun as a family no matter where you were or what you were doing. And that’s what we did today. We all had fun doing nothing together and it was glorious.

We are a fair way into the holidays now and I am pleased that we have managed quite a few trips and had some brilliant times. I know that I am not the only parent feeling guilt over the holidays and I think it is such a shame so many of us feel like that. We shouldn’t you know. We are all just doing our best.

The holidays are an expensive time. Even if you just go to parks and beaches the whole time (which is perfectly acceptable and mostly what we do), you can still get caught out into buying things. When the Littles are with you all day and not at school you end up buying more food, more drink, more sunscreen, more cheap toys to keep them amused, more clothes because they are wearing theirs out with all the running and climbing…..just more of everything. Then there are the big days out, maybe a theme park, maybe cinema trips or parties. Then of course, many families will pay out for holidays….maybe abroad, maybe here in the UK….and not only does a holiday cost a fortune anyway, add to the fact parents and families can only go away in peak times or risk being fined and jailed, the over all cost of school holidays can sky rocket. That’s not to mention buying all the back to school gear which is a subject for another day.

I am one of those weird Mums, I absolutely love the school holidays. You know you see some parents at the school gates taking their kids back to school and whooping with delight? Well I’m the one walking away trying not to cry, knowing that we don’t have as much time together now and that with each new term, they get older and more independent. Good for them of course, but heartbreaking for me. I watch so many Mums desperate to get their kids back to school.  I’ve even heard one Mum say as she watched her little darlings go in the school gates …”Thank fuck for that, the last few weeks have been hell with them at home.” ((Then this same Mum genuinely went on to express her excitement to her friend that she could watch as much Jeremy Kyle as she wishes now it’s term time – whatever floats your boat)) I’m not judging. I’m very good friends with one Mum who won’t mind me saying that she counts down the days til school opens again. But I am definitely the opposite, even when my two bicker and fight and shout and stomp and argue over the TV which is probably a good twenty three hours of the day, I still love every minute.

I just want all the parents out there to acknowledge each other and say that it doesn’t matter.

If you have spent your summer holidays mostly at home because of money, anxiety, having a new baby while looking after your older ones….it doesn’t matter.

If you went on a six week cruise and saw the world, giving your children the trip of a lifetime….it doesn’t matter. (But also, can I get in on that for next year? Ta.)

If you spent the six weeks on days out, spending more money than you are bringing in and making sure they have moments they never forget, it doesn’t matter.

If you have spent the summer holidays like me and filled it up with stuff and laziness then guess what? It doesn’t matter.

Please don’t sit at your computer and look at other peoples lives feeling guilty like I did today. I mostly praise the internet, it can be a wonderful thing. But it can also make you feel inadequate. You can’t feel less of a person just because somebody you know who has six children has taken their kids out for a weekend trip at a theme park while staying at a posh hotel. You just have to know that you have done what worked for you, you did what you can manage and that is all that matters. The rest doesn’t.

I have noticed a lot of parenting blogs out there recently. Some are giving you harsh truths, some are funny, some are useful and some are just plain boring, like mine! << Yes that is a hint to drop me some lovely comments about how it’s not boring, and no, I don’t feel ashamed in writing that because you know…I only have about two readers…who are also my friends….so go for it. But I think all of these blogs, all of these parents, all of these humans….they are just looking for acceptance and reassurance that they are doing OK. And that if they didn’t get around to doing as much as they promised they would, then it doesn’t matter.

I think I have suitably over used my title for this blog now, but hey….It Doesn’t Matter. Am I right? Yeah. I’m right.

Now for some totally unrelated to anything I said in this blog pictures. Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Was I Just Too Cool For School?

No, but really? Was I?

Here is the thing….I started High School with big hopes. When I was at primary school, we stuck together. We were all friends and it was great. I had no idea what was coming.

Before I launch into the tale of where it all went wrong, I am just going to state for the purposes of this blog that this year I hit the big 30 (I know, woah.) and that some years have gone by since I left school. And because of that, I no longer feel bitter. I feel that I moved on a while ago and just a few years ago, I would have written a hate filled post about why my life was such a misery at high school. Now, I can reflectively look back and realise I learnt some valuable life lessons and that it was what it was. With my first born child moving up to high school next year, I want to erase the chapters of that part of my life and start a new one with her, one where it will be enjoyable. One where she will probably have hard days that will make me want to scream and cry for her, but one where ultimately she will spend the best days of her life.

Over time, your memories fade and I can only piece together a few jumbled bits. I remember having my first week and being overwhelmed. I went from a school of three hundred and fifty to a school of one and a half thousand. It’s not that I was ever high up in the popular rankings that first week, it is more that I just wasn’t noticed. And that was fine by me. The trouble is, my best friend who I moved up with did actually rank quite high in the popular club. She ranked so high that by the end of our second week at high school, the only friend I really had and had known for years had decided to ditch me. And when I wouldn’t go quietly, she decided to do what most kids do at some point in their lives….she got mean. She started telling stories about me….some were true…. (like the story of my family not having much money because there were five of us) to just absolutely false…..(I kissed a 25 year old behind the bike sheds.) ((I was 11 and didn’t even know how to kiss.)) The lies got a lot more outrageous than that but we can keep it light.

Of course, it didn’t help that I had quite dorkish haircuts, was a sneezy kid who always kept a tissue in her hand and had fully grown boobs by the time I was twelve, therefore earning myself the name of ’tissue bra’. Every time I walked down a corridor I would hear….’You stuff your bra’ and ‘Waheyyy, it’s tissue bra’.

I was definitely an easy target which meant that people picked on me for EVERYTHING. One day, I went into school proud of my brand new shoes, but they got spat on…while they were on my feet, because they were square shaped.

It was a few years of being tripped over in corridors, having things including gum thrown at me and being called every name under the sun. I was so disliked that when a few girls overheard I liked a boy in school, they got him to ask me out in front of everyone and when I gleefully said yes…..they all cruelly laughed in my face. It had been one big joke and he found it funnier than ever, and just for good measure told me he would never go out with me if I were the last thing on earth. Not human, just thing.

Of course, me being so unpopular meant that I had a few run-ins outside of school. I will never forget the day I went to pick up my little sisters from primary school and as I was walking along with them, I saw my former best friend walking down the street with her friends. I crossed over, not wanting to have any trouble but they crossed as well. As we drew level, she said Hi, which surprised me for obvious reasons. I didn’t have time to say hello back because she pushed me hard into the brick wall of my neighbours house. I banged my head and had a bruise on my back for weeks. Out of everything I endured over the high school years, that was the worst moment for me. Because it happened in front of my sisters who were young and innocent. They didn’t know what bullying was and I was so sad that they had to see that. In fact, they still vividly remember it to this day so it obviously imprinted on their brains rather well.

And that was my high school life. And that is where the negativity ends. I am not going to lie, some of it scarred me for a long time. It stayed with me. I remember once when a family member was trying to help me and gave me some friendly advice that ‘Your high school years should be your best ones’ and it scared the living crap out of me. All I could think was that ….Oh my god, if these are my best years what the hell do I have to go through when I’m older?!

I really did learn so many lessons during those years, and not just because I was paying attention in class. I learnt that if people don’t like me, then it’s their problem and not mine. I learnt to try and approach everyone how I would want to be approached. I learnt that you can’t dwell on the things that made you feel small. That you have to move on and let go. If those people hadn’t given me such grief then I definitely would not be the person I am today. They didn’t knock my confidence, they built my confidence. Because I knew moving forward that nowhere would be as bad as school. I knew that people weren’t all bad. High school really did do me a favour. I have passed on valuable lessons to the Littles. I know that they are way more confident than I ever was and that if they were to be picked on, they know the right things to do. They also know not to be cruel to anyone. I’m not stupid enough to think they won’t go through life and never have an argument or perhaps say something unkind about someone, but I do know that they won’t be nasty just because other people are. I’ve taught them that even if one hundred people are saying that someone in their class is awful, that they have to make up their own minds and not pick on people just because others are. I know that they have compassion and empathy for others and I hope it continues for many years.

I think that the biggest thing I can take away from my school years, that the most valuable lesson I learnt was this………….

You have to kill people with kindness. It shocks them every single time.

And also, that obviously…I was just too cool for school. It couldn’t handle me. I would love to hear via Twitter/Facebook or the comments below what your high school life was like? Did it teach you anything? Do you look back on the years fondly?

And now…. here are some totally unrelated pictures because….well, ya know. Today was a beach day.

The Littles Answer YOUR Questions!

In my eyes, children see things in the simplest form. They comment on how they see it and they have answers for all of the big questions. So I thought it would be fun to do a weekly Q + A with The Littles. It will be great for me to look back on over time and hopefully entertaining for some of you lot.

If you have a burning question to send in, leave me a comment below or get in touch via Facebook/Twitter and you will be featured in the new weekly page!! Of course, you can choose to be anonymous or mentioned by name, just let me know which you would prefer. You can send in any questions from ‘What’s your favourite colour?’ to ‘What should I name my new cat?’ If it’s advice or just answers you are wanting then look no further! Just remember to keep them child friendly.

For this post, I have asked six members of my family to send questions.They all wanted to be anonymous. I have asked the children and recorded the answers on my phone which will be typed up word for word. The Littles had an absolute blast doing this and can’t wait to hear the questions sent in next week!

Q: I have seen my friends dog pooping in the street and the owner not picking it up. What should I do?

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Leona: Tell them to always pick up their dog poop unless they want to face the consequences and give them a big load of dog poop bags and then tell them that the next time you see them doing that again then you will phone the people that you phone for doing it so they will have to pay the fine which is like…. a thousand pounds. 

Q: I am very unhappy in my current job but I need the money. What should I do?

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Lex: You need to talk to your boss about it and tell your closest friends about it and just to tell the people that are being nice to you and then the people if there are people being nasty to you at work will stop being nasty to you if that’s the problem. Maybe they will treat you differently. 

Q: My best friend has another best friend who doesn’t like me. What can I do?

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Leona: Erm….. You could talk to the best friend that doesn’t hate you and ask her and ask her to talk to the best friend that does hate you or not like you, And ask the best friend that does like you if erm what….no….why she dislikes you erm and then …..and then whatever reason she says don’t do it. Like if she says ‘you’re mean’ then try to be nice. If they say something like ‘Oh I hate your hair so i’m not gonna be your friend then you don’t have to change it. If they hate you because they just hate you then…. (shrugs shoulders) you’ve got one less problem and other friends. 

Q: If you could name a book, what would you call it and why?

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Lex: Hhhmmmm. What? Erm….. Hhhmmmm. Making a ship. It would be like a cartoon and then it would have, you’d need to find what a person has taken from each room. And then you would do it from each room in the ship, and then if you wanted you could trace and copy pictures. Which is why it would be Making A Ship. Yeah. 

Q: If you could design a T-shirt, what would you draw or write on it?

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Leona: Erm…I would probably draw flowers and then write on it ‘Flower power’ because flowers rule. I’d like do some daisies and roses and some daffodils and some bluebells and then write in big bold letters ‘FLOWER POWER’. 

Q: If the story of YOU became a movie, what would happen and how would it end?

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Lex: This one’s hard. Um…. Um….. It would be about my life about from when I was born and I would be a footballer in it. It would end with me being a football manager. And us winning the world cup like England did fifty years ago today. Because Grandad told me. 

 

Be sure to leave a comment if you want a question answered or any advice given to you by a ten and seven year old! Because who wouldn’t want that? We will have more questions up next Saturday but in the meantime, stay tuned for the posts in between! X

 

 

 

 

A-Z Of Parenting

A – Always be prepared to be unprepared for everything. You might think that you have thought of every eventuality and things that could happen but you are wrong. Like when I took a toddler and an eight month old on a caravan holiday and packed my whole house. I didn’t actually need anything I had with me, but I did need everything that I didn’t have.

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B – Bring food. Anywhere you go. Anywhere you don’t go. Littles get hungry. Bring snacks. Bring sweets. Bring fruit. Bring three course meals. If you forget. the children will never let you forget.

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C – Collect every single bit of parenting information you possibly can from family, friends, books, TV, the internet and movies. It is important that you jot things down and ask opinions. When you have collected enough information, completely disregard everything you have learnt or been advised because you know best.

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D – Deny everything. This applies to most things in parenting. From Littles asking if you have seen the last of their Easter chocolate (which accidentally ended up in my belly) to asking if you have seen their most favourite, noisy, headache inducing toy (behind the sofa, batteries removed). When they do the big, sad puppy dog eyes it gets hard, but just deny. Stay strong. It’s the only way to keep sanity in tack.

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E – Excitement. Being excited that every single day, you get to wake up to their faces. Being excited for them when they are excited. Being excited at seeing them open Christmas and Birthday presents. Being so excited in general about life with the Littles that people wonder who is the actual kid.

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F – Forgetting. Similar to denying but not quite the same. This means forgetting about school trips and birthday invites. Forgetting that you promised they could have a friend round after school. Forgetting your own name sometimes because you know….you’re a parent. Forgetting there is a huge baking day at school that you have to make cakes for. Just forgetting.

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G – Growing. And boy do they grow. No sooner have you got them a new pair of shoes, they need a bigger size. Growing in personality. Growing into themselves. A growing appetite. Growing up and learning what life is all about.

H – Hearing your name, your name ‘Mum’ being said over and over again and tearing up that you got so lucky.

Hearing your name, your name ‘Mum’ being said over and over again because the kids are bickering and telling tales and demanding and asking and pleading and wanting your attention and wondering if they were born with a mute button. Wondering if you should change your name by deedpoll to ‘Mum’. Or Princess Consueila Banana Hammock.

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I – Intuition. Knowing that your gut feeling is right. Always.

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J – Just five more minutes. Whether it’s the kids asking for ‘Just five more minutes’ or you telling the kids they have ‘Just five more minutes’ ……it happens everyday. JFMM at the park, JFMM before bed, JFMM playing on the game, JFMM until dinner. Using it so much that you start to use abbreviated versions for silly internet blog posts that make no sense and nobody reads.

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K- Knowledge. Knowledge is power, and most of the time, when it comes to kids….you probably don’t know anything. But still being blissfully happy anyway.

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L – Love.

M – Mess. Making a mess, everywhere. Forever. But who needs a clean home? Or clothes? Or you know….Who even needs a clean child? Not I. What’s a little mess here and there?

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N- No. You will hear this multiple times a day. From yourself and the children. You will also see this face on a regular basis because of the word NO.

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O – Oranges and lemons, Humpty dumpty, Twinkle star. ABC, Cbeebies. CBBC …Justin Frickin Bieber??? Your Littles will start out singing nursery rhymes then move on to songs they learnt at school. And all of a sudden they will be ten and dancing around to Justin Bieber and Little Mix.

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P – Pictures, and lots of them. My absolute favourite thing about how far technology has come and the social media aspect of our lives, they are always there to look back on.

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Q – Questioning from the world and his wife about what you do as a parent. It’s OK to have questions. It’s OK to answer or not answer the questions. Just try not to question yourself, because you are probably getting along just fine.

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R – Rushing. Being in such a rush that you are barely noticing how much the years are rushing by. Then becoming an emotional mess while looking at old photo albums and singing All By Myself into tissues because you are imagining when they are grown up and living somewhere else.

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S – Surprise!! Being constantly surprised. Being surprised that your Little started walking. Being Surprised that your Little lost a tooth. Being surprised that your Little got an A* report even though you know they are great kids. Being surprised your little fell over and bumped a head. Being surprised that all three of you are actually doing OK because you never thought you could come this far.

T – Trouble sleeping. You. Them. Forever. Well, at least for eighteen years or so.

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U – Unbelievable fun, memories and laughter.

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V – Volume. With kids, it’s like the TV remote is permanently  turned up to full. And what’s not love about that? Apart from the earaches. And headaches. But you know…..

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W – Worth it. Wouldn’t change a damn thing.

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X -X’s  O’s X’s O’s Noughts and Crosses …..Snakes and Ladders…..Ludo…..Football…..Monopoly……… Getting to relive your own childhood by playing them all again and remembering just how bad you are if your kid who is only three at the time can beat you.

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Y – You. Knowing they look up to you. Knowing that they watch you , learn from you and understand the world because of what you teach them. Not. Scary. At. All.

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Z – Zebra. Because any random word will do for Z and there ain’t many to choose from.

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Got the fun blog coming up tomorrow guys, remember to leave me a comment if you want to be involved!! X