Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: February 2018

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Oh Brother: The Art of the Sibling Relationship

Most people have them, some people like them, a few people resent them but no one gets to pick them; I am, of course, referring to siblings.

Brothers from the same Mother (and Father)

I, myself, am one of three. As the youngest and only girl, my relationship with my brothers has taken various forms over the past thirty odd years. There were many times in my childhood when I felt decidedly left out purely by virtue of not being a boy, a fact that as a toddler I was somewhat ignorant; I was known to take a wide stance facing the toilet, squeeze my belly button with both hands, aim resolutely at the back of the bowl and drench the floor when the call of nature was upon me.

However, upon graduating to the pre- school years and having come to terms with our anatomical differences, I adopted and alternated between two clear strategies:

1.  Taking advantage of the idea of my "weak" girl like status

This involved preying on the more susceptible of the two brothers and convincing him that he should allow me to sleep in their shared room rather than abandon me to spend the night in solitary confinement. On one occasion, having been granted admission I casually suggested leaving the bedroom door slightly ajar thereby admitting a shaft of light and appeasing the deep seated terror of being left in the dark and was informed that it must be closed fast to halt any flames that may be in the process of incinerating the rest of the house while we slept. Brotherly love.

We are all friends until someone mentions being consumed by flames in their sleep 

2. Attempting to be seen as "one of the boys"

This method took various forms throughout my childhood but the memory that holds fast is that which led to my first, and only, nickname: "The Crayon Cracker". Upon identifying my forehead to be slightly bigger than the average brow (or a "fivehead" as acutely described by my friend) my brothers deduced that it would be the perfect structure upon which to fracture our childhood drawing implements. This discovery resulted in a series of hard blows to the skull which I bore enthusiastically; numbed by the sheer joy of feeling that I had impressed them and dismissing any concerns with a shake of my, rather concussed, head.

I was in.

Basking in the heat of a 90s British summer

As we have grown up, left home, found significant others, actively encouraged each other to lose those significant others and found new significant others, our trio's bonds have varied in strength (perhaps never quite rivalling that of when I was being physically assaulted) and now each individual relationship is unique in its own way. We may not be the best of friends all of the time but sometimes we really are and the loyalty of one sibling to another is never in question.

The Trio

Where I was one of three and could choose a particular ally befitting my mood or activity, my children will only ever have each other and I can recognise that this has both its merits and its disadvantages. I watch them as they forge, what I hope to be, a life long friendship and I like to think they are well matched. Whilst I recognise that there are periods, when their relationship resembles that of the Gallagher brothers (the younger being Liam, obviously) and I fear a fight to the death for ownership of the toy pram, I feel that more often than not they replicate a Scout and Jem Finch dynamic; happily alternating between squabbles and intense love affairs with an unshakeable bond of friendship holding strong.

No matter how often she has to concede on her favourite toy.

They love each other really

3 Little Buttons
Lucy At Home

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Mamas Day Out: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Well my friends, it is happening. I have the husband locked down, the hairdryer looked out and the hangover booked in; for I am going out.

My oldest friends and I have children of roughly the same age and we live within 50 miles of each other which is lovely. We have done the playdates at our respective houses where we lovingly watch our children form (what we hope to be) lifelong bonds whilst we referee squabbles over who gets to be Elsa this week or who is in charge of the suddenly prized possession which has, up until this point, been resolutely ignored since it's purchase six months ago.

A Dynamic Duo

We have done the farm visitsvisits we try to endear ourselves to the other's offspring with animated questions about life in the nursery yard, while one of us dashes to rescue their youngest who finds themselves inexplicably taunting some unwitting livestock.

Offspring become interchangeable

We have done the outings to parks in the bitter, and often brutal, Scottish weather where we stand, hands firmly in pockets, scarfs up to the eyeballs, tracking our respective progeny whilst exchanging snatches of key inquiries and information that we tick off our to do list like the efficient mothers we aim to be, onky stopping to intermittently bark reprimands for the toddlers' utter inability to sense danger.

Burning Rubber

Well enough is enough. We are mounting a revolt. We are meeting up child free.

This will not be the first time we have broken free from the shackles of motherhood and returned to the frivolous girls of our youth but the strategic planning and extensive negotiations required to make it happen means that we can only cobble together enough time to secure two lunches six months apart. Still, on the plus side, the novelty means that the frission of excitement is currently building up like a toddler's emotions on Christmas Eve, although hopefully with fewer tears and less pant wetting.

The taste of freedom

I adore my children, I really do. I frequently worry that I will be consumed with so much love one day that I might actually squeeze them until they pop (although knowing my son, it would more than likely end in a poop) but the mere sniff of a few hours of just being me the person, not the mother, with some of those who know me best is really quite intoxicating. I imagine sipping colourful cocktails as we reminisce about wilder times and acquaintances of old, before the conversation naturally moves on to animated discussions about our proposed new adventures. The delightful mix of fun, excitement and alcohol will render jubilant but merely on the edge of giddiness.

Wild eyed

What will actually happen is that we will meet harassed from our morning of parenting, likely having to have literally shaken a small child from our person as we battled to get out of the door in time for our train. We shall hug and greet each other like it has been six months since we saw each other last, sit down and discuss our children at length whilst downing prosecco like we are going to be called to help the toddler toilet at any given moment. Then we shall realise that we do not have the capacity we once did for alcohol, find ourselves horribly drunk and realise that we still have to parent in the morning.

It doesn't take much

Still, at least it'll be six months until the next hangover.
Mum Muddling Through
Lucy At Home

Monday, 19 February 2018

Mama, Mama, Where Did Your Style Go?

I used to make an effort. I'm not claiming that I ever rivalled the Kardashians' for time or expense invested (nor would I cite them as aspirational in their endeavours) but there was a time when I was never to be seen without meticulously applied eyeliner, my hair coiffured to that perfect hybrid of natural wave and voluminous body without the pervasive pesky frizz and clothes that were stylish without being too overtly fashionable (more power to those who do but I fear I lack both the taste and confidence to pull off mixed animal prints, frills or neon shades.)

Vaguely assembled

I was put together. I had my own style.

I then had children.

I vaguely remember returning to some level of effort after I welcomed my first into the world but the swampy feeling I associated with breast feeding somewhat diminished my sense of style. I was totally unprepared for the giant, swollen orbs that had replaced their "aspirin on an ironing board" predecessors and which left me choosing accessibility over, well, anything else. My body did not feel like my own and my clothes didn't sit the way they once had. I felt like an imposter in my own form.

When the orbs departed, 8 months later, and my pre- baby body starting re-emerging like a phoenix from the ashes the old wardrobe was back in circulation and the eyeliner remained bold and "on fleek" (did I use that right?!)

Bold Eyeliner

Then baby two came along.

He was a good baby and I cannot blame him personally as he did everything that babies should do but the fact is, I was outnumbered most of the time, had gained more weight than the first time around and found cobbling together enough minutes to shower was difficult enough without attempting to dry, never mind style the barnet afterwards.

My mane was left to dry naturally, resembling less beachy wave and more Einstein in the humidity, my face found itself routinely exposed in its natural state and anything that was "dry clean only" was gradually retreated to the back of the closet to be replaced by lycra based active wear; reassuring in its low maintenance and easy laundering.

Comfortable, machine washable and tumbler friendly. How can you go wrong?

Comfort over style became the silent mantra as anything "nice" began to feel a bit pointless and restrictive. Foundation and the hairdryer (ok, hairbrush) were only brandished on working days or "special occasions" and I was so out of the habit of applying eyeliner that I feared losing my sight as my caffeine- induced tremulous hand made its way menacingly towards my exposed eyeball for the first time in a long time, while my "mum bun" mocked me from its superior position atop my head.

Now you might be expecting me to tell you that now the offspring are a little bit older and can occupy themselves for a whole 30seconds at one time, I might have changed my ways; that I now invest the time to look as good as I possibly can whenever I possibly can, well I don't. In all honesty, on those days when I work from home I can often be found doing the nursery run unwashed, hair still in its overnight state and active wear lurking somewhere underneath an oversized puffa coat. My reluctance to look into a mirror means I often discover remnants of toothpaste at the corner of my mouth on my return. I realise that I will wake one morning in my 70s when my face can no longer be described as lightly touched by laughter lines and is more akin to a crevasse filled, craggy mountain landscape and I will rue the day I stopped making the most of my youthful form. Perhaps then I shall wear neon.

Neon really brings out the yellow in your eyes

All Things Spliced

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Secret Life of Toddlers: Bully For You

Toddlers are a strange breed; their emotions are on a permanently violent swing from one extreme to another. One moment they are creating a caterwaul because upon returning from a pleasurable play in the park, you deigned to open the front door (like you have done a trillion times before) when you should have known that this was the one day they wanted to do it (even if they did not convey this sentiment to you in advance) and the next they appear to be letting a friend's cruel comments wash over them like muddy puddle water on shiny new patent shoes. But what if some of the water starts to seep in unnoticed?

A toddler reaction is never the one you anticipate

You see, my daughter is a four year old whose heart could not be worn more on her sleeve if she were to grow up, go to university and do a combined major in cardiac surgery and fashion design; she feels everything deeply and acutely. This has its merits and its drawbacks. On the positive side, when something good happens, she is elated. Sky high, in fact. She will burn holes in the carpet as she laps the room explaining in a torrent of words exactly why she is quite so delighted with life with the cause ranging anywhere from a prospective playdate in a far flung location with her best friend to an extra chocolate button. However, on the less than positive side, when something happens that can in any way be inferred as a negative event, she will spiral into a world of torment begging forgiveness if she has stepped over a line or pleading for a remedy if it is something beyond her control. So her lack of reaction to her friend’s callous words has got me stumped.

Toddler Fashion
She came home from nursery last week, as happy as the proverbial clam. There was no sign of anything out of the ordinary; her chatter was fast paced, hair wild and unkempt and the handover from the rather weary looking nursery staff was glowing so I was very surprised when two days later she casually dropped into the conversation that her closest friend had been telling her on numerous occasions that she is both fat and has bad breath. I repeat, fat and bad breath. She is four years old. How is this even a thing? Should they not still be slinging insults about being a “poo poo head”, “scaredy cat” and how one sex is infinitely better purely by virtue of not being the other? I knew this was going to happen at some point, I mean teenage girls are cruel. They are vicious; armed with an arsenal of insults that will penetrate, grievously wound leaving permanent scars but pre-schoolers? I was flabbergasted (an underused term but intensely accurate on this occasion.)

Pre-teen toddler
I know that there may be those out there who assume that at their young age they can neither understand nor truly be affected by such jibes; that pre-school friendships are a heady mix of passionate love and loathing interspersed with glitter and mud. I will admit that I thought the same but then I asked her about it. I asked her to tell me exactly what had happened so I could forge a way to help excuse or explain her friend’s behaviour. The tears must have been lurking close to the surface, just waiting for the moment that her guard was dropped and they could be liberated. They poured out. Then they just kept coming.

It would appear that she was not as impervious to the callous comments as I had first believed. It was utterly heart breaking to see her pull at her skin as if it was disgusting and repulsive while tears etched their way down her cheeks but there seemed little I could do to dispel the myth that she was anything less than beautiful. As parents we have worked hard to instil a belief that beauty is far more than facial symmetry and perfect dimensions and is rooted in kindness and joy. We routinely praise her for more than just her cherubic face and winning smile and anytime someone tells her she is beautiful she will happily complete their sentiment with “inside and out!” And yet, all it took was one bored peer whom she reveres to blow her self-esteem to pieces. It was devastating.

Forging her own way
So now I wait. I have taken it to the nursery to deal with as I am making no in roads at home. I hope that having her idol be challenged and, hopefully, reprimanded by a person in authority will show her that her self-worth is not misplaced and she should not let anyone make her think less of herself.

For she is awesome. Fact.

Awesome: case in point

Lucy At Home

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Valentine's Day: Table for One?

So another Valentine’s Day is upon us. Another opportunity to declare how thankful we are that our beloveds chose to be with us. Another chance to shout from the rooftops about everything that is so special about our significant others and the relationships we cherish. Another day of uncharacteristically public and saccharine declarations of devotion. Well, Husband, stand down. For that is not going to happen here.

Husband seeks out affection

This year, the ever looming threat of Valentine’s Day has got me thinking about all of those who are going it alone. All of those parents who are wrangling the beasts without the back up of a partner, some of whom are even cruelly outnumbered whether it be out of choice, relationship breakdown or worse. These people are heroes. These people deserve our respect.

A parent who is cruelly outnumbered

I cannot imagine how it feels to be alone (not lonely which is an entirely different status) at this juncture in my life (i.e. with two high maintenance squatters in tow.) My fears can easily be lumped into two camps:

1.The fear of lone parenting

All single parents out there, I do not know how you do it.

There are days when I find myself sitting watching the clock cumbersomely tick round in, what appears to be, slow motion willing Husband to make his entrance unprecedentedly early. I am sure that this feeling was once rooted in passion at a time when our relationship was in its fledgling state but it is now embedded in sheer desperation for him to take over the role of The Ugly Sisters (which he is remarkably good at) or combat the torrent of inane questions that toddlers only ask when they are utterly exhausted and yet refuse to be ignored. For example, “Mummy, why am I 4?”, “Mummy, why is my brother younger than me?”, “Mummy, why is that bunny called Bing?”, “Mummy, where are Bing’s parents?” Well, actually she’s got me there but you get the drift. I swear when Husband opens that front door, after I have had them for the day, it is to the sound of a chorus of angels and he is surrounded by a halo of light while his cape billows behind him. 

Not all superheroes wear capes. Some wear backpacks stuffed with baby wipes.

2. The fear of re-entering the dating game

Again I do not mean to infer that lone parents are lonely and I am sure that there are those who are entirely contented as they are. However, were I to find myself freed from the shackles of matrimony (don't worry Husband, I am not plotting anything) I would like to think that I would find an "other" at some point, a team mate to share my load. Someone to bring me a cup of coffee in bed in the morning, someone to tell me that I am great when I need to hear it the most and someone to love me as I deserve to be loved. (Again, obviously.)

Who will treat me as a Princess?

But how does one go about finding an "other" in today's world? I have been out of the dating game since 2005. In fact, having met Husband at university I don’t actually believe that I was ever in the dating game so much as standing on the sidelines; I would have no idea where to start. Online dating? Speed dating? Blind dating? Dipping my toe in the dreaded work pool (no pooping where you eat and all that, unless you are a toddler then you'll pretty much poop wherever)? I will admit that I harbour a secret desire to exercise the old swiping finger on Tinder but then I don't have the attention span for online clothes shopping so how would I ever focus for long enough to find a soul mate. Plus, how do you verify that they are not an axe murderer, juggling two other families or worse, a budding CBeebies presenter? You know none of their people and they know none of your's. Who vouches for them? And that is before you factor in the offspring. Will they be put off? Will your children like them? Will they be good role models? So many questions and that is before I have swiped to the right.

Considering the perils of online dating as a parent

Whilst these questions seem daunting now as I consider the hypothetical they must be terrifying when the option is before you. For those of you who are out there courageously lone parenting whilst also looking for your other, you got this. If you can do three meals a day, the nursery run, the games, bath time, bedtime and all the tantrums in between you can find your other. You are superstars.

One night of lone parenting is too much for some

As for me, it looks like I shall have to stick with him. This way I can have the occasional lie in and forgo the body hair maintenance for weeks at a time. To be honest, once you’ve worn them in/down they are like a pair of comfortable shoes that you know you probably don’t look your best in but you are such a nicer person to be with when your feet are comfortable.

Like a pair of old brogues

Shank You Very Much
Rhyming with Wine

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Adult? Who Are You Kidding?

I have many friends who are yet, or who may never, take the plunge into the ice bath that is parenthood and I frequently hear them declare me to be a "proper adult" purely by virtue of the fact that I have two vertically challenged dependents occupying my time like squatters defiling a beautiful Victorian mansion. As a side note, should I ever be so lucky as to actually occupy a Victorian mansion, I am sure they would defile that too.

Anyway, I whole heartedly dispute the accolade/slander that they bestow upon me for I am not an adult. I mean, in chronology terms, I cannot deny the status but in actual terms of managing my life and responsibilities I declare myself resolutely stuck in infancy.


Here are many of the ways in which I am not "adulting":

1. Maintenance

If anything should go wrong with my house or car my dad is on speed dial. Anything beyond changing a lightbulb (bayonet or screw only) and I need to call in the big guns. At our age my parents were personally renovating the family home, tearing down load bearing walls (successfully I may add) to create open plan living before open plan living was a thing. My father has plumbed bathrooms, tiled kitchens and decorated more living rooms than my toddler has had food related tantrums.

Whilst I admit that I am wholly inadequate when it comes to DIY, my shortcomings in life maintenance do not stop there. My housework is sporadic with laundry everest routinely avalanching in the husband's direction (resulting in a range of clean but grey fashion), I fail on a yearly basis to get my annual boiler check and, perhaps worst of all, I had no idea that I had to pay tax on my rental earnings (a brief, paltry income from my first home which was let while I decided whether to commit to the husband in both name and, more importantly, finances). This resulted in both a retrospective declaration following the discovery of my ignorance during a tax lecture in my post graduate accountancy qualification and, therefore, a rather red face.

Housework is best farmed out

2. Money

I know how bad this sounds and I am sure I will get a talking to once my mother reads this but I do not check my bank statement. This is not because I do not need to, far from it, I just can't bear to look.

When standing at the till, I reluctantly proffer the card to the machine like a radioactive explosive device, with one hand over my eyes and my jaws clenched so tightly that my muscles could be plucked like a banjo. When I am not immediately wrestled to the floor or my card grappled from my grip and destroyed in front of me, I am a heady mix of relief, joy and determination. I will take responsibility and I will change my ways. I just need to be more organised.

For I am neither a frivolous spender who surfs the net for luxury items nor do I fritter my money away on disposable clothing. It is my total and utter inability to forward plan that results in items being routinely bought at their most expensive price and location. I will always be the one at the playdate who didn't pack a lunch (or drinks or snacks for that matter), I am always ignorant for my desperate need for petrol until I hit the last fuel station before the motorway and the purchase of a family dinner is often forgotten about until there is a screaming child, a wailing toddler and only an M&S convenience store on the journey home.

My approach to finances

3. Career

I spent six years at university, learning everything there was to learn about the human body both in health and disease. I devoured medical facts like a caterpillar on the day before his big reveal. For I was training to be a doctor; certain that this was my destiny. Well, after four years of actually working as a doctor, my appetite was waning somewhat and I realised that it may well be someone else's destiny as I had had my fill.

Having previously displayed an aptitude for maths I quickly signed up for a post graduate training job in accountancy and declared this to be my new (albeit rather dull) destiny. Well this is what I do today. I am a paid up member of yet another professional body but I still feel like there are so many other things that I would like to be when I grow up: author, columnist, pop star, model (I'd settle for high street, I mean, you have to be realistic) or superhero.

One can dream....

So as you can see, I barely meet the definition of an adult and yet I do bear responsibility for two small children. These two things are not mutually exclusive as there was no test or references required before I took the job; no one asked if I knew what I was taking on, was really ready or, in any way, able and once you're in, you are in. There are no take backs and no restarts. But do you know what? I may not have my own ducks in a row (to be honest I am more like the mother duck who loses all five of her offspring one by one, by doing the same thing over and over again while continuing to expect different results before eventually having to call in help to retrieve them), but my children are the best and hardest thing I have ever done and may just have been the making of me.

"I swear there were more of you this morning?"

By the way the "ducks" are indeed a metaphor And I have by no means lost my children and had to enlist help to find them.
3 Little Buttons

Thursday, 1 February 2018

The Parenting Hunger Games

Today I can honestly say that I was one of ‘those’ mums. The one who appears unable to control her feral offspring; the one looking broken, harassed and intermittently bewildered. I was the mum upon whom we bestow the half smile; the one laced with good intentions and heartfelt compassion, the one often accompanied by a conspiratorial nod loosely interpreted as “can’t they all be rascals sometimes?”.

Well I may be going out on a limb here, but I fear that that gesture is often tainted with a mere hint of smugness and a whiff of relief. Oh look, it’s not me today! The gods have spun their daily wheel of fortune, the violent whirring slowed to a gentle rhythmical revolution before ominously click, click, clicking into its final resting place. Today’s parenting ‘tributes’ have been selected.

Well today, that was me.

I should have known. It had been an inauspicious start to the day as, having thrown caution, knowledge and common sense to one side, I had attempted to free my 4 year old from the bind of night time nappies ignoring the fact that they were more often than not full to bursting on her morning liberation. Damn you mumsnet discussion threads! You had led me to believe that there was a chance that my pre-schooler merely needed to have that safety net removed. A little push in the right direction to encourage her to become more "bladder aware" when she is sleeping. It turns out she may need more of a shove.

Having leapt out of bed, awoken from the deepest, sweetest slumber by an anguished scream, I threw myself in her direction, ricocheting off the walls on the way to ambush what was a clearly an intruder trying to maim my first born. On arrival, I discovered that there was no masked man to wrestle but a deluge to wade through.

Pre-schooler bedroom at 0430

If you are yet to enter the toddler years, let me warn you, dealing with them when they have been woken abruptly is like dealing with an over amorous drunk, oscillating between uncontrollable giggles and inconsolable weeping with intermittent declarations of undying love thrown in for good measure. Having stripped everything that could possibly be stripped (child and selves included) we stumbled back into bed just before 5am dog tired and yet annoyingly awake.

Needless to say, this did not set me up for the day.

Sleep, why have you forsaken me?

The morning was a battle of wills, not so much with my eldest who was clearly fatigued from her nocturnal exertions, but with my near two year old. He is on the brink of being able to string together coherent sentences but will babble incessantly like every syllable is of paramount importance and then emit a blood curdling shriek when he realises that he is not being understood. This noise is also often accompanied with some act of defiance. This is not a fun stage.

I fear this is not the last time I will see him in striped overalls trying to break out of confinement

To top it all off we were being summoned back to the optician as my 4 year old had declared an inability to see the last line of the eye chart that was conveniently accompanied by an urgent desire for some spectacles which were uncannily similar to her best friend's. Odd how these things happen together. Still, we were to return for a reassessment to ensure that my child was merely a time waster but on this occasion I was to be outnumbered on the childcare front.

We entered the shop like a whirlwind with my son slipping his sweaty paw from my grip and running like he had stolen something. He was pulling all the frames available to him (at knee height) from their display before casually discarding them at his feet and moving on to throwing the meticulously piled leaflets into the air like oversized confetti, while I followed behind trying to rectify the situation and whispering "sorry, sorry, sorry" like an apologetic bridesmaid. I finally managed to bundle him under my arm in the classic rugby ball hold while I let the startled looking girl behind the desk know we were here. Just in case she missed our opening number.

Shame. Face.

We were ushered to a bank of seats at the back of the shop to await the optician but as soon as I loosened my vice like grip on the small one in order to remove my daughter's coat, he was off again, ducking and diving through the labyrinth of customer's legs. This time, a member of staff took pity on me and gallantly bestowed the gift of balloons on my offspring. Not just balloons though, but balloons on sticks. These are weapons in the hands of an unruly toddler and sure enough soon the elderly, poor sighted population of Edinburgh were being whacked in the face with an accompanying "BOOP!" resulting in instant transformations from looks of affection to utter bewilderment. As I wrestled the offending article from his sweaty hands I could see my saviour walking towards me, shrouded in a halo of light (which in retrospect could have been a loose light fitting). He was here, the optician, soon this hell would be over and I could manhandle the toddler back into the buggy.

Shame. Face.

No sooner had that sweet relief started to diffuse through my bloodstream than I heard a muted whisper of "Mummy I need the pot pot". My face fell as I slowly turned my head towards the source of such a wholly inconvenient declaration. Unlike her initial eye test, her appearance was so earnest and she had started to hop from foot to foot to demonstrate a sense of urgency.

The optician looked terrified. Clearly he was more used to dealing with the octogenarian population and was pre-child rearing in his personal life.

"Really sorry, but do you have a customer bathroom?"

"No, but there is a Gregg's a few doors down."

My face must have filled with instant contempt. I gestured to the hopping child at my feet and the kicking legs of the small one who remained bundled under my arm and he was off to ask the manager if we could use the staff one. She was clearly consumed with either compassion or an urgent desire to get us out of the shop as we were soon ushered to the employee's area. On a side note, why are the staff areas of shops quite so depressing? Is there really no where else to stow the mop than the communal bathroom? Is there no left over paint from the front of house that they could recycle to make their employees feel just a little appreciated? Anyhoo, I digress. There we were, in the downtrodden bathroom with me having to relinquish the toddler to expedite the toileting of the other but trying to maintain some parental control by intermittently shouting:




As I help my daughter dismount and rectify her multiple layers of clothing there is an undeniable high pitched whine and I am aware of a stampede of footsteps running down the corridor in our direction. I stand up and turn to see the toddler gripping a red piece of string with a wide smile and an evil glint in his eye.

"Mama! I did it!" Clear as a bell...

Toddler free to a good home.

Motherhood The Real Deal

Everything Changes: Working Out the "Working Mother" Bit

It's been a big week this week and, no, we haven't sold our house. In fact, it is no longer even on the market which was both a hea...