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I’m a once-single mum of two boys (4 and 8) who was ‘attempting the ordinary’ after conceiving my second son by donor. I'm now married and pregnant and its complicated - again. These are my anonymous ramblings about life, love, parenting and the rest – emptying my head of the weird, the wonderful and the mundane. Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Gran, tantrums and more spiders

The spiders are multiplying, there's now one that lives on the wall above the tv and one that runs across the floor. I tried to frighten off the floor one last night by stamping my foot on the floor, but the idiotic thing just ran towards me and hid under the sofa I was sitting on. Not only are they annoying, they are clearly thick as well. Would it be too much to ask for some intelligent arachnid company? We could share a glass of wine and discuss social realism in the mini-beast world... I need to get out more.

For those of you following the saga of the post-dad-weekend yelling matches with DS1 - and at the time of writing that's probably none, but welcome any future readers who have decided to read the blog from the beginning, I commend your thoroughness - the 'being less hopeful' seems to be working. For me, that is, DS1 is still doing the yelling for a variety of proxy reasons - I'm just not getting angry in return because I'm just expecting it to happen.This is so far working well - who knew giving up hope could improve your life so dramatically? - but it is only Wednesday, so we're not out of the woods yet.

Here is a list of the things DS1 chooses to yell about:

  • He's asked to stop poking his brother
  • He has to get changed after school
  • He can't find a toy he hasn't bothered about for several months
  • I offer to do one of his chores for him when he says he doesn't want to do it (because he's decided he does want to after all)
  • He's asked to pick up his packed lunch off the side
  • He's seen a photo of a house we used to live in when he was a baby and it looks nice
  • It's teatime
  • He's asked to get out of the bath when he's sat there for half an hour
  • He's told to go to the toilet because he's hopping around from foot to foot, clearly desperate to go
  • I don't hear/understand what he says first time and respond immediately
All of these things can often be met with 'I don't like you, You're not very nice, I want to punch you' followed by a primal scream as I send him upstairs for a time out to calm down. DS2 and I then hide in the living room with the door closed as DS1 stomps around upstairs in his bedroom repeating his previous mantra and adding various 'it's not fair, she's not very nice, I hate her's' to the mix, and then at some point 'I want a hug, she's not giving me a hug, I want a hug NOWWW!' Which sounds quite heartbreaking when it's written down but when its delivered with the aggression that DS1 puts behind it, it's actually quite scary. Sometimes we try to drown it all out with Night Garden or Chuggington, but DS2 generally doesn't seem to bother about it - I think he's just accepted that it's something that DS1 does. Although, after a while he does try to get upstairs to see what DS1 is doing and if he's coming down to play yet - he has been known to stand there shouting 'bruvva' which usually gets the response of DS1 yelling 'I don't want you' at him, so then he goes off to find a car to play with instead. I'm trying to emmulate his acceptance of situations, as it seems to make him a very contented human being. Eventually DS1 will come down and say he's sorry and the normal behaviour can ensue for as much as 5 minutes before it all starts again. Ah the joys of motherhood...

DS2 is at the childminders today so it's my 'day off' - it's actually a work day, but I think of it as a day off as work is always more relaxing than looking after the kids! I have to send an invoice today for the book festival work I did last weekend, which went okay, although they booked double the maximum capacity for one of my sessions, which didn't do my voice any favours. I've decided to make the brave decision of charging them extra for it - which I've never done before despite it not being the first time an organiser has done it. I'm slightly nervous about the response, but I figure, if they've made twice the amount of money off my session, I've had to adapt it at the last minute to work for double the number of people (not an easy task as it's all active participation) then it's not much to ask for only about 20% of that extra money is it? I'll let you know what happens. The rest of the sessions went well - which is just as well as I was pretty shattered having had so little sleep the night before - DS2 decided to wake up loads in the night for feeding and when he wasn't awake Mum was snoring! She said in the morning she didn't get much sleep because of DS2 so I decided to keep my mouth shut about her nocturnal trumpeting - she is grumpy when she's tired at the best of times, so its best not to antagonise her.

 I've found with mum over the years that she will only help in the way she wants to and everyone is supposed to be grateful for that and not mention if it's not the help you actually want, of if the help causes more problems than it solves.For example, while it's great that she comes to look after the boys sometimes, I can guarantee that when I come back there will be toys everywhere, my things put away where I can't find them, and, my pet-hate, non-recyclable rubbish in the recycling bin (which I normally only notice when I'm tipping it into the wheely bin, so my neighbours get treated to the amusing show of me trying to retrieve things from said bin without tipping everything else out again - hilarity ensues for everyone but me). I have in the past tried to gently mention these things, in the kindest possible way, but she responds with an 'oh well, its just me, getting old, I forget these things you know, and I know you like things a particular way' etc. etc. None of this is true, she's not that old, she's not forgetful, and I don't have any strange system for where things go. However, she achieves her objective, which is that I now just don't mention it and accept that any childcare by Gran will involve an awful lot of extra work for me afterwards. She's also a bit unreliable - she promised to babysit one night for me in a couple of months when I've got a gig, which I've been practicing towards for months and really looking forward to (which she knew), and then turned round last week and said 'Oh I've booked my holiday that week, so I won't be able to do it'. I think I was more upset that she'd obviously completely forgotten how much it meant to me, than the fact that she couldn't babysit. Fortunately DS2s childminder has just started offering babysitting as well, so we've got that covered. This is par for the course though, she is not one of those mothers that cannot do enough for you, she is one that has a definite limit about how much she will do. It's not a limit she'll admit to, but it's one that I'll definitely find out about by the pained tone of voice I get if I dare to ask for any more than it. I reckon its about a maximum of once every three weeks she'll help out before the guilt trips kick in, although it varies so I'm always ready for it when I pick up the phone. She's looked after my sister's kids two or three times a week in the past. I know this as my sister held down a full time job with one child not in full time school and her MIL only doing 1 day a week. Still, they are in the same town as her and we are a 40minute drive away, so maybe that's fair enough. I don't think it's the limit I object to, its the pretending you don't have one, and then making me feel like I'm being really unreasonable to ask, instead of just saying no.

Anyway, that's enough of a Gran rant for today, I really should do some work and the kitchen needs cleaning. Think I'll go and see if I can train the spiders to use a mop...

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