Four and a Dog

A blog about family life

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Meeting New People

This morning we went along to a local toddler group I’ve been to a couple of times. It’s a particularly good one. Everyone is incredibly friendly and the lady that runs it is fantastic. Diva likes it because she gets to play with a giant parachute and eat cake- me too. Bruiser likes the singing.

This morning this lovely lady came over and started chatting to me. I was telling her about the fact that Hubby will be going as a resident scholar on a fabulous cruise to see the Northern Lights soon (I am still breast feeding so can’t go and am thus very bitter). She informed me that something similar had occurred when her husband had to go to the Amazon Rainforest. Obviously I was curious and asked her why he was in the rainforest. It would seem that he invests in renewable energy schemes and has bought some of it to save it from loggers. Of course he has. Didn’t I feel foolish for asking.

Upon returning home we saw one of our neighbours and her little dog. She has asked us around for coffee a few times so we decided to pop across and say, hi. During this conversation I found out that her husband had been an RAF pilot that flew in secret missions during the 2nd World War. During one mission they were being followed by German bombers and so had to turn off their lights to avoid detection whilst landing. His plane landed okay but the plane behind him landed on top of him. The propellor ripped through his face and very nearly killed him. He required ten operations to rebuild his face. He was a true war hero and apparently one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Sadly he passed away a few years ago and his lovely wife has been left very lonely. I suspect she has a few more good stories to tell and we may become regular visitors.

There are some truly remarkable people in this world.

This afternoon we went to the doctors’ surgery for Bruiser to receive his next set of jabs. Here we had another, less pleasant, meeting. The waiting room has a very small table for children to play on right at the front of all the chairs.This is where Diva wanted to go. Next to the table sat a large, very serious (grumpy) looking man. As soon as we got near it Diva started shouting, “No, Mummy! Don’t sit next to the scary man! He frightening me, Mummy! Don’t sit there! Ahhhh!”

I’m not entirely sure how you are supposed to deal with this type of thing. He was clearly unamused by the terrified toddler and was very much avoiding acknowledging our presence. Several other people in the waiting room obviously thought it was hilarious- especially the ones with children who weren’t shouting out embarrassing things. I debated trying to cover it up, “Sorry, she’s practising her lines for a play and you remind her of the scary villain”. Maybe not. I also debated pretending she was not my child, but the fact that she was clinging to my leg was a bit of a giveaway. In the end I decided to be terribly British about it and told Diva she was being silly, and ignored it. Thankfully we weren’t waiting long before we were called in.

Our final meeting was with someone I met when we first moved here. She’d forgotten my name. I wonder what any of these people said about meeting us today…

Coffee Shop Guilt

I am currently sat in a coffee shop without any children. The guilt is immense. It feels unnatural- like someone has severed my limbs and hidden them from me in some weird game of hide and seek. Just to add to this awful feeling, Diva barricaded my exit through the front door with cries of, “Don’t go, Mummy!”

I now know how Hubby feels every morning.

Soon my maternity pay will run out and we are trying to find ways that I can make money from home. Hubby had the good idea of me trying to resurrect my writing in an attempt to sell it. I am very easily distracted at home so I have sloped off to a coffee shop with wi-fi to try and focus my ideas.

So far I have edited a short play I wrote a few years ago and written most of a crappy, magazine style story. Unsurprisingly, both are based in a coffee shop. I may need to find a few more writing venues.

Night Noises

Diva and Bruiser have had a lovely day today playing with their Nana and Grampy. Bruiser has been walked around by a variety of family members and Diva has searched for creatures (her toy animals); dressed Nana in a fine assortment of plastic jewellery; and pretended to be a tortoise with a Bumbo on her back.

All the excitement has had a different effect on my two children. Bruiser has actually had a full daytime nap- unheard of. Diva has decided that she no longer requires sleep. We have heard every excuse possible, from sudden toilet urges to monster attacks.

Here is our conversation:

Mummy: It’s definitely time to go to sleep sweetheart. Mummy has checked everywhere and there are no more monsters.
Diva: You told them to go away Mummy?
Mummy: Yes. I told them all that they were not invited and sent them away.
Diva: They went away?
Mummy: Yes. Mummy doesn’t allow monsters in this house so they had to go away.
Diva: Were they sad?
Mummy: What?
Diva: The monsters were sad because Mummy was cross.
Mummy: Yes, but they said sorry so I’m not cross anymore (what have I started?).
Diva: Maybe they’ll go to the park and play.
Mummy: Why not….sure…(uh oh)…but they won’t be allowed in the park when all the boys and girls are playing. Only when everyone is asleep.
Diva: Okay.
Mummy: Right, time to go to sleep.
Diva: But there are noises, Mummy.
Mummy: (Seriously?!?) Well let’s see what noises we can hear. I can hear someone watching the tele next door and the water in your radiator making your room nice and warm.
Diva: And the lizard.
Mummy: The lizard?
Diva: The lizard with a wooden leg that lives in my clock that goes, “toc, toc.”
Mummy: (She doesn’t even have a clock in her bedroom) Okay, well he sounds like a friendly lizard so that’s fine.
Diva: Yes. And I can hear the chicken.
Mummy: (I know I probably shouldn’t have asked, but…) The chicken?
Diva: The chicken with the bag. You need to put money in the bag, Mummy.
Mummy: Well I’ll try to remember to do that before I go to bed.
Diva: And there’s a giant lizard, Mummy. He’s the other lizard’s Daddy. Let’s find more noises, Mummy.

At this point I finally realised that this had become a game and told Diva it was definitely time for bed. She still wouldn’t settle so I sent in Hubby to have a go. He’s been up there for half an hour so far. I can only presume that he didn’t put money in the chicken’s bag.

Scissor Mouth

Diva won a pair of plastic scissors for good behaviour today. Apparently her mouth has to open and close in time to the cutting.

One Whole Hour

Do you remember that time before children when an hour wasn’t long enough to get anything done? There was a time when cooking was a pleasurable experience that involved herbs and spices; cleaning resulted in all sorts of distractions, such as organising cupboards or taking a trip down memory lane with a photograph album; shopping was fun and included trying clothes on and stopping for coffee.

Having one child changed all this. Having two children means IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. Yesterday the Grandparents came for a visit and asked what I would like to do. What I wanted to do was go to the pub but what I needed to do was tidy up. For one whole hour I disappeared upstairs, stripped beds, tidied bedrooms, unpacked suitcases (from our visit to the Grandparents last weekend), re-organised the linen cupboard, sorted washing and had a chat with my mother. In my old life that would have taken about a week.

During this hour my mother walked Bruiser around until her arms probably wouldn’t work any more and my dad had to put tissue bandages on all of Diva’s toys. At the point I came downstairs they were all hiding under a blanket from a lion. One whole hour has gotten a lot longer these days.


I spend most of my day walking Bruiser around this house. Why am I not thin?

Visiting the Grandparents

My family have lots of double birthdays. Diva shares her birthday with her uncle, and Bruiser shares his birthday with his daddy. This weekend was the joint birthday of my youngest brother and my mother. We decided that we would take a little trip to the Grandparents in order to help celebrate another year of life for two of my favourite family members. Unfortunately Hubby was working on Saturday so we would need to make the journey there without him. Thankfully he would catch the train on Sunday to join us so I wouldn’t have to manage the return journey alone.

In theory this seemed to make perfect sense. I would pack up the car with the help of Hubby before he left for work and then drive the one and half hours to my parents before lunch. Simple. Ha! Trying to coordinate getting a toilet trained toddler, a breast feeding baby and a high energy dog all fed and toileted and dressed (not the dog. We don’t go in for that sort of thing) and in to car seats ( not the dog. He has a harness) takes more skill and organisational skills than I possess. Once we were finally in the car- after various nappy changes, toilet trips, snacks, changes of clothes, trips in to the garden (this time it was the dog) and last minute packing emergencies- I remember that we have no petrol. Trying to get petrol with a demanding toddler, a screaming baby and an over excited dog is also not easy.

Eventually we were on the road and heading to the Grandparents. Thankfully the traffic was kind; the baby slept; the dog sniffed the air vents contentedly; and Diva found my game of ‘spot the evergreen tree’ entertaining enough to get us most of the way there. I really know how to put the fun back in to car journeys.

After a quick unpack we headed to my brothers house to see his lovely wife and my gorgeous nephews. It was great to see everyone and Diva and her cousin G spent many a happy hour pretending to be mice while Grandma tracked them down. Later on I managed to convince Diva that she was having far too much fun with Grandma and therefore had no need to come and sit in a coffee shop with me and some of my friends. Oh and how I enjoyed that brief hour of conversation and coffee. Thank you ladies and thank you Grandma and Grandad.

On Saturday we celebrated the birthdays with fish and chips and fancy champagne- we know how to live it up in our family. The kids had a fantastic time and entertained us all with some interesting interpretative dance on the landing. I blame the champagne.

Sunday involved a lovely trip to a farm with indoor play, rabbits to hold, ponies to ride and farm equipment to pose on. Boy was I glad to have Hubby back. All in all it was a really lovely weekend and reminded me of how much I miss living close to my family.

Apparently Diva and Uncle M feel the same way. When it came time to leave, Diva hid under the dining room table and Uncle M dashed straight in to Grandma’s arms for protection. Should I start to feel paranoid about this?


Happiness is sitting in a parked car listening to the radio for a whole 10 minutes before the children wake-up.

Plaster Magic

Diva is not a particularly adventurous child, but she is two and therefore has a tendency to fall over quite a lot. Her legs often resemble a map of bruises, charting her various tumbles and bumps. However, she has only cut herself three times. Once she took a dive across the pavement whilst running and grazed her knees; once she missed a step and cut her lip; and yesterday she caught her thumb on a table.

Apparently, a small cut on the thumb is possibly the worst injury that could ever happen to a two year old girl. It required a few applications of magic cream, several magic kisses and had to be talked about, a lot.

After a night of thumb sucking, “the worst injury that could ever happen” was looking quite sore so Super Daddy came to the rescue and put a plaster on it. Well, did you know that a plaster is the best thing, ever? It is to Diva. I wish I’d known that before getting her a doll house for Christmas.

Diva loves going to her pre-school but every time we get her ready to go she declares, “I no want to go to Nursery anymore!” Not today. Today Diva couldn’t wait to go. Holding her thumb before her like a prized trophy, she marched through the front doors of Nursery and showed every single last person her amazing plaster. It wasn’t even a novelty plaster with cartoon characters or patterns on it, just a plain, everyday plaster. I have a feeling that she’s going to be asking for a new plaster every morning for a while. On the plus side, it may actually start to dissuade her from sucking her thumb.

Terrible Twos

Diva’s middle name is Defiance and she wears it like a badge.

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