Four and a Dog

A blog about family life

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

Pirates and Pies

Apparently pirates sail around on pie ships. This is why the crocodile was really after Captain Hook.


No Escape

It’s got me. I knew it would. The cold that has infected all of my family has now got it’s vicious little claws well and truly clamped on me. Uncle M is now the only one of us free from illness. Unfortunately, he is not particularly good at taking care of children. We did teach him to fetch nappies on command, but his lack of opposable thumbs has thwarted our attempts to get him to actually change the dratted things. Come on evolution, isn’t it time for family pets to have more uses?

So I did say that I would explain why I am an accomplished sufferer of Man Flu. My current circumstances have made this, unfortunately, very relevant.

I do not appreciate being ill of any kind. It makes me angry. I become very irritated with myself and the world around me. Being ill is rubbish. It means you can’t do all manner of things and makes it very difficult to enjoy the things that you can still do. On top of all that, it is painful and makes you incapable of rational thought or coherent speech. Everything shuts down and all I want to do is crawl in to my bed and wait for it to be over. I literally have arguments with my incapable body (in my head, out loud would be crazy) trying to convince myself to be better.

I am a rubbish patient. I don’t want lots of care and sympathy. I just want you to bring me an occasional drink and pills, and listen to me complain about why I hate being ill. I can not emphasise this enough, I am pathetic when I am ill. Colds are the absolute worst because they’re not even a proper illness. They’re just flu wannabes. They don’t allow you to just give up and go to bed. No, with a cold you have to keep going, carrying on in a miserable way, spreading your germs wherever you go. “Oh, it’s just a cold,” we say whilst sneezing our germs in each others faces.

Then, when you have children, they’re not going to let you just carry on. You also have to cook, entertain, comfort, cajole, discipline and never ever rest.

Hubby is currently away on a cruise ship talking to people about the aurora. Well played, sir. My poor parents are the ones left to deal with me and my children, colds and all. It’s a good job they already know what I’m like and have unending patience with my children.

Okay, I feel better after that whinge. Thank you for listening to me complain. Now, who is bringing me my pills and a drink? Make it a double.


Diva apparently finds it hard to tell the difference between breasts and elbows. Some people have big elbows and some people don’t. I’m not sure where this puts the funny bone…

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is a funny thing. At least, I remember when it was a fun thing back in college. These days I’m starting to see why it’s used as a horrific type of torture.

Diva, Bruiser and Hubby all have colds. Uncle M and I are resigned to the fact that our turn is next. Thankfully Hubby is very rarely ill and has never been one to suffer Man Flu. I, however, challenge any man to suffer Man Flu as spectatularly as I do (but I’ll save those stories for another post). Hubby has therefore been helping a great deal to look after the children.

Diva is waking up constantly through the night complaining that her nose doesn’t work and Bruiser barely sleeps at all between coughing and demanding food to help clear his nose. Hubby has taken to the spare room so that he can look after Diva while I sleep in our room with Bruiser.

Each night we shake hands and wish each other good luck.

Each morning we stare at each other, bleary eyed, and mumble incoherent information about the proceeding day.

Each day we take on a more pallid complexion and become even more incapable of coherent speech.

Now let’s try that comparison to life in college.

In college I would stay up all night having long discussions about incredibly important topics like, which character in Friends am I most like.

Now I stay up all night discussing the merits of sleep with a five month old baby.

In college I would spend all night drinking and partying.

Now I really need a drink but hardly ever have any in the house (a fact that really needs to be remedied).

In college I rarely stopped dancing all night.

Now I’m scared to even breathe in case I wake the children.

In college I would catch up on sleep in a particularly boring lecture or whilst watching a bit of day time TV.

Now I accidentally fall asleep during riveting games where all of Diva’s animals say, “Hello”, to each other.

In college I’d get up, slap on some make up and do it all again.

Now I do the same only minus the make up.

However, not everything is different. I still find myself cleaning up other people’s sick and often have to comfort a sobbing girl who really isn’t sure what she’s crying about.

At least, for now, my kids are too young to share any of the embarrassing stories about how I sang Twinkle Twinkle out of key; or the time I was so out of it, I missed my mouth whilst having a drink; or when I wore my pyjamas inside out, and knew it.

Hmmm…I better take some more embarrassing pictures of them just in case.


Normally, this is what happens in our house:

Diva: Mummy, I want a snack. Put the tele on, Mummy. I no want to play with that toy, I want to play with that toy that’s difficult to reach/is broken. I want a snack. Where’s Daddy? I no want to go out. I want to go out, Mummy. I no want to hold your hand.I want to paint. I no want to paint anymore…humph. I want a snack, Mummy…please.

Bruiser: (a translation) Pick me up! Give me milk! Walk me around! Wave shiny things at me! More milk! I want sleep but I don’t want sleep. Don’t even think of putting me down! Smile at me while I’m bouncing! Where is the singing? I want singing. Milk, I tell you! Push me around in this wheeled chariot! Let me sleep! Pick me up! Milk…please.

Uncle M: (translation) I want to go outside and bark at stuff. I want to come inside. Outside. Inside. Outside. Inside. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. I want to sleep on you. Can I come with you? I will follow you. Here is my lead. My lead is here. I will show you my lead. This is my food bowl. Can you see my food bowl? I like food. Food…please.

This is what happens when The Lovely Mrs. P visits:

Diva: Thank you for coming to visit me. I would like to colour that. Please may I eat fruit? Let’s go out, wahoo! Can I hold your hand? I like you. You are my friend. I would like to play with that, thank you. Let’s share. Shall we tidy up? This has been a lovely day. I will colour a picture for you.

Bruiser: Gurgle. Giggle. Gurgle. Smile.

Uncle M: (translation) I want to go outside and bark at stuff. I want to come inside. Outside. Inside. Outside. Inside. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. Throw me a toy. I want to sleep on you. Can I come with you? I will follow you. Here is my lead. My lead is here. I will show you my lead. This is my food bowl. Can you see my food bowl? I like food. Food…please.

At least someone’s consistent.

Thank you for a lovely day, The Lovely Mrs. P.

Put the Sprinkles Down

In honour of Valentine’s Day, Diva and I decided to make some cakes. Diva was very excited about this. She really likes cakes. She checked with me several times that the cakes would also have icing on them so I showed her the picture in the book. She then became even more excited about the possibility of sprinkles.

First thing in the morning she reminded me that I had promised that we would make cakes. I confirmed that I was aware of the promise, and even got out the recipe book and the ingredients to prove that I was a mother of my word. Diva’s eyes lit up when she saw the tube of sprinkles. Unfortunately, I was almost out of flour so needed to make a trip to the supermarket before any cake making could commence.

“Before we make cakes, how about we go and visit the shop and get some really cool stuff like flour and…shampoo?”
“But you said we could make cakes.”
“We could also get a magazine with stickers.”

Bribery wins again.

Diva talked about the cakes most of the way home from the supermarket and was very anxious to start the process straight away. She really enjoyed watching me measure out the ingredients and loved whisking the egg, but then her attention started to wane.

“Can I put the sprinkles on now?”
“Not yet. We have to put all the ingredients together and then put them in the oven to cook.”
“Because that’s how we make cakes.”
“Then we can put the sprinkles on?”
“No, then we have to let them cool down.”
“Because otherwise they will burn us and make the icing melt.”
“Then, when they cool down, I can put sprinkles on?”

The second I put the first batch of cakes in the oven, Bruiser started screaming for food. Needless to say, the first batch were a little overdone. Whilst putting the second batch in the oven…

“I can put the sprinkles on now?”
“No, the cakes are still cooking.”
“What about these?”
“They’re still too warm.”
“Because they’ve only just come out of the oven.”
“And they will make the ice melt?”
“Yes, they will melt the icing.”
“When they cool down, I can put sprinkles on.”

The second batch were more successful. I left them to cool and then started the process of mixing icing sugar. I have learnt from previous experience not to let Diva near icing sugar unless I want my entire kitchen covered in the stuff. Therefore, the icing was made in secret while Diva was playing with her toys. However, she caught on to me when she heard the mixer.

“I can do sprinkles now?”
“Well let’s put the icing on first.”
“So that the sprinkles have something to stick to.”
“Because otherwise they will all fall off.”
“Oh. You do that bit, Mummy. I want to do the sprinkles.”

I placed the cakes on a plate and handed her the tube of sprinkles. Yes…that’s right…you heard me…I HANDED HER THE TUBE OF SPRINKLES! Idiot. Diva did exactly what you would expect a two year old who had been handed a tube of sprinkles to do. She gleefully turned the tube upside down and emptied it all over one cake.

“Put the sprinkles down!”
“Just put the sprinkles down.”

I quickly grabbed the tube and closed the lid, pointlessly. We both then stared at the one cake sat in a sea of coloured sprinkles, the icing no longer visible. I stayed calm and proceeded to demonstrate how Diva could sprinkle the sprinkles on to the other cakes from the vast amounts of sprinkles that we’re now on the plate.

At first this was fine. Three cakes later…

“I don’t want to do sprinkles anymore, Mummy?”
“I don’t like doing sprinkles.”
“Can I eat them now?”

Soppy Alert

St. Valentine’s Day is just another excuse to make us spend money these days, and if this is the only day of the year that you remember to appreciate another person then that is very sad.

However, I love it! When I was younger I would wait anxiously to see if someone was finally going to declare their undying love to me. Each year I would get a card from an anonymous person, otherwise known as my mum, and although it wasn’t from ‘that guy’ I was obsessed with for that year, I still appreciated it and thought it was very sweet. On a couple of occasions I even sent one, but obviously denied all knowledge of it each time.

One year, when I was very young, I was given a pack of Mickey Mouse cards for my birthday that had hearts on them. On Valentine’s Day I thought it would be a nice idea to send one to all the boys in my class (keep my options open). I was mocked mercilessly.

These days I see Valentine’s Day as a reminder that I am not just a mum. I am incredibly lucky to have a wonderful husband to share this parenting malarkey with. He is supportive, caring, funny and gorgeous (which helps).

So this is my Valentine’s message to my lovely Hubby Valentine- I love you and can’t think of anyone I’d rather do this life thing with. xxxx

(I warned you it was soppy)

Mahna Mahna

The Muppets are awesome! I’ve loved them forever and ever. There is nothing that couldn’t be improved by the addition of a Muppet… Okay, there might be one or two things that might become a little freaky with the addition of a Muppet, but most things are made great by a Muppet appearance.

This weekend the new Muppet movie was released. Diva obviously really wanted to go. Okay, Hubby and I really wanted to go and managed to persuade Diva that she really wanted to go too. Bruiser was a little reluctant but I promised him milk. He really likes milk.

The movie was fantastic. I can not recommend it enough. If you used to watch the Muppets at all you will love it. There are some hilarious cameos and great, catchy songs. Go and see it! I was worried about Bruiser finding it too noisy but he fell asleep through the first half and loved all the music in the second half. Every time I walked in the opposite direction he would strain his neck trying to see the screen. Hubby and I left totally elated.

Diva wasn’t quite so keen on the movie. We had our suspicions that it would probably go completely over her head, but hoped that the puppets and music would be enough to maintain her interest. Apparently they were just too loud. On the plus side she really enjoyed sitting on her booster seat, keeping her drink in a cup holder and eating unicorns (popcorn).

Clearly I need to work on Diva’s indoctrination…I mean appreciation of the muppets.


Today Diva apologised for getting her cutlery dirty with food. I’m obviously more strict than I realised.

Operation Haircut

Diva does not like having her hair washed: “No, Mummy! Don’t wash my hair! I don’t like it, Mummy! STOP IT! AHHH!”

She also refuses to let me trim her fringe: “No, Mummy! Don’t cut my hair! I don’t like it, Mummy! STOP IT! AHHH!”

She doesn’t even like it when I try and brush her hair, so it’s best to take cover whenever I try and put her hair in a ponytail or bunches: “No, Mummy! Don’t brush my hair! I no want bunches! I don’t like it, Mummy! STOP IT! This is cruel and inhumane and if you continue to torture me thus I will be forced to seek outside help!” (She didn’t say that last bit but I know she was thinking it).

You get the idea.

Anyway, yesterday I decided to take her to the hairdressers in the hope that they might be able to help. Due to her resistance to let me trim her fringe, we’ve decided to let it grow out and it’s starting to look a bit of a mess. Not that she minds. Obviously I was feeling a little bit apprehensive about making this trip. It’s one thing to have meltdowns in the privacy of our own home but another thing to have them in front of the tutting public. I would have to be prepared.

For two days Diva and I discussed the hairdressers and what fun it would be to go and have a haircut. We talked about how pretty she would look; how much chocolate she would eat; how many points she would climb up the mountain. On the actual day of the haircut we went in to town early and bought a comic and a packet of chocolate buttons in preparation. She even wanted to go early (mainly so she could get the chocolate).

As we were early there was a brief wait while another lady had her hair cut. This lady’s friend came and sat down beside us. Diva immediately looked at this lady suspiciously and declared, “I’m next!” Apparently we’ve already taught her the British system of queuing.

Once it was her turn, I waited, bribery bag at the ready, while Diva was placed on a chair and a gown was wrapped around her. Nothing. Her hair was sprayed and the cutting began. Nothing. The cut was finished and the hair dryer came out. She briefly complained about the heat, but then…nothing. I was so surprised, I didn’t even realise it was over. She’d actually enjoyed it! I quickly paid and bundled the children back up to re-enter the cold. I couldn’t believe how well it had gone. Bruiser was happily tucked in to the buggy and Diva was happily munching on her well earned chocolate buttons.

That’s when I got cocky.

“Let’s go and do a bit of shopping,” I said.

By the time I had picked up three things in the supermarket, Bruiser was screaming and Diva was demanding more chocolate. I whisked through the checkout and headed back to the car. My ten minute drive home was hellish. Bruiser continued to scream and Diva chanted (loudly), “I want my taggie!”, all the way home.

It was definitely a lesson to quit while you’re ahead and a lesson to employ an attractive man to come and do Diva’s hair every day. Hubby? You’re up.

I’m hoping that last comment gets me lots of brownie points for Valentine’s Day.

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