Four and a Dog

A blog about family life

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Flying Solo

As I mentioned before, Hubby is currently away with work this week. He’s in foreign lands arguing about intergalactic space problems and stuff (my words, not his). Meanwhile, I am experiencing my first try at looking after both kids, and dog, on my own. This is my third night alone and I think I can definitely divide my time between a series of successes and…unsuccesses (failures seems too mean).

We are all still alive.
Bruiser has had two daytime naps in his cot.
Uncle M has been for a walk.
We had a lovely visit from Aunty J and the kids.
The kitchen and living room are pretty clean.
Hoovering even occurred.
I have finished three cups of tea.
Diva made it to Nursery on time and was collected on time.
I have had some enjoyable phone conversations.
All of Diva’s toys ate their breakfast.
There has been painting, on purpose.
There has been chocolate.
Everybody has had food at some point in the day.

Uncle M, Diva and Bruiser have all kicked off at regular intervals during the night resulting in a distinct lack of sleep.
Bruiser has chosen this week to discover falling forwards whilst sitting.
Bruiser is teething, again.
There was a brief stand off between Diva and cousin L over Mr. Tumble’s bag, but I think that may have been resolved- does that mean it should be in successes?
No jobs have been ticked off my ever expanding list of jobs.
I have been battling a threatening migraine for 24 hours and the outcome does not look good.
I have resorted to enough bribery that News of the World employees would blush.
All food eaten has been out of a freezer or tin.
I have let six cups of tea go cold.
Uncle M has only been on one walk.
The upstairs of the house is a complete disaster of fallen clothes and discarded toys.

All in all, things have gone better than I expected. The days have been fine, other than the fact that I am exhausted, and the nights have been awful. More than anything, I miss having Hubby to share the humour and the stresses each evening.

Unfortunately he’s only back a few days before he’s off again for even longer. I have already booked in to stay with his parents. I may be proud of surviving this week, but I have no wish to repeat it quite so soon. I also know that there are lots of people who do this all the time. I’d rather not.


Hubby is away for a few days with work. This will be my first attempt at managing the kids on my own. I don’t like my chances.

Bruiser is still very unsettled through the night and most of our evenings are punctuated with regular visits upstairs to get him back to sleep.

Tonight, during one of our re-settling sessions, I forgot to close the stair gate behind me and Uncle M took the opportunity to sneak upstairs. While I was rocking Bruiser to sleep, Uncle M was hiding out in the spare room. Once I got downstairs and realised he was missing, I went back up to find him.

Not wanting to wake up sleeping children, I began a hunt in the dark. Without a torch, I used the glow of my IPad screen to try and locate him. I’m sure this is what Steve intended them for.

At some point he must have snuck out of the spare room and in to mine. Bruiser was sleeping peacefully in his cot while Uncle M was nestled nicely amongst my pillows. The bed is white and Uncle M is white. I think he knows this.

He stayed impressively still and it took me a good few seconds to realise he wasn’t just another pillow. He tried to resist when I eventually found his collar and I was forced to carry him down the stairs.

Right now Uncle M is sat on the end of the sofa with his back to me. Once in awhile he sighs.

A Diva Party

Today Diva invited me to her party.

In order to attend the party I had to wear a mask like this one:


And speak in a high pitched, posh voice (let the record state that she started it first).

“Would you like to come to my party? There will be all sorts of things. Here is your mask.”

“Thank you, I would love to come to your party and we…”

“No, not like that Mummy. Talk like me!”

“Sorry…Yes, I would truly love to attend your elegant party. How terribly kind of you to ask.”

I was then invited to join Diva in the kitchen where there would be lots of people dancing. Not wanting to ruin her game, I immediately began spinning about with Bruiser whilst humming a rendition of ‘I’m in the mood for dancing’.

“No more dancing, Mummy.”

I was then offered some refreshments,

“Would you like a lemon and some sweets?”

After I had ‘eaten’ my refreshments, I was told to go home.

Diva hasn’t been to many parties but I really don’t recall any of them being like this.

Bruiser Bubbles

Bruiser has learnt how to blow bubbles in his spit. This is especially fun at four o’clock in the morning. Sometimes the fun lasts for a whole hour. Much as I’d like to take the credit for this marvellous new skill, I only blow bubbles in socially acceptable circumstances, such as in milkshakes whilst dining out . In which case, who has taught him this? Daddy or Uncle M? I have my suspicions.

Not a Princess

This morning I can confirm that I am definitely not a princess. Rather than being kept awake last night by a small, green pea under a pile of mattresses, I slept soundly on a hungry caterpillar, a pair of toddler socks and a plastic chicken.

Oh well, I guess I’ll cancel that appointment to view the castle for sale later then.

A New Plaster

Several posts ago I wrote about Diva’s reaction to a plaster. Toady, a new plaster was required. Before you ask, no, she hasn’t been wearing the same plaster for the last few weeks. Diva likes to milk her injuries, but not even she is that committed. A new injury occurred this afternoon.

We were out for our usual walk with Bruiser in the buggy, Uncle M on the lead and Diva weaving in and out of trees, pedestrians and dog muck (pick it up you lazy dog owners!). Diva asked if she could run. She can, but she often falls over. Today was no exception. This time she acquired a small cut on her hand.

After a cuddle the sobbing did not ease off. In the end I promised that when we got home I would get out my medicine box, clean it and put a plaster on it. The sobbing ceased instantly. Diva marched back up the lane cradling her wounded hand in her other hand, whilst also carrying a stick (she collects a lot of sticks on our walks. And stones. I don’t know why. I can only presume that she’s building something).

Once back at the house, there were a few more theatrical sniffs for dramatic effect and then she eagerly waited for the medicine box.

Diva: Will you make it better, Mummy? It really, really hurts.
Mummy: I know, sweetheart. I have to clean it first.
Diva: Be very, very gentle, Mummy.
Mummy: I will try.
Diva: Oooo…that stings.
Mummy: I’m going to spray it with some antiseptic now so that it will get better, okay.?
Diva: Okay…oooo…that’s really, really cold. I don’t like that bit, Mummy.
Mummy: It’s okay. That bit is over now. I’m going to stick the plaster on next.
Diva: Can I have a big plaster, Mummy?
Mummy: Sure.
Diva: I won’t do that again, Mummy.
Mummy: What? Fall over?
Diva: Yes.
Mummy: Well you might, but that’s okay. It’s probably better if you try not to.
Diva: I won’t fall over ever again.
Mummy: Well I wish you lots of luck with that.

The rest of the evening has consisted of Diva ‘struggling’ to eat her food; have a bath; put her pyjamas on. She was very distressed when the plaster came off in the bath but calmed down when she realised it could be replaced with a new one.

I will be trying to convince her to take it off tomorrow so that it can dry out. I’m not liking my chances.

Things I Say to My Kids

There are moments when I hear what I’m saying to my children and think, that sounds ridiculous even by my standards. For example:

You can not be a doctor until all the letters are back in the alphabet box.

You can not go to bed until you’ve done a poo.

Well done! You did a poo. I’m very proud of you.

No, the hippo really doesn’t want to talk anymore. He’s decided to take a vow of silence and go and live under the sofa with the monkey and the policeman.

Hello Diva! I am the moon. Shall we go to the park and play on the swings (This is an ongoing thing that she started months ago. Once we’re in the park, she continues to have conversations with the moon. Oh the looks we have had. This may have something to do with the moons unusual, camp voice that I think may have once featured in a Carry On movie).

Let’s see if Bruiser wants to have a jumperoo while we finish sticking sequins on to the rabbits face.

If we’re really quiet, maybe Bruiser will stay asleep


Today I am being punished for having a migraine yesterday.

I was woken up by Diva’s early morning call, “Mummy! You need to get me! I awake!” (I should point out that Diva is not locked in her room. Bizarrely she has yet to realise that she can leave her room whenever she likes. We are not going to correct her). I then came downstairs to find a lovely pile of Uncle M vomit that Diva immediately began inspecting. Bruiser is currently working towards winning Teething Baby of the Year and is thus leaking and oozing everywhere whilst crying incessantly. Diva is asking me to play with her every ten seconds while I try desperately to eat a piece of toast, and write this blog post.

Okay, toast is done. I will go and play with Diva and wipe Bruiser’s nose and clean up the vomit and pretend that I am a good parent.

More Tales of Car Woe

For the Easter weekend we decided to head up to Sunderland to visit my grandparents. Like the Queen they are in their eighties and have just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. My Grandma has also been mistaken for the Queen on a few occasions, including once at Buckingham Palace. Sadly, unlike the Queen, they don’t have a private jet and so we have to drive to go and visit them.

Several generations of my family have lived in Sunderland and the surrounding areas and a number of them are still there. My aunt even owns a fabulous B&B right down on the seafront that celebrates the history of Sunderland. We always stay with her whenever we visit.

We have been planning to make the trip since before Christmas but illness and non-sleeping baby have prevented it. The long Easter weekend, and a slightly more sleeping baby, meant it was time to give it a try.

Planned Trip
Hubby will arrive home from work slightly earlier and load pre-packed bags, buggy, steriliser, toys, bouncy chair, selection of coats, dog, children and wife in to car.
Family will drive approximately one and a half hour to Hubby’s parents’ house to deliver Uncle M for his stay and pause for quick meal before continuing journey. Children to sleep in car.
Drive will continue for a further two hours. Bruiser to sleep. Diva to watch movie on iPad.
Stop for coffee and feed Bruiser.
Continue drive to Sunderland. Bruiser and Diva to sleep.
Arrive at B&B safely. Unload car and sleeping children. Quick drink and everyone in bed by 11pm.

Actual Trip
Hubby arrived home from work slightly earlier to mostly packed bags etc. family sat in traffic at Banbury while children slept. Bruiser woke up and screamed for final 20 minutes to Hubby’s parents’ house. Very quick meal before getting back in to the car. Bruiser continued to scream for a further 30 minutes. Mummy tried to calm him down by giving him a bottle. Bruiser became enraged. Mummy realised she’d forgotten to put anything on to the iPad for Diva to watch so Diva watched a few old episodes of Alphablocks and asked for a movie every couple of minutes. Realised we needed petrol so tried to do it as quickly as possible to avoid waking Bruiser. It didn’t work. Thankfully he did fall back asleep. Continued driving until coffee was needed. Bruiser very jolly and offered milk but refused (confirming suspicions that he really doesn’t need all the milk he has at home every evening). Finally arrived at B&B at midnight. Diva was still very much awake. Unloaded car and paced with Bruiser to settle him for bed. Had to turn off all lights and ignore excited Diva who kept asking if everyone was still awake.

The weekend was hectic to say the least. We managed to catch up with various friends and family; visited Beamish; arranged and carried out a successful Easter egg hunt; and even managed to get a small amount of sleep.

Beamish is a living museum set in the Victorian era. It includes a mine, pit village, town, farm, small steam railway, small fairground and manor house. You can travel around the site on trams and old buses. Diva was beyond excited about it all. She particularly loved sitting on the open top tram. When we turned the corner to the fairground and she saw the carousel I thought she would explode, “I want to go on that right now! I want to go on that. On that, Mummy. I want to go on that! I’m so excited, Mummy.” Once we had bought our ticket and were finally on a horse (underneath delightful pictures of animals killing each other), Diva was even more excited, “Daddy! Daddy! I’m on here with Mummy! Look, Daddy! I’m on here with Mummy!”

If ever you are visiting the NE of England, I can highly recommend a trip to Beamish. There is so much to do that we didn’t manage to get around everything, even though we were there for a full day. Everybody who worked there were very friendly and helpful. I even learnt about HP sauce.

Our favourite thing to do all weekend was to just spend time with family and friends. Living so far away gets hard and even with the joys of Skype and FaceTime, it’s not the same as real face to face time. Responsibilities, petrol costs and life have a dreadful habit of getting in the way of such simple pleasures. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can make it back up again.

Unfortunately, the journey home was even more stressful than the one coming. Bruiser screamed a lot more and the traffic was horrendous. Travelling with children is certainly not the most fun, but seeing the joy it gave my grandparents to spend time with them more than made up for it.


Today Diva discovered Great Grandma’s stairlift. Great Grandma used it to go upstairs to find some books for Diva. Diva now thinks this is the criteria for its use and keeps asking to go upstairs to find books for everyone else. Sadly the stairlifts batteries have run out and all the shops are shut. Shame.

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