Four and a Dog

A blog about family life

Archive for the category “Uncle M”

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! Apologies for the long silence. Life just keeps happening to us and, unfortunately, I never have the time to write about it.

As an example, I will share with you our wild and crazy New Year celebrations. We had originally discussed trying to meet up with friends, or invite friends to come to us. That didn’t happen.

Location: home.
People present: Mummy, Hubby, Diva Bruiser & Uncle M.

5.30 pm- I lay out a selection of delicious toppings for a New Year pizza party! The kids come and add whatever they like to their pizzas ready to go in the oven.
6.00pm- We all sit down together to eat our delicious pizzas. Unfortunately Diva decides she doesn’t actually like any of her chosen toppings so picks them all off and just eats the base (fussy eating phase). Bruiser loves his toppings but is not very keen on the base so tries to sneak that to Uncle M.
6.30pm- Bruiser plays his new game of running away anytime we want to get him dressed or undressed. Diva ‘sings’ some songs she has made up about snow and saying please.
6.40pm- Both children are finally in the bath.
6.50pm- Diva is refusing to get out of the bath and Bruiser is refusing to get ready for bed.
7.10pm- Bruiser briefly protests about the cruelty of being made to go to sleep and then realises that sleep might not be that bad after all, but that’s only because he wants to and has nothing to do with the fact that I suggested it.
7.20pm- Hubby tries to reason with Diva who is insisting on wearing her monitors (earmuffs) to bed. Her final argument is, “You and Mummy go downstairs and talk and stop me from going to sleep and I need my monitors to stop the noise from you and the wind and the rain”. This child can sleep through her brother’s crying, I think she’s okay.
7.30pm- I tidy up the kitchen and Hubby braves the cold to walk Uncle M.
7.32pm- Hubby returns with a slightly crazed and barking Uncle M due to fireworks- seriously!
7.45pm- Kitchen is cleaned. Children are in bed. Uncle M is safely in the kitchen with a chew, listening to radio 4. What to do…? I begin to clear through some drawers and Hubby tries to fix some technical gadgetry.
9.00pm- We debate whether this is even more pathetic than last year when we played Words With Friends. We look for something to watch on TV that is vaguely related to New Years celebrations.
9.05pm- We watch some episodes of Revenge instead. I clear another drawer.
11.00pm- Is it really still not 2013? We decide to open the (fake) champagne anyway. I go and get some scissors out of my reorganised drawers for no reason other than to prove I know exactly where they are.
11.55pm- We watch other people celebrating in London.
12.00am- We have another drink.
12.10am- We go to bed.
12.30am- Bruiser wakes up.

Funnily enough, it was actually a really nice evening. You have no idea how happy a newly organised drawer makes me.


Toilet Role Play?

I resigned myself long ago to the fact that during toilet breaks I would most likely be joined by Diva, Bruiser and Uncle M. I’m not sure how I feel about having to continue my role as Captain Hook at the same time.

The Summer Starts Here

The problem with holidays is that eventually you have to come home. Nobody seems too impressed by this. Having spent three glorious weeks in France with access to a swimming pool, a beach, a play house and grandparents, Diva is particularly unimpressed with her lot.

Diva: We don’t have a swimming pool.
Mummy: No, we don’t.
Diva: Grandma and Grandad have a swimming pool.
Mummy: Yes, they do.
Diva: We don’t have a beach.
Mummy: Not near by, no.
Diva: Grandma and Grandad do.
Mummy: Yes, they do.
Diva: We had lots of adventures with Grandma and Grandad.
Mummy: Yes, we did.
Diva: I miss Grandma and Grandad.
Mummy: You have no idea.

Even Bruiser seems to be annoyed with me- probably because his diet of pine needles and apricots has come to an end.

Thankfully we had some distractions over the weekend, but today I was on my own, the first time in over three weeks. I had completely forgotten what it’s like to try and keep my children entertained for an entire day.

We were up and dressed by 7am and playing Peter Pan by 7.30am.

Diva/Peter Pan: Fly with me Wendy! let’s go get Cap’n ‘Ook.
Mummy/Wendy: Okay, Peter, but I don’t know how to fly.
Diva/Peter Pan: I will throw some Fairy stuff on you.
Mummy/Wendy: I can fly!
Diva/Peter Pan: Not too loud, you’ll wake the Pirates. Let’s go on the Pirate Ship. Uncle M can be Smee. Look we are on the Pirate Ship. Don’t touch anything or you will make the pirates cross.
Mummy/Wendy: Okay. Can we see some mermaids now?
Diva/Peter Pan: Yes, but they might pull you in the water so only talk to the nice ones. Here, they are next to the roller bears.
Mummy/Wendy: The roller bears?
Diva/Peter Pan: There they are in the water on their roller skates.

This game has continued ALL DAY. We went out on a long walk during which I had to swap between being Wendy and Cap’n ‘Ook. Several other members of the general public were randomly assigned pirate names and then were unknowingly made to walk the plank or chased back to their pirate ship. Bruiser had the pleasure of being Michael most of the day and I am genuinely convinced he now thinks this is his name.

We have been to a playground, done some colouring, played in the garden, hung out washing, made food together, watched TV, read some stories, walked for two miles and put all the toys to bed one at a time. It’s only day one! There is an entire summer ahead of us that I am going to need to fill. I clearly need to raise my game.

Who wants to help me make a pirate ship?

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 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.


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.

Happy Birthday Diva

This weekend was Diva’s third birthday. On Friday we travelled up to the Midlands for a birthday weekend with Hubby’s family. Diva was excited all week about the prospect of presents and cake. However, she promised that I could share her birthday- very generous considering she already shares her birthday with Uncle D.

We had debated having a party for Diva, but we still don’t have many friends where we live and I am mostly too tired to organise anything. Thankfully Hubby’s parents were willing to help out and Diva was having far too much fun to judge me on my lack of party planning.

Benefits of spending a birthday with Nana and Grampy:
1. Nana can make a much better cake.
2. Nana and Grampy have a very nice house with a very big garden.
3. Uncle M really likes going for adventures in the very big garden.
4. Diva likes taking Grampy on adventures in the very big garden while Mummy enjoys a cup of tea.
5. Uncle M has two other dog friends to torment and two cat friends to be confused and intrigued by.
6. Bruiser sometimes sleeps in a cot.
7. Cousin L and family can stay too.
8. Diva can play endlessly with her uncles and Cousin L.
9. The ratio of adults to children means that occasionally everyone gets a break.
10. Great food.

For Diva’s actual birthday we visited Ash End House Farm. This place is fantastic. On one side there is a great indoor play barn with excellent slides- I may have gone on once or twice. On the other side is a children’s farm with a schedule of fun farm events. We got to hold a chick, feed a lamb, pet an assortment of sheep and goats, hunt for an egg and sit on a pony. There was even a performance of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, but we had to leave that one early due to the scary troll.

We ended our visit with some time on the outdoor playground eating ice creams. Diva then used her birthday money to buy a hobby horse that resembled the pony she’d brushed and sat on. She proudly galloped said hobby horse out of the farm and back to the car. Her neighs were very authentic.

Once we had returned to Nana and Grampy’s house, Diva got to open her presents. Excited barely describes her reaction… apart from when she opened the educational calendar we got her. Give her time and she’ll grow to appreciate the joy of changing a fabric Monday to a fabric Tuesday. Plus, it’s reversible and the other side is in French! What’s not to love?

We also got her a toy medical kit. Foolish. As soon as she opened it, Nana and I had to lie on the floor to be cured by Diva and Cousin L. The cure involves being prodded with every plastic implement, having your pulse checked, receiving an injection, taking some pills and having a ten second rest. Since getting home, all the toys have been injured or sick. Due to the increase of patients, and the variety of conditions, we have had to introduce bandages to the game (a nice gingham ribbon) and make Uncle M a doctor. NHS bill be warned- this could be the future.

Diva loves all her gifts and has really enjoyed putting all her cards up. We all had such a fun weekend and are really grateful to our lovely family for making Diva’s third birthday so special. Thank you.


I am lucky that there are many places that I get to call home. This week I have been staying in the home I grew up in. My very kind parents offered to take me in while Hubby was cruising away under the Northern Lights. We have managed to pack a lot in to this week and although we are very excited to be returning to Hubby tomorrow, we are very sad to be leaving.

Here is a synopsis of our week.

Drive one and a half hours while Bruiser sleeps and Diva asks, “Why?”, a lot. Unload car and exchange greetings with parents. Spend day organising huge amount of stuff brought ‘just in case’ most of which will return home unused. Visit supermarket and try not to make eye contact with anyone just in case they know me but I don’t remember them. Eat lovely food prepared by lovely Grandma. Convince Diva that there are no monsters in bedroom and that Grandad will still be available for games in the morning. Bath. Stories. Songs. Diva down. Pace with Bruiser until he falls asleep.

Drive through to brothers house to visit. Try to explain to Diva that she really does not need to tell her cousins what to do all the time. Entertain cousins by reading the same book fourteen times until it is conveniently lost. Try to avoid eye contact with Bruiser to stop strange grunting noise he has developed whenever he sees me. Eventually convince Diva it is time to leave with bribery. Repeat nighttime routine. Get interrupted mid lullaby by Diva with request that I leave.

Try to convince Bruiser to go back to sleep during early morning wake up. Try to convince Diva to use a whisper voice during early morning wake up. Try to convince Uncle M not to bark during early morning wake up. Return to town centre to buy clothes for children that have suddenly grown overnight. Be amazed that Bruiser has rolled over and can sit independently for a few seconds. Who is this child? Sneak off and leave Grandad to entertain Diva. Let Uncle M off of his lead in a field and instantly regret it. Return from field covered in mud. Repeat nighttime routine. Juggle baby feeding and toddler nightmares at uncivilised hour.

Visit Community Farm where I used to work as a teenager. Try to stop Diva putting whole hand in to the mouths of every animal. Stop Diva from stealing a guinea pig. Take it in turns to walk screaming Bruiser around until he falls asleep. Enjoy sunshine for the first time in months. Visit friend where eldest daughter looks after Diva and youngest daughter entertains Bruiser. Drink whole cup of tea. Probably out stay welcome. Repeat nighttime routine with additional Bruiser pacing.

Work up energy to get dressed. Go for walk around boating lake that seems much smaller than when a child. Push Diva on her scooter for five minutes and then carry it for the duration of visit. Allow Diva to have ice cream. Use several wipes to remove ice cream from Diva’s hair and face. Meet cousins and swap scooter for trike. Convince Diva that cousins are coming back to Grandma and Grandad’s house too and therefore meltdown is unnecessary. Entertain with puppets until puppet is conveniently lost. Attempt nighttime routine with four children including hair washing.

Take Bruiser swimming for first time. Bruiser screams entire car journey until removed from car. Watch Cousin T walking in pool unaided (Cousin T has Cerebral Palsy so this was amazing). Both children sleep on way home. Visit school where I used to work and marvel that children also grow in my absence. Enjoy catch up with friends. Somehow Diva acquires a monster costume which she won’t take off. Try, without any luck, to keep children awake on journey home with songs and inane chatter. Much later nighttime routine followed by exhausted collapse.

Visit friend who provides lunch and toys. Diva plays nicely with E while I chat and pace with Bruiser. I become jealous that friends baby (month older than Bruiser) sleeps and plays without being attached to her mummy. Briefly fall asleep on sofa during Bruiser’s nap with Diva and Uncle M on top of me. Try to convince Diva she wants to watch CBeebies. Provide voices for selection of playmobil toys, He-man figures and farm animals. All are in need of being rescued. Get to drink another cup of tea while Grandma walks around the street with children- bliss! Nighttime routine including re-enactment of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Unsuccessful visit to town. Diva discusses tadpoles in the pond and tells Grandad how to rake up leaves in the garden. Return visit to cousins. Aunty C very much the favourite. Lovely walk in sunshine to collect Cousin T from school. Quick Bear Hunt and dinner. Spend return car journey trying to keep Diva awake. Nighttime routine including additional Bruiser pacing and tag team eating.

Pack up car and try to convince Uncle M and Diva to leave. Resort to bribery. Very happy reunion with Hubby who is immediately required to provide voices for selection of animals and trains.

I have a great family and fabulous friends. Thank you all for making our holiday home so much fun.

Snow Reactions

Diva: Yay! Snow! I can build a snowman.

Uncle M: Yay! Snow! I can roll in it, run in it, stick my nose in it, eat it and bark at it.

Me: Yay! Snow! Maybe we’ll get snowed in and Hubby won’t have to go to work.

Hubby: Yay! Snow! I get to use my new snow shovel and grit.

Bruiser: Whatever. Where’s my milk?

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