Saturday 28 April 2012

The missing tooth

We are having a bit of a tooth drama in this house at the moment. After weeks of Betty excitedly showing us her wobbly tooth and talking about it non-stop, it finally fell out yesterday. But unfortunately she didn't notice where and when it fell out. Betty was reciting Chopsticks on the piano, to Tom's horror, and he happened to notice the gap in her teeth.

After a moment's reflection, Betty was very cool about the fact that the tooth was lost. 'Don't worry mummy,' she said. 'The tooth fairy will find it.'

I thought that Betty was being a little too complacent and so set off on a frantic search. This included emptying out the bins and the compost and going through it with a fine toothcomb; delicately inspecting all manner of discarded rotting food stuffs, and scrabbling around in the chicken coop looking in amongst the food scraps that had been thrown to them just moments before we realised the tooth was missing.

I checked back through Betty's baby record book (kept in the days when I was energetic and organised), and realised that the missing tooth was in fact the very first tooth to cut through on 1st August 2007 when Betty was eight months old; the tooth that caused much excitment, the tooth that marked the beginning of her teeth-owning days, and the tooth that made my nipples bleed.

The situation had acquired a new urgency. I decided that Betty must have swallowed the tooth while eating her supper, so I asked her if she could do all poos on Dolly's potty. In her excitement she promptly produced one almost straight away. I sat at the top of the stairs and carefully dissected it using a couple of craft lollipop sticks. Tom walked past me at this point, gagged, and told me that I was one heck of a dedicated mother.

This morning I have abandoned plans to go out for the day, so that we are near a potty at all times, and I will continue to inspect Betty's excrement. I have even considered inspecting the chickens' shit - they are such greedy scavengers they could well have eaten it.

Tom, Betty and the tooth fairy may not care, but I will be gutted if I don't find that tooth.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday Dolly!

Dolly is three today.  She hasn't really said much about her impending birthday, and seems pretty nonplussed by the whole thing.  And so we are having pass the parcel and jelly solely for Betty's benefit.

I tried to spark her enthusiasm by telling her of the lovely presents she will be receiving, and the party food and balloons, and the trip to Pizza Express, but she just told me that I could have her birthday instead.

Despite her nonchalance, she did specify that she would like a Peppa Pig cake and that it had to be made by me.  I am not sure whether this request was to stress me out and make me work, or whether she genuinely did care about what sort of cake she had.

After my one-armed, one-day, effort with Betty's cake last November, I felt I could take on anything.  Betty and I had a few arguments during construction, mainly because she kept accidentally spilling food colouring everywhere, and nicking bits of icing snout and ears, and turning them into other 'beautiful things'.  But we got there in the end.

With the cake made yesterday, Birthday Girl announced this morning that in fact she wanted to have a fairy princess cake instead.  I pretended not to hear.

Happy Birthday my darling girl - you are funny, and gorgeous, and sweet, and kind, and we all completely and utterly adore you.  XXXX

Sunday 15 April 2012

Here we are again...

We have been going to the same holiday cottage in Wales for the last three years.  Perhaps we completely lack imagination, but we have found somewhere we love, and couldn't possibly risk going anywhere else.

Just before we left to come back home this morning, after our eighth visit, I grabbed the visitor's book to make an entry.  I had a flick through and rather embarrassingly I found that most of the entries were ours.  Feeling self-conscious about leaving yet another comment about our children's latest milestones, this time I got Betty to draw a picture of a fairy.

Reading my very first entry, it brought back vivid memories of our maiden visit to this cottage, when Dolly was just a few months old, and Betty was two.  I was completely done in, and don't think I had had any time out from my kids for quite a while.  So I would get up at 6am every morning before Dolly woke to be fed, put my trainers on, and still in my pyjamas, I would go for a brisk walk to the lighthouse and back.  This little lone jaunt made me feel positively euphoric,and would set me up for the day ahead - dirty nappies, sore nipples, wipes, snacks, rattles, naps, spare clothes, baby-proofing, sterilising, and whingeing.

Now that the kids are older, I haven't felt the need to go for my early morning escapades to the headland. These days, they will mostly wake up, get themselves a cereal box from the variety pack, fight over who has the Coco Pops for half an hour, play with the pot pourri, and then go off to play with the boy they have befriended who lives next door.  Meanwhile Tom and I sit in bed reading, and pray they don't tire of the robot and alien roleplay games before we've managed to finish our cup of tea.

After our first couple of visits to this cottage, I noticed several menacing-looking foxes roaming around, and so I am now more than happy for Betty, Dolly and Tom to accompany me on my walk to the lighthouse, and at a more reasonable hour.  Those 6am starts, although seemingly vital to my sanity at the time, now seem like a ludicrous way to spend a holiday.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Magazine articles

Excitement has reached fever pitch in our house this evening.  We are escaping the mice and going on holiday in the morning.  The only thing that slightly concerns me about going is the worry about what we might find when we get back - a total mouse takeover.

Anyway, I leave you with a couple of recent articles I have written for Gurgle magazine and Herefordshire and Wye Valley Life magazine.

Now I must get back to sealing all our kitchen cupboards and drawers with brown tape...

Saturday 7 April 2012


Managing to get over my neurosis about raw egg and food poisoning, Betty and I did some egg blowing this morning. 

Needing more eggs to hang on our Easter tree, I left Betty with pretty paints, sequins, and glitter, to get on with the decorating by herself, while I read OK magazine.

About half an hour later she called me back in - I was not expecting to be presented with this little scene!

From left to right:  A horse, a superhero, a chicken, and a pirate...  And apparently it doesn't end there. She is now making a ship, a nest, a stable and a cave, for them all to live in.

The Easter tree didn't get a look in.

Happy Easter!

Friday 6 April 2012

Mice and malfunctions

Things that I have done this week:
  • put all the winter clothes away
  • picked mouse droppings out of the sugar bowl
  • saw a mouse flailing around the kitchen in a trap, half-dead
  • watched in horror as my laptop spectacularly malfunctioned
  • fell in love with the man at PC World who heroically fixed malfunction and rescued my data
  • smoked out the entire house while trying to light the woodburner, and had to evacuate
  • washed several loads of wood-smoked clothes 
  • eaten several of the kids' Easter eggs
  • felt immensely guilty, and replenished the egg stocks
  • broken up several fights between Betty and Dolly
  • been on numerous play-dates
  • noted that our windows haven't been cleaned for seven years
  • realised my new favourite chef is Hugh F-W (sorry Jamie O)
  • wondered how long it would be before I felt safe to enter my kitchen again, and cook
  • had lots of cruel thoughts towards the mice
  • thought about moving house
  • began packing, perhaps a little prematurely, for our holiday next week
  • got all the winter clothes back out again