Code Red

“Karen!!! I’m in CGulls.  Surrounded by 40 screaming kids and Rory won’t leave because he’s playing with a truck. Plus, I think he needs his nappy changed. This is a nightmare”

“He’s just poked a boy in the eye for touching his truck.  It’s carnage in here Karen. CARNAGE I TELL YOU!”


“Update. My jeans zip has broken and I’ve had to leave the children’s cafe because the Mum’s were laughing at me. I’ve then tried to get a train from Troon to Barassie because I can’t follow my original plan of going to the park, clearly not a good idea with my penis on show, only to fly by the station at 70mph and end up in Irvine. Turns out the train doesn’t stop in Barassie. When I get to Irvine I get off the train and the pram falls down the gap in between the train and the track. So, there I am, with my jeans hanging off, trying to rescue our son from certain death and all because you want to make a point. Hope you’re proud of yourself Karen.”

These were the actually messages I received on Friday before midday.  All  I wanted was two hours. TWO HOURS to volunteer at a local group. And here I was excusing myself from the room and hissing into the phone “why don’t you just buy a safety pin and crack on with your day?”
I think my last question just tipped him over the edge so I thought it best I step in and put a stop to this circus of a morning!

I gave a brief outline of the turn of events and headed to the station to pick the boys up. I’ve never seen them both look so relieved to see me!



Potty training has been on my mind for a while with Rory.  Despite him having limited vocabulary, I am pretty sure he is aware of the need to go to the toilet.  He usually hides under the table or behind the clothes drier. I tentatively decided to see how we would get on in the house just letting him run around with no nappy or trousers and reminding him the potty is there.

Fast forward to Tuesday of this week. There I was, covered in shit with my terrified child trying to climb up my leg seeking comfort from the trauma of a poo just falling out his bottom.

There is no way to dress this up. We seem to have peeing in the bag (so to speak) but poo’s seem to catch him off guard.  I get a two second warning of “uh oh” and then its there.  On the laminate. Near the potty but definitely not in it!

As I tried to reassure him it was fine and source cleaning materials to mop up the mess, I heard another “uh oh” and then  Rory runs through pointing at his foot which was now also shit covered after he had stood in it.

I hosed him down down in the sink, cleaned up the worst of the mess and popped him in his bath for a thorough cleaning. I then spent the rest of my evening disinfecting and steaming the floors.  Grim.

I don’t know whether to persevere or if I’m expecting too much too soon?  It’s so tricky to know when they are ready.  If anyone has any advice or tips then I’d love to hear them. But for today at least it’s back to nappies. There’s always next week….


“You don’t have them? Do you know anywhere that would sell them? No.  Oh.” Here I was, red faced and sweaty in TK Maxx trying to source fucking threading beads.  I have no idea what they are, but after googling “How to keep a toddler entertained on a flight?” Mumsnet has advised me that this item would magically entertain my boisterous toddler for the entire flight from Glasgow to Las Palmas.  I realised I was deluded, but at the time I thought these magical beads were the answer to my prayers.  My friend put me straight as I ranted about my failure to source said beads.  “Seriously Karen, all you need is an iPad and a few gins! The rest is just good luck”. The fear was washing over me.

imageIt been a last minute decision to book our first holiday abroad with Rory to Gran Canaria.  I’d found a hotel which looked especially baby and toddler friendly, the price was decent, as were the flight times. We typed in the a credit card details and clicked submit. Easy.

Three cases, 2 small bags as hand luggage and a trunki that Lizzie had lent me and we were set. Oh and the buggy.  I forgot about that.  The logistics of carrying cases plus pushing a pram was not something I’d previously considered.

I was pushing Rory one handed in his pram with a zebra trunki round my neck and a large case trailing behind. As we trundled up to the bus stop I saw the pitying looks of a young couple. She had beautiful make-up, contoured and glossy, with a smart case and a white clutch bag for hand luggage. A clutch bag!!!! As hand luggage!!! A white clutch bag.  In contrast, I had a see through beach bag from Primark as my hand luggage.  It contained pens, paper, a buttered sandwich, cheese, 10 nappies, wipes, nappy bags, hand and face wipes, crisps, cars, money, passports, tickets, chocolate, a bib, a Tommee Tippee cup,  a hoody, pyjamas, Rory’s toothbrush and toothpaste and 3 books. Try fitting that in a bloody clutch bag.

Check in was relatively easy as was the flight.  The worst bit was getting off the plane and trying to reclaim the buggy.  That took an hour. And then the hell that is the hotel transfer.  Two hours on a mini bus with a tired toddler and some talkative chaps from Sheffield nearly tipped me over the edge.  I’d have paid £200 for a private taxi if I’d known how much rage that journey would have produced. Never again.

That aside, we arrived at the beautiful Cordial Mogán Valle.  We were offered cava or a soft drink (took cava obviously) , check in was prompt and they sourced us an aircon unit to hire.  On to the rooms.  The travel cot was large and comfortable, with a proper mattress.  The balcony was huge, with sunloungers, a table and a shower. Great for when Rory had an afternoon nap. And the housekeeper is an adorable lady who makes a real fuss of Rory.

It’s only day 2 but so far so good.  It’s taken us a long time to pluck up the courage to get on a flight with Rory, but I’m so glad we took the plunge. As I write this I’m sitting on the balcony sipping a chilled cider as Rory takes a nap.   I could definitely get used to this!


Millport Bike & Buggy“What shall we do today?” Simon asks.  He asks this same question every Saturday.  We rarely have anything organised in advance.  17 months is an awkward age.  Not a baby, but not really into planned activities as yet.  Basically, pretty unimpressed with most of the things we do. Except running around the park.  He loves that always. “Let’s go to Millport!  Your friends took their toddlers in those buggy things attached to bikes.  Yes, let’s do that.” I had my reservations but it made a change from the park.  So an hour later we were on the ferry. The girls had told me where to hire the bikes and buggies from so we hopped on the bus and arrived at the shop. We were given bikes and a little buggy to pop Rory in.  This is where it all starts to fall apart.  He did not like his mode of transport at all.  People were sipping their morning coffee and watching on as I tried to wedge Rory in to the buggy shrieking “It’ll be so much fun darling.  Just let me pop you in the seat an then we will be off.” “Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” Rory screams in my face whist shaking his head.  I fish out a stale rich tea biscuit from my bad and the lady from the shop comes out with some bubbles (the kids kind, not a glass of prosecco more’s the pity).  It gives me a second to fasten him in, pull down the shield and Simon sets off in front pulling Rory behind him.   Rory realises what we have done.  He is furious.  The first 2 miles of the cycle are a shambles. Rory is screaming in a high pitched voice, trying to launch the remainder of his rich tea out the buggy in disgust. I’m smiling and nodding to people who stare after the toddler equivalent of a mobile air horn.  Simon pulls over, just as he’s stopped crying.  I’m screaming, “why the fuck are you stopping just as he’s stopped crying?  KEEP MOVING” And then I see Simon’s face.  He’s scarlet.  “Seriously Karen,  he’s too heavy.  And all the bags are in there too.  You’ll need to carry some stuff on your bike.  This is ridiculous”. After some redistribution of weight we headed off.  After 15 minutes he pulls over again. “Oh God, what now?” “I think something’s wrong” Says Simon. “He doesn’t look right.  Check on him”.  I have a look.  “He’s asleep.  He’s just slumped forward because the thingy can’t recline.  He’ll be fine”.  “No, I think he’s passed out.  Maybe it’s the excitement.  Make sure he’s o.k?” I go in to adjust him back a little and he wakes up. Screams in my face and so it continues. Admittedly it did get easier after the first half of the journey.  He stopped crying, we had a picnic, the boys played in the sand, and it didn’t rain!  I’d definitely do it again as long as the weather was kind. Back to the park next week though.  Think it’s time for one of those warm outdoor splash suits though.  Brrrrrrrrrr .


I decided to take Rory along to a new toddlers group.  He doesn’t attend a nursery and I’m conscious that it’s good for him to socialise with other children.  I’d convinced Lizzie to come with me to check it out as I find it quite daunting going to new activities.  I needn’t have worried.  Rory and Emma toddled off and played with the fab selection of toys.  Rory made a beeline for the dolls pram.  He loves a pram.  He shot off at lightening speed, mowing down several children in his way.  He uses the pram as less of an accessory and more of a weapon. Emma spent a considerable amount of time with one leg trapped down the hole of a trampoline but she seemed happy enough.

Another older boy was quite keen on grabbing toys off other children.  Rory let it happen once and then formed a strategy.  As soon as the boy came to steal the phone off him, he just shut his eyes, held the toy close and sat down until the boy gave up.  I liked his style.

Lizzie sighed,  “Don’t get me wrong Karen.  I like it.  But I can’t see a tea trolley”.  Lizzie lives for a cup of tea and toddler activities, and she has a fair point.  “I know what you are saying.  But look at all the great toys! And it’s only £2!”  I could sense she wasn’t convinced.  And then bingo.  Out pops a lady with tea, coffee, biscuits and juice for the kids.  Extra joy was injected into the event as we had actual real mugs.  No styrofoam here.  “Fair enough Karen.  I think it’s a winner”.

As Lizzie freed Emma from the trampoline and I prized Rory From the handle of the toy pram we decided it was a success.  For £2 you really couldn’t complain.  I am looking forward to seeing Rory’s battle skills develop and Lizzie is already looking forward to her next cuppa!


It was a sunny day and Donna and I decided to take Archie and Rory to the park for a picnic.  When I say “picnic” I mean that she had thrown Archie’s lunch is a tupperware dish and I had chopped up 25 strawberries.  We had nothing for ourselves. Other than her tap water.  Which we shared….

We found a nice spot and sat the boys on the picnic blanket.  Rory immediately ran away, launching himself head first into other families (much more exciting) picnics. Archie sat beautifully and ate his lunch whilst Rory tried to interrupt football games and climb onto dogs.

He found an empty bottle of water and proceeded to spend the next 40 minutes kicking it around and cheering.  I really need to start packing more toys.  Keys and some rice cakes just aren’t cutting it anymore.

Since Rory has turned 15 months, I notice he is starting to have ‘favourite’ objects. Things he loves to drag about from room to room.  Currently his top choice is a large set of steel pans.  Seriously, these pans are so heavy that I can hardly lift them but out they come from the drawer, every morning after breakfast, to be scattered on the floor.  And then the squealing begins.  Ah yes, no set of pans is complete without a wooden spoon.  So out that comes too.  Rory then sits on the floor repeating “yes yes yes” whilst stirring his empty pans.  If it’s sunny the pans get some water in and he takes them outside. Sometimes I allow him to throw in some fruit. What a lucky boy eh?

The toilet roll holder, that’s another one, it’s dragged from room to room like a trophy.  Being presented to Simon and I for praise and wonderment. Sometimes he falls out with the toilet roll holder.  I don’t know what has went on between then but occasionally it’s launched in the bath for it’s behaviour.  That’s the toilet roll holder, not Rory.

I guess I should enjoy this stage of inexpensive joy.  The days of forking out for expensive toys will some soon enough I’m sure.  Now, back to the pans Rory!Pots


Oh dear...

Oh dear…

Rory and I were pottering around the kitchen.  I stepped outside the back door to pop some rubbish in the bin. And then I heard it. The slam of the patio door.  The faulty patio door which Rory likes to pull open with the bolt at the bottom and escape into the garden whenever he can.  I knew even before I tried to open it that the lock had jammed.  Rory was inside laughing and slapping the window and I was outside with my pyjama top and no bra on. Of course I was.

Nononononononono, this cannot be happening. I desperately tried to keep calm whilst my life went into slow motion. “Come on Muffin.  Pop the lock up.  Let Mummy in. Pleeeeeease”. Shit.  What am I going to do? I had no phone.  I wanted to stay where I could see him but I needed to get help.  I ran down the side of the house and out on to the main road.  I saw a man across the road and screamed “Excuse me. Excuse me. EXCUSE ME”. He ignored me. Must have thought I was a lunatic.  But my shouting made a lady from across the road come to her window. I beckoned her out and she came to the door with a small boy in just his nappy and vest (clearly in the middle of dressing him).  “Please help me.  My little boy is trapped in the house.  He’s only one” by this point I was hysterical.  And desperate to get back to the house so I could see him through the glass.  She gave me her phone and I dialled 999.  There was no other option.  They weren’t keen to send the fire brigade.  Asked me if I could not just break a window myself.  Seriously!!! It’s double glazed and I wouldn’t have a clue how to do it without injuring myself.  She reluctantly sent them and within a few minutes 6 firefighters piled into the garden.  Rory thought this was fabulous.  They tried the prise open the door from the bottom. No. We looked at which windows would be easiest to break. None.  And then we thought the front door looked like it might be quite simple to kick in (reassuring!). So the boys gave it a few boots and hey presto. We were in! Rory was scooped up by a lovely firefighter and given a cuddle and passed to Mummy.

The lady across the road is called Elizabeth.  Her Grandson is called Glen and I had never spoken to them in my life, yet they helped me when I needed it.  That little boy ran about my garden in nothing but a nappy and his vest  until we rescued Rory and was as good as gold.   I popped over later with some flowers for Elizabeth and a toy for Glen. A Fireman Sam toy obviously!