“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.
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!
“Baa baa black sheep have you any……” You know the drill. Little did I know that not only would I have to sing this specific tune to Rory to gain permission to brush his teeth, but now I need to sing almost EVERY BLOODY THING I DO! Now he will not allow me to change his nappy (nap nap) unless I am singing “the wheels on the bus go round and round”. I have gone to extraordinary lengths in terms of creative licence on that bus, and now we have several animals on board to eek it out a bit. “The birdies on the bus go tweet tweet tweet . Tweet tweet tweet tweet” etc etc. I kid you not, I actually shaved my legs whilst vocalising the action to the tune of “God Save the Queen” I mean where does it end? It certainly doesn’t end with Shaggy. “They call me Mr Boombastic” was used to hang out the washing and as for making a cup of tea! Well that can only be achieved whilst giving a running commentary alongside “Alice the camel”. I actually feel like I sing my way through the day. It’s more worrying when Rory is at home and I’m singing “Mummy put the potatoes in the bag” whilst in Tesco as startled shoppers look on.
I think I definitely need to up my game and get some more creative tunes so the go. After all “Stop. Wait a minute. Mummy puts some prosecco in it” isn’t an ideal tune as you wander round the aisles. But there are only so many tunes I can think up in a day. I’m exhausted. It’s just a phase though. Surely. Isn’t it?…
It was always going to be a challenge. I long suspected when the invite popped through the door inviting Simon and I along with Rory to a family wedding that things would not go to plan. It wasn’t local either so we had to factor in potential car journey disaster recovery plans.
Simon put on his suit. This was his first mistake.
“Right, you change Rory’s nappy whilst I load up the car”. Five minutes later Rory was handed back to me to reveal Simon’s crotch covered in Sudocrem. “Oh great!! Well done you. I mean seriously babe. It was madness to even think about getting dressed until we actually had the church in our vision. You know how hard that is to get off. Oh well, too late now”. Simon looked at me wearily as I bundled Rory into the car, still wearing my pyjamas.
We arrived in Edinburgh. We had planned for an hour for me to get changed and feed Rory in a cafe so we were all set to head to the church. But since it had taken us forty minutes to find the entrance to the bloody car park, we were now in dangerous territory time wise.
I decided it was more important that I turned up to the church dressed than Rory eating a fish pie, so I got dressed in the back seat of the car. I then fed him in the car. Yes. Cold fish pie. Yummy.
He seemed happy enough at first. Then he got angry. So angry that within a nanosecond he had pulled the spoon back and catapulted fish pie across my face and down my dress.
As I dabbed at myself with a wet wipe I thought of how things used to be. A glamorous new dress, high heels and carefully applied make-up all accompanied a wedding day invite. Not now. Now I was febreezing myself in a train station car park to avoid smelling of fish, half my make-up was off I was putting rice cakes in my bra so they were ‘handy’ in case Rory cried in the church. My my, how times had changed…
“Is anyone Jiggying tomorrow?” asks Lizzie. The response from the rest of the girls suggest that two of them are. Donna is on holiday, so she has an excuse. Now, for those not familiar with this, “Jiggy Wrigglers” is a parent and baby group which plays loud music whilst an extremely enthusiastic woman jumps about with puppets and toys to entertain the children. The pull for my Mummy group seems to be that it’s often not your typical “baby” music. Apparently a few weeks ago had a space theme which lent itself to some Babylon Zoo and the week prior had dropped in some Prodigy amongst ‘Head, shoulders knees and toes”. This had piqued my interest enough to warrant the £3 charge. Up until now I haven’t attended any baby group I needed to pay for. Purely as I felt there were lots of free groups to go to when he was still small and not really bothered about what was going on. Lizzie had also mentioned that they had a tea hatch. Anywhere which has a “tea hatch” gets my vote! So here I was. It was absolutely mobbed. This was for under 1’s which was a relief. Not too many bambino’s on the move as yet!
Rory sat with his mouth open, staring at the jumping woman in front of him. All I could think was how horrendous it would be to do her job with a hangover. Is there a job worse than this when you are fragile? I would think not. She was great though. Very engaging with every one of the children and full of beans as you would expect of a children’s entertainer.
Would I go every week? I’m not so sure. Will I go this week? Probably. It’s strangely addictive. And it has a tea hatch….