Why Can’t They Shut Up? The Stream-of-Conciousness Summer

I was lied to. I was told that children do not develop an ‘internal dialogue’ until six or seven. You should expect non-stop-sharing of every passing thought until they grow up a bit. I did that. I listened to every thought that they have ever had for almost nine years.

My ears are tired.

My oldest, Little Stormbringer, never stops talking to me. I am sure she does sometimes, like when she is sleeping, but it seems like she has been talking to me for past four weeks non-stop.

I have begged. I often bribe them. ‘Anyone who can stop talking to me for 5 minutes will get a treat at the shop!’ I have bought craft stuff and toys. I have rented movies. I have got new games. I have taken them to parks. Yet…They NEVER STOP TALKING TO ME!

MOM! Mum! Mummy! Knock knock! MUM! blah blah……

Seriously? I spend most of my time trying to get people to leave me alone. I have never needed non-stop attention. My oldest just wants to feed off of my very life-force every got’damn minute that she is awake.

As I said in this post:

“She needs to possess my soul, squeeze out it’s meaty juices and devour them with her never-satiated heart-hole. It’s excruciating.”

My mother used to spend an hour every night playing with me. And then she would read me a book at bedtime. The rest of the time I fucked-the-fuck-off and played with toys and shit.

The thing is, my kids almost never have anything interesting to say. None of it matters. It is all just made of crazy. The greeting that I got this morning, before coffee happened, was: ‘Do baby owls like muffins?’ OMFG. I only have like 7 brain cells left. You are taxing my wee head. It is now late afternoon. I have completely lost my shit. I gave Little Stormbringer to Manboy and said ‘she is yours for an hour.’ and to the blabbermouth; ‘this is your grown-up for the next hour. Do not come near me.’

This kid is nine years old on Monday. She should be able to… I dunno…do something for half an hour without talking to me??? No?

I have never loved anything as much as I love her, but the sound of her voice is making me come unglued. This precious hour is going to be great. I am willing to bet that Manboy will be a mess at the end of it though. BLAH BLAH BLAH question question question. LORD, that child is tie’some! Deliver me!

I know hope that I am not the only one. Do you have any strategies that work, or are you as brain-sad as me? Comment as loud as you want. I can take it.

New ways I am failing at parenting and being an expat

I will never get all of my laundry done. Never, ever, never ever ever. I have not yet adapted to doing laundry in the UK. Allow me to contrast the ways that laundry is done in the US vs the UK.

Let’s assume that you have two loads of laundry to do. I’ll stipulate that a washer-full is different in the US (bigger obviously) but let’s just set that aside.

USA:

9 am: put laundry in washer

9:45: Put laundry in dryer, wash a second load

10:30: take laundry from dryer, start second load drying, fold and put away clean dry clothes

11:15: fold and put away second load

DONE

UK

9am: put laundry in Euro-washer-dryer thingy

3pm: take hot wet laundry from the dryer and hang on the line. Put second load in the Euro-washer

9 am the next day: Observe that your laundry on the line has been lightly sprinkled on. It does not yet have slugs or spiders so decide to let it dry off a bit.

Noon: It rains. Your wet laundry is still on the line. Your second load is still wet in the Euro-washer-dryer.

4 pm: pray for better weather

9 am the next day. you decide that the clothes outside are ‘dry enough’ and bring them in. Lay them on the radiators to finish drying. Hang out second load.

10 am: it starts to sprinkle. The cats have lounged all over your clean laundry. The kids have knocked it to the floor. Pick up hairy, linty laundry and just fold the fucking shit.

5 pm: it sprinkles a little more.

9 am the next day. Your second laundry is mostly dry. Only has a few slugs. Bring in, hang on the banisters.

9 am the next day: fold crumpled fucking laundry and put it away.

DONE.

So the score is USA-3.5 hours, UK-5 days. USA-clean, dry, wrinkle-free clothes. UK-slightly damp, fuzzy wrinkled clothes.

What would your laundry situation be of you could only do two Euro-loads of laundry a week?

It is actually worse than this. The piles are bigger and I have not drawn the slugs.

OMFG YOU GUYS, I will never, ever get it all done. How is everyone else dealing with this?? Why can’t I figure it out? Seriously, if anyone knows please tell me!  I have piles and piles of laundry. Some of it I might just throw out. Euro-washers do not remove stains anyway so screw it. Just keeping my kids in clean clothes is a miracle. All of my clothes that are not ‘drying’ on the line are dirty. All of them. I put on a clean shirt today for the first time in 4 days. ‘Clean’ has a new meaning to me. If one of my shirts does not have gravy on it, it is now ‘clean’. I cannot go on like this. (help me)

I have said before that my kids swear like fucking champions. I have no idea where they get this from. But Little Stormbringer surpassed herself today. The White Rose was doing a truly cringe-worthy puppet show. The kind that is great if you are two, but was extremely sub-par for her. It had a dance routine and involved me watching a pipe-cleaner tell knock-knock-jokes. I love this stuff but apparently it makes older sister’s ears bleed.

I watched as my oldest started to twitch. A bead of sweat appeared on her temple. Then she saw my face and started to giggle. I giggled. Even The White Rose started to giggle at her foolishness. Then Little Stormbringer said “OMG fuck-the-hell-off with that shit!”

Then we all collapsed with laughter. I told you that we aren’t right. I was all ‘wow. that was a mouthful of swearing even for me! Tone it down a bit child! Jesus Christ!’

I set such a good example. But then later in the day one of her projects wasn’t going as planned and she said ” Awww STICKS!”

Are you kidding me? Of course we laughed about that too. I told you that I was failing at parenting!

You want to hear something worse? My kids are so gross. So very gross. This they do NOT get from me. One comes down and says that the other is reading a book on the toilet. I can only assume that the door is open. Yuck. Manboy and I eyeballed each other. “we did NOT need to know that, thanks.”

Then the other comes down, wearing only underpants, stretches, smiles and says “ahhhh…that let a lot of junk out of the trunk!”

OMFG SO GROSS. Are you kidding me? This is a little girl. Strutting in my living room in pants and talking about her bowel movement. No one that she has ever met reads on the toilet or brags about the product. Our living room explodes with cries of ‘ NO! Gross! No way! Ewwwww. Jesus! Please stop! Yuck!’ And them hysterical laughter at the absurdity of the whole thing. I cannot be the only one whose kids are disgusting. Right? Right?

How is your laundry today? Have your kids ever done anything that gross? Tell me all about it!

I can’t tell if we are mentally or morally handicapped

“The next person to leave my refrigerator open will have to sit in the refrigerator all day. Am I Clear?”

I actually said this a few minutes ago. Out loud. Quite loud actually. And all of my windows are open. And my neighbours are outside. Sigh. I am sure that they think I am some sort of vile beast.

Ok, as I have a Euro-fridge, neither of my children would actually fit in it. But I swear, I am so tempted. How hard is it to close the door to the fridge? I mean, how do you NOT close it? Neither of my children are mentally handicapped. I think.

Morally handicapped? Well, probably. We had another of those charity pan-handlers at our door again yesterday. (The British have a great word for them. Chuggers. Short for charity muggers. Get it? Hysterical.)

So this time they were collecting for deaf children. (OMFG, what next, blind puppies?) The White Rose thought they wanted money for Dead Children. “we don’t know any dead children, but my gramma is dead.” She says helpfully. Now, a normal parent would calmly correct the errant child and apologise for the awkwardness. Not me.

No, I started to giggle and could not stop. I’m all “dead children hahahahah”. The poor bastard at my door had no idea where to go with this. This made me laugh more. “I’m so sorry” I mumble, “dead children aren’t funny. BWAHAHAHAHAH!”

In the end, I just closed the door. It was the kindest thing that I could do for the poor man.

There is something seriously wrong with us. Then I had to come back into the living room where Manboy was nervously waiting to hear the result of me opening the door. The only explanation that he got was “OMG she said…and he wanted…ahahaha! OK. I’m OK now.”

The BBC has helpfully provided a guide to Brit life in the run-up to the Olympics. Here is a snippet from their advice to tourists:

“The English are British and lots of people think the British are English but that annoys the Scottish and Welsh because although some think they’re British and some think they aren’t and some think they are but don’t want to be, they all agree that they definitely are not English.”

(link here)

OK, thanks very much for that. That was super helpful. I feel so much more confidant in my ability to handle London now. Jesus wept. The person who wrote that needs to just have a seat in my refrigerator.

My kids break everything I own and I am bitching about England again.

You guys. My kids are breaking my house now.  It isn’t enough that they have gone through 3 computers (or is it 4?), one TV, one expensive DVR box, one kindle, one couch….no, make it two TV’s…a few door handles, some light-fixtures, one toaster, one car roof, seven bicycles…you get the idea.

Now they just want to break my house. It is a house of bricks people. Like the one that stopped The Big Bad Wolf. Nope. If you build it, my kids can break it. If anyone knows how I can get a bespoke window latch replaced for a few pence, let me know.

Let me just back up to the couch for a minute. How do you ‘break’ a couch, you may ask? I’ll tell you. You wait for mummy to cook dinner, then you jump on it until is is a pile of dust on the floor, then you say…’mum? why is the couch made of sadness?’ yeah. This couch had a welded metal frame. I am not joking. Dust.

And how, just how, did they manage to wrench the latch off of the window in Little Stormbringer’s room? Seriously? If, in a fit of madness, i decided to vent my anger on a window latch, i could NOT pull that shit off. I’m a Big Girl from Detroit, and…and i have issues…but…no way am I strong enough to bend metal, people.

Sure. I am convinced it was easy. So easy.

And yet, my sweet, soft, squiggy little White Rose managed it. Now I cannot close the window. At all. They even stripped the screw, and FUBAR’d the lock. OK…….i’ll just …uh, fix that…somehow….uh…

Add to that…this weekend they managed to break an OAK AND IRON bench that sits in my front garden. Are you Kidding me? Jean-Claude Van Damn with a Seattle attitude, high on Bruce Lee and Bruce Willis could not have cracked that. And yet….

(this is where you go and comment and make me feel better. Please tell me that I am not the only one with destructo-kids)

England, you’re killing me here. I love the UK with extra loves, but you owe me a break for a minute. Last week i had to re-wash several loads of laundry. Two because, well, there are only so many weeks that you can watch your pants be rained on while you are waiting for them to dry, and one because my fresh, lavender-scented laundry is just what Orb-weavers and slugs want to nest in.

Sloe-worms. Maybe it is slow-worms. I do not mind a snake, or even a worm or two. Heck, I am the girl that will stop to save a worm from sidewalk-sun or a snail from dry-death. But there is something that is just gross about a creature that cannot figure out if it is a worm or a snake and just wants the worst of both. Ick. Trust me, they are even more gross when they have been chewed on by a cat and dropped at your feet. Just no.

I cannot stress the superiority of american appliances. I have to sing Mary-had-a-little-lamb TWICE just to time how long i have to push a button on my Euro-stove  to get it to light so that I can cook foods.(you can see that this is not driving me insane) Tell me, what is the best temperature to cook chicken on? Is it 5, 8, 9, 12,  or the series of dots, or the one that says POWER? I have no idea. What is an oven-timer? You know, that  thing that goes ‘beep’ when your food is done? I do not remember. (kill me now)

I even have to adjust my shower in Celsius folks. How hot do you want your shower? Somewhere between 20 and 30 degrees? Yeah, good luck. What that really means is: you must choose to burn or freeze.  Choose burn. Choose freeze. You may not choose warm. Sigh.

Well that wraps up this week. Enjoy your appliances, America. If your kids break everything you own, you can take some solace here.  I’m out.

I get to be embarrassed to be American today. (Thanks) Subtitled: Why there are Slugs in my Pants

Seriously? I just don’t get Americans sometimes. It is on days like today that I can side-eye the people who say ‘why do you want to live here in the UK?’

OMFG YOU GUYS ARE TRYING TO do what ABOUT HEALTHCARE?

This is silly. Stop it. You are embarrassing yourselves. And Me.

What is it that you think will happen if ‘Obamacare’ happens? Even the BBC cannot make sense of your attitude. I do not know if you have noticed, America, but there is a Whole Wide World out side of your little red-white-and-blue bubble and there are bigger issues than whether or not some poor kid gets to go to the doctor. Jesus Wept.

I hope it stays as Obamacare. I think that is a fitting tribute, even though it is  ment to be an insult. I live every day with ‘socialized-nazi-care’ and I haven’t been sent to the death camps yet. Y’all  crazy. Please go have a seat… \_… on the crazy train.

The thing that affects me personally is that i am like the ‘Lone Ethnic In The Room’ here. People will ask me to speak for all Americans. I …I …I JUST CAN NOT defend you this time guys. The next time someone says ‘Gosh, what IS the problem with healthcare?’ I am just going to say ‘You know what? I have no fucking Idea. Americans are Assholes, but you knew that already.’ Christ was a Roman on a Popsicle stick.

Is it too much to ask, that the last remaining sane super-power act less like a toddler and more like an emerging adult? Get It Together America.

Ok, rant over. In other news; we went to the dentist. (OMFG AND IT WAS FREE FOR THE KIDS I KNOW THIS IS SO TERRIBLE) I have to go back. I do so hate dentists. We are getting ready to watch the Euro 2012 finals on Sunday. I have no idea who to support. I guess Italy. I defrosted the freezer again. I hung out my laundry and it rained and then it got all covered in slugs and I had to wash it all twice. I found out that Little Stormbringer can spell ‘fucking’ perfectly. I win at parenting.

Now all i have to do is explain to my kids why america (lowercase) is in the news today. I BET they will be just as clueless as me.

That THING Just Bit Me!

I can tell that this is going to be a long weekend.

If I have to start out a friday afternoon with the phrase:

“NO you cannot bring anymore wild animals into the house!”

then, yeah, long days ahead my friends.

I swear, this is my side of the conversation that I had with the 4 or so children that were here:

NO MORE WILD ANIMALS! What is that thing? Oh My God it JUST BIT ME. no, sweety, that is not an antelope. Stop chopping that onion until i get into the kitchen! Someone open a window maybe it will run out. NO you cannot have glass to start a fire with. I SAID  I WAS COMING. What? NO. What? yes have a popsicle for christs sake. ONE SECOND! Put a wooden spoon in your mouth if the onion is making you cry. WHo needed this bandage? I have no idea if cats see green. Stop chopping the onion! Hi, what did you want again sweetheart?

I dearly love having a house full of kiddy goodness. But there must be some kind of middle ground between full on crazy and playing nicely. No?

Then someone knocked on my door. To panhandle for charity. In the middle of this. And sweet sally-two-shoes asked the 7 hundred kids their ages.

“6,8,9,7,10…”

It was a beautiful moment when she just looked at me, in my flowery apron and said “i think i should go…down the street…i’m sure your neighbors want to give…uh… bye”

And yes, that thing did bite me. It looks…ok. I’ll keep you posted.

 

DAD LOOK (with troll bums and dwarf wee)

DAD LOOK happened this weekend and it was a sight to behold.

If you havent read my post MUM LOOK go ahead and read it or this will not make any sense. Go ahead, it’s right here. I’ll wait.

OK, everybody back? Do I have the attention of the class? Hmmm?

Manboy is one of those people who is always poised and full of liquid grace and dignity. I do not think I have ever seen him at a loss for words. He is so not clumsy that it makes my brain bleed. He might get frustrated with the kids, but I have never seen him shout or get so discombobulated that his brain turns to mush, mummy-style.

Until this weekend.

We had our favorite Wraith Child to stay over on Friday. She is Little Stormbringers BFF. She is nocturnal. I have never seen a child who can stay awake like that one.

Saturday we went LARPing at a Dumnonni event. It was Wraith Child’s first Role Playing experience. They ran a brilliant child adventure where we had to collect Fay tears, Dragon blood and Dwarf wee. It was awesome. But soon my kids were starting to get worn out from the late nights, and hiking all over the woods killing giants and ‘kicking man eating trolls up the bum’. (this is funny to British kids. Dont ask)

The next day Little Stormbringer ran in a marathon. It was so cool. She even came in first in her class. BUT on the way to the marathon DAD LOOK happened.

In the UK you can never just drive somewhere and park and go in. No, that would make too much sense. You must drive somewhere, find the furthest possible spot to park your car, pay £1000 and then walk 3 fucking miles to your destination. (This is why we walk near-goddamn-everywhere. Sigh)

On the 3 mile walk to the marathon (I feel stupid just typing that) my kids were both holding hands with Manboy as I ambled behind. I was (AGAIN! IDIOT!) wearing my too big Capri pants, and trying to match Manboy’s exhaustive pace while pulling my trousers up every 10 seconds like an asshole. But he had both kids, and I had a view from behind.

DAD LOOK! A bird!    DAD LOOK! A red car!

DAD LOOK! A sign!   DAD LOOK! Everyone has legs over there!

DAD LOOK! That tree!   DAD LOOK! Look at that roof!

DAD LOOK! I just saw a bug!  DAD LOOK! Is that a unicorn?

DAD LOOK! Another bird!

I found this absolutely hysterical. He is mostly programmed to respond to orders anyway, and he is totally not used to the constant barrage of LOOK. I know that there is never anything to look at that matters. I do believe he had either never experienced this or he had forgotten. His head jerked up at every shout and pointed finger. Until he turned around, STUMBLED and looked at me like this:

I had to stop, grab a belt loop and double over with hysterical laughter. I think there might have even been a tear. I am sure we looked like we had been let out on a weekend pass from the loony bin.

But the DAD LOOK was priceless. One great moment in a very wonderful weekend. 

Napalm the Mummy Guilt

I’ve been thinking about this post from one of my favorite ‘mummy bloggers‘. I’ve decided that we need our own red dress project. One that is just for mummy guilt.

That guilt is bullshit and I am happy to call you all out on it.

Do we really need to feel bad that we are not:

  • enjoying our kids
  • playing with them enough
  • feeding them all organic foods
  • enjoying every moment with them
  • treasuring every little moment
  • putting them in all of the classes
  • making the home spotless

NOPE

I call shenanigans on this crap.

Here is where i do the justifiable ‘oh but i love my kids’ paragraph. I’m not doing that.

No, I’m just going to say that THIS IS HARD. Being a mom is HARD.

Right here ………..>  (    ) is all of the fucks that I give if you are a working/stay-at-home/republican/benefits-scrounger/immigrant. Being a mum is hard for all of us so don’t try to pull any crap.

Can we have one day, each week year where we are able to just say it?

What would we call it? The Mummy Doesn’t Suck Day? The MOMMY isn’t Guilty Day? The MOM DOES NOT NEED to feel Bad Day?

I think we need one of those days.

Let’s call it the I’m Not Wearing Pants Project. no….. how about the My kids are assholes project…no…..how’m about the:

I’m a mom and I Do My Best project

open to suggestions

Moms, I hear you out there. Do not be afraid. We are all in this together.

Gnomes and Nits, a mother’s tale

I just made myself a tea and a glass of water. Sharp kitty broke my ashtray, spilled my tea and drank my water. This is my life. I am a vessel for the taking y’all. Drink of my life juices all of creation! (great, now Cat is puking up my water and most probably a mouse for me to clean up later. huzza!)

So we have gnomes now. Garden gnomes. I am not sure how this happened. I was pretty sure that I was going to make it through life without gnomes of any kind.

Nope.

Let’s just be clear here. I hate garden gnomes with a firey passion of the christ. Unfortunately, The White Rose does not. She found some gnomes in a , tip, bin.. uh..skip? dumpster near our house. Some poor old bird died and they threw all of her ten thousand gnomes into the trash. This made both of my children sad. They needed the gnomes. They wanted to love them and give them new homes. God only knows what my British neighbours thought we were doing going through trash and gnoming it up.

One of the gnomes is a girl gnome. She has a lantern and a beard. (Don’t judge). I now have a girl-beared-gnome that has to come in at night because The White Rose thinks that “her dreams will get wet” if we leave her outside. Copernicus the homicidal monkey is less scary than this gnome-thing. I have to pretend to love it and give it naps and who knows what else the kid will make me do to it before I come unglued.

I can’t type ‘gnome’ anymore. I feel ill.

Let’s talk nits then shall we? Honestly, I am more grossed out by the …lawn ornaments… than I am by nits these days. I hear through the grapevine that kids in the U.S. do not get head-lice anymore. I believe this. I only knew one kid that had them in all my years of (primary/elementary) school. Here? England 2012? Everyone has them. All of the kids. All of the time. I swear that I am not making this up.

I have done everything but shave them bald, but they just keep coming back. I have become like a monkey-mum. I am constantly grooming them and picking at their hair. Oh sure, we do the chemi’s and the combs, but it makes no noticeable difference. I can kill them in my family, but then some nasty kid hugs my kids and REPEAT AND RINSE. Forever. It is like one of the seven circles of hell. And OMG, my kids have bugs. I cannot stress how awful this is.

But the Brit-mums? they are so calm about it. “yes, my daughter had them until she was 14. they grow out of it.” “oh, i know, you just have to keep at it until they are in highschool” “nevermind, just use the comb on them every day!”

YUCK

Since i am not allowed to spray them with kerosene or DDT, I guess this is my life now. Nits and Gnomes.

Stemming the bleeding (not Rasputin, just not Ice Cube)

When I first moved to the UK, was so steeped in US culture that I could not comprehend anything about life here.

One of the things that shocked me was how the youths here try to be ganstas’. You guys, there is nothing funnier to me than hearing young people with a British accent try to be fucking Ice Cube. No, just no.

You are from Devon. You are not packing, You are not holding. You can wear 3 hoodies and not scare me. You are a 14-year-old weakling. My 7-year-old could kick your ass. The nice nine-year old, yeah her too. Your staffie might frighten me, but you don’t. But you do crack me up. (I hope that I don’t regret this laughter y’all..pray for me)

Oh and there was much blood today. Thank the gods that I am an Old Mum and that I know that a head wound bleeds. Thank you England for NHS Direct, that I can call and talk to A Nurse-Person whenever I want to. For Free.

You see, I am a horrible mother. I make my kids clean up after themselves and clean their rooms. I suck. I know.

Little Stormbringer was sent up to do 15 minutes on her room. The horror. Except that it turned out to be just that. A huge picture frame fell off of her wardrobe (closet in the U.S?) and hit her on the head.

She came down crying. Now, my kids do this whenever I make them tidy anything. I didn’t think anything of it. Until the blood ran off of her hair and onto her hands and puddled on the carpet. I went into calm mother mode. “Ok Bunny, lets just go into the kitchen ok?”

Isn’t it amazing how calm you get? This must be what soldiers go through in combat. You just reach the zone and do what needs to be done.

Lucky for us, no stitching was needed. What is it like for you? Do you get like this when your kids are really hurt for real? Are you disdainful of youths that try to be scary?

I am going to hug my little girls and teach them not to be afraid of fake-gansta’s and teach them to be not-sucky teens.

It’s easy: Don’t break glass in parks. Don’t  litter. Don’t talk back to your elders. NEVER lie to the police. (and for the sake of all that is holy, do not have any babies)

Is there a whole lot more to teach them before they reach double digits? I hope not. This is all I have for now.

Peace out homes.