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.

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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.

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.

 

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.

I’m a dork and my kids are racists. Help me.

We got to go to the pound shop today! (dollar store/pound shop I don’t know how to speak anymore)

No, really, I left the house. And went somewhere. With clothes on and everything!

We stocked up on things for the school holiday. Sidewalk chalk, ball, frisby, markers, craft stuff to wreck the house with etc. What did I treat myself to? I bought a feather duster and some tea towels.

WTF? When did I get so freaking boring?!? Really? I didn’t buy any absinth or a peyote tequila worm? I didn’t buy a jaunty new skirt or get something pierced? No. I bought a fucking feather duster y’all. Holy Christ. I must be the lamest person on the planet.

I used to be cool, I swear. Now I buy tea towels as a treat to myself. This is not cool. Is this what my life is going to be like now? I might as well get a hair-net and a mobility scooter. Jesus.

Before this exciting adventure I was looking at the girl’s baby books with them. So cute. The White Rose was sitting on my lap and looking at all of her milestone stickers. Being the second child, she has a far thinner baby book to look at, but I did manage to get all of the stickers stuck. You know the ones: 1st Dr. visit, 1st Halloween, Says MAMA, Finds Toes etc.

(it’s been so long since I had a baby…is it really a big deal when they find their toes?? wow.)

In an attempt to be The Best Mom Ever, I used ALL of the stickers. So she has a sticker for “1st Hanukkah”. I don’t know why. I guess 1st x-mas and 1st winter solstice weren’t enough for me at the time. Don’t judge.

This kid looks up at me and says:

“I’M A JEW? You made me a JEW? You Jerk!!”

Now, I know that I have never, ever used that word that way in front of my kids. I know this because never in my life have I used that word in that way. It would never occur to me to do so. Seriously.

But because I am a total asshole and a terrible parent; I laughed my ass off. This did not help. I’m trying to now have a serious discussion about being inclusive and multicultural and tolerant and ‘we love every colour, shape and creed’ while I am doubled over with laughter. Not cool at all.

Finally I regain some semblance of self-control and ask her where the hell she learned that shit why she would say something like that and why would it be bad if she was Jewish. I mean, in this house we do all of the religions. Well, all of them that I know anything about. But most of them. This is the girl who told me last month that she wanted to be Buddhist. It’s not like we are intolerant assholes. I explained why that was not ok to say and helped her find a place in her mind where she would never think a thing like that again.

Turns out that she just “wants to be like Cartman on South Park” when she grows up. Yikes! The Fuck? What do you even say to that? (other that you are not even allowed to know what South Park is, let alone watch it!)

Where, why….how are…South Park? I mumble. “yeah, on the TV mumma!”

Oh. I thought they were watching Little Bear and SpongeBob up there.

PASS ME THE PARENTAL CONTROLS!!!

Ooops. Massive mum fail. Let’s just chalk this one up to a teaching moment and move on.

MUM LOOK!

My kids make me look at them.

That sentence, right there, typed out, seems odd. Unless you have kids. Or more specifically, my kids.

One hundred thousand million times a day I hear the phrase “MOM LOOK!”. It is making me come unglued. Is there ever anything I need to look at when they say this? Of course not.

“MOM LOOK!”

Nothing. Or something so stupid and trivial that I am at a loss for the words of acknowledgment that I am required to provide. This goes on all day. I can not complete a thought, read a paragraph, do a dish without MOM LOOK happening. Do you know what it is like to not be able to even form a complete thought, uninterrupted, for 15 hours? How about 9 years? Gitmo has nothin’ on this shit. My kids could unglue a Taliban operative in the space of a few hours. They make waterboarding look like a day at the spa.

Sometimes I am reduced to begging.

“I am setting the timer for 3 minutes. Anyone who speaks to me in those three minutes is dead will not get a treat at the shop!”

Three minutes. I can almost hold my fucking breath that long. My kids cannot make their mouths stop shouting MUM LOOK for three minutes. It’s insane. And they are on school holiday. For seventeen days. 

Let me give you some examples:

“MUM LOOK!”

huh?

“LOOK I HAVE PANTS!”

“MUM LOOK!”

wha?

“LOOK AT MY TOES THEY ARE SO COOL!”

“MUM LOOK!”

(sigh) what?

“THE CATS ARE CATS!”

omg. I have the timer set for three minutes. They are now ‘talking to each other’ about all the things they want to say to me. My kids are almost nine and seven. They aren’t toddlers. Am I going to miss these days when they are 15 and won’t tell me anything?

Absolutely.

Wake up mama! MOM!! part one

Alternate title: Why I am a rubbish mum part one

You see, I can do no right by these kids. Let’s take a typical saturday for example. (Bold is little stormbringer, italic is the white rose)

7 AM:

MUM! MUM! MUM! mummy mummy! MAMA! MAMA ! mom? mom? MOM?! MOM!!!!!!!!!!!! mummy? (yell, murmur, scream, flail arms)

Wha? Hey bunnies. It’s Saturday. Go have some cereal. Turn on the TV.  Mummy will be down in a minute. (sigh, glug water, fluff pillow, lay down, pray to all of the gods)

7:17 (commercialism comes on)

MOM! mummy!!? MOM!!?! (wont come into the room as they know they are waking Manboy up for the second time before 8-fucking-AM)

huh? ok boos what?

MOM WE NEED YOU! mummy come play. MOM! wake up mummy, MOM GET UP YOU LAZYASS! mummy we miss you with hearts and rainbows!

OK babies, get mama a glass of water and mummy will get up ok? (passes out on pillow for the precious 15 seconds)

i would like to point out, for the record ,Judge Judy, that these kids are almost 7 and 9. seven and nine. They have a whole cupoard of ‘kid food’. they have been using the toaster for years. They CAN pour a bowl of cereal. Ahem.

8 AM

Hi girls, just let mummy put the kettle on and have a coffee

MOMmumMOMmumMOMmum

GUYS. (deep breath 1..2..3..) just let mummy get a coffee ok, be right with you…

And this shit goes on for HOURS and hours and lightyears. Until like, say 9:30.

OK, so what do you want to do today girls? go to the park? feed the swans? Go to Cathedral green? Stay at home and watch iCarly all day?

Girls? kids? babies? KIDS!!!

WHA? mum?

(sigh, 1..2..3)

Did you want to go to the park or whatever?

NO. no mummy no NO. WATCHING TV. 

Something new every day

When I was planning my move to England, I had a completely unrealistic set of expectations. Actually I only had one assumption about living here. I thought it would be just like America, only with a British accent.

 

How wrong I was.

Anyone reading this blog might assume that I don’t like it here much, due to the amount of ranting I do about it. But I LOVE LOVE it here. I would never consider moving back to the States. I am here to stay, and my children will grow up thoroughly British. Yes, they wont know the words to the star-spangled banner, and that makes me feel all weird and knotty inside, but they will have an excellent education in a beautiful, safe, accepting and inclusive country.

But I will do a lot of bitching, ranting and sometimes despairing about adjusting to living here. It is so massively different. My first two weeks here I was completely helpless. Completely. I couldn’t drive, couldn’t work the key to my front door, or the kettle, or the boiler, or the busses, or the money, my oven, the light switches. the power outlets, the washing machine…you get the idea. It was really shocking and I was so overwhelmed by being confused  about everything all around me.

For the next few months I gradually learned the basics, but I often felt that I would never truly get the hang of live here. I felt like I would be an incompetent outsider forever.

It is a common stereotype that British food is awful. It isn’t. It is lovely. Really homey and tasty. But my kids? They wouldn’t eat anything here. There was not one thing on any of the shelves at the shops that looked even remotely like food, never mind familiar food.

We lived on string cheese and chips. (crisps? I cant even work the WORDS)

I enrolled them in the local school. I had been homeschooling them in Detroit. It just wasnt safe to send them to school and the quality of the schools was appalling. They brought home a school lunch menu. I ..just…stared. Some of the words on the menu we completely incomprehensible. Bubble and squeak? Sponge with custard? Crunchy flapjacks? Spotted dick? Steak and kidney pie? WTF? Is this stuff even food?

Needless to say, that took a lot of adjusting on their part.