Friday, 26 August 2011

The only way to stay sane (filthy, but sane)

Charlie's too old for formula now.
Me, to Charlie: You drink your big boy milk.
Jack (jokingly): Did that milk not come from a cow then?
Me: I personally milked three big boys to fill this cup.
My brilliance and wit are completely wasted on my daily audience of midgets.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

I was too busy sleeping to miss my kids, thankyouverymuch

I cunningly forgot that I was hosting baby morning today when I told my mother she could have the kids to stay. So this morning, two mothers and three children turned up to my house and none of my babies were actually here. It was quite blissful. I sipped my tea and nibbled my home made brownies, while all the mucky faces and poopy bums were someone else's problem. I have a vague plan to always ditch the kids when I'm hosting from now on. (Just joking.)

The difference between first time mothers and dyed-in-the-wool veterans was made manifest once more when the one mother asked me if I didn't miss my kids terribly, while the other just looked green with envy. No prizes for guessing which was which.

When I went to collect the children, a blanket of fatigue came down on me. I felt a bit bad about that, because I've been quite energetic the last couple of days, and I only just saw them again. Of course, it could well have nothing to do with collecting the children at all, and everything with that ridiculously strong mojito I was served in my new favourite Mexican restaurant last night. They must have made a mistake with the measurements because it made my eyes water, it was so strong.

Tonight, I'm being stupid. Instead of getting some rest, which I obviously need, I'm pretending I'm still off the clock and staying up late again. I'm trying hard not to spoil it by feeling guilty. If I'm being stupid, I may as well just enjoy the time alone. I'm thinking I may even watch a bit of TV. I hardly watch TV these days. When I do put it on, I watch mainly nature programmes with the children - except when I watch Mad Men late at night, which may as well be a nature programme for the earthy feelings Don Draper inspires in me.

Yes, maybe just a little TV and then bed will be perfect. In Therapy (the Dutch version) is only about fifteen minutes long, so I could watch two of them. Oh, and dear reader, do tell me if there's anything you're loving on TV just now because I only ever tape a couple of series and watch them when I get a chance, late at night and on my own, but I never know what's new and good. (It's okay if you've already watched it because we're generally a season or two behind the English speaking world.)

Goodnight my lovelies!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

TMI, the food poising edition

Ha! Isn't that funny? In my last post, I left you all with the ominous words
I choose to stop feeling like a piece of shit and be a fully functioning person again. Tomorrow. Tonight I will just watch some more crappy TV.
and the next day I was hit with an amusing little dose of food poisoning. I'm assuming it was food poisoning anyway, because Babes and I took turns running to the loo while Jack just couldn't eat all day. We'd all thorougly enjoyed our prawn salads the night before. Marie, who picked at hers but was too tired to eat much, was bouncing all over the place wondering why everyone was looking so glum.

I'm so happy that
  1. I didn't make the salad. (I'm not blaming Babes, I swear, but at least I don't have to blame myself.)
  2. Charlie refused to eat that night.
  3. It was a creche day so I could lie the fuck down.

Dropping Charlie off at creche (half an hour's drive away), I was very disconcerted to see that the toilets were being cleaned. I had a very interesting, very bubbly, drive home but managed to make it in time. (Yes, aren't you happy you stopped by today? I'm all about the oversharing again.)

On the bright side, I did lose a couple of pounds and got compliments for my trimness yesterday when I had friends over. Also on this very same bright side, my rampant appetite seems to have relented for the time being. It turns out that I wasn't really all that stupid when I was wishing for an explosive tummy bug the other day. The whole time I was lying on the sofa feeling queezy and crampy I was mentally writing a post entitled "Be careful what you wish for," but my heart wasn't in it. I didn't even chuck up once, got to lie and watch daytime TV for a day, had an excuse to tell the children to keep quiet, lost some weight, and was all better in 24 hours. It was just like a mini-holiday, only with a burning poo hole, but really, if we're honest that's not an uncommon byproduct of any mini-holiday so I was fine. (There I go again with the ickiness. I propose we wrap this up.)

See you soon, people. And remember: if you're not quite sure about the seafood, just wash it down with a glass of wine. You'll be fine.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Holiday fatigue + gratuitous PMT moan

Extreme holiday fatigue has finally hit. I feel I'm not doing too badly, as it's only nine days until school starts again, and so far (the other 53 days) it's been fun. I've packed those next nine days full of action, so they should fly by.

My mother phoned earlier, asking if she could have the kids to stay over at her house for a couple of days. This means I will get Wednesday to myself - so hurray - but it's the first time Charlie's going for a sleepover, and to make it two nights straightaway... It seems a bit much. I've said I will go with them on Tuesday night so I can tuck them all in, and then I'll be back there Thursday morning. Charlie will be fine. He'll have his brother and sister there, and his grandmother of course. So he'll be fine. And I'll be only half an hour away, glued to my mobile phone. Still, he only just turned one, and sending him away for two nights??? I feel like an evil witch.

In fact, it will do all of us good. We're all getting quite fed up with each other, I think. We've had some great holiday moments, but now we all need a change of scenery. Two full months is really a very long time in the life of a little child, not to mention their mother.

Marie's sleeping somewhere else four nights in a row this week, but that's quite different because she asked me to arrange that for her.

Anyway, I think I have a touch of PMT going on (just a touch *cough*), and it's too damn hot over here. And I am still chronically exhausted, and I have a sore throat. Also I dreamt earlier that Babes had replaced me with a blonde bimbo. I have internet fatigue and I'm watching way too much TV. And then there's my diet, which is not really a diet, but just hardly eating at all between parties where I just stop caring.

It's funny - reading that last bit back, I realise that I feel like that every so often - not to say once every month - so it's not unusual for me at all. I also know, rationally, that this will end, and it will end soon, but it feels like it will last forever. Isn't that stupid? Ah well. I'll see you all soon, I'm sure, at the other end of the tunnel. I choose to come out of it tomorrow. How's that? I choose to stop feeling like a piece of shit and be a fully functioning person again. Tomorrow. Tonight I will just watch some more crappy TV.

Friday, 19 August 2011


It seems I have agreed to go to a commercial house concert with some lovely friends of mine.

Actually, I'm not sure I should add anything to that. If you know me well enough, just that statement would probably be enough for a good giggle.

So, yes, someone is probably right now buying me a ticket to a Milk Inc. concert. In a hall with about twenty thousand other people, and a whole lot of boinky-boinky-tweet-tweet music. (Does it show I'm not really a house connoisseur?)

I am obviously getting on a bit, because my immediate worries are
  • will my hip give out if I dance too much (surely the only way to deal with this ordeal is to fecking go for it)
  • which are the best earplugs to buy
  • will the toilets be sanitary
  • will there be gangs of wayward youths attending this concert
  • if so should I fear for my safety.
I think my friends only asked me along to be polite. Their faces showed their assumption that I'd say no. But I reckon I can't know I don't like it if I've never tried it. Actually -

Things I've never tried but I'm pretty sure I'd hate:
  • Swimming with sharks
  • Spunge bathing president Bush - the older or the younger one
  • Base jumping
  • Tiddlywinks
I do like dancing. And I do like my friends. And I'm sure if I take earplugs, toilet wipes and a concealed weapon I'll be absolutely fine.

Note to the police, secret service and Milk Inc. security: I was joking about the concealed weapon. (Better be careful these days, I could get four years in jail.) It was a joke, referring back to the wayward youths. I never carry weapons, concealed or otherwise.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


This is what happens when I finally sit down to write:

It is so obviously the time to fix that H key that has been sticking a bit for weeks - and then spend the best part of an hour trying to get it back on.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The Overlords of the Universe win again; a spoilt mother complains

  • As if Google didn't own me already, I have now switched to Google Chrome. Every time I install an "extension," Google tells me it will be able to access all data on my computer, the dials on my microwave, and the nerves in my spinal chord. I am feeling decidedly uncomfortable.
    I wouldn't have switched if Firefox hadn't gone and updated me to a "more advanced" version which disabled all of my funky addons. It's a pity, because I liked the romance of being with the rebel troupe.
    Ironically now that I have switched to the Overlords of the Universe, the back button on my mouse isn't working and I have lost all the lovely addons which were still working in the new and deproved Firefox. I miss my Firegestures.
  • Today was mother's day in Antwerp. We seem to have it all worked out nicely: mother's day in the middle  of the school holidays, and a national holiday at that, so even the daddies are at home. It's a recipe for disaster, is what it is. The pressure is just too much. It would be so much easier if everyone just got on with their usual business and mothers were in charge. Instead, we have to cope with chaos and good intentions and other people's agendas. (I know I sound terribly ungrateful. I'm allowed. It's mother's day for another 24 minutes. Tomorrow I will pretend to everyone it was great. Ha!)
    Today was always going to be a non-starter. We had a party last night, and it was great, but I had promised Babes that he would get a lie in this morning if he helped make the party a success. Which he really really did. Him, together with a bottle of Pimm's, three bottles of white wine, two bottles of red, ten beers and some whiskies (for eight people). So there I sat, at six thirty this morning, downstairs with Charlie after less than four hours of sleep and with something closely resembling a hangover. On mother's day. My mood was not optimal, and never really recovered.
    On Wednesday, I happen to have the day off. Maybe I should make that a tradition. Just put up with the ordeal that is mother's day, and then have a day soon after to recover and do what I want. That could work.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Dammit, the man has a point

So I have this post I've been wanting to write ever since I got back from holiday and I haven't dared to write it and now I have a few glasses of vino in me and all of a sudden I feel brave. It may not be linguistically brilliant, and chances are I will delete it in the morning, but what do you expect when I use the word "vino" (italicized) in the first sentence? That pretty much sets the tone, don't you think?

Anyway, here's the thing: in the holidays, I was meeting my most wonderful friend - let's call him Igor - in London. He has been my friend since university when we used to meet in the middle of the night - both of us kept irregular hours - and walk the fields around Cambridge while discussing the world, its dog, and the fleas on its dog. It creates a bond, that kind of thing.

So there we are, sitting in the pub, and we have got past the particulars of how are the children, the wife, the husband, the house, the car, the job - you know, the whole inventory of young married life - and then he asks me how I'm doing and am I happy and he can tell I'm at peace but really isn't there anything else I want? And I'm all "No, I'm fine, I'm a wife, a mother, I will soon be a teacher again and I am learning not to ask too much of life." (This being, in my thoughts, the proper mindful line.)

And then he goes and throws this glass of metaphorical acid in my face by saying "Yes, that's all fine, and I'm sure you're a great mother, but what would make you really happy for yourself and what would you accomplish in your dreams?" And then I say (and I swear I only had a half of lager before food, and this was at least an hour later, so I can't even blame the drink) "I'd love to write a book." And then he's all like "You should live your life to the full, and your children should see you doing something you love and want to accomplish, and patati patata" and then I just want to kick him but also hug him.

Now, of course, I'm sitting in the sofa with a glass of wine thinking how many people who write better than I do have an unpublished novel or two sitting on their bookshelves, and how much I really don't need any more rejection in my life. But then again I suppose I could just write a book for the hell of it, or for my sister An (may she only have one sister who guilts her into reading her experimental novels because how many diplomatic responses can you think up and still sound genuine).

To top things off nicely, I also gave my lovely friend Igor the address of this blog (hi, Igor, don't know if you're still reading) which has caused me no end of fretting in the last week because a few most definitely female friends know about my alter ego, and my husband of course, but I have been mentally reviewing the topics I discuss and they are most definitely things I generally only discuss with my less hairy friends. I always say I wouldn't post anything I wouldn't be happy for everyone I know to read, but I think really what I've been doing is writing stuff that wouldn't make me die of embarrassment if my daddy read it, but it's still a lot more of my soul and other particulars than I would voluntarily share with most of the people I know. Even with my very bestest friends if they are, like, kind of - male. But there you go. I'm not going to change what I write, so I hope he can still look me in the face in the future.

Right. That's it. I needed to get that out, I think. I'll be hiding in the cupboard with a cup of tea.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


My baby is one today! He's starting to talk, starting to walk, and eating the same food as the rest of us. Which means that tomorrow he will technically be a toddler and we're all out of babies. I'll be the one in the sofa with the glass of white wine and the wrinkles.

Big boy watching Mary Poppins

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

I have a dirty mind, but really they're asking for it

Remember when we went to my parents' favourite Chinese place, Ho's Garden

which served the dish "Fukien Mie" as its speciality?

Well, I have some more places from my neighbourhood which were obviously not named by native English speakers.

First, we have our very own local Chinese restaurant, which is called a fantastic

I haven't been in, but I'm kind of hoping they serve Fukien Mie as well, even though it would take on a whole new meaning in a place called Wan Kei as opposed to one called Ho's Garden.

Going on in a similar manner, I give you our local bowling alley:

It sounds to me a little like the result of too much Fukien Mie at Wan Kei.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Our Scottish holiday: who needs heat when you have deer, seals and Spanish beer?

't Was lovely.
  • We started off in a Center Parks in Belgium, just the five of us in the woods and the tropical swimming pool. Well, when I say the five of us, of course I mean the five of us plus half of reproductive Flanders. Then we went to see some family in England, all of whom we took with us to holiday in Scotland for another week.
  • The children were uber-mega-excited to finally be in Scotland. They are half Scottish but with most of their family living in England and Belgium we hadn't actually made it there in seven years.
  • We stayed in a hunting lodge on a working farm near Stranraer (in South West Scotland), with walking trails to a private beach, leading past a tiny loch and fields full of cows and bunnies. There were partridges and pheasants everywhere. We saw deer as well, and seals near the beach. The lodge itself was right next to a tiny dilapidated castle, overgrown with wildflowers. I don't think the location could have been much more perfect. (Well, I suppose it could have had an internet connection, but that would be childish of me to mention.)
  • Scottish food is too addictive. The white bread, the bacon rolls, the pork sausages, the fish and chips, not to mention the chocolate brownies and the carrot cake. I was in a decidedly crappy mood yesterday when I tried to get back to a diet which includes the odd bit of - you know - fibre and vegetables.
  • The drink was decidedly not Scottish. I'm not much of a whisky drinker, and the in-laws had kindly brought most of their (non-Scottish) wine cellar. We contributed a few cases of Spanish beer. Mmmm. I'm planning on cutting out the alcohol as well as the white carbs. Soon. Maybe this Thursday. Or Friday. (No, actually, we're having two separate parties at the weekend. Make it Monday.)

    So many kinds of wrong
  • The weather was amazing. We had a teensy wee bit of rain and wore our coats most days (well, this was Scotland after all) but we were outside every day, the kids swam in the Irish sea (with the aforementioned seals looking on) and Charlie even got sunburned one day (I couldn't look at his red little face without crying out in a most theatrical and Mediterranean fashion. Maybe it was the influence of all that San Miguel.) It's funny because in the comments on my quick hello before setting off, the Scottish residents couldn't quite agree if the weather over there was in actual fact totally crap or exceedingly lovely. Ours was lovely, but it may be a West Coast - East Coast thing.
The damage:
  • two kilos, of which I promptly lost two pounds yesterday by simply not eating all the pies. And not having any more beer. Isn't it cunning the way I gain weight in kilos, but then lose it in pounds? Makes the gain sound so much smaller and the loss far more substantial.
  • 708 unread posts in my reader. (I may be some time - please bear with me.)