Monday, April 17, 2017


In true middle class British fashion we've had a holiday in Devon, staying in a charming cottage near the sea.  Lunatic Child and the dog were living their best life this past week.  Lunatic Child made dams, collected rocks and seashells and searched for crabs.  He dug moats and built sandcastles and tried to hold back the sea with his spade.  He basically stripped down to his pants the second we got on the beach no matter how cold it was.  The dog, meanwhile, fetched the ball until he was ready to drop.  We've still not discovered what his limits are.  I suspect he's so stupid he'd fetch the ball until he died of heart failure.  He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer.  And he farts.

On the other hand, my sweet Trouble wasn't so keen.  He's never loved the beach.  He doesn't like the sand that much and he struggled all week with a really heavy cold.  Poor wee babby.  He did really enjoy our trip on the steam train and ferry to Dartmouth, but then he fell asleep in the restaurant and when he woke up was appalled to discover that they'd taken away his lunch.  It was that kind of holiday for Trouble...

Devon is famous for its crabbing, which is fantastic for kids since it's instant gratification.  You drop a net filled with bait, and you basically get a crab almost every time.  Fun Daddy and kids filled a bucket in Dartmouth, which was fabulous for the the children but a heart attack in waiting for the parents as the jetty had about a 20 foot drop to the sea and there was no railing.  The kids are roaming around all these lines tangled on the ground and turning around backwards and generally having no spatial awareness and every parent was standing there with pale faces and twitchy hands waiting to make a grab for a falling child.  Low stress!

On our last day, we went on a walk in Dartmoor.  Lunatic Child found it boring until we discovered that every puddle on the moor was absolutely heaving with tadpoles.  It's been dry lately so the puddles were disappearing and the tadpoles were dying.  Lunatic Child was frantic so we brought back a whole heap of them in our water bottle.  This meant that Harried Mum was carrying a box full of tadpoles on her lap for the entire trip back from Devon with Lunatic Child threatening not to buy me a birthday present should I happen to be careless enough to let them die.

We got home and transferred the tadpoles into a small aquarium.  I sent Lunatic Child out for some pond water from the small pond round the side of our house.  We've poked around in there a bunch, and although Lunatic Child has been convinced there's something pink with tentacles living in there, I didn't think there was anything to it.  So he brought in a big bowl of pond water and pond weed and plopped it on the table.  The water starts to move and Seb is screeching that he's got the thing with tentacles.  I look over and there's a big old green frog in the bowl.  I shriek. (I was surprised!)  Seb shrieks.  The dog freaks out.  Trouble is like, what the hell is going on?  The frog took the opportunity to make a bid for freedom.  This led to a short comedic interlude with everyone stumbling into each other in the kitchen while we attempted to catch the frog and keep the dog off it.

Eventually the frog made it back to his pond, and the tadpoles (still alive!) are hanging out on our kitchen table.  I suspect we didn't have to drag a bunch of tadpoles back from Devon and probably could have gotten some from the pond round the side of the house, but whatever.  Lunatic Child has loved the whole experience.  I suspect that frog is not going to have a very tranquil life now Lunatic Child knows he's there and can be caught.

In any event, the kids are going back to school tomorrow.  Thank all the Gods.  We had a lovely holiday, but we have all had a *lot* of togetherness.  Harried Mum is actually looking forward to going back to work, and that is really saying something...

Monday, March 20, 2017


I have never been a morning person.  My ideal morning involves sleeping until I don't want to sleep anymore, wandering out of bed, having a long hot shower followed by a long, hot cup of coffee and maybe perusing the paper.  In my current existence, this is as likely to happen as winning the lottery.  Less likely, in fact.

As it happens, my morning routine is now as follows:

6am - Trouble wanders into the bedroom.  Shouts 'MORNING, MUM!!!  BREAKFAST TIME?'  If it's a weekday I'm usually trying to dry my hair.  If it's the weekend, this is considered a lie in.  I've given up on trying to complete make up before leaving the house and do this in the loo at work.

6:15am - Trouble and I are heading downstairs for breakfast.

6:16am - The cat is outside frantically demanding to be let in.  The dog is inside frantically demanding to be let out.  They exchange places.

6:20am - The dog is outside frantically demanding to be let in.  The cat is acting like she hasn't been fed in a week.

6:21am - The dog is inside acting like he hasn't been fed in a week.

6:25am - Cat has been fed.  Dog is out for a walk with Fun Daddy. Trouble has demanded peanut butter toast.

6:30am - I have been trying to make a cup of coffee for 15 minutes.  I haven't succeeded.

6:35am - Trouble has his toast and juice.  I have usually managed to procure a coffee at this point and sometimes a smoothie.

6:36am - Harried Mum checks the school bags, because no one ever does this but me.  Lunatic Child needs 2 pounds to pay for some weird singing lessons.  I have to write in his home communication journal.  I have to write in Trouble's home communication journal.  There are usually 17 notices from school about various dress up days, bake sales, PTA meetings and school carnivals.  I have to write this all down in the 2 calendars we are currently keeping in the house to try and keep track of it all.

6:40am - What are we having for dinner tonight?  Who knows?  Harried Mum takes some random things out of the freezer.  Sometimes I forget this step and that's when we have Chinese takeaway!  Delicious!

6:45am - Harried Mum needs to collect yoga gear, the shoes I will wear at the office, purse, keys, phone, etc.  I can never find the damn shoes I want to wear to the office.  I look under the bed, in my closet, in the shoe basket downstairs.  I blame the children.  I blame Fun Daddy.  I later find them in a drawer at work.

6:50am - Fun Daddy returns from walking the dog, Harried Mum kisses everyone goodbye whilst trying not to get covered in peanut butter and leaves for work.

Usually Lunatic Child is not up by this point (he's a good boy!), but if he is, rinse and repeat with demands for peanut butter toast etc. somewhere in that timeline.

I have not finished a cup of coffee, ever.  If I take too long in the shower I get a stern lecture from Fun Daddy.  My body is so inured to lack of sleep that I voluntarily wake up at 5:45am every day, which is a sentence I never thought I would type in my life.

So, as Mother's Day approaches, I consider what I want from the men in my life.  And it is 8 hours uninterrupted sleep, breakfast in bed with the paper....and an expensive handbag.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Well.  That was an effing disaster.

We are currently interviewing au pairs and had a second interview tonight with someone.  30 seconds prior to the call, my children were sitting nicely, colouring.

As soon as the call came through on the computer, however, both children morphed into the spawn of Satan.  They shrieked nonstop through the first 5 minutes of the call, so the poor German teenager couldn't hear anything.  I bribed them with oranges and sent them to the living room.  The TV sound wasn't working for some reason.  Lunatic Child became despondent, then irate.

I tried to fix the sound whilst still trying to speak to this poor child on Skype, who was becoming increasingly confused at his train wreck of an interview.  I did not succeed. I left Lunatic Child frantically poking all the buttons on the remote and went back to the dining room.

30 seconds later, all hell has broken loose in the lounge because Trouble has stolen Lunatic Child's orange.  Lunatic Child has whacked Trouble.  Everyone is crying and screaming that life is not fair.  It is complete and utter chaos.  My children are out of control.  Lunatic Child is writhing on the ground refusing to get up.  Trouble is crying into a pillow on the sofa.  I am attempting to manage the crisis in a calm fashion and failing utterly.

I have to hang up on this poor kid and proceed to lose my shit at my recalcitrant children.  Lunatic Child had to go to his room.  Trouble had to sit on the naughty step.  No one got a damn orange.

I fixed the unspeakable TV and parked the kids in front of it.  I called the poor au pair back.  He had no idea what the hell was going on.  I gave up and told him I'd email him tomorrow.  He is currently rethinking his life choices and will probably skip the gap year and just go to university.

I then proceeded to spill a jar of spice on the floor whilst cooking dinner and my omelette was disgusting.

I ate it anyway in a giant sulk and then had a Penguin because tonight, at least, I feel bad about my life.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Harried Holidays

Well, the Reids have returned from another 'holiday' .  I use the word advisedly.  Traveling with 2 kids and a dog and staying in the Lakes District in April, does not, in my book, qualify as a relaxing vacation.  We essentially packed up all our shit, dragged it up to the Lakes District where it all became completely covered in mud, and then went home and washed it all.

Having said that, the dog was definitely living his best life.  We went for long walks every day, which the dog enjoyed the hell out of.  So many new smells!  And we stayed on a farm.  The cows were VERY interesting.  The pigs were VERY interesting.  The farm dog was VERY interesting and also slightly intimidating...He was very happy.

Lunatic Child and Trouble also had a great time.  We had one day of beautiful weather and went for a walk along one of the lakes.  There were so many rocks to throw into the water and so little time!  Lunatic Child found a dead frog, and it may have been the highlight of his young life.  Trouble dropped a massive deuce on the beach, which we quietly buried and then snuck away.  Trouble gives you about 30 seconds' notice between stating a need to poop and then actually doing it.  There's barely time to get the trousers down most of the time, but at least he's now telling you instead of sneaking off into a corner and doing it in his underwear.  We took a boat trip on a lake one day, which to be honest went on about 2 hours longer than it should have for the attention span of the kids, but live and learn.  We also took a tour of a slate mine, which was a disaster.  It was ridiculously cold and extremely slow moving.  Lunatic Child was not impressed and said so, loudly and repeatedly.  Which was ideal considering there were about 8 people on the tour, including Lunatic Child and Trouble.

Nature was omnipresent on our holiday, and Lunatic Child saw the Circle of Life in its entirety, without us intending to have introduced him to such concepts as sex, birth and death...  In addition to the dead frog, we came across a dead lamb, which Lunatic Child was oddly complacent about.  I don't think he understands that it's permanent.  I decided not to wade into those waters quite yet, as we had enough to be getting on with considering all the sex and birth.  We went to the cow shed to look at the calves, and a cow was LITERALLY dropping a calf that second.  You could see its head coming out her vagina.  Lunatic Child asked if she was pooping it out.  Again, I was not prepared to explain the mechanics of birth.  Oops.  In addition, whilst Lunatic Child and I were out for a walk, we came across some donkeys in a field having copious and frenetic sex.  So, the holiday was quite educational  in that regard.

By the end, however, everyone was a bit tired and fraught and ready to go home.  We concluded with a triumphant finale of (a) Trouble falling on the slate stairs and splitting his lip (b) Lunatic Child winding up Trouble to the point where Trouble chucked a bowl at his head, breaking it on the coffee table and (c) the dog getting into the pig pen and literally COVERED in pig shit whilst we were packing the car.

Just to top it all off, Trouble pooped in his pants at the rest stop on the way home.  I blame Fun Daddy for that one.

I have made Fun Daddy swear on a stack of bibles that next year we will be going somewhere warm and sunny with a Kids Club...

Monday, April 11, 2016


Harried Mum hasn't posted in a while.  Sorry chickens.  Things have been busy what with buying houses and the having of busy jobs and nutball children.

This is not due to a lack of material however.  A brief summary of things that have been said and done by my children over the last few months include:

- Barney calling everyone and every thing a poo face.  Incessantly.  For months.  Please, God.  Let this phase end

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bad Parenting

Helloo everybody!

The theme of the week is bad parenting.  I've been doing a lot of it lately as a consequence of having to do more of it.  Viz.  The nanny we hired disappeared after 4 days.  No call.  No text.  Nothing.  She could have been dead.  It turns out she wasn't, but she failed to tell us that for approximately 3 weeks.

So, Harried Mum had to take over primary parenting duties.  I am a good corporate counsel.  I am a harried mother.

Let me give you a representative sample of the last 3 weeks.

1st Act:  Breakfast and drop off at nursery (Trouble) and camp (Lunatic Child).

Trouble is currently potty training.  So the conversation consists of this:

Mum:  Trouble, do you need the toilet?

Trouble:  Naaoooooo.

Mum:  Lunatic Child, eat your toast.

Mum:  Lunatic Child, stop poking Trouble.

Mum:  Trouble, don't throw that at your brother.

Mum:  Trouble, do you need the toilet?

Trouble:  Naooooo pee.

Meanwhile, I am making lunch for Lunatic Child and packing one million spare pairs of pants/socks etc. for Trouble while he's potty training and a bathing suit, water bottle, raincoat, sunscreen, jumper and hat for Lunatic Child, because who the hell knows what the British weather is going to do in the next 10 minutes.

Mum:  Trouble and Lunatic Child, eat your toast.

Lunatic Child:  What happens when you die?  What if there is a poop flood?  If a baby comes out a mum's tummy, won't there be a big hole and how do they fix it?  Why are there cars in the world?

While I am wrestling with these metaphysical chestnuts, Trouble quietly creeps under the table and pees in his shorts, necessitating a full change of clothing.

I change Trouble, and during this process, Lunatic Child becomes possessed of a fierce desire to wear Trouble's clothes.  This necessitates 10 minutes of explaining why we shouldn't wear underwear 3 sizes too small and t shirts that expose our navel.  Lunatic Child is upset and sulky and tells me that I always say no to everything and I am no fun.

I am not fun.  I am not having fun.

We all get in the car.  We drop off Trouble at nursery.  I drop off Lunatic Child at camp.

2nd Act.  Work!

All is peaceful in the house for 6 hours whilst I attempt to do my day job and interview nannies.  I interview a million nannies, as obviously I failed to do my due diligence last time.  She seemed nice? Her references checked out?  What the hell?

3rd Act.  Pick up, dinner and bath time.

At pick up, there is a satanic ice cream truck parked outside Lunatic Child's camp, leading to daily wailing over the fact that I will not always buy them ice cream.  I am a cruel, cruel mistress.

At dinner, repeat the breakfast conversation verbatim replacing toast with dinner and inserting some more random questions.  How many German shepherds are there in the world?  Where is France?  Sometimes, I manage to catch Trouble and he pees on the potty.  Everyone gets a treat.  Even Harried Mum!!

Bath time involves everyone pretending to be good doggies in order to encourage cooperation with washing hair.  (We're grooming the dogs!)

Eventually, everyone is dressed in pajamas, and we all watch some sweet, sweet TV until Fun Daddy gets home.

While I may not be doing this with élan or sang froid, we have managed to muddle through.

The new, new nanny has now started, so things should be returning to what constitutes normal in our house shortly.  At least until we move and get a puppy.

Peace out.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Psycho Cat

Well.  That was fantastic.

Harried Mum came home last night, went to make herself a small snack after a hard day at the office, and then noticed the cat was bleeding from her tail.

After a frantic call to the vet, Harried Mum did the following:

1.  went upstairs and dug the cat carrier out from the Very Back of the Closet.  And did this take forever, and involve hitting her head on the stupidly low roof several times as she wrestled with recalcitrant objects?  Yes.  It did.

2.  chased the cat out from under the bed with a poking stick.  Was this fun for either of us?  No.  It was not.

3.  inserted the cat in the cat carrier.  See above.

4.  corralled 2 small children, got the correct feet into the right shoes, and coats on bodies.  Kids thought it was FAB to be going out at bedtime.

5.  drove to vet.  Couldn't find anywhere to park.  Freaking London.

6.  dragged totally miserable cat in huge carrier, one toddler and one five year old for what felt like miles to vet.  See above.

7.  threatened children with no chocolate for the rest of their lives ever and then bribed them with the iPad to sit still at the vet.  They still thought the whole thing was FAB.

8.  held cat down while she shed all over me from stress to let the vet try to check her wounds.

Ultimately, we had to leave her there to be sedated so the vet could examine her properly as she wouldn't let him near her.  Poor Psycho Cat.  It transpires she had sliced her tail on something and then developed an abcess which burst - hence the bleeding.  She had surgery and is now sitting on my lap, wearing a cone of shame, which she LOATHES, and with a drain in her tail - so she's oozing all over my blanket.

Aside from being stressful and unpleasant for everyone, it also cost the largest amount of money I have ever spent on an animal.  We are eating beans and toast for dinner for the next 2 months.