Introducing Pocket Money

We have reached the ‘I would like that’ stage whilst watching the TV or looking at a magazine. Almost all the toys Pinky sees she believes she would like. Now experience has shown me two things Yes she will like and play with pretty much any toy put in front of her.

This novelty wears off within approximately two minutes and said toy becomes abandoned in the middle of the room for and old faithful. It may or may not be played with again in a weeks time.
With point 2. in mind I am understandably reluctant to buy her everything that glitters, sparkles, sings and rolls in her direction. I still remember the excitement of looking through the toy section of the Argos catalogue hoping, praying, keeping all fingers crossed that Santa would bring me whatever it was I desired the most. Probably a princess castle or a Disney doll. Santa didn’t often disappoint, but my parents did regularly. They often said ‘No, you can’t have that.’ and as I remember it of course I was disappointed, sometimes even down right upset, but I did understand. Things cost money and we really didn’t have that much to splash on any toy I demanded. I’m not looking for the world tiniest violin here because I never saw the lack of money as an issue. What my parents did do was instil a really strong sense of the value of money. How much things cost, how you earn money, the importance of saving some. I’m not sure when this all started with me but I suspect fairly young as it just feels like I’ve always known this stuff.
A couple of days ago I went to the local supermarket to pick up a couple of essentials. We ended up in the kiddy crafts aisle (not sure how else to describe it) and Pinky asked if she could have some stickers. I said no but that she could have some paint stuff instead. This of course ended up being more expensive but we have stickers at home already and I just end up picking them up off the floor after they fall off her clothes. I also figured that the painting stuff would last more than a day and it was something we could probably do together. It did get me thinking though, maybe it is time for pocket money. Pinky can count a bit, she understands that the coins are different even if she hasn’t quite grasped why and she really enjoys helping me with chores at the moment. I discussed this with her and Hubby and that was it decided.
We don’t expect her to do too much. It’s little things such as tidying up her toys at the end of the day. She helps me load and unload the dishwasher and sometimes will help with the laundry. As she gets older I will get her doing these things independently but for now it’s a ‘sowing the seed’ exercise.
After a couple of days she had £1.50 in her little purse ready to spend. She kept mentioning it in conversation as if it were no big deal but she was obviously thrilled by the idea of going to the shop soon. Since we weren’t actually planning on going anywhere near a shop and she clearly wasn’t going to wait to spend her hard earned cash Hubby took her out on her own to the shop. Apparently she had ideas of buying crayons but she didn’t have enough yet (bless her!!!!) so they went to sweetie aisle. Part of the deal of the money is that she can buy whatever she wants if she had enough and we won’t say no to her, unless it’s dangerous of course. So when she realised she could buy sweets I think the whole foundation of her existence changed. This was a whole new world.
Pinky very proudly came home with a pack of fruit pastels for herself and a bag of chocolate buttons for her little sister. It was apparently completely her idea to buy Perky something, Hubby made no hint towards it. Bless her again!!! It was one of those moments as a parent where I really felt like I was winning.
Each day Pinky asks how she can help and then duly collects her coins. The concept of saving up and actual value will take time, it may even cause some tantrums along the way, but it will be worth it. At three and a half Pinky may be too young to start this, when Perky hits this age I may decide to wait a little longer. However Pinky is fairly intelligent (not a genius but she isn’t stupid) and willing to learn. She may not be buying herself the type of toys she will ask Santa for as at her current rate of earning it may take her a decade to save enough for a new scooter, but she will be able to buy herself the stickers I always say no to, or the pack of sweets I refuse her. It will be her money that she must earn and she can do what she wants with it. I hope that value and sense of achievement goes with her into adulthood.

My Mummy CV

Recently I’ve been feeling a little lost and confused about my daily life. I have no desire to go back to work at all, which is not like me, I have always had a strong work ethic. After Pinky was born my priorities changed and now two children down the line I actually quite like being a stay at home mum and because I don’t get the nursery drop off tears from the girls anymore I get a little less mum guilt, which is always a plus! Despite this I just feel a little bit worthless. I know this is silly but I thought it would be good to remind myself of just exactly what I do as a SAHM, so I thought I would write my ‘Mummy CV’.

Name: Mummy Winnette

Personal Profile: As a mother I am expert at functioning on a higher conscious level even after a torturous amount of sleep deprivation. I am a very patient person, I remain calm in stressful situations and yet when the appropriate occasion arises I can go so bat shit crazy that even the least judgemental person would give me a side glance. A talent which is enhanced by the sleep deprivation. This is an incredibly useful skill to ensure the health and safety of an overly curious toddler. I have eyes in the back of my head and a sixth sense for misbehaviour. My hearing is freakishly good. So much so that sometimes I pretend I haven’t heard something, even when I did, just so people don’t think I’m strange. My main hobby is baking and I love to teach this to my little girls. I know all the words to the opening song of Sophia the First, Doc Mcstuffins and Sheriff Callie as well as few CBeebies programmes. Plus the words to approximately 80% of the Disney songs from their animated films. This was the result of intensive self directed study from a very young age. I greatly enjoy watching pretty much anything on Netflix when time allows.

Education: Genuinely irrelevant at this point.

Training: No previous training in Motherhood. A total novice.

Additional skills:
Laundry Guru specialising in the removal of tomato sauce stains
Gourmet Cook (don’t try and tell me otherwise)
Nutritionist
White lie inventor
Language interpreter with a keen interest in toddler talk
Sibling Wars referee
Events coordinator
Health and safety executive
Cleaner
Snotty sleeve collector
Waitress
Nurse
Toy locator
Expert Negotiator
Miss Manners enforcer
Kindness and Sharing monitor
Teacher
Guidance councillor
Expert in Anger Management
Provider of emotional support
Cuddle giver
Bum wiper
Bathroom sharer and conversationalist
Librarian

References:

Pinky Winnette
Daughter 1
Aged 3 1/2

Perky Winnette
Daughter 2
Aged 1 1/2

I think this is a fairly accurate CV. It’s hard to explain to anyone without children exactly what being a parent is and this only gives a tongue in cheek insight. I love it and wouldn’t change it but sometimes it’s ok to need reminding of that.

If anyone thinks of any skills I have missed please let me know…

In the dark dark house

In a dark dark street (floodlit by streetlights), there was a dark dark house (the outside light was probably left on by mistake again), there were some dark dark stairs (soooo many stairs, bloody town house) and at the top of the stairs there was a dark dark bedroom, in that dark dark bedroom was a little girl who was paralysingly afraid of the dark. Does anyone else remember the Funnybones? I used to love that cartoon.  I must get the book for the girls.  I digress…. To the point!
Recently Pinky has been complaining that her clock is ‘screaming’. After a quick investigation we discovered that the plug for her GroClock was making an awful high pitched squeal. We decided to condemn it ourselves. We did check it wasn’t the wall socket, and it made the noise in all outlets. As a side note we called the GroClock company and we had a replacement sent two days later (we just missed next day post) and they have asked we send back the old one (freepost👍🏻) so they can investigate. I know not many kids respond well to this clock that is designed to indicate an appropriate time to get up in the morning, however Pinky does. She totally gets it, she has even worked out that the little stars around the edge reduce over the night to indicate how much time is left until morning. Clever girl. This has has taken time and perseverance… So much perseverance…. Both Hubby and I had forgotten that the clock initially served as a night light. I can’t remember what age Pinky suddenly took great offence to the dark but I think it was around 2. The other little light we got her is a Lindum owl lantern. We all love it, it’s cute, but most importantly it only stays on for 20 minutes so we don’t have to go and turn it off and the batteries don’t get drained in one night. This gets used at bedtime and Pinky takes it with her if she needs a midnight toilet trip.
So to the point of my ramblings…. Bedtime went swimmingly. Stories, lights out, owl on, acknowledged the lack of clock…. Never mind it’ll be fixed soon. Our bedtime comes, our lights out, cosy satisfying sleep. So so cosy.
‘HELP ME!!! HELP ME!!!’ Hubby goes flying into Pinkys room to find her half sat up, half reclined, almost paralysed with fear, shaking, tears in her eyes. I’m laughing as I write this but mostly because if I don’t I might cry a little. Bless her cotton socks. The owl light went on and everyone went back to bed, I could here Pinky talking to her toys all happy again. 20 minutes later just as we had managed to drift back off into the land of nod…. The owl goes off and the screaming starts again. Fortunately we happened to have a plug in light that we dug out of the depths of the wardrobe or a draw or a box somewhere (my memory at 3am isn’t brilliant). This little plug solved the problem until the new power supply for the clock arrived. Happy days!
I decided not to bring the incident up with Pinky, mostly because I didn’t think that much of it but partly because I didn’t want to make her fear of the dark a big issue. As we were out on a little walk she decided to talk to me about it. What she described was the stuff of nightmares! She said the darkness went into her eyes and filled them. Her words no embellishment. She explained how the darkness held her down and stopped her from moving. Again, her words not mine. Then lastly she explained how the darkness was thick and scary. I’m not afraid of the dark. To the best of my knowledge neither is Hubby. I don’t ever really remember being afraid as a child but maybe I was. I do remember having a cuddly glow worm night light, but I’m not sure if it was bought for the night light aspect or because it was cute. Either way what Pinky described sounded terrifying even for an adult so for a poor little three year olds brain it must have been awful.
Lesson learnt. Night lights are essential, at least for now!

Dear Bear and Beany

Our Summer Holidays 

We are now roughly half way through the summer holidays and if I’m honest it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. Pinky may only be at preschool currently but those 15 hours are invaluable to me. When she is there things are less rushed, I get slightly less pestered with just the one child, I get some time to miss her and both Pinky and Perky get to miss each other. The missing each other thing is probably the bit I miss the most. I think time apart is good and healthy. I find time to recharge my patience with Pinky and the girls recharge theirs too. The sisters argue less after 5 hours apart. So naturally, as appears to be the case with most mums, I was dreading the 6 weeks of summer holidays.
We are extra fortunate that Pinky is at preschool as it means we still get to have days out in the week. I like these times. Holidays scare me. Everywhere is more expensive (sometimes double the cost), everywhere is busier, the children are older. Last year we went nowhere at all. So this year I wanted it to be different, we didn’t have to do loads of things but I just didn’t want to practically hibernate. Also this year Perky is 18 months old, walking, almost talking and full of personality. She is no longer the 6 month old good excuse not to go too far.
In my usual list making organisation I sat down one evening and started looking for things to do, ideally not more than an hours drive away as there are so many good days out locally there really isn’t any need to travel too far without Hubby in tow. We don’t yet have a Merlin pass or National Trust membership. The only place I am a member of is the Royal Horticultural Society simply because Wisley gardens is practically down the road and I can get myself, another adult and 4 children under 5 in on my membership alone. It’s brilliant for taking other Mummy friends (or anyone really) and once I’ve been 3 times I’ve made my money back and some. With this in mind, as I sat down ready to make notes on prices and travel time I very quickly became disheartened. Some of the traditional days out were expensive enough to make a dent in my credit profile. Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mind spending the money on the girls, I think they are totally worth it, I am a firm believer in making memories in childhood. This issue I have is that it is cheaper during ‘off peak’ times which we still get to take advantage of. These types of places are just so busy during the summer, especially as we have had such good weather recently, for England anyway.
Never fear there is an upside to this. I’ve never been very good at keeping things simple, I always struggle to enjoy the little things. This summer that is exactly what I am trying to do, and so far I have been succeeding. Initially I was going to try and do completely free summer activities, the problem with that is supplies cost money, getting places costs money in the form of petrol. Instead I have tried to do super cheap activities and limit driving distances to 30 minutes.
The Park

I hate the park as a general rule. We are lucky enough that it is only a 2 minute walk away, it also has some good equipment for both toddlers and bigger kids. The issue I have is, due to its location, it is very appealing after dusk to the underage drinking teen and possibly the occasional alcoholic adult. These upstanding members of our society take great pleasure in leaving evidence of their late night visits dotted about for curious toddlers to find. It’s like a hepatitis treasure hunt.

I am now starting to enjoy the park. It’s free, it’s local and (after the five hundredth time of me going bat shit crazy) the girls now ignore any rubbish on the floor so I have relaxed. It’s actually an enjoyable experience and is slowly taking less and less negotiation and bribery to get the girls to leave.


The Dog Walk

In the absence of a dog this is just a walk but it has the same effect. I usually consider the dog walk a bit of a chore and usually do it as part of our outing. It is less of a chore if I can do it on my own in the evening but when Pinky and Perky are with me the dog goes into a hyper-acute protective mode whenever another dog comes anywhere near us. Recently Pinky has been asking to go on a dog walk. She enjoys wandering for no reason and we mix up the route, sometimes just round the houses, sometimes down to the canal, sometimes just to the field to throw a ball. This kills about an hour and the girls seem to enjoy it, plus it’s free so win win.


The Woods

This can also be teamed up with the dog walk. In our case we have to drive to the woods but there are many options and most aren’t too far away. Next week we are off to the Alice Holt woods, these are the furthest from us and we will have to pay a small fee for parking but they have the Gruffalo walk which ideal for little ones, if I’m feeling really good on the day I may even make up a treasure hunt on our way round… Can’t promise though, that will be mood dependant.
Baking

I love baking anyway and as such I usually have the basic ingredients in the house at all times if not some more specialist items too. Earlier this week we threw together some chocolate cupcakes with a pink meringue buttercream icing. Yep that’s basic for me, but the sentiment is there. Flour, sugar, eggs and butter are relatively cheap items, the cupcake cases aren’t too much either and depending on the amount in the pack will last a few batches. If you don’t have a cupcake tray then you could perhaps use a roasting tin or Pyrex dish and make a traybake instead. Either way it’s cake, yummy, delicious, winning right there!


Pet Shop

This is like a free mini farm or zoo. Our pet shop is in a retail park, we have to drive there but the parking is free and there is also a hobbycraft so I get to have a window shop in there and look at all the crafty things I will never buy as they make too much mess and I don’t have the patience for the clean up. Once in the pet shop the girls love the rabbits and guinea pigs. There are plenty of fish and we enjoy picking out the ones we will get when Hubby next decides to get some. Plus there are hampsters, mice and rats which I always enjoyed as a little girl. If I am feeling very generous or the girls are being particularly well behaved there is also a Costa coffee there so I will treat them to a juice and a cake.
Visiting Friends

This is always an underestimated activity. I get some adult company and the girls get to play with their friends. Plus, because they aren’t in their own house playing with their own toys they feel like they have had as good a day as going on an actual paid for outing.
Daytime Disco

We can spend a whole morning dancing and generally prating around. We are currently loving some of the playlists on Spotify. iTunes have some good ones too.
Picnic

This is a particular favourite with the girls. We pick a bit of grass, usually a field, we take a ball and kick that about for a little while, then have a picnic. The picnic itself is nothing special, it’s simply what they would have had for lunch anyway. The weather doesn’t have to be perfect for this, just not raining is fine.


These are little snippets into our days. Only a couple of weeks left and I think we may actually survive. I am looking forward to getting back to a routine but it has been nice to slow down, I have tried not to make too many structured plans and we are all starting to really relax. I’m even starting to enjoy lazy mornings of duvets and cartoons and not being dressed before 10am (trust me this is a normal hell to me, I like to get up and ready).
Now for another dog walk….

My Girl Gang

I have always been a great believer that friends are the family we chose for ourselves. I don’t have a sister and therefore I think this is really true when I talk about my best friend, Mase. Every now and again I get reminded of how important she is to me and how much I rely on her presence in my life.  
These last couple of weeks have been a little stressful, nothing major and nothing that hasn’t already been solved. Never less I have been stressed. More than I should have been, I’m not sure why, I just didn’t cope as well as I usually do but instead of talking about it I bottled it all up. In my mind if I pretended I was ok then I must be true. I mean really! How stupid? I know that doesn’t work. As the week went on I made last minute plans to see her, forgetting I already had plans. This was the ‘cherry on top’ as they say. I don’t like letting people down, I don’t like being late, I don’t like forgetting things. So when I realised I had, I had a bit of an emotional wobble (I’m putting it mildly to make me feel better). Yes I could have cancelled Mase, she would have understood, but I knew her company was what I needed. When I arrived at her house, mascara tracks down my face, she didn’t hesitate in making it all ok. The kettle was on immediately, a hug was administered and we talked. Once I had finished we moved on. That was what I needed. Get it out and move on.  
We haven’t spoken about my melt down since because she knows we don’t need to, I’m all good now. I have a few close friends in my life, but Mase is my closest. I am lucky enough to be able to say I am married to my best friend but if I’m honest Hubby is just one of my best friends. I will talk to him about everything and anything, we don’t have secrets, I would of course be lost without him too. However, sometimes it’s the comfort of the Girl Gang that I need.  
This week our Girl Gang was back in full force. Our other close friend Tomo has come back before she moves to Mexico for 2 years to teach. We have all known each other since college but Tomo ended up teaching quite some distance away, and she loves to travel which means I often forget just how much I enjoy her company and how much she means to me. She had been in Mexico for a month when I first found out I was pregnant with Pinky and she was away in South America for a year when I had Perky and when Mase had her first. She is a braver, more adventurous person than I am and she will be greatly missed. At the very least she will be back during the summer holidays but hopefully a little sooner. Whenever it is, it will be as if she never left, except for the abundance of catching up we will have to do. 
At school I struggled with girls, I found them bitchy and two faced. It never took much to fall out with them. Not all of them, of course, and I certainly wasn’t bullied, but those that hurt the most I don’t even follow on social media. I hold no grudge, it was a long time ago but it is important to surround yourself with the right people. Now I wouldn’t be without my girlfriends. Even those I only see sporadically as time and commitments permit. Friends are essential to our emotional wellbeing. They offer a special kind of support and often keep us grounded. They love us even though they really don’t have to. Then again, as my Christmas present from Mase stated last year ‘You know too much!’ This is true both ways, so together forever it is.
Much love to all my Girls, Pinky and Perky included. I’d be lost without all of you.