Flipping* Hell, it’s October. Summer has been and gone (notwithstanding that I’m in London, wearing a t-shirt and shorts for the first time since June) and now it’s Autumn. I had vague intentions of Achieving Things this summer, but then – poof! – it just disappeared. I remember packing and unpacking ALOT, and fighting with a man in a supermarket, but that’s really about it.
And then it was September, which has been a curious month. The first half we spent desperately trying to claw some enjoyment out of the horror that is an all-inclusive package family holiday. We got home late on a Saturday evening; the Girl greeted us at 6am on Sunday with a cot-ful of vomit. After a long day which involved hosing down the house repeatedly, THIRTEEN rounds of laundry (13! AM NOT EXAGGERATING), and sticking suppositories up arses (ha! that wiped the smirk off her face) I sat down with a sigh, felt something funny happen in my leg area, ignored it, and woke up the next day with a basketball where my knee used to be. So that pretty much wiped out that week. And the next. And now we’re into the next and I’m still crippled, but too embarrassed to call my insurance company, because I bet they think I make all my various ailments up (and because they’ll probably pack me off to a physiotherapist, when what I’m after is very complex knee surgery (removal, even) resulting in at least 6 weeks’ stay in hospital.)
The upside of having no use of one of my critical limbs is that I’ve been sitting around on my arse alot, and so have been delving into the dusty cobwebbed corners of the internet. The amount of shit online is really quite shocking (oh God, please don’t let anyone snigger at the latent irony in that comment); however, I also stumbled upon some gems, particularly the wonderful Crumbs, which is my new recipe salvation, and the equally fantastic Knackered Mothers’ Wine Club (seriously - how could you not love a blog with that name?). I also revisited the lovely Looking-Glass, the most recent posting of which contains the best description of a 2 year old which I’ve ever read. (Warning – don’t read this while drinking hot tea (or, indeed, anything at all). Go read it now (or rather, when you’ve finished reading this). And then thank God that you don’t have toddlers / bask in the warmth of the knowledge that you are not alone.)
And I’ve read! Three (wonderful) books in three weeks, which is quite an achievement. I’m now well into my fourth – Brilliant Career Couch: How to Find and Follow Your Dream Career - which arrived unexpectedly through my letterbox last week. The reason for its sudden appearance was, I assumed, because I
spent half an hour proof-reading the final draft was instrumental in its publication earlier this year. It’s not that usual for publishing houses or authors to send a copy of the finished product to those involved on the extreme peripheries, so I was pleasantly surprised; but then – then! – I read the acknowledgments and - ! – there I am, in black and white. Little made me smile in September (apart from the look on The Girl’s face when I violated her, anally), so thank you Sophie. Anyway, despite my not being able to imagine ever doing anything with my life ever again which doesn’t involve wiping and shouting and weeping, I’ve vowed to work my way through it right to the end. (I might even actually do some of the assignments it sets out. Although let’s not get too carried away.)
September was noteworthy for two other reasons. Firstly, the Boy started nursery**. He loves it (well, he doesn’t demonstrably hate it – yet), the Girl loves having full-on attention for a few hours a day, and the Man loves that the Boy is in a structured learning environment, with a caregiver who doesn’t shout at him or teach him to say ForChist’sSake etc (that we know of). The only person who isn’t completely enthralled is me. It’s about a 5 minute walk there (15 if you only have one functioning leg), but – and this is what I hate - at least 25 mins to get home (lame or otherwise). This disparity is due to shops selling cack which line the route, closed and empty at 845am, open (but still empty) at 1215pm. There’s no avoiding these shops-of-cack, with their homemade trestle tables outside, laiden down with all manner of shit. (It makes me wonder – do the owners’ elderly parents know they’ve just raided their attics? Are they out at 845am combing the streets for discarded waste to sell?) Whatever, the Boy LOVES these shops, and so we arrive home every day with some new piece of dirty broken crap to clutter the house (because I’m too useless to either get him past the shops without stopping, or out of the shops without just caving in and buying whatever he’s stuck up his paint-covered jumper). I tried not bringing money one day, but that didn’t deter him - he just stole a manky dead old starfish (I don’t feel too guilty – someone stole it from a beach once upon a time). So now I’m just resigned to the fact that all my money goes to Sainsbury’s, Starbucks, and a person who steals from the attics of old people.
The other noteworthy aspect about September is that it was Relentless Laundry’s first birthday. Oh, how I laugh when I look back on those early posts. Yes, it was hard, but only one of them was walking. And neither were talking. Or fighting with each other. Or stealing dead marine-life from revolting second-hand shops. I’ve no doubt at all that I’ll look back on this next year and snigger at my naivety now, and remark that only one of them was stealing rubbish from the side of the street / head-butting the other / talking like a sailor. To celebrate this, I thought it might be time for my first giveaway.
Tell me the first word that comes to mind when you think of parenthood, and whoever suggests a word which I can get the Girl to say will win copies of the four books I’ve managed to read / start reading last month. (As well as (brilliant) Brilliant Career Coach, these were: “This thing of Darkness” by Harry Thompson, the (true) story about the voyages of the Beagle, and the relationship between Darwin and Captain Fitzroy, which is just magnificent; “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova (which I started on Saturday night and finished at 1am today) about a 50 year old woman with Early-Onset-Alzheimer’s (terrifying, I’m now convinced I am similarly afflicted); and “Left Neglected” also by Lisa Genova, about a woman with a horrific (but morbidly interesting) brain injury. All are fantastic, and were read in as close to one sitting as I could muster.)
If you can’t think of anything – and who can blame you if you have children – but would still like to win the goodies, feel free to just say Hi. She can’t say Hi yet (or indeed anything other than “Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissss!!” and “Wowwwwwwwwwwwwww”) so you’re still in with a chance.
If you’re really lucky, I might even throw in an almost-new dead starfish too.
*This is my new F-Word. My old F-Word is being phased out, along with “Oh for Christ’s Sake”, since The Boy has started peppering his conversations with them. Amusing the first time, somewhat shocking the fifteenth. It seems that I’m beginning, at last, to behave like a parent.
**One down, one to go...
**One down, one to go...