Watercress Line. Days Out. Thomas the Tank Engine.

Review: The Unsung Mum and The Train Trip Trauma

(***Disclaimer – I was given a complimentary ticket to go visit the Watercress Line on a Thomas day out. All thoughts and actions are my own.  If you’d like to know what it’s really like aka without the funny and more factual, then please see here. For a laugh, keep reading. Thank you.***)

It’s the night before their first nappy free trip out with The Second Child and The Unsung Mum is happily dicking around on Facebook and ignoring her children when an email pops up.

Fun. Thomas the Tank Engine.

Crappers. The Unsung Mum has forgotten all about this posh trip she agreed to last month, during one of her “episodes” where she assumes because her kids haven’t fought for 2.5 seconds or pissed over her carpet for half an hour that they can handle a very middle-class day out.

“How the hell did you forget to tell me that?” asked a shocked Hub.

“Well let me see dear. Between my bollocks freelance career, a explosive two-year-old that wants to potty train but hates the sight of her own piss, a fly that scares The Eldest, so she can’t sleep for more than four hours a night, a damp problem in the newly decorated hallway, a preschool red letter I swore I paid, a dishwasher that hasn’t been emptied in two days and a million and one other things, I’m not really sure.” She finished while imagining hitting him over the head with the dominatrix Barbie she just trod on.

“Oh well, just email back and cancel. No biggy.”

No biggy? NO FUCKING BIGGY??

This is the one and properly only time The Unsung Mum had been invited to something this middle class and posh. No, they were going alright.

The Unsung Mum must not lose face, even if it is going to involve a child only seven days into potty training being able to hold the contents of her bladder for more than 3 whole seconds.

Watercress Line. Days Out. Thomas the Tank Engine.
FFS.

The Unsung Mum cannot visit the middle of middle-classness that is Winchester with a second child with a weaker bladder than the Radford Mum without proper supplies.

She sends The Hub out for anything he can find that will bribe his second child into submission.

At bedtime, all is right with the world and The Little Spratts go to bed lovely and quietly, giving The Unsung Mum and The Hub quality couple time together.

Watercress Line. Days Out. Thomas the Tank Engine.

The next day the kids wake up and decide that today they hate trains.

PANIC STATIONS.

The Eldest will only agree to go if she gets to wear lipstick and mascara and The Youngest point blank refuses to wear anything at all.

Fine. Let’s improvise.

On the way to the Watercress Line, The Hub thinks that taking a family selfie will show everyone what a happy middle class family they really are.

Watercress Line. Days Out. Thomas the Tank Engine.

Twat.

At the station, they bump into two guards who open train doors and smile, regardless of what you say.

Watercress Line. Days Out. Thomas the Tank Engine.

On a side note: Did you know that the Watercress line started life in 1865 for transporting locally grown watercress to London and beyond? No?

Well, you do now!

Anyway, it’s always a pleasure to bump into people dressed up as characters. We managed to see the Fat Controller, some dude dressed as an old-fashioned train driver and a had a picture with a person in full on tails. (Apparently, that’s what the guards wore way back when.)

After having a trip on the over zealous Diesel train and The Unsung Mum agreeing to another teacup (free) ride and go on the free bouncy castle, she decided to drum some culture into her children and make them come with her on the steam train to Alton.

Watercress Line. Days Out. Thomas the Tank Engine.

It’s always a pleasure going on family trips out.

The guard suggests a trip on Thomas, which is all fun and games until someone wants an almighty piss.

“Can’t you hold it?” The Unsung Mum hisses at The Youngest while smiling like Vernon Dursley.

“Need a poo. Now.”

Sharing dagger looks at each other while mentally debating which sad fool is going to take her, The Youngest decides to undress her bottom half, declaring that she now hates ladybird pants.

Great.

If receiving a physical dressing down from her youngest wasn’t enough, a good citizen of Winchester takes it on herself to congratulate The Unsung Mum on her award-winning parenting skills.

The Unsung Mum starts to get mad.

“Thank you for your opinions random posh lady. You think you’re so good at this parenting crap huh? Well fine, you probably are but you shouldn’t be putting other people down just because their kid shits on Thomas the Tank Engine then has a 20-minute tantrum over wearing pants. Giving in may be bad, and I may be raising the next gang leader of The Great British Train Robbery, but do you know what, at least she’ll be famous. So…there.”

For once, the good citizen of Winchester was lost for words.

And with that The Unsung Mum and her delinquent family swanned off towards the café, ready to spend a fiver on ice creams and other bad shit.

Watercress Line. Days Out. Thomas the Tank Engine.

The Nine Stages to Becoming a Faultless Parent

For once, I’m going to be super helpful and share with you some of my very own top tips on how to be the very best parent ever! If you already feel that the carefully constructed felt tip pen drawings on your newly painted hallway walls really offer something extra to the room, then I’m sorry, this post isn’t for you. Fuck off.

Moving on….

Stage One: Love

Pretty simple right? All you need to give them is love and plenty of attention. 24 hours a day!!!

Stage Two: Be Helpful

You should be the ultimate player at Hungry Hippos without actually getting any tiny red balls at all i.e. willing the little red balls away from your hippo into their hippo’s mouth by intense eye contact alone.

Stage Three: Do The Impossible

Be able to fit Scout into Barbie’s suitcase, reducing Scout to the size of a pea, and enlarging the suitcase to the size of your head on demand, then back again, without breaking anything.

Stage Four:  Channel Mr. Maker

Attaching objects together with no attachable properties is your name, and keeping them there is your game.

Stage Five: Conduct Electricity

You should be in possession of a way to stream Paw Patrol at ALL times with endless battery capabilities and continuous 4G connection, even in the middle of nowhere.

Stage Six: Fun

Willingly and passionately give up your body to be used as a human climbing frame.

Stage Seven: Sporty

Never take offense to being drop kicked in the side, in the head or in your bits.

Stage Eight: Have the Attention Span of a Neurosurgeon

You should have a very high level of boredom control enabling you to play Barbies/cars/trains and trolls (insert another shit toy name here) for hours and hours without making up some lame excuse for why you can’t keep playing.

Stage Nine: Have encyclopedic knowledge on EVERYTHING

You must be able to correctly select the demanded next Topsy and Tim episode, just by reading the vague one-line description from the Sky box, while knowing exactly what is going to happen and who everyone is within the two seconds you have been sat watching it.

So to sum this all up lightly, to be loved by your children* you need to be a dazzling physic with shape-defying powers, with abs of steel and a brain so brilliant that it loves the same mind numbingly boring questions shouted at it 67543 times a day on repeat. If you are only one or two of these things, then I’m sorry, you’re as shit as the rest of us.

(* for about two days until the criteria will undoubtedly change all over again. Good luck.)

Bribery Uncut: A Mummy Diary

Day 1

Text to The Hub:

Cookies, Bribes, Mum Life

(Yes, I’ve realised how sad it is that we text each other emojis. We don’t get out much, least of all with each other, and chatting face to face is so 2007!)

He comes down the stairs from having (what I can only imagine of course) the biggest shit ever or just from his “go to” hiding place with a smirk on.

“I can’t get your children dressed. They just won’t move!” I moan. Notice how I call them his children? They are only mine when they are asleep or doing something brainy, like puzzles or not picky their nose.

“Come on girlys up the stairs.” He asks lightly, and they JUMP UP! No questions ask.

How the &^%$ does he do it? Does he have a magic wand I don’t know about? Do they just like him better? (It’s possible)

Oh well, he can be parent number 1 today, and I’ll go hide in the kitchen and pretend I’m actually cooking something organic.

Day 2

Kids at Grandmas. Don’t care! Whoop!

Day 3: Now named The Day from Hell

Despite a crappy night of musical beds and a 5 am wake-up, both kids are pretty chipper. That’s in till I mention we need to go shopping and suddenly limbs have fallen off, making walking impossible and they now only reply in one tone: screams.

The only thing that calms us all down is some well-deserved iPad time and a cookie for me. Screw the diet, and anyway, calories don’t count if they’re eaten before 8 am right?

 

Cookies, syn, eating, free

How long do you think a 4-year-old and 2-year-old would want to watch a sodding unpacking of a Kinder egg for?

cookie, brain, dead, asleep

Yep, I was pretty surprised too.

Day 4

We all felt rather wobbly and queasy as a result of a second night of musical beds and the over indulgence of unwrapping videos and cookies.

To ensure we got a better night tonight, I did the unthinkable and told them I would share my cookies if they promised to sleep tonight.

After a lot of pinky promises and nodding from the kids, I throw play-doh, cookies, and my phone at them and try to avoid getting cracked over the back of the head with it all.

Day 5

Had a slightly better night but feeling a bit stressed. When I don’t sleep I get stressed then cry. A lot. Normally only over the big things, though, like running out of The Big 3 (Cookies, Cake and Coke.) I can actually face most things in life like a ninja, but without The Big 3, well, I’m a mess!

Today I have to try and get two kids out the door, on time, looking presentable i.e no PJs and hair brushed.

Then I remember The Hub did the shopping yesterday, so I can now fulfill my master plan…

 

Eating cookies, happy mum, bribery works

No not that. Even though that would be sweet as! No. I’m going to bribe my way through it and hope for the best.

Want to see how I got on?

(Disclaimer: I was given all these cookies by Maryland to review. They where lush.)

How to Survive Baby Group’s (kind of)

Now I have two sprogs, the humble baby group is like mecca to me, I generally couldn’t live without them.

They’re cheap, not at my house and you get drinks and biscuits thrown in. What’s not to like?!

Yes, of course, like anything there are a few potholes in this plan. One being that you normally have to make really awkward small talk to a bunch of people you’ve never met, and keep a smile plastered on your face, even though Little Jimmy is screaming he wants to go home at the top of his lungs. To be honest, I don’t mind a bit of small talk. After all, small talk or not, it’s still an actual conversation with an adult, which is normally better than debating with my four-year-old on why I’m such a poo poo face, for the millionth time.

And anyway, baby groups can be fun, if you know how to navigate them right.

Issue One – Money

Unless you are one of those crazy mums who have spare time and energy to dedicate to other kids and let’s be honest, who has, then you will have to pay to get it. Cheap and cheerful, coughing up a quid shouldn’t be too hard, even if it is in five pence pieces because you’ve had to raid Freddie’s money box again.

Issue Two- Squash and Biscuits

What you don’t know is that before the group opens, all the saintly volunteers pick a straw to see which unlucky sod will be manning the refreshment counter this time. Ever tried to defuse a raging toddler who is told they can’t lick all the biscuits then put them back? It’s NOT a proper baby group without a couple of the little darlings going nuclear because they drunk each others squash either…

Issue Three- Ride Ons

What is it with playgroups and bloody ride ons? Isn’t it bad enough that my ankles get hit at home every three seconds? That I then have to pay to enter, to then have thirty little shits also drive into my poor ankles!

Then there’s the Cosy Coupe….. Directly my eyes lay sight on those plastic cars my heart sinks. Especially after explaining why they need to share the blasted thing, to then finally get a go, and then lose it because they run over to show me they now have it! Argh! Surely I can’t be the only one who dreams about killing the bloody thing, right?

Issue Four- Happy Smiley People

There are some days I turn up looking haggard on three hours sleep, and other times I’ve accidently switched the kids into ‘whinge mode’ and plan on hiding in the corner stalking childless couple’s photos on Facebook.

Telling me your John has slept for twenty-three hours and now only eats green food is NOT what baby group is about.

Baby group is about letting your kids run riot in a controlled environment while you keep one eye on them and bitch to the just as exhausted mum next to you about how come you can’t seem to “breed sleepers” like everyone else.

Issue Five- The Craft Table

My issue is this. The eldest one hates craft, while the youngest one loves it. So I’m torn between the constant pull of sitting with the little one and having her colour outside the lines on MY sheet of paper or being screamed up from the other side of the room by a child who can’t bear to play by herself for thirty seconds.

 Issue Six- Handbags at Dawn

The similarities between a playgroup and Keeping up with the Kardashians is uncanny if you think about it…

 Issue Seven- Puzzles

Just accept that none of the right pieces will ever be in the right box and deal with it woman!

Issue Eight- Packing Up

And of course, this is when they really want to play with the kitchen set, they haven’t touched all session!

Issue Nine- Singing

In any other social situation, having a bunch of adults sit around on the floor grumbling songs they barely know under their breaths would normally result in some sort of arrest or mass exorcism.

It’s okay, though, it’s almost over. Just have to get through this awkward bit then we’ve done enough parenting to warrant putting the TV on for a bit at home. Yes, this is the most boring bit ever, and you do let your mind wonder and silently ponder if this hell will ever end.

Don’t worry it does. Because before you know it, you’ll be begging to return to this group with biscuits and cheap squash after playing £4.50 a session at baby French for your little monkey to call you poo poo head in two languages. Brilliant!

baby-group2

Guest Post – His and Only Well Behaved Kids Who Love Getting Their Hair Cut and Will Sit Quietly Like Little Angels

As you all know, i love a good guest post, especially one that’s as funny and truthful as this! If this is right up your street, then why not check out Helena Pugsley’s blog for yourself. 

I usually start with the “keep mentioning it to get them used to the idea” tactic for a few weeks first. Usually met with much resistance. Then I break out the “you can have whatever treat you want” bribery mode. Also usually a total fails and I still end up having to give him treats as I’ve upset him so much with my evil promises of a hair cut that it is the only way to get peace restored. This time I even tried the “your hair will get so long and knotty you will get it caught and it will really hurt” threat mode. This was met with much protesting that getting his hair cut “hurts”. Proper little Samson I have on my hands. Today I finally resorted to a combination of all three plus telling him it WAS happening today either nicely at the shop with all the aforementioned treats OR Daddy would break out the noisy clippers at home and do it. So I somehow managed to actually get him into the shop accompanied by the biggest bag of jelly snake sweets known to man and a promise that he could sit on my lap and he didn’t have to wear the cape.

So then comes the second challenge… given that I have got him into a shop aimed at cutting kids hair I don’t expect their sign to mean “His and only well behaved kids who love getting their hair cut and will sit quietly like little angels.” I explain to the lady that he is a little nervous (haha) and that it has taken a big bribe to even get him there and therefore please can he sit on my lap. You would think I had asked her to cut his hair while we pole danced naked or something. She immediately changed into “the dragon lady” (his words not mine) and started to say she couldn’t possibly do that as she had had (not got) pleurisy (wtf has that got to do with anything here?). I explained again nice and politely that it had taken a lot to even get him in the door and this was the ONLY way this was going to work, and I would hold him however she needed so she could reach him just as easily. So her next tactic was to threaten me saying “well I won’t be able to cut it properly so he will look stupid”. (Seriously!) But there was no way on earth I was leaving after the effort it had taken to get to this point so I reluctantly agreed to have a “stupid looking” kid.

So yes he ducked a few times and protested that it “hurt” the whole way through, but there was a distinct lack of tears or blood so I think we got off lightly. She delighted in telling us about a little angel who had sat so wonderfully for her earlier, and how both Isaac and another little girl, she had in today, had not (which at least made me feel better that I wasn’t alone) and I (somewhat reluctantly after she was such a moody cow) paid the fortune it cost to “the dragon” for my “stupid looking” kid’s haircut and marched him out of the shop with yet another treat. It was definitely time for a cup of tea (surely!) but no I then had to spend 20 minutes picking cut hair off a giant bag of jelly snakes. Roll on the next 2…3…or can I stretch it out to maybe 4 months time?!

The Green Food Strike

As most of you are probably aware by now, my kids are pretty crap picky eaters. That’s right. As a mother I have failed to make vegetables fun and fruit smoothies that actually taste good.  So it won’t surprise you to find out that The Kid won’t eat any vegetables and only eats bananas, pears and apples.  

Whoops.

So when The Baby came along, I lived in hope that the allotted fruit and vegetable gene distribution would be kinder to me this time and start dishing out some love. No such luck.

And so it pains me to say it but we’ve been having a 1 in 3 success rate with The Baby’s green to beige plate ratio, which of course only means one thing. Both Spratts are going to get scurvy and have mutant babies of their own. 

But why? I did everything right. I weaned them on gag inducing pea puree and chip shaped sweet potatoes. (Ok, and the odd bit of cheesy pasta bake and Wotsits.)  

If only I could ask them what the hell is going on in their crazy brains right now…..

Me: So errr, I was wondering girls, why don’t you eat any fruit and vegetables anymore?

The Kid: I hate anything and everything green mummy. Except green ice lollies and play doh.

The Baby: What she said. You know how it is when you’re 2 years old. Why put food in your mouth when you can try a table leg or part of daddy’s belt?  

Me: Most other kids at least eat fruit you know…

The Kid: Those kids are weak.  

Me: Eating all your fruit and vegetables will make you grow big and strong. Like Daddy.  

 The Baby: Screw Daddy.

 Me: Most baby books suggest that….

 The Kid: Hate books.

Me… should eat at least five fruit and vegetables a day.

 The Kid: Goodness woman! Get a grip! We aren’t eating anything that looks green/purple/orange or red. Maybe even yellow if the feeling takes us.  

Me: You’d feel a lot better if you did you know.

 The Baby: And you’d feel better if you just stopped banging on about it. And all this ‘here comes the fire engine’ in that twat of a voice makes you sound like a dick. Soz.

 Me: I wish someone would cook ME healthy meals…

The Kid: Here we go again…’boo hoo for you’. If you don’t stop complaining, then I’ll stop drinking those smoothies Grandma makes too.

Me: All right all right, lets not be to hasty here. I was just commenting that at three and two….

The Baby: Oh cut the crap lady. We know your game here.

Me: I don’t know what you mean sweetie?

The Kid: Yeah. We see you nervously clutching your phone ready to Google “how to get my kids to poo quickly” again. I haven’t been for three days now! Go me!

Me: I know darling. We can smell you from a mile away. See if you just ate your veg… and anyway, you make Googling sound like a luxury!

The Baby: Well isn’t it?

 Me: Err yes but…

 The Kid: What’s your game plan here? Hoping we both take a shit before we get in the car? Or are you bored of the twenty-minute toilet musical statues I make you play?

The Baby: Or my sudden need to wriggle my legs uncontrollably? 

 Me: I’m only ever thinking of you two!

The Kid: Well, I’m not eating anything that isn’t beige and covered in ketchup.

 The Baby: And don’t bother trying to grate them all up or hide them in Spag Bols. I’ll just go f*cking mental and chuck the cutlery at my sister and throw myself out my chair again. Try explaining that away to A&E this time!

Me: Okay….

The Kid: So let us make this crystal clear for you. We eat all kinds of food for Grandma, including mashed stuff. We don’t eat anything that looks or smells healthy at home. ESPECIALLY if you’ve spent an hour cooking it. Got it?

Me: Well sort of yes, but, er, I was wondering if you would be so kind as to switch it round every so often?

The Baby: No. Well now that’s sorted….

The Kid: The park!

 The Baby: But I wanted soft play…

The Kid: I SAID THE PARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Me: Sweethearts, it’s the weekend and blowing a gale. We’re going to be flipping cold at the park and I hate soft play.  

The Baby: Shoes. On. Now.   

Me: FFS

 

 

7 Things All Gross Couples Really Do

They say you’re never more relaxed then when you’re in a relationship….

1.Telling each other that you’ve just had a really good poo. 

It is strangely satisfying.

2. Probing each other’s bodies for spots, blackheads and white hairs.

And squishing them till they pop.

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#NoFilter Week 2

Well howdy No Filter crew, welcome to our second instalment of #NoFilter, the linky for all your no bullshit parenting posts; sharing the highs and deep down lows on what it’s really like to be in charge of little spratts.

Of course, i couldn’t do all this alone, so i’ve roped in the hilariously funny Suzanne (And Another Ten Things) to help me out.

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The Unsung Mum and Petty Parenteral Expectations

The Unsung Mum woke this morning feeling pretty rad. The Spratts between them only woke twice and even though she was awake most of the night wondering if one of them had been Sprattnapped or eaten by zombies, she feels weirdly refreshed.

That changed pretty quickly thought when The Hub mentioned the word ‘Shopping.’

“No,” replies The Unsung Mum. The Unsung Mum hates food shopping with a passion. Unless it’s after eight pm and she can go alone and casually look round the aisles without having to check what The Kid has sneaked into the basket or search every clothing rail for a hidden baby.

“Well I could go alone…”

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#NoFilter Week 1

Well howdy No Filter crew, welcome to our first instalment of #NoFilter, the linky for all your no bullshit parenting posts; sharing the highs and deep down lows on what it’s really like to be in charge of little spratts.

Of course, i couldn’t do all this alone, so i’ve roped in the hilariously funny Suzanne (And Another Ten Things) to help me out.

As this is week 1 and it’s me, we haven’t really thought this through much, but plan on picking our favourite no bull post of the week, then featuring it the following week, who knows, this all may change, i’m crazy like that!

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