The Pre-School Nightmare

If you are a stay at home mam/mom in San Francisco, pretty much every time you visit a playground you will hear tell of The Pre-School Nightmare (unless you only hang out with nannies – which is very possible). Veteren mothers of older children will nod sagely and say “wait ‘til they have to go to elementary school, thats even worse.”

Unfortunately for me I missed out on The Pre-School Nightmare due to my brain being on an extended postnatal vacation in hell. When I woke up and looked around it was over. What it mainly consists of it Pre-School directors making mothers cut off their own arms and raping them with said aputated limb. Its not called The Pre-School Nightmare for nothing. Mothers must research thousands of pre schools and then apply to say, 37. Each one they apply to will either do the arm removal/rape thing or charge $40 – $70 and give the mother a pile of paperwork asking them to commit to several limb amputations per year and to donate blood for painting the preschool. The mother will then hear back from all 37 preschools who will all reject her. Except one, she will be so pathetically grateful to this preschool that she will tell all her friends that it is amazing – her child simply could not do with out it and it is totally worth the $1000 per month she pays for her child to go there for 3 hours a day. He is learning SO much. She is very, very happy to submit to the twice yearly anal rape and her husband loves weeding the preschool garden every weekend.

So, yes, we missed out on that. If you want to take part you must begin the process in the Autumn term before you child is 3. Or for guarenteed fun, in the Autumn term before you child is 2, this is because some schools fill up with children who have been in the lower class and there will be no space for your little on if you try to join when he is 3.

So, Max will have a disadvantage in life, but hey, he’ll also grow up to be a white middle class male in a first world country, so I’m sure he’ll live.

Breast Appreciation Day

I once saw a procession of women in Peru walking along with a massive papier mache boob (about the size of a small car) I have also heard tell of the NCT knitted boobs. These people have it right, breasts are cool. Mine have had long and illustrious careers. Starting out as an integral part of Team underaged drinking and then moving on to attract a variety of boyfriends and one husband.

They then handled the Max account increasing Max from a 9lb baby to a 22lb 5 month old entirely on their own, giving, I think, even the most dedicated dairy cow a run for her money and in the past year the poor things have had a shit time with the very difficult Evie project. They have perservered admirably during this time, suffering from Evie’s barracuda-like nursing technique (those were the breast feeding councillor’s words not mine)and bleeding real blood from their nipples, which is as painful as it sounds. The final thing that happened was that one of them had to have a bit of suspected skin cancer removed, poor thing. Due to Evie’s considerable attatchment to her food source they didn’t even get a day off for that. Now the boob in question looks like it has survived an attack from a tiny rabbit with sharp teeth, or something… not a shark or a tiger.

Anyway, well done boobs! I promise you can retire soon.

In other news down and out Santa is looking more down and out and less Santa than ever. I think he might be suffering from some kind of obesity related disease.

Conveniences of the Modern American Housewife

As we all know from a vague collective memory of America in the 1950s, America is the best, most convenient place to live in applience aided domestic bliss. We have a dishwasher, a garbage disposal (makes all kind of exciting noises and you never have to scrape yucky stuff out of the sink) and… AND the best thing ever a fridge/freezer that makes and dispenses ice cubes. Fucking, Hell Yeah! Love it.

But guess what is crap? Most places (In San Francisco at least) don’t have a washing machine. I believe this to be a gross oversight on the part of America, and a stain on the nation. Even when you fnd a place that does have a washing machine most of them are located in a garage. Why? Does the car need its little car coat washing. Actually though, I now know why they put it there though, its because the plmbing is shit and water from the washer just splurges out into the sink. This is no good if you have a pair of shitty underpants soaking in there. Ours has caused many floods. As has our bog (or restroom, in American), in SF they are all a low flow flush and have a large waste pipe half the diameter of in the uk. I used to think that Americans called their toilets restrooms because they were loathe to admit that they had bodily functions, after the most embarassing converstaion of my life with our Landlord I have to reconsider that opinion. During it he basically suggested that my “business” was too big and suggested that I do my “business”, flush, wipe and flush again. Seriously.

Amongst other non conveniences is Wallgreens. Wallgreens is like a very down market version of Boots, they are everywhere, even here in non chainy SF. The one near us has almost half of its produce in locked cabinets, this includes razors, deodourant, face cream, condoms and all manner of other stuff. Thus, if you want to buy condoms you have to press a button near them, which loudly announces “ASSISTANCE NEEDED IN THE CONTRACEPTIVE DEPARTMENT” then stand there and wait for a bored, surly shop assistant to come over and open the cabinet. The assistant will then watch you while you choose and often make comment. If you live in America and have time on your hands, you should spend a bit of it driving a Walgreens employee mad by reading all of the labels on all of the things in the cabinet they have just opened for you. Please do that, seriously, it would make my life to hear about it. Maybe as a flash mob. Go on!

America

I have now been in this strange and barbourous land for over a year and have remained resistant to learning virtually anything useful about it.

Here are the things I have learnt about the language here: The natives here speak a strange form of our queens own English Intonation – stress the end of the word, not the beginning. “t” is pronounced “d” “r” is stressed. say “can I get” not “please can I have” These Americans have also invented their own words for some things – the cheek! I bet the Queen is not best pleased. rocket = arugulla, corriander = cilantro, tinned sweetcorn = hominy, chickpeas = garbanzo beans, nappy = diaper, dummy = pacifier, pram/ pushchair/ buggy = stroller, great= awesome, brilliant= awesome, ace = awesome, wicked = awesome, cool = awesome, amazing = totally awesome. In the context of answers to the question “How are you?” the following translations can be made: Awesome! = fine, thanks Great! = alright Doing good thanks = not bad Yes, the slow dawn of realisation, we Brits are mardy bastards in comparison with the puritans we sent away all those years ago. Americans have also done away completely with adverbs and just rely on using adjectives in their place. I’m not sure if thats just a colloquialism or if it’s taught that way in schools but I have never heard an American person use one. I think I might have learned one other thing, but I’ve forgotton it now. Hmmmm must study harder so I can inform my American about how she should behave too. Oh yeah, don’t tut here say “Get oudda my way asshole” SO much more satisfying.

Hate and Loathing

Dear people who speed across zebra crossing while I’m on it and people who leave their dog’s shit in parks where my kids can stand in it, pick it up or eat it (thats anywhere in the park for those of you unfamiliar with toddlers), if you could just fuck off and then maybe die I’d be much obliged. Cheers!

Also, woman who parks her fucking massive car so I have to bump my stroller on to a main road so I can get across – you – you can die too. Good.

In other news I’ve come up with a master stroke of mothering genious recently. Here it is: Both my kds went through a stage where their favourite thing to do was rip up a sheet of paper and eat it. I have discovered that Evie is just as happy to do this with a piece of lettuce, which is actually food. Genious.

Love and Joy

Some time ago someone asked me what the best and worst things were about being a mum. The best thing I knew instantly was love and joy.

The worst was dificult, so much to choose from, I think I settled on increased logistical problems and lack of sleep. I was actually wrong about that (I know! Me! Wrong! – So rare it only happens around the same mumber of times I drink tea), the worst thing is actually that when you love someone that much them coming to any harm or being hurt in any way totally murders your brain. Even the thought of it can make me cry.

When I had Evie something awful happened, as I looked at her I did not instantly fall in love. I just thought. Hmmm that doesn’t look like my baby. My baby is Max. You are a red screamy thing. The urge to protect and look after her, I had. The overwhelming love and joy, not. This caused much brain trauma, especially in combination with the 3 – 7 hours of constant screaming every night and the sleep deprivation. I thought I would never love her and it would fuck her up immensely. I felt like my brain might implode and my guts spray out of my nose. However, I had stuff to do and got on with it as best I could.

A couple of months ago I realised that something wonderful had happened. I’d fallen in love. I love my babies more than anything in the world. They fill up my life with joy and I am very happy.

Thank fuck for that.

Tramps of the Richmond: Reviewed

San Fransisco has loads of great features and also a lot of homeless people, the tramps near us are of a very special vintage and give me plenty to think about as I roam around with my double stroller. Here is a brief review of the best ones.

In joint last place: The Scavengers: I’m not sure if these people are tramps, extreme environmentalists, or just exceptionally cuffy. They are a troup of tiny old asian women who go around getting recyclable stuff out of the bins and presumably taking it to be recycled. Initially, I thought they were pretty innovative homeless people, but then I saw one park her car, get out and rake through all my empty beer bottles, shoving them in her boot (trunk). It makes me feel sad that someone who rakes through bins for a living has a car and I regularly have to haul 2 kids a massive diaper bag and a double buggy onto the bus, therefore, I give these people last place in the Richmond Tramp Awards.

In Third Place: Crazy One Eyed Trolley Dude. This man is basically a reject from the Tenderloin, not hard enough and not crazy enough to make it there he has been relegated to The Richmond.

In Second Place: Homeless Santa. Homeless Santa is the most cheerful and contented of the tramps and manages to maintain an improbably enormous gut. He has a beard that would definately be white if he washed it, twinkly eyes and always smiles and waves at my kids. Also, I didn’t see him on Christmas Eve. This is really my favourite homeless person in The Richmond, but I can’t give him first place, because he is not as original as…

Zombie Child: The presigious First Place goes to, Zombie Child. From a distance she looks like a sad little lost child, hair streeming out behind her, dragging her little trolley of veg. Close up she looks like an actual zombie. The thing I like about Zombie child is that she amuses herself by throwing veg onto Fulton street and watching as the cars run it over and she does this in a very surreptitious way, holding the veg behind her back and doing a little run up. Its nice that even though she probably can’t afford the anti-psychotics that she needs, someone always provides her with veg so she can pursue a hobby.

Two Children = Good... sometimes

Many things are great about having 2 children under 3

(I’ve been in California for quite a while now – some of the outward displays of positivity must be rubbing off – if I use the word Awesome to mean something is not too bad though, just kill me). Its taken some time but I do actually love having Max, the worlds largest toddler, and Evie, the adorable little chunkster (Even when they are both awake at the same time!).

Here is a list of things that are great about it:

1) Genetic experimentation. I get to see two interactions of mine and Dan’s genes. This is totally fascinating and its pretty interesting how different they both are. With Max I’ve basically cloned my favourite individual. Evie is a more complex beast, and more of a trad style cuddly baby than he was.

2) I get to have a 4 – 6 month old again. Babies this age are totally adorable and this particular one loves me best. Its very gratifying that she appreciates my efforts even though I am pretty incompetent.

3) Less patronising coments. When a baby is your second baby people leave off the patronising comments and unsolicited parenting advice a bit, and when they do give you ridiculous/irritating advice you are much more adept at ignoring them or, as I have begun to do, correcting them. Eg:

Old woman (in high squeeky voice): Oh Mommy, my feet are so cold, put my socks on. Me: No, they’re fine with no socks in this weather. (continues to chat with friend)

With Max I would have put socks on him and thanked the old woman, possibly even apologised to her.

4) Happy Child Interactions. Watching Evie laugh her little socks off (Her laugh is like Selma off the Simpsons) at Max while he clowns about. He has the ability to make her laugh even during the witching hour.

There we go, Two Children = Good!

Things that...

do my fucking head in about having 2 children under the age of 3

I have recently been experiencing lots of moments of duel and single child joy and happiness, but I prefer to whinge, its a British thing, I think. So here follows a list of things that piss me off.

1) I have not had more than a 4 hour stretch of sleep for 5 months. (This is a slight exageration – I have had 3 nights where I had a 6 hour stretch of sleep).Interestingly, Margaret Thatcher only had 4 hours of sleep a night when she was Prime Minister which probably explains why she was such a mental bitch.

2) Nursing Strike. Nursing Strike is when even though the baby is starving so much it screams, it will not feed. This means holding a hysterical baby with one nipple (and way too much postnatal belly) on display in a variety of public places… I am proud that she’s a unionist baby though.

3) I never leave a place without one or both children screaming, this makes it very hard to maintain my customary air of composure, dignity and glamour.

4) I leave the house for a day out with more stuff than I took on a years trip around the world. This is actually completely literally true.

5) Life is infuriatingly slow. To the point where Max knows the phrase infuriatingly slow eg. “I go up the stairs infuriatingly slowly don’t I Mammy?” Yes you do.

6) I am absolutely never doing the right thing by both kids. Feeding one while the other one steals another kids toys, playing octonauts with one while the other one fails to learn any language skills. Tuning out the whinging of one and making the other watch telly while I stuff food in my face. I’m not a perfectionist by any means, but the level of crap I’m at is pretty harsh.

7) The duel child attack. This is when both children go mentard at the same time and is related to, but not exactly the same as BCMF.

8) Bad Child Moment Fission (BCMF) This is when one bad child moment collides with another, which then splits into two bad child moments which then creates a chain reaction that could potentially end the world. An example for you is child 1 starts a low level whinge, Mother 1 begins to prepare child 2 for leaving cafe. Child 2 screams that it needs a wee causing child 1 to ramp up the whinge to a cry. Mother 1 collects all possesions and children into stroller and wheels them towards the toilets. Child 1 is now VERY pissed off (it wanted to be picked up or rolled vigorously around in the stroller.) Child 2 now decides that it didn’t want a wee after all and begins to scream hysterically, this disturbs child 1 further etc etc, until the world ends.

9) There is a very high probability that the older on will kill the younger one, by “experimenting” with what can go in a baby’s mouth/how high can a baby bounce etc.

Next week; a review of tramps who live in The Richmond

WEES AND POOS!!!!!

At last, bowels and bladders and more opportunity for some parenting poo related anecdotes. Finally, I have got round to training Max to use a potty or a bog for his wees and poos and today is his 7th day of wearing big boy pants (you can use that to describe your own pants free of charge if you like). I’m very proud to say that its gone pretty well so far with only a few accidents and Max has given me much praise “I couldn’t have done it without you Mam” – his own words, actually not about potty training, but about tidying up. I was also applauded for weeing in the toilet and also for having “fur” and no wink wonk. People of the internet, boys and girls, the void into which I like to scream – my pubic hair has been applauded, exclaimed upon and generally lauded as very novel. Max has also said to me (very loudly and in a public toilet) “Do you want to see a wee come out of my willy Mammy?”

There have been bad times though, oh yes. Duel child bad times. In starbucks. Max had what I will refer to as a solid accident in his dinosaur pants, I saw it coming but a baby was attached to my nipple, I attempted to detatch said baby, but to no avail. Pooey pants are worse than pooey nappies. That is just fact.

And on that salient note I will leave you.

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