Monday, 1 August 2016

Of Facebook

So, first off, apologies for my week's absence. I went on holiday, but was obviously not desperate to advertise that to the many random people out there on the internet. Nor could I fit my laptop into my suitcase, 'packing light' most definitely not being one of my strengths.

While I was away, however, I discovered the magic of BLOGGING VIA FACEBOOK. There are a number of reasons this is excellent:

1) I can do it from my phone and not end up hurling the device across the room out of sheer frustration. (Yes, Blogger mobile platform, I'm talking to you.)

2) I can lazily write much shorter posts and still look like I've made an effort.

3) Instant feedback via the joy of the 'like' button. My ego fucking LOVES the like button. (If Facebook ever invents a 'dislike' button it may be a different story.)

And so... I'm experimenting with a brief hiatus blogging over there. If you haven't already joined the madness, please do. I am so self obsessed these days that the endorphin rush I get when a new follower comes along is UNREAL.

To find IKINTST on Facebook... head on over here. There is even more swearing (if such a thing were possible), even more nudity and even more of my children being absolutely barking mad. Would love it if you came and joined us :-)

Friday, 22 July 2016

Dieting

There is a lot of money in the diet industry, so they say. We are apparently all obsessed with attempting to slim down to Kate Moss size, despite the fact we'd all have a lot more fun if we gave it all up as a bad job and breakfasted on a kebab and a pint of Baileys instead.

Given this, I am wondering if I should patent my own diet in order to make shit loads of money. As someone who is depressingly well versed in the many idiosyncrasies of said diet industry, I reckon I am likely the world's leading expert on one particular diet. We shall call it the I Know, I Need To Stop Talking diet. Such a dieting expert am I, I reckon this is the diet I've followed almost every single week since the year I turned 21 and realised some people had thighs which didn't look as though they'd been shaped out of (lumpy) playdough. And here, for you, my most excellent blog readers (I love you all), I bring it to you in all its glory. Don't say I never give you anything.

It goes a little like this...

Monday
Fast day. Apple for breakfast, salad with lean protein for dinner. A metric fuck tonne of calorie free liquids (water, Diet Coke, mint tea) drunk throughout the day to help distract you from the fact your stomach appears to be consuming itself from the inside out.

Tuesday
2lb off. (Likely because you were up every 30 minutes during the night to piss out the 50 litres of fluid you'd consumed during the previous day.) Dieting is easy! Apple for breakfast, salad with lean protein for lunch, more salad with lean protein for dinner. Why mess with a winning formula? Marginally less liquid consumed than on Monday, largely because you fear your bladder may give out.

Wednesday
1lb off. THIS IS THE BEST DIET EVER. Apple for breakfast. Followed by some chocolate because, y'know, 3lb off. Salad with lean protein for lunch. And some overpriced chopped up fruit in a plastic tub. It's Wednesday. You deserve it.

Dinner would be more salad with lean protein but you're getting a bit sick and tired of all that shit now so you go wild and feast on the children's dinner. What? Most other parents you know eat their children's leftovers. The very thought makes you want to gag, so you reverse proceedings instead and eat the bits you know they're going to leave before they get to them. There's strategic thinking for you.

Thursday 
0.2lb off. You are a dieting genius. Apple, chocolate and TOAST for breakfast. Ah, toast, how have I forsaken you for so long. Salad with lean protein for lunch, which is clearly the key to such awesome, sustained weight loss.

Get home and decide you can't face another fucking salad. Decide to treat the children to a Chinese instead because it is good not to deprive yourself all the time, and you have, frankly, run out of menu ideas. Think to yourself, in for a penny, in for a pound, and accompany said Chinese (which you somehow now appear to be actively participating in) with a large glass of wine. Maybe two.

Friday
STAY THE SAME. After the Chinese/wine blip you count this as an enormous success. Maybe you had actually been STARVING your body, and the Chinese and wine were needed in order not to bring your metabolism to a grinding halt. Apple for breakfast, lean protein and salad for lunch. You are determined to have a very sensible day so that you can have a couple of glasses of wine with your dinner of salad and lean protein tonight.

Drink one bottle of wine, a gin and tonic and a family sized packet of crisps. And the leftover Chinese. And the leftover children's dinner (your principles are now out of the window). And some ice cream to top it all off.

Saturday
1.5lb ON. Fuckers.

EAT ALL OF THE FOOD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.

Sunday
Repeat Saturday, and throw in a Sunday lunch for good measure.

Monday
Discover you are now at exactly the same weight as you were when you started the week.

Repeat.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Holiday shopping

There are some people out there who actively enjoy and look forward to holiday shopping. I know this, because I have met them. Interestingly, they all have two things in common: they are a size 8 and they are child-free.

Being neither of these things, I looked forward to the recent holiday shopping I had to do a bit like I look forward to root canal treatment. On the plus side, I had managed to persuade the children to stay with Neil and not accompany me, after one too many 'MY MUM HAS GOT HER FRONT BOTTOM OUT AND IT'S AAAAAALLLL NUUUUUUUUDEYYYYY' changing room disasters in the last eight and a half years.

In an attempt to get organised, I had made a list of the items I needed to buy. I do this every single time, and never know why I bother. The chances of anything I end up buying actually resembling a single item on that list are pretty much non existent.

So, error number one was not having spent the last 12 months working to get my body down to a size 8.

Error number two was picking a time of the year to go shopping when the sales were on. (Although: is it just me, or are the sales on All. The Fucking. Time. these days?)

Error number three was somehow inexplicably ignoring all of the advice I have ever given myself ever AND WALKING STRAIGHT INTO THE MIDDLE OF DAY 1 OF THE NEXT SALE.

I don't know what possessed me. I don't like Next at the best of times: I think it's overpriced old lady clothing. However, clearly on autopilot, I turned left instead of walking straight on and was suddenly trapped in the middle of the third circle of hell.

You will, not unreasonably, argue that surely at this point I could have walked straight out - and you're right, that's what I thought too. Alas, the crowds had reformed behind me like the un-parting of the Red Sea, and therefore there was no alternative to walk further into the madness.

Sales turn people mad, I swear. Despite my hatred of Next clothing I bought three items of clothing for myself and two dresses for Beth, none of which I tried on and all solely down to the psychological manipulation which is a 50% off sticker in the middle of a price label. I bought these even despite the fact I had to stand in a queue for 27 minutes to do so, throughout which I was repeatedly stabbed in the back of the head with a coathanger being brandished by the lady standing behind me. 'Oh look, Laura, I keep stabbing that poor lady in the back of the head.' As she did it again. The expression you're imaging on my face is pretty much spot on.

Having escaped from Next, I inexplicably decided to compound the horrors of my morning by going into Primark. Primark and I have a very chequered past. The urge to hand out Vitamin C tablets to shoppers was as pronounced as ever. On the plus side, after the hell of Next, the people barging past you to grab a synthetic giraffe print net body stocking and questioning their children's parentage seemed almost civilised by comparison...

Finally, I visited H&M. I don't know why. I never know why I go into H&M. Firstly: I am a size 12. In H&M speak this means I will struggle to get a size Large over my ankle. Secondly: their mirrors. My god, their mirrors. If I wanted to look like I'd rolled in suet and stapled a packet of lard to my stomach I could create that magic in the comfort of my own home...

Sweating, depressed, vowing never to eat again and with not a single item on my original list purchased, I returned home, where I presented Beth with her two new dresses. She looked at me as though I had urinated on her foot.

'Why have you got me these?'

'Um... to wear?'

'No.'

And that, as they say, was that.

Fucking holiday shopping. Next year I'm cutting to the chase and will simply be holidaying naked.

Monday, 18 July 2016

School reports

Ah, that joyous time of year, when the school reports come out and your Facebook timeline is filled entirely with Other Parents Gloating.

I am not one of those parents. In part, because if I did, I could no longer mock them mercilessly, and in part because... I have to be honest: I have very little to gloat about.

The school reports came out on Wednesday this week, when the first I knew of it was Mr Jamie running out of after school club with his eyes closed thrusting a white envelope in my direction. 'Just open it, just get it over with, Mum, I'm going to sit in the car, I CAN'T TAKE IT ANY MORE.'

Beth followed, holding hers. 'Here is mine, Mum. It's very good.'

'How do you know? Have you seen it?'

She shrugged. 'No. But it just is.'

Hmmm.

We got into the car, Jamie still pleading with me. 'Just do it Mum, just get it over with.'

'Jamie, how bad do you think this report actually is? I thought you'd been trying hard at school.'

'Well... sometimes.'

'And other times?'

'Then... maybe not.'

'Ah.'

I decided to start with Beth's. It was remarkably detailed, given she's only in Year R. It contained a large amount of information about her progress that year, including, notably, comments on her goal scoring ability and Match Attax football card collection. To be honest, it was a positive liturgy of praise, and could quite easily have provided me with some serious gloating material... had I not suspected, from the gleam in Beth's eye, that she had somehow bribed and corrupted her teacher into writing the whole bloody thing.

Moment of truth, then. I opened Jamie's, which was almost encyclopedia thick and left me wondering quite how much time his teachers had actually had to teach him last year given the amount of man hours which must have been required to put this together. Taking a deep breath, I read the first sentence. Oh good: and so it begins.

Now, I am married to a teacher, and as such I have become fairly adept over the years at interpreting school reports. I can therefore share with you the following 'highlights' from Mr Jamie's report this year... and what the teachers were no doubt really thinking as they wrote them.

'Jamie is a gregarious child' (we all know how those required to teach 'gregarious' children really feel about them!) 'who thoroughly enjoys the social aspects of school life.'

Jamie treats school like a youth club.

'Although articulate and well-informed, he does not often choose to initiate conversation with his teachers.'

He never stops talking... unless asked to by a member of staff, when he suddenly loses all power of speech.

'Jamie is interested in the topics covered in class but he does not yet have the discipline to consistently motivate himself.'

Jamie needs a rocket up his arse.

'He finds it more difficult to remain focused in group or individual tasks, as the urge to chat can sometimes be overwhelming!'

We have frequently considered the use of a gag.

'A capable reader, Jamie has a tendency to try and get by with the minimum amount of effort.'

Jamie really cannot be arsed.

'We have enjoyed the challenge of teaching him this year.'

You owe us a bottle of gin.

I reached the end. 'JAMIE. Can I talk to you?'

'Um, if it's okay Mum, I'd rather you didn't. I think I might just go and tidy my room. For a very, very long time.'

Anyone else got any school report gems to share?

Friday, 15 July 2016

Things you must never do as a parent

I was asked to write this post by a friend of mine - I would link to her Twitter handle, but I suspect she would prefer to remain anonymous, what with her request being based on some very much real life frustrations...

There are some things which I genuinely think all prospective parents should be required to sign a disclaimer to confirm they will not do once they have children. I am pretty sure I am not alone in this. There is no way that anyone, ANYONE, can possibly think that any of the below are adding any kind of value to society...

1) I Will Not Photograph My Baby Eating. Actually, scratch that. It's your baby, it's your camera. You go right ahead and photograph your baby eating. But placing it on social media, where the rest of us might be happening to glance through while grabbing a quick snack and immediately find our gag reflex in full throttle? Absolutely unacceptable. Babies are gross, and babies trying to find an orifice to insert food into are really quite exceptionally gross. Please stop it.

2) I Will Not Bring My Child To Work. With the clue there being, you know, the word WORK. As opposed to CRECHE. I have never entirely understood why people think this will in any way delight or surprise their colleagues. Particularly when they bring in an appallingly behaved child, and then blame their surroundings for their behaviour. 'Oh, I know she's wailing like a banshee, but you can't blame her for that, she's really hungry and there are lots of strange people around. She doesn't like being hungry and seeing strange people.' WHY THE FUCK HAVE YOU BROUGHT HER INTO A CROWDED OFFICE AT LUNCHTIME THEN? (In the interests of full disclosure, I have brought my children into my office on at least one occasion. However, Beth was dressed in a full Spiderman costume, complete with latex mask, which meant she couldn't actually speak, and therefore I believe this was probably acceptable.)

3) I Will Not Stealth Boast. By all means, be proud of your child's achievements. It is likely you will be the only person out there who is proud of that sculpture which is allegedly a self portrait, but in all reality just looks like an oversized shit, so you praise away. What will make every other person in the near vicinity want to stab you, however, is when you employ the Stealth Boast, in a pitiful attempt to cover your gloating with self-deprecation. 'I can't tell you how disappointed I am that little Delilah has only read the first five Harry Potter books. She's three next week and I would have thought by now she'd at least have made it to the Half Blood Prince. Hoping that early morning tutoring is going to do the trick.' LOLZ. And also, FUCKOFFZ.

4) I Will Not Expect Other People To Marvel At My Child. We know, we know, you think they're the greatest being the world has ever known. And that's absolutely your prerogative. To the rest of us though, they're just a food covered, chattering midget whose existence is as a direct result of the fact that you couldn't get your contraception sorted out. So forgive us for being a tad underwhelmed.

5) I Will Not Bring My Child To Weddings. Yes, they might have been invited. I can tell you now: the bride and groom were only doing it because they were being polite/because they had to. Do everyone a favour - including your child - and don't bring them with you. They will hate it. Everyone else will hate you. And them. Leave them in the care of a trusting babysitter and go and get senselessly drunk instead. The wedding will improve ten fold as a result. I guarantee it. (My children have been invited to several weddings over the course of their lives, and have never yet attended one. Mr Jamie asked me why he hadn't been to one the other day. I described what happens at a wedding. His response? 'Please don't ever make me do that.' Quite right too.)

Add your own...

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Go the fuck to sleep

Is not an original post title, but is the phrase I most think about getting tattooed across my fucking face every evening as the clock ticks round past dinner time and I attempt to get my children to go to their beds and bloody well stay there.

It is like I'm speaking in Mandarin. Actually, no, strike that, because if I was speaking in Mandarin, I actually think they would have learnt the bloody language by now. Or at least learnt the gist of what I am saying, which is essentially always 'GO TO YOUR BEDS AND STAY THERE UNTIL IT IS MORNING'.

The debacle which is herding them into bed usually starts immediately after dinner when, without fail, it will appear to come as an abject surprise to them that they actually have to go to bed. Upon realising this, they will then waste at least 20 minutes telling me how horrendously unfair it is that they have to go to bed, that if I had any ounce of decency in me as a human being I would never make them go to bed, and that their lives have effectively been ruined by the fact I don't allow them to remain awake 24/7 and run themselves into hysteria.

Once we've got over the fact that yes, it's true, I really am going to make them go to bed, just as I've done every single night of their lives so far, and once they've finished telling me what a terrible person I am as a result, their attentions turn to the fact that, not only am I going to make them lie down and rest, I'm also going to avoid them rotting and festering away and am going to insist on some kind of water-based cleansing activity.

It is as though I've suggested corporal punishment.

'WHY? Why do we always have to do this? Why do you make us? I don't want to. It hurts. I CAN'T.' A good half hour can be wasted as they argue against the merits of bathing or showering. And, if I consider adding the threat of a hair wash in there as well? They will still be arguing with me about how horrific their life is by the time they get up the next morning.

Once washed, you'd think the process would speed up a bit.

No.

The next step is tooth brushing - takes 15 minutes, minimum, with no more than 30 seconds of those 15 minutes spent with an actual toothbrush in their mouths - followed by what is apparently the very onerous task of finding and putting on their pyjamas. To this day, neither of my children have ever managed to find and get into their pyjamas without assistance, which means that, unless I can be bothered to get up off the sofa and herd them around the house like an elderly sheepdog (highly unlikely), they will go to bed sleeping in whatever insane combination of clothing they can find. Highlights include Mr Jamie wearing nothing but a pair of Beth's pants (3 sizes too small), and Beth putting herself to bed in full football kit, complete with shin pads and studs.

After that, you'd think they might actually make it into bed. Don't be fucking ridiculous. They know that the next stage in the process is to spend at least 25 minutes employing themselves in the most ridiculous yet apparently essential activity that they can find. Tonight they formed a ukulele band, apparently called The Crazy Ukuleles. I managed to not drink gin in response to this, which I think is a sign that I am growing as a person.

Eventually, eventually, I will have shouted at them sufficiently for them to capitulate and actually get into bed. I will read them a bedtime story, allegedly designed to calm them down and get them ready for sleep. I might as well simply dose them up on E numbers for all the good it does.

The next hour will be spent with me sitting on the sofa fielding increasingly ridiculous reasons as to why they need to be downstairs and not in bed. In recent weeks we've had 'I just need to be close to you', 'Do you think Lionel Messi is in bed yet?', and 'I've put a toy on my windowsill that scares me, so now I'm scared'. The latter was actually dealt with relatively quickly, with my pithy response that, if they thought that was scary, they should wait to see how scary I was able to be if they thought about coming back downstairs again...

Finally, finally, finally... I will crack and go upstairs to bed myself. This seems to sedate them - after all, there's no point repeatedly coming downstairs if it doesn't massively inconvenience at least one of your parents - and they will eventually fall asleep.

The next morning?

'Why are you making me get up? I'm so tired. Why are you so MEAN?'

Anyone else?

Monday, 11 July 2016

When sex ed backfires

So, I've sat on this blog post for a couple of weeks, which is quite abnormally restrained for me. I genuinely thought it might be a bit unfair to exploit my children in such a way.

And then I realised how much everyone I told it to in real life laughed about it, and decided I didn't really care.

However. To protect the innocent... this is a story about my 'friend'. And what happened to her the other night as she sat reading her son a bedtime story...

She was sat on the bed next to him, reading The Witches. Her son was listening intently, and they were about halfway through the chapter, when all of a sudden...

'MUM! Mum! Look at my MASSIVE erection!'

There was a stunned silence, both of them, she suspected, feeling rather different emotions.

'Mum, do you know what this means?'

'I absolutely dread to think.'

'I must REALLY like witches.'

Fuck.

My.

Life.

Her life, that is. HER life...

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