Monday, 23 November 2009


I need to set the record straight.
Shouty: He's changed.
I can't say when this change happened exactly, but it has.
It wasn't sudden or immediately obvious.
The best I can say is maybe Septemberish?
But the timing doesn't matter really.
The wonderful news is: my youngest son, Shouty, can be revealed, as little James.
Yes, my angry, grumpy, annoyed youngest son has turned into an utter joy to behold.
He is awesome.
Friends told me it could happen. Some said it would happen. That even the most difficult baby, you know, a proper cry baby, could buck it's ideas up and turn lovely.
My friend's little boy cheered up from his first 10 months of misery to become super smiley. Almost overnight.
My sister in law, one of the loveliest creatures you could ever meet, was a monster when she was small. Biting herself in rage and screaming in supermarkets.
But she's 29. And my youngest is 18 months. The prospect of more than 25 years of him throwing himself on the ground when he can't get his own way has kept me awake at night. (That, and his screaming)
But I needn't have worried. James is dreamy.
In previous blogs I may have briefly mentioned that Shouty has been a bit difficult.
Ok, I know I have laid it on quite thick, about how hard I have found it/him. But, in all seriousness, I have been fairly conservative in my assessment of my latest baby.
Never for a fraction of a second have I not loved him dearly, do anything to protect him, crikey, I'd even eat a live snake if I had to.
But, by jingo, some nights much earlier this year, I wasn't sure I liked him much.
Oooh, that's harsh you think. A mother saying she didn't like her son.
But I really didn't. He was very difficult to like. Having him around was a thankless, joyless task that even he seemed furious about. Occasionally I would catch a glimpse of Shouty when he was content.
This would usually involve biscuit eating.
But then he'd be gone and the snarling infant would be back bearing his teeth and contorting his dribbly face, daring me to try to cuddle him.
Oh my goodness. How far have we come?
James was frustrated.
He couldn't get around or express himself. So he whinged.
In a really whingy loud way.
I won't go over old ground and describe how I struggled with him, (let me count the ways).
It isn't that he is unrecognisable.
He is still fascinatingly headstrong.
Extremely focused.
Not keen on hand holding.
Or getting in a buggy.
Or having his toe nails looked at, let alone touched, heaven forbid cut.
Or walking with the rest of his family.
Or baths.
He is a complicated little character.
And he is happy.
Enthusiastic, affectionate, constantly babbling, chattering with delight to whoever is near as he wanders, with purpose from toy to toy, room to room.
He is cheeky. And this makes him very funny.
He smiles all the time because he laughs all the time.
And he is an excellent dancer. He really does have all the moves.
Well, one move really, a kind of slow side to side knee bend step that somehow captures the essence of whatever he is listening to.
He is a magnificent little man and I actually miss him when he is in bed.
During my darkest moments, in the middle of the night I can clearly remember frequently wondering how other parents cope?
What makes them carry on?
Where were the incentives to keep at it?
As Shouty struggled and screamed in my arms I just didn't get it.
The saying parents churn out time and time again would resound in my head and terrify me:
"I wouldn't change him for the world," they'd insist.
I'd have changed Shouty for a flapjack.
A pretty big one, mind.
I know It is lazy and clich├ęd to describe time spent with your children as a journey.
But, we've been on a journey.
It was bleak for a while, worse even than that 42 hour Greyhound bus trip I did a few years ago.
But now any time with James, and his delicious older brother, is a pleasure. They are enchanting and captivating.
Though I admit it is a shame they are incontinent.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


I bought a mascara last week.

It cost £28.

That is a silly amount of money to spend on a mascara.

(That is also a silly amount of money to spend on a Twix but I wasn't falling for that again!)

As a stay at home mum the purchase of a mascara is pretty exciting and empowering. It's something to look forward to.
A reason to go to to the shops.
And completely unnecessary.

It's not like I use it like toothpaste. I don't get through a tube every few weeks.
I don't even think I have ever used all of any single mascara up.
Is that even possible?
I doubt I will ever have to deal with the panic that a mascara famine would cause.

I don't even use the stuff every day.

Or every week.

But I like having it and knowing it is there. You know, like us and Canada.

I have mascara and after a few weeks/months I will inexplicably decide it needs replacing.

My current mascara is inadequate.

It is broken.

It is rubbish.

I mean, it may as well be poison.

Out with the dangerous toxic weapon.

In with a new beautiful thick lashed dream.

Years ago a very wise lady in Jackie magazine said you should replace your mascara every 3 months to avoid, oh, I can't remember, getting a lazy eye or something.

Insanity, I thought at the time.

Now this extravagant beauty tip enables my addiction.

I need a new mascara.

This is now fact.

No need to rush into anything though, eh?

Don't want to make a decision I could regret?

I need to research the market.

A lot will have changed in the mascara world since my last purchase.

And what am I looking for anyway?

Do I want definition?





Telescopic lashes?

Stilettos? (On my eyes?!?)

No clumps?



And how much am I going to spend?

Do I have enough Boots points?

Hang on.


Yes, really.

There are several vibrating mascaras currently available.

On my last count, literally seconds ago, I noted four.

It was immediately obvious, I would have to have one. But which?

As if I didn't know already.

If you are going to buy an electric mascara you can't skimp.

You need the best.

The Rolls Royce of black eye gunk.

Also known as the most expensive one I could find.

It's ok though.

I could buy it from Debenhams and use my £10 voucher.

I am actually saving money.

I'm there.

In the shop.

Asking for assistance.

Making the purchase.

Engaged in the full on sale transaction.

Yes, the receipt can go in the bag.

No, I don't want a sample sachet of mustard coloured foundation.

I'm gone.

And I'll take my posh make up with me.

We arrive back at my place.

I try not to rush things.

The mood has to be right.

If I rush the application it could all go horribly wrong. Be a dreadful embarrassing mess. Could be all over in seconds.

A new mascara is best now. When it is still in it's shiny box.

All guarantees pending.

My eyelashes will look like they do on the telly, only without the inserts and airbrushing.

Almost vaguely similar then?

I break the seal on the box There is no going back now.

It looks like a normal mascara which is reassuring but also slightly disappointing considering I have spent a lot of money on motorised make up.

Oh look! There's a button! An 'on' button. Let the oscillation commence!

My life didn't change.

My lashes looked the same really.

Just a bit darker.

It can't be the make up's fault it was a non-starter.

I feel guilt!

It's not you, it's me.

I'm not experienced enough.

You're too sophisticated for a girl like me.

We need to learn together.

Teach me your elegant defined ways and I will let you stay in my make up bag for a maximum of 4 months.

I have used my vibrating mascara twice. It doesn't seem to pack much of a punch when it comes to volume.

So, it seemed only right, in the interests of science and research for me to buy another, to compare.

Yesterday I bought my second mascara in 6 days.

And I haven't even opened it.