You Don’t Have To Dress Up To Be Creepy

Happy Hallowe’en folks! Or if you don’t celebrate Hallowe’en, hello! I am not a big fan of Hallowe’en. In fact, if I had my choice we would spend it at home, growling through the letterbox at Trick-or-Treaters. But apparently it is a source of great excitement for the girls, so I have begrudgingly agreed to indulge them. For weeks they have been discussing and planning their costumes, and for an equal amount of time I have been gently nudging them in the direction of costumes that require little or no effort. And for once, I won!

Big Girl is planning to be a ghost. Her previous choices were a school witch or a zombie school girl. Easy you would think, but she just couldn’t possibly wear her actual school uniform as part of the outfit. No, no. It was suggested that I make her a new school uniform , from scratch, just for her to wear for half an hour this evening. Erm, no. It’s not that I can’t, but more that I can’t be bothered. Ghost is a piece of cake compared to that. Cut a hole in a bedsheet, paint her face white and Bob’s your uncle!

Little Girl is going to be a zombie, wearing a scary dress from her dress up bag. Again, easy peasy. Paint her face grey, crazy up her hair and we’re done! Squeak doesn’t get a choice until she can argue, so she is staying at home with me while I send Mark out with the children. (Heh heh heh.)

My kids totally rock dressing up. They can spend whole days changing identities and making up elaborate stories. Sometimes they try to pull me into the weird imaginary land they’ve created. If I’m lucky, they leave me be.

Big Girl has a style all of her own and she’s not afraid to show it.

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This is Sportapirate. And yes, those are a pair of cheap reading glasses with the lenses popped out. She wore those things to school every day for ages, in fact managing to convince several people that she needed glasses. Nope, she’s just stylin’!

Little Girl is more a creature of habit. And by creature of habit, I mean she likes to do the same thing, over and over and over again. For at least 4 months, possibly closer to 6, she would get up in the morning, have her breakfast and then don her uniform. This was a Snow White dress, crippling pink plastic dressing up shoes (or ‘lippers, as she called them) and a nurse’s hat. But never call it a nurse’s hat, unless you want to feel her wrath. Obviously, it is a crown.

She would do everything in this get-up. Honestly, the money I have spent in Clarks buying her well-fitted, supportive shoes. What a waste of time!

But then, one fateful day, the worst happened. The ‘lippers broke. From that moment, she completely stopped wearing the outfit. I guess it just wasn’t the same. She dabbles now and experiments with different costumes, but the obsession is officially over.

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This is not the outfit, but for some reason I can’t find a picture of the one she always wore.

And now, let me tell you a little story about Big Girl. Because if I don’t then the title makes absolutely no sense!

When Big Girl was about 2, she wasn’t much of a sleeper. I was pregnant with #2, and getting up every night at least twice became quite tiresome. Big Girl must have been aware of this, because she decided to step it up a notch.

She slept in a toddler bed, but for some reason when she woke up she would call for me repeatedly from the bed, rather than coming to the gate. Until…

Picture this. You’re in bed, in that dreamy state that is halfway between asleep and awake. Maybe tonight will be the night that she sleeps through. Perhaps the next thing I remember will be the sun shining through the window.

“Mummy! Muuuummy! Waaaaah!’ Ah, maybe not. So I drag my bloated carcass out of bed and hobble through to the next room. Where the bed is completely empty.

Shiiit! Where has BG gone? She couldn’t have got out, because there was a stairgate across her doorway and she didn’t really climb much. The room was tiny, without many hiding places. It was then, not for the first time, that I wondered if she had learned to teleport. I awkwardly clambered down to the floor and peered under the bed.

Nothing.

The wardrobe held only a pile of unfolded washing. A hiding place indeed, but not for a toddler. Suddenly, I heard a small cough. I spun around to find a small person crouching behind the rocking chair. Staring at me. BG’s eyes are enormous, and that night they were like big pools of terror. Argh! She looked like something out of one of those child-related horror films that I never watch because I’d be too scared to get out of bed at night. She was motionless, dimly lit by the light from the landing.

“Big Girl? Are you ok?” Silence. More staring. “Erm, Big Girl?” Nothing. Creeeeeepy!

Eventually, I had to get down and lift her out from there. And I kissed her, and tucked her in, and she went straight back to sleep. And then did it again and again, every night for months.

So that goes to show, you don’t need a costume to be creepy.

Sabotage

Children mess with you. That is an undisputed fact. Their sole goal is to make you lose your mind, or at least make you think that you have. And they are really freaking good at it. Like scarily good.

There are two types of sabotage: physical and mental. Many people (one person. Me.) debate which is worse. Physical sabotage seems like the big one. It’s in your face, it hurts. But I believe that it’s the mental sabotage that’s the kicker. You have no opinion right now. In fact, you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about. Allow me to explain.

Physical sabotage

If you live in a house with a child, then you know this. Kids like to keep you on your toes. Literally, on your toes. And if they can’t have that, then they want you on the floor, preferably bruised, ideally weeping slightly.

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This is the purpose of the physical sabotage. You know the drill. The phone rings, you forgot to take something out of the oven, a child is making a noise that sounds like they are being strangled. So you begin to walk purposefully across the living room. You probably have bare feet. You aren’t really looking where you’re going, because you are being full of purpose, and you know the layout of your living room off by heart. Or so you think.

Next time you walk through your living room, stop and take a look down. You’ll notice that there are no soft toys on the floor. Oh no, the soft toys are exactly where they should be (in a big messy pile on an inconvenient surface). What you will see on the floor is a veritable obstacle course of the smallest, most angular toys your children own. I’m talking lego. I’m talking plastic figurines. My Little Pony ears are a killer. Bonus points for slippy toys. Double bonus points if they match the colour of the carpet.

Say hello to physical sabotage, my friends.

I know, right? I can see you nodding. Well, no I can’t, because that would be super creepy. But I can totally feel your agreement vibes.

This isn’t the sole method. There is also the ‘change direction right into your path, bounce off you then look at you reproachfully’ routine. The lazy version of this is to simply stick out a foot as you go past. Not to forget the ‘grab your leg as you take a step, so you have to do some Matrix-style shit so you don’t land on top of the child’ trick. It’s creative, I’ll admit. But it’s small beans compared to mental sabotage.

Mental sabotage

I have only one example of this. To think harder would be to invite insanity. In your children’s heads live evil geniuses, and they are plotting your demise.

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This happened today. Now there’s one thing my house has in abundance. Stickers. Big Girl found a couple of those cheap, crappy metallic star ones lying around the kitchen at dinner time. I went off to do the usual bedtime routine and promptly forgot all about it. As you would, because it is insignificant, right? NO!!

The kids are all asleep, and I head down to the kitchen. Suddenly I notice something out of the corner of my eye. HOLY FUCKING SPIDER!!! But no. On closer inspection, it is in fact a green metallic star sticker, stuck right in the middle of the back door, for maximum exposure. FIVE times this evening I have done this. Why don’t I just take it down and toss it in the bin? Because she’ll know. And she’ll act all hurt. And most importantly to me, she will win.

Who am I kidding? She’s already won. And as she sleeps, she is smiling.

This is the worse of the two. I know this story may seem minor, but think about it. The first one hurts. It causes bruising, occasionally blood. The second leaves no marks, well apart from life-long paranoia.

Stay safe guys.

How Squeak Got Her Name

DSC_2404This is Squeak. Well, this was Squeak. She is now a hulking beast of an eleven month old, who barrels around the house with double chins a-wobbling. Today I am going to tell you the story of how Squeak got her name.

This story is a lesson for you all. Nicknames stick.

Forever.

Squeak is the neglected third child. With the first two, Mark and I had found out the sex, picked names and shopped accordingly. Admittedly it was harder to pick a name the second time around, but with four months notice we managed to figure it out. Third time around, I fancied a change and so we decided to wait until the baby was born to find out the sex.

In retrospect, this was the first error.

Now, it appeared that we had acquired baby-naming fatigue. We spent months batting around ideas, and we never agreed on one. But you know, it’s cool, right? I’ve heard so many stories of ‘we just took one look at him/her after the birth and he/she looked just like an [insert name here.]’ So we threw in the towel and decided to just pick a name after the baby was born. After all, you’ve got six weeks to register them, what could go wrong?

Second error, right there. Take note.

This baby did not particularly fancy being born. I reached 17 days overdue before finally being induced. I was so stressed that names had gone completely out of my mind. I didn’tDSC_0272 care. I just wanted to get the scary bit out of the way and the baby in my arms.

Labour didn’t take too long once it got going, and soon I was cuddling baby girl #3. As you can see from the picture, she was pretty squashed in there. In fact, does anyone remember those Boglin puppets from a couple of decades ago? Yeah, she looked like one of those. Although of course, she was most beautiful and perfect to me.

You know how in TV programmes, babies scream at the top of their lungs the very second they’re born? It didn’t really happen like that for me. In fact, Squeak’s first sounds were… squeaks! She sounded like a little mouse. And this is where the truth comes out. The nickname was all Mark’s idea! Since we didn’t have a name yet, he thought it would be cute if she had a little nickname. Of course I agreed.

RED ALERT! Third error! RED ALERT!

So Squeak she became. And we took a whole 5 days to name her, because we still couldn’t agree. Apparently, nine months just isn’t long enough! She has a gorgeous name. Raise your hands if you know me and you remember it! <scans> Liars.

Noone calls her by her name. Which sometimes I think is a shame, because it really suits her. But I have to admit, she just is Squeak. If you shout her name, nothing happens. (Actually, nothing happens pretty frequently when I shout the right names in this house. Sigh.) But as soon as you say Squeak, she’s there. And as she gets bigger, the squeaks get louder, and shriller, and more persistent, but they are still squeaks from Squeak.

It’s Public Service Announcement time. If you give your child a nickname, don’t think that it’ll never catch on. It does. And it takes less than five days. Consider yourselves warned!

A Taste of Things to Come

So first post, yay! I have to say, figuring out how this stuff works is rather confusing. I sat at the computer trying to decide which platform to use, which theme to use, what I wanted to write…it was overwhelming!

Meanwhile, the children were entertaining themselves. Well, two of them were. Big Girl was at school, so that’s one less to worry about. Squeak and Little Girl were playing their favourite game. The ultimate game, the game from which all games come from and where they all end up. Emptying the carefully organised (They were carefully organised once when in a fit of spring cleaning I sorted them all out. It lasted approximately 3 nanoseconds) boxes of toys onto the floor. They looked pretty happy down there so I left them to it.

There’s something you should know about me. I take a little bit from many different parenting approaches, but there is one that I never stray from. Yes, I subscribe to the school of benign neglect. Crying? No. Bleeding? No. Trapped somewhere? No. Engaging in an ‘only this one toy is any good’ tug-of-war? No. OK, we’re all good. Back to where I was.

Now I’m not saying that I leave them to it all the time. We chat, cuddle, play, craft, bake, all that wholesome crap. But sometimes, you’ve just got to kick back and let it go. They’re happy, you’re happy, everyone’s happy!

Anyway, back to the story. So I’m sitting at the computer, clickety-clicking and tappety-tapping, when I hear, ‘Mum? Muuuum?’ I stop what I’m doing straight away because of course I am awesome and attentive and stuff. Little Girl is standing behind me, stark naked but for a pair of knee high white socks (one up, one bunched round the ankle, naturally). She is holding a metal whisk, on which she is twirling a cardboard tube. That’s Montessori shit right there! She cocks her head to the side and smiles her mischievous smile, and says, ‘Look! I’m good of dis, Mum.’ There she stood, all naked and proud, and she was indeed very good at this.

This is not an unfamiliar scenario at our house. The tools change, the words may be different. But always, always, there is nudity. Expect to see more of this!