Run Forrest Run

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Its that time of year when its starting to warm up and my thoughts are once again turning to getting fit for summer. I am one of those lucky people who are without trying, naturally slim. Unfortunately this also makes me unlucky as it lulls me into the false sense of security that because I am slim I must be healthy and fit and therefore I don’t need to exercise. A glance in the mirror this morning after squeezing into my favourite skinny jeans was a bit of a wake up call. Well, less a wake up call and more a sharp slap in the face with a wet fish. How long have my butt and my knees been planning this merger for? Some time, going by the 80’s high-waisted jean clad mum bum look I’m rocking in the back. Time to get off the couch, dust off my trainers and start running again.

I’ll be honest here, I don’t really enjoy running. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a naturally gifted athlete. Have you seen that episode of Friends when Rachel takes Phoebe running? Of course you have, Friends is still on, what, twenty, thirty times a week? Well, anyway, when I run, I wish I were Rachel, but as you’ve probably guessed I’m Phoebe. I’ve never been quite sure what to do with my arms. I am very aware of them, especially as they seem to do such stupid things when I run. Think whacky wavey flappy flailing arm inflatable tube man. I have been known in the past to punch myself in the face whilst running down a hill. I am just not co-ordinated. But while I don’t enjoy running, I enjoy the after effects. The extra energy. The warm glowy feel of healthiness. The being able to dash quickly up the stairs without feeling like I’ve just scaled Mount Everest without oxygen.

After I had Biggest, and before I had Smallest, I was the fittest I’d ever been. I was going to the gym three times a week. I was running five times a week. When I fell pregnant with Smallest it all came to an abrupt halt. No amount of platitudes from my midwife that it was perfectly safe to continue could convince me he wasn’t going to either a) fall out of my foof, or b) be born with googly eyes from all the bouncing around in there.

I’ve only run once since I had Smallest, when he was about four or five months old. It started off well enough. I put all my lovely bright running gear on. Warmed up with lots of stretches. Then started off with a brisk jog. After about a minute I was congratulating myself. This wasn’t so bad. Running around after two boys all day was obviously doing far more for my physical fitness than I thought. A minute later and I was lent up against the nearest tree convinced I was going to puke/have a heart attack/die/all of the above. I waited for my heart to stop trying to explode through my ribs, and then set off at a slightly slower and more sedate but easier to maintain speed. And was promptly passed by two buggy pushing yummy mummies out for a relaxed Sunday stroll and a natter. One of them nodded a friendly hello. I tried to say hello back, but as I literally had no breath left with which to speak by this point it came out as a growl, during which I may or may not have dribbled down my front a teeny bit. They sped up in an effort to get away from the quite clearly insane sweaty mess of a person, I tottered on concrete legs to the nearest bench to collapse. Then limped home wearily with my tail between my legs. Did I warm down? No, I believe I headed straight for the treat cupboard to snaffle me some chocolate in an effort to raise my severely depleted blood sugar and to take the edge off my embarrassment. I also seem to vaguely recall walking a bit like a cowboy for a few days afterwards.

I’m beginning to wonder, whilst remembering this little nugget, why I’m so keen to start it up again. The truth is that for me running is the far lesser of exercising evils. Despite going for eight months I never got into the whole gym bunny thing. While I told myself that nobody was looking and that we were all here with the same purpose, I’ll admit the girls in full face make up and teeny tiny crop tops mulling around the entrance to the weights room to perve in giggling gaggles convinced me otherwise. Besides which, there is only so many times a girl can fall off of the cross trainer before admitting it’s not her bag. I’m also no good at games. My aforementioned unco-ordination does not lend itself well to team sports. Being patted patronisingly on the back and congratulated on a ‘good effort’ gets old pretty quick. I hate being responsible for everyone else losing the game at best, and at worst for someone being accidently smacked in the face and ending up in A&E with a sideways schnozz. At least with running the only person that ends up on the receiving end of my uncontrollably wayward arms is me.

So, partly inspired by a friend of mine who I am sure will agree with me is approximately my level of fitness awkward,  I’m off to download the C25K app to give it a whirl and see if I can’t just ease myself back into it. She has, after finishing the app, just completed her first Fun Run. Although I will say right here, right now, those are two words that shall never feature together in a sentence formed by my mouth. I will settle for raising my fitness level and toning up a bit. And maybe waving goodbye to the mum bum.

The C25K app can be found here: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

I Am Not Perfect

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So its been a wee while since my last post. I kind of had the wind taken out of my sails a week or so ago  after I posted my blog to my Facebook, and someone I’ve known for years commented ‘I hope your kids never read this’ then promptly defriended me. Ouch. At first I laughed it off, the person in question must have a right old stick up their arse, right? But it must’ve bothered me more than I thought because I haven’t been able to write properly since.

I don’t know if it were the general act of telling the great wide t’interweb about our life that caused such offence, but I’ve been pretty careful not to name the boys, or disclose our location other than in a general sense, and you won’t ever see a picture of them on here. So unless you’re a friend or family member you won’t know me or the kids from a block of soap should you ever happen across us in real life. Maybe this person thought I was embarrassing them, but I haven’t written about anything untypical of a 4 and nearly 2 year old so I’m sure any mother reading this is laughing WITH me and not AT them. Growing up in a household with me and Mr O and our shared wicked sense of humour means the boys are bound to inherit it, and hopefully they will find this hysterically funny when they are old enough to read it. Biggest told his first joke aged two, when he walked into the room, told us he had a ‘sore foot’ then pulled a toy Handy Manny saw out from behind his back and proceeded to pretend to saw his foot off. (Get it? SAW foot?) At the very least they will know why their mother went prematurely grey. And anyway, it’s a mothers prerogative to embarrass their children. I know my own did on many many occasions. (Sorry Ma, but its true. Remember that time when I was fourteen and you told the checkout operator at the supermarket I still played with Barbies? Well she was sixteen and a year above me at school. Uncool Mother, uncool.)

This was never meant to a mummy blog, but as a stay at home mum it turns out that right now that’s what I enjoy writing about. Anyway, in the interests of fair play, I decided to write down a few of my own perceived failings as a mother, and even the scoreboard a bit. I can rip the piss out of myself a bit. I’m a Kiwi, its what we do. Take that, de-friender.

1)      I am not a morning person.

I always imagined when I became a mother that I would be up bright and early, getting showered, dressed and made up before the kids were up, and doing a quick whip round with the Hoover while they enjoyed scrambled eggs and toast and fresh squeezed juice and had a quiet shared giggle over some brotherly joke Mama wasn’t allowed in on. The truth is I’ve never been a morning person and giving birth has unfortunately not changed that. My alarm goes off in plenty of time for me to achieve A State of Perfect Mother Nirvana, but I just end up repeatedly hitting the snooze button until I can no longer ignore Smallest shouting for me from his cot. I roll out of bed seriously grumpy (roll might even be an exaggeration, more drag myself heavy hearted and foggy headed from the comforting softness of my lovely warm bed), and skilfully avoid all attempts by my kids to draw me into conversation until I’ve slugged at least two cups of coffee. The days Biggest has school are the worst. Due to my own inability to get up at a reasonable hour I barely have time to get dressed, never mind get showered, I’m THAT mum in the school yard with the jumper on inside out and hair that looks like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards. Most mornings you can hear me shouting FAST FEET BIGGEST, FAST FEET, WE’RE RUNNING LATE as I drag him down the street to get him to the classroom before the door shuts. He doesn’t need, and I certainly don’t need, the shame of having to go through the late door. Although the way I’m going, its only a matter of time.

2)      I shout. A LOT.

I don’t know if its to do with my growing up in the country where it really didn’t matter how much noise you were making as long as you didn’t wake Dad up from sleeping off the night shift, or if its down to my slight deafness, but it appears my default setting is shout. Sometimes, I don’t even REALISE I’m shouting, although Biggest is all too swift to point it out. The flip side of this is I suffer something called Misophonia (from the Greek words misos and phone), which literally translated means ‘hatred of sound’. Repetitive or incessant noises stress me out (*cough* understatement *cough*), I can’t BEAR it when the kids shout. One of those Do as Mama Says, Not As Mama Does things. The list of noise that drives me spare is quite comprehensive, but mainly concerns any noise coming from the mouth. Chewing, drinking, slurping, yawning, coughing, people kissing, or people talking too loudly all sit firmly at the top. A Twitter user I came across stated a more appropriate translation for Misophonia would be ‘Chew with your mouth closed or I will throw a large rock at your face’. True bloody story. Sometimes, when the kids forget their manners, I have to leave the table and eat elsewhere least I lose the plot entirely. Thumping the table and shouting STOP SLAPPING YOUR CHOPS is not an appropriately motherish thing to do.

3)      I don’t bake.

When I was growing up me and my sisters LOVED baking. Our bible was the great New Zealand classic, the Edmonds “Sure To Rise” Cookery book. Mum has had it forever, its held together in places with sellotape, missing the front cover and probably a fair few pages but we regardless spent countless afternoons paging through that book looking for the perfect cake or muffin. We would bake until we ran out of flour, or sugar, or eggs, and then we’d ring Mum at work and ask her to bring some more home. However with two kids, I don’t bake anymore. I should, but I don’t. I just don’t seem to have enough time, there is always something that needs my attention, a nappy that needs changing, a spilled juice that needs mopping up, a scraped knee to magic better. I did try to bake WITH Biggest once, we successfully made a rather tasty courgette cake, but I think my control freakedness over the mess he was making stirring things kind of ruined the experience for him. Mummy fail.

4)      I take over art projects.

My control freakedness also extends to projects with the kids. Biggest and I are nearly finished a submarine we made out of an old nappy box. I actually had to shelve it for a time while I got over myself. We cut the box and taped it into a boat shape and papered over it with kitchen roll and PVA glue to toughen it up and smooth it out. I found myself getting the kitchen roll and glue out at night to go over the bits Biggest hadn’t ‘done properly’. I mean, who DOES that? We recently restarted it and I can happily say its not perfect, but its his project, and he is damn proud of it. I’m getting better at letting my need for perfection go a little.

5)      I take too many photos

I do. Just ask Mr O. Since getting a smart phone I near permanently have it out with my finger hovering on the button ready to snap a picture, least I miss something. The truth is I am missing something, I’m trading actual memories for digital ones. I don’t really need nineteen pictures of Biggest smiling in front of his completed reward chart or forty two pictures of Smallest in his brothers gumboots. One will do, then I can properly congratulate Biggest instead of cajoling him to stand still for the camera, or actually enjoy Smallest walking around looking for all the world like a drunken cowboy. Mental note to self: Leave phone in pocket. If this is too tempting, leave phone in bedroom. If there’s an emergency, people will just have to call me on the house phone. I don’t really want Biggest and Smallest to remember me as that lady hovering in the background with her face obscured by her phone.

There are a lot more things I could add, but as it turns out waxing lyrical about my faults is turning out to be far easier than I thought, a fact I am not entirely liking too much. So I think I will leave it there for now. But at least it looks as though normal (blogging) service has resumed.

Credit where credit is due, my references for this article were:

http://www.misophonia-uk.org/

https://twitter.com/jay_gee/status/400010134203543552

Two Tickets to Hawaii Please

So, today has been a bad day. Oh hell, who am I kidding, its been a bad week. One of those weeks when Biggest and Smallest have failed so miserably at this behaving themselves malarkey I am seriously considering Googling whether or not they came with a return policy.  I have had a cold, (by ‘have had a cold’ I mean, ‘have been battered over the head with a blunt object, dragged around the block by my feet twice and left for dead in a dumpster by a cold’). Its one of those god awful colds that bung you up so bad you are scared to go to sleep, because you are pretty sure your brain will forget you need to breathe through your mouth and you won’t wake up in the morning. I’m sure Biggest and Smallest can sense the weakness in me. Like a pair of lions on the hunt. Normally at this time of night I sneak up and gaze upon their angelic little sleeping faces and all the troubles from the day melt away. Not tonight. Tonight those troubles are still at Arctic temperature.

My two little hurricanes have taken misbehaviour to whole new level the last few days. Yesterday I spent the day in bed with a whopping great sinus headache and achy bones and a nose like a tap, leaving Mr O to cope with them single-handedly. Poor man didn’t know what had hit him. They damn near drove him into the ground. When I arose from my sick bed I was greeted with an expression half, ‘Oh, so you’re up, hope you’re feeling better’ and half, ‘Oh please, for the love of God, save me’. I admit I may have laughed a little at his despair, but that laughter is ringing in my ears today I can tell you. They have run serious rings around me. Between the two of them they have:

1)      Ruined my roast chicken by switching the oven from bake to grill. I didn’t notice for an hour and a half leaving me with a chicken burnt on the top and raw on the bottom.

2)      Let themselves in the bathroom and squirted toothpaste and shampoo all over the floor, then tried to clean it up with two entire rolls of toilet paper, then tried to flush the evidence thereby blocking the toilet. I swear they are ninjas or something. I left them in the front room building a tower and have no idea how they got up our creaky old Edwardian staircase without being heard. The very same staircase I have to sneak up during Smallest’s nap without waking him, a mission I quite often fail at as its pretty much akin to standing next to his cot practising on a set of bagpipes.

3)      Unfolded all the washing I had just folded under the pretence of putting it away. Because washing goes away on the floor in the dining room apparently.

4)      Drew on the wall in the hallway with the pens I have banned them from using. For drawing on the wall in the hallway.

5)      Listened intently to my instructions not to touch anything at the supermarket before we went in and then proceeded to knock apples all over the floor three steps from the door. Whilst I was picking up the apples they loaded up my basket with bags of onions. Whilst I put the onions back, they poked holes in plastic wrapped packets of asparagus with their fingers. Then of course, they went completely and utterly mental when I explained there would be no special biscuits this trip because they’d been too naughty. Might as well have told them I was locking them in their rooms the rest of their lives.

6)      Hid in the cupboard under the stairs making me think they’d somehow got out of the house because they never answered my desperately calling them multiple times whilst frantically searching the house from top to bottom. Luckily Smallest decided he had enough of the dark and yelled out for me about two seconds before I began banging on the neighbour’s doors to see if they’d spotted two small people high-tailing it down the street. Like I said, they are a couple of bloody ninjas.

All of this was punctuated with bouts of the usual bickering, snatching, pushing, poking, shouting, all out red-neck-drunk-on-moonshine style brawling…. I think they have spent more of the day in Time Out than out of it. And yet they’ve somehow still, despite the lack of free time, managed to drive me to the brink of insanity.

Every now and again I joke about packing Biggest and Smallest off to New Zealand to my parents, ‘The Grandies’. My parents always laugh and say they’d love to have them, they’re welcome anytime. Well, my beloved parents, if you are reading this, I’ve bought the wood, and I shall commence building a couple of crates tomorrow. They say Grandchildren are a Grandparent’s sweet revenge. That everything you were as a child comes back in spades to haunt you as a parent. Well, the joke is on you now Grandies, the joke is on you. I shall be spending the money we have been putting aside for the kids for university on a holiday. I feel Mr O and I deserve it. We will see you when Smallest is eighteen. If you need us, we will be suntanning our hides in Hawaii. Life or death matters only please.