Category Archives: Childhood

Once upon a time there lived a stressed-out mummy…

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Has anyone ever checked into the Priory with birthday-planning-induced-stress? No!? Then I’m intrigued to know how other parents juggle everything amidst their other daily responsibilities. And PS, by “other parents” I actually mean mums; dads are far more detached from the whole party-bag organising, pass-the-parcel wrapping, perfect-cake ordering ordeal!

It’s my baby girl’s birthday this Friday and she will be 3. With three other older children who have collectively enjoyed 25 birthdays between them, it’s reasonable to assume that I would have picked up a trick or two when it comes to planning birthdays. But in my case experience counts for nothing. I’ve left things far too late and am now having sleepless nights as to whether or not the much-hoped for Princess Elsa dress will arrive on time.

Feeling smug sometime ago, I extensively researched my options online. I shopped around for the best price, I subtly took measurements from her other prized princess-themed costumes and I preordered the perfect dress from an online fancy dress stockist earlier this month. My order arrived last week and as lovely as the dress turned out to be, it’s about four sizes too big. Damn those confusing European measurements!! I should not be left unsupervised with a tape measure in such detail-dependent circumstances again.

I’ve since contacted the retailer but an exchange for a smaller size would have taken too long to arrange so I’ve had to place a new order for the smaller size (and will return the enormous dress for a refund as soon as I find time in my life to get a post office…how retro!) 

Thinking myself clever, I arranged for the second dress to be delivered to Argos using their free collection service and thereby sidestepping the risk of getting one of those ‘sorry we missed you’ cards through the letterbox. But little did I realise that the Argos delivery service takes longer to process (yadda, yadda) and the expected collection date for my order is now three days after the big day. Cue mild to moderate heart palpitations and a series of frantic emails to the retailer. No my order can’t be fast tracked as its already in the system! 

In desperation I order a third dress to be delivered to my home address using the Express Delivery/expensive delivery courier service. Estimated delivery date…Thursday, t-minus 24 hours to B-Day.

All the while my little lady-in-waiting (literally) keeps chattering excitedly about the prospect of finally getting her very own “dress like Frozen“. This week her conversations have been peppered with affirmations like “if I be a good girl, I will have a frozen dress on my party” and “for my present it will be a princess dress if I be good“.

After relaying my fears and frustrations to my other half, we decided we needed a backup plan/dress in case one of the three dresses I’d already ordered doesn’t arrive in time. My earlier consumer research stood true; Amazon and Toys R Us did not have the right dress in the right size. The Disney Store sees it fit to charge £40 for their ‘official’ version but as my toddler is yet to become label savvy, and because I thoroughly object to spending that kind of money on a dress she will wear for dog walks and Tesco trips, the Disney dress was designated Plan D (to be bought in desperation on Thursday evening if all else fails). Talking of Tesco, they currently only have Elsa-style dresses for 7-8 year olds (God help us if she’s still bonkers about ballgowns at that age!) Our hopes were raised when I rang Matalan and a woman named Mandy went to check stock. I held my breath expectantly, as if I was waiting to secure Glastonbury tickets or hear exam results. “Sorry, we don’t have the Elsie dress at all. Only the Anna one in 5 to 6years“. Aaaaaaaargh!! It’s Elsa! It’s Aah-na! It can’t be this hard!

So although I can congratulate myself on having booked the hall, sent out the invitations, ordered the cake, bought the party bags, haggled with the bouncy castle companies and planned the menu, I may just fall at the final hurdle of giving my daughter the one and only thing she associates with and hopes for on her birthday. First world problems, right!

So it may be time to start seriously considering Plan C – telling our little princess that her birthday isn’t actually until Saturday. This would give us an extra 24 hours to get our act together and to receive one of the many deliveries that should surely arrive by then. After all, she’s only 3. She can’t read the newspaper, she’s not on Facebook, she doesn’t have a calendar, she won’t bloody know! And besides, the date never bothered her anyway….

Now, if only we can convince her three brothers to stick to the story, then everyone will live happily ever after.

 

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#100happydays – day 41

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IMG_7157I’ve really struggled to hone in on my happy moments this week. And after talking to a friend who pointed out how unlikely it would be to have 100 consecutive happy days in a row, I’ve been re-examining my compulsive need to blog about the mundane. Surely the marvellous is more interesting? I reached an editorial low when I realised that Tuesday’s happy moment was having tea and crumpets. And when the delivery of a new filter for my vacuum cleaner was the single most satisfying thing that happened to me on Wednesday, I decided enough was enough. Who reads this shit anyway?!

So, in a bid to reduce my daily to do list and to avoid blogging for the sake of it, my new approach to the happy days project is to only write something when I actually have something to write about.

Today was Mother’s Day and I’m feeling loved. At breakfast-(in bed)-time, Leo announced the day’s itinerary; “We’re having cuddles, lunch and dinner mummy”. I was given 9 cards including 2 laminated ones (apparently Mother’s Day card-making is a competitive sport amongst my lot) as well as the promise of unconditional day-long good behaviour (although her afternoon tantrum in WHSmith suggests that Niamh didn’t fully understand what she was signing up to).

I love the fact that my family are so tactile and so affectionate. Even Seb, my physical-contact-phobic 11 year old, has given me an (albeit fleeting) hug today. And as she cuddled up to me at bedtime, Niamh sweetly explained that she loved me, and daddy, and the boys, and Beano, and Elsa (of the Frozen variety). I asked her what it meant to love someone and she put it plainly…“to be best friends”. So I’m feeling very thankful for all of my best friends today. Happy moments aplenty!IMG_7142

#100happydays – day 36

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Today was World Book Day, an annual event that helps to profile the importance and value literature and the commitment and creativity of mums. Because let’s face it, who actually has an 8 year old bookworm who self-styles themselves into a Dickensian hero? In my experience, most kids just want to be Spider-Man. So since the World Book Day note came home in the school bags, I’ve been batting ideas back and forth in attempts to find literary characters that my children can relate to and I can cobble together a costume for. After last year’s Mr Stink debacle involving a pasta sauce stained shirt and a very unhappy 10 year old, I was determined to send three happily costume-clad kids off to school today. And I think I just about managed to! What’s more, Leo had taken such pride in helping to make his two foot tall Cat-in-the-Hat hat, that my happiest moment came when he ran excitedly out of school waving his certificate for 1st prize in the ‘superb book character costume’ competition. Result! So glad I won…I mean he won! 😜



#100happydays – day 23

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#100happydays – day 23

Staying at my parents’ house always gives me the chance to loot their loft in search of my childhood treasures. And today I struck gold with a box full of my all-time favourite preteen classics. The ‘Library of Francine Pascal’ got me through the hormonal years and to have found my forgotten stash of Sweet Valley High books has made me inordinately happy! I may now need to sideline my Jessica Ennis autobiography in favour of Jessica Wakefield’s Californian exploits. Book Club anyone?