#22: Do something unique and special with each of my children (part one)

First up, no. 3. A bonus 2 hours of alone-with-mummy time meant either watching the Lion King for the third time this week, or, some sort of project.

The conversation this morning ran thus:
No. 3: what is happening after school today?
Me: It’s just me and you, coming home together.
No. 3: Can I do something? Wiv you?
Me: Of course we can. What would you like to do?
No. 3. Um. (thinks about it). Make a zebra cake?
Crikey. I am not sure what that even is.

6 hours later, I collect her from school, and realise too late I have not given our project a moment’s further thought.

Which is why it is particularly satisfying to now report THE most triumphant zebra cake I have frankly ever seen! (though admittedly I am not sure I have ever seen another one)

Cobbled together from general household ingredients, we fashioned this:
It would be tempting to go into business and sell them, except I fear the food hygiene folk would have something to say about this:
food hygiene
But all in all it was a thoroughly satisfying afternoon’s work. She was absurdly chuffed with it! We have been high fiving and talking of nothing else since. Now in the name of ‘fairness’ I will probably have to spend all weekend fashioning a menagerie of baked goods with one child after another. But for now, this will do.

Coming up soon: the drastic haircut. Eeek!

#21: Get rid of half my possessions

This has been the work of several weeks now. Whenever I trip over something, or am irritated by it, I bin it. Anything the children fail to tidy away, disappears. That rule was intended to enforce discipline – it hasn’t worked, but there is much less stuff!

I have been through every room, grouping items to sell, to give to charity shop, textile collections, recycling and the bin. It is extraordinary how much stuff we possess that adds nothing to our lives.

Sofas and tables and dressers and drawers and slides and climbing frames have all been sold. 6 bin liners filled with textiles, old clothes, curtains, and duvet covers that we never use. At least 3 boot loads of toys to the Salvation Army. Anything that doesn’t fulfil an actual current purpose in the home has to go. (Apart from a couple of boxes of photo albums and childhood letters. I figure I have hung onto them this long for a reason.)

A couple of points are interesting – one is how little any of it is actually missed. The children have lost at least half their toys: all the plastic paraphernalia that we have surrounded ourselves with for the last 3 years. They have barely even noticed. A lip wobbled when an ebayer made off with the doll’s house, but it was forgotten in minutes and hasn’t been mentioned since. In any case they spend most of their time pretending to be cats, or princesses, or magical unicorns, without any need for props. I could have cleared out years ago! I am not missing half my wardrobe, nor the various items (vases, jugs, candle holders, wicker baskets…) left over from an earlier stage of life when I bought things just because I liked them, rather than to use them as a matter of urgency.

The second is just how much actual refuse we have been sharing our living space with. There is a fine line between kids’ art and household waste, and we have definitely been on the wrong side of it. Models made of some sort of dough found rotting in cupboards. Rockets made out of empty cardboard boxes and other recyclables. A vast stash of chocolate coin wrappers discovered in a jewellery box. Disgusting!

Memo to self: declutter often, and ruthlessly. (And check more regularly behind radiators for hidden soiled pants. Nuff said.)

#20: Have a Brazilian


So, one of the more dreaded of deeds is done. Good lord. I cannot believe people go in for that on a regular basis.

My first difficulty was how to book it. What does one actually say? ‘Do you do Brazilians?’ Surely not. And is that even how one refers to it? Should one perhaps request ‘intimate waxing’ or some other polite euphemism? I simply didn’t know.

(I was reminded of an HILAAAArious student prank I once played, in the small hours of a morning, when I phoned a home moving company called Beaver Removals, and told them ‘I have a particularly troublesome beaver, I wonder if you could come and remove it for me?’ (How they must have laughed.) I wonder if that approach would serve me now?)

In the end, I found a beautician with an explicit price list and an email contact form, and thus the appointment was made.

And I presented myself today.

And while it was as painful as you would imagine such a procedure might be; it was actually less humiliating than I feared. Perhaps I am desensitised having birthed twins in the company of 10+ medical practitioners, but the matter-of-factness of the beautician made it strangely normal to be chatting away with no pants on.

It was the work of a mere half hour, and the lovely Justine assures me she has done a splendid job. It is almost a shame it won’t be appreciated by a wider audience, but don’t worry, I will not be posting before and after shots.

This would be my advice to readers considering anything of the sort:
1. Take some paracetemol before you go.
2. Take some tracky b’s to wear afterwards.
3. Before you book it, check that your partner finds the image below arousing. If not, you can save yourself considerable unpleasantness, and £28.

fresh plucked chicken