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Life Right Now...

...feels like:

10% dealing with poo which did not come out of my own bottom.
10% coaxing small children into items of clothing which they do not want to wear (or, sometimes, in the case of the three year old, items of clothing which they have chosen for themselves but do not want to wear until some unspecified point in the future).
10% boiler and drain repairs.
10% obsessing about what to feed the highly allergic baby (before cracking open another packet of melty hoops).
10% updating our online calendar without ever actually seeming to go anywhere.
10% doing bedtime.
10% gazing blankly at Justin's House long after both children have wandered out of the room.
10% washing dishes.
10% putting jigsaw pieces back into their containers.
and 10% trying to think of something else to add to this list, whilst waving a toy elephant at my baby and making squeaky trumpeting sounds.

I'm in one of those spells when there's such a lot of bad news, unplanned expenses and looming logistical brain twists that it's hard to find the energy to read my kids a book. And, I mean, we're talking That's Not My... books here - they're sixty-three words long.

It will pass. Of course it will. Soon, I'll be back to normality, where the biggest crisis is running out of Babybel and life feels "at least 50% pretending to syringe Go Jetters out of a small child's ankle" (don't ask. There isn't an answer you'll like).

In the meantime, I'd appreciate if the baby's next tooth could appear, because I could really do with some sleep.

Things 2

Oh, look, I have however-long-it-takes-Steve-to-cook-chilli to myself and a book group read I'm simultaneously trying to finish as quickly as I can (because it's rubbish) and avoid reading altogether (because it's rubbish).

So: time to write.

What do I have to tell you?

The Big Thing

The eldest started school nursery just over a week ago.

She is LOVING it.

At least, I assume she is because she really, really, really wants to go back every day - all she's actually told me is "I had cucumber" and "I went on the slide two times". Luckily, there are photos and bits of artwork all over the walls plus some online diary thing the teachers Early Years Practitioners fill in to give me some idea of what she gets up to for three hours every afternoon. It looks like a lot of fun.

She also has a new best friend called "that girl who's my friend". I feel like we can now never move away from this neighbourhood.

Which brings me to:

New Downstairs Neighbours

We have some. They're students but things must have changed since my day because they're pleasant and apologised profusely when we asked them to stop filling our home with the scent of illegal substances. They now smoke the illegal substances outside, after dark, and, as a result, were able to tell us about the hedgehogs living in our overgrown garden before we inadvertently shoved a spade into the middle of their nest.

So that's all good.

But I'm responding to having new neighbours in the same way I always do: fantasy shopping houses on the local real estate website and wondering which of our friends I can talk into buying our current place. Any takers...?

Baby Allergy Progress Report

We've found a couple of things she reacts to; we've found a couple of things she doesn't; our calendar is filled with carefully timetabled three day food trials.

I'm a lot less stressed about the whole thing than I was but I'm finding the "what can I actually feed her?" question so tricky I'm finally seeing the appeal of meal planning. Her lunches are generally potato waffles and her breakfasts are a random selection of melty puffs; it's far from a balanced diet.

Things we have had to write in her food diary recently: crayon (yellow); wool (torn from a rug by a cat); sparkly hair bobbles; stickers; sneakily pilfered cake crumbs crammed full of dairy.

The hardest part of the whole thing is keeping an eye on her big sister's discarded cheese wrappers, yoghurt pots and buttery toast crusts. The kid sheds potential food allergens behind her like... like... nope, sorry, can't think of a one-liner at such short notice.

Seriously, isn't that chilli ready yet?!

It's Totally Fine to Talk About Finances

Yesterday, I was surprised to receive a tax rebate cheque for £114 and I whooped and started fantasising about having real actual totally existing warm clothes to wear this winter.

Then the boiler broke down. Yeah.

And then I got a letter from the tax office telling me that I owe them £112. Which I'm sure I paid not-last-February-but-the-February-before.

So: how do I find out what's going on without wasting any of my precious few quiet moments on the phone to the tax office?

I fear the answer to that is "You can't".

And...

The kitchen radio has just gone quiet. Chilli and wine must be on the way. Happy weekend to you all.

Things

Here I am! I know some of you have noticed I've been gone because you've bothered to ask me about it and, man!, boy! (woman? girl? person?), was that a wonderful ego boost. It answered my "Who am I writing all this FOR?" question - there are three people out there and I'm writing it for YOU.

It may be another year until the next post, mind you, because I still haven't figured out WHAT I'm writing.

I have the usual concerns about my children's privacy. I've even *gasp* switched my Instagram to private, although I've yet to figure out how else to gauge my worth as a human being, if not through likes and bot-generated comments: "Nice capture! [thumbs up emoji] [kissing face]".

And, as usual, I'm bouncing back and forth between wanting to be funny and wanting to pass myself off as some sort of expert on... um... accepting the unpredictability of small children with grace, patience and dignity, I suppose (unrelated: I cried because my three year old wanted an apple this morning).

So, until I figure all of that out, I'm going for my old fallback of clumping a load of thoughts together in one big, fairly incoherent mess mass. With headings. For tidiness. And tea breaks.

Allergies
Starting with the most important thing: the baby is allergic to... something. Almost certainly milk. Possibly nuts and/or wheat and/or cats and/or Justin Fletcher (I know I am) and/or eggs and/or any other allergen you care to mention. We're at the start of the very long wait to visit the allergy clinic but, in the meantime, we're not entirely certain what to feed the child. I mean, she can't survive on melty puffs, can she?

Or can she?

I mean: she'd give it a good try.

So, all allergies-and-weaning advice is welcome.

What I do know, though, is that the spreadsheet I've put together for tracking her diet, reactions and activities is a thing of beauty. When we can afford for me to go back to work, this chart alone will get me an office job. I'd do one for the other kid, too, but I don't need a record of how many Fab ice lollies she's managed to talk me into giving her.

Speaking Of My Kids
Sometimes I post photos of them on Facebook. Tutorials on how to respond with hearts (appropriate) instead of thumbs ups (inadequate) are available upon request. Small fee may be payable.

We Ordered A New Mattress
The confirmation email says "Our delivery team is looking forward to meeting you." I feel the marketing team may be putting words in the delivery team's mouth.

I mean, I love the idea that there's a fleet of delivery drivers heading out each morning, whooping because somebody called Sarah is going to show them where to put a parcel, but I've done customer service and - other than that one woman who used to bring us homemade cake in the video shop - the customers were never the bit I looked forward to.

We Also Ordered An Air Purifier
Why, yes, we are a single income family, but I recently came into... well... not enough money for a new kitchen by any means, but enough money to make our old kitchen legal, let's say.

Anyway, the instructions which came with the air purifier said very specifically not to let children play with it. Mine spent forty-five minutes this morning pressing the beepy buttons, switching the glowy blue light on and off, and waving their extremities over the fan. Parenting two kids - it's all about the breaking of the rules.

That, and fishing stickers out of your baby's mouth.

Questions
  1. Do siblings give each other birthday (and, I guess, Christmas) presents when they're tiny? Our three year old is already planning what to get her seven month old sister for her birthday; I'm not sure if she's expecting to have to pay for it with the £3.14 in her piggy bank or not.
  2. On a related note: do elephants strike you as a low maintenance sort of pet? 
Oh, Sod
That squeak tells me we're back to thirty minute naps. Catch you all again... perhaps.