I found these photos (and lots more!) during a mass personal file backup (these are the kinds of things one does in January, when Good Intentions clash beautifully with New Year Motivaton). I enjoyed reliving the memory of this evening spent flying a kite with my boys in summer 2013. I also enjoyed a lot of the chatter in my brain about how things have changed since then, how things are constantly changing and how, if I really tried to see my life before these boys were in it, I wouldn’t have much to say.
5 years ago I was 33.
Selfish 33…you know…City Breaks, Movie Dates, Expensive Handbags, High Heels, Cocktails, Clean Hair, Facials, Sleep, Consistent Exercise…the 33 year-old-version of me seems like light years ago.
And then something wonderful happened - social services said these 3 boys could move into our home and become our family. Here’s some parenting facts I’ve learnt in that time:
- If it is cream, white or pastel it won’t survive. Sofas (yup, I’m a tool, I bought that light grey sofa and duck egg blue chair), walls, curtains, clothing, boxers (especially boxers), Laura Ashley wallpaper, socks, football kit, the good towels, Apple products, favourite mugs, plaster board, fancy pillows, picture frames on walls…you get the drift. If it is white and somewhat important to you, understand that it will be destroyed by one or more of the following: poo, vomit, wee, muck, any food made with a tomato base, errant footballs, sharpies, scissors, hammers, blood, fist fights, adventurous crafting and testosterone fuelled tantrums.
- They won’t remember a single thing about their day. At 1pm you could ask them what they ate for lunch at 12:30pm and they won’t remember. They will play with some new kids for an entire day, declare them to be their New Best Friends and yet not remember their names. They will never, ever remember the morning routine or the bedtime routine ("have you brushed your teeth?", is something I say twice a day, every day). They will forget their homework diary, their packed lunch and how to pronounce Biff and/or Chip without fail. Every. Single. Day. "SOUND IT OUT!! B-I-F-F!! How is this possible we are sounding this out again?! Surely a girl called Biff would stand out in your brain?". And yet. AND YET!! They can remember who scored a penalty goal in a football match that took place 3 years ago. The exact monetary amount Ronaldo has donated to charity this year. How much Messi’s new sock boots cost. How they felt that time you grounded all of them because one farted at the dinner table and wouldn’t own up to it. Boy memories are a thing of beauty.
- Socks. This could be an essay in itself. But I will say just five words: WHERE ARE ALL THE SOCKS?
- Muck can be created where there was once no muck. This morning I hoovered a tiny pile of muck off a single stair. Just one tiny, contained pile of muck. Where did it come from? Why was it only on that single step? How on earth did the muck manage to stay intact in the little pile when boys ran up and down the stairs for an hour this morning picking up forgotten school ties and brushing forgotten teeth? We shall never know. Accept the muck. Let it go. This is my gift to you - don’t question the muck, don’t investigate the muck. Just hoover it up and let it go.
- Pyjama tops are a terrible waste. My boys run hot. They don’t have time for the added action of donning a pyjama top when getting ready for bed. They are already being reminded to brush their teeth and add the dirty pants to the dirty laundry basket. These things eat into pre-bedtime wrestling. You know, that kind of high energy hiit workout that they all decide must be performed mere seconds after you shout the words "time for bed"?
- And that brings me along nicely to Spicy Boy Energy. If you’ve been to RinkaDink for a shoot, or you know me personally, you know all about Spicy Boy Energy. It is when one of them is getting a little testosterone boost during a growth spurt and this seems to magically fly through the air and infect all three of them. Boy Spice is never-ending. One minute they can all be fine and calm and normal and the next minute someone on telly said a word that sounded a bit like fart and that’s them away. They all repeat the word fart until they are hysterical. They will then choose other words to say (butt, bum, poo etc) and that builds the hysteria into something otherworldly. Then, when The Spice has well and truly kicked in, they will need to get physical with one another. This can only end when there is a war zone filled with blood, sweat and tears and one or more of them is begging me to intervene and save them from their own Spicy selves.
If someone told me 6 years ago that I would live in a Spicy Mountain of Muck Piles and all my lovely furniture would be broken and stained I would have only one thing to say: BRING IT! Furniture is boring. No-one notices if you are wearing odd socks when you are 5-years-old. Wrestling is fun. And sometimes - SOMETIMES - mums can get infected by the Boy Spice too :)