Bum Talk

‘Mummy my bum is orange!’ squeals Mayhem from upstairs.

I wonder what he has done. He likes to draw on himself but we haven’t got to that area yet. I hope.

‘Have you done a poo?’ I call back.

I am hopping around the high chair in the kitchen as Midnight throws squashed banana at me.

Milk wanders in. ‘No, he hasn’t done a poo, he is just looking at his bum in the mirror.’

‘Oh good,’ I say.

‘He’s talking about bums all the time,’ sighs Milk.

I nod sympathetically. I am hoping Mayhem’s interest in bums will not be as long lasting as his interest in Captain Jack Sparrow. He manages to shoehorn the infamous pirate of the Caribbean into every conversation he has, no matter who he is talking to, or how tenuous the link.

Now he has started talking about bums, I rather miss the mischievous Jack Sparrow.

‘I’m looking at that lady’s bum bum!’ he shouts when we are out shopping, and runs off, weaving between rails of clothes until he reaches a mannequin wearing a dress.

I find him with his head under the cloth.

‘This lady hasn’t got a bum!’

I look at the mannequin. She hasn’t got a head either but that doesn’t seem to matter.

Midnight wipes banana into his eyes and starts crying.

‘I’m doing a poo now!’ proclaims Mayhem from upstairs. I imagine a whole loo roll being shoved down the toilet.

The front door opens.

‘Daddy’s home!’ screech the boys as if they have been holding their breath for the last 14 hours.

‘I’m wiping my bum and there is treasure in the toilet!’ Mayhem tells his dad.

I wave banana hands at my husband as he goes upstairs to investigate.

I hear him groan. ‘But that’s £1 why have you put £1 down the toilet?’

Mayhem mumbles something about Davy Jones’ Locker and laughs, ‘Look! It’s on my poo!’

I sink to the floor wiping bits of potato and half eaten cucumber into a small soggy pile as Midnight leans over and grabs at my hair with sloppy fingers.

While the bath is running Milk comes in wearing full camouflage.

‘You look great!’ I say. ‘Are you hiding from someone?’

His face crumples. ‘You! I’m hiding from you and you ruined it. THIS IS THE WORST DAY EVER!’

Yes, it is pretty bad,’ I say, noticing a large blob of baby snot on my shoulder.

I explain to Milk that camouflage only works in certain environments and definitely not when standing in front of a fridge spattered with milk and banana.

He nods sullenly and runs into the garden. I know he will be hiding in his den.

After a moment he comes back. ‘Mummy?’

‘Yes?’

‘There’s poo in my den.’

‘Rabbit poo?’ I say hopefully, lifting Midnight out of his highchair.

‘No. It’s quite big.’

Of course it is, I think. ‘Did you touch it?’

Milk shakes his head.

‘Good. Let’s go up for a bath.’

There is a loud grunt from the bathroom.

‘Is everything OK?’

‘No, it is not OK. It’s a Euro,’ says my husband.

‘What?’

‘The toilet treasure wasn’t a £1 coin, it was a Euro.’

‘Worth sticking your hand down the loo then isn’t it, given the value of the pound?’

‘Not quite what I expected as soon as I get in from work,’ my husband huffs.

I hand him the baby and he gives me a look. ‘What are you doing now then?’ he asks.

I smile at him. ‘I was planning on sitting down for 15 minutes with a hot cup of tea, while watching Wimbledon highlights, but actually I’m about to scrape regurgitated food from the kitchen floor, crawl deep into a child’s den to remove a human poo, and then cook us dinner. Do you want to swap?’

‘Bath time boys!’

 

 

 

 

Banana Drama

“We’ve run out of bananas,” my husband gasps one morning as he makes the porridge.

This is a crisis. It’s like the Ritz running out of tea, or McDonald’s running out of Big Macs.

I suggest we take a family trip to the supermarket. It’s a good way to kill a couple of hours, and we can feed the kids on the way round, throwing bread at them while we argue about whether it is necessary to heat up the oven before putting food in it.

We swing into a Parent and Child space and start unpacking the kids.

I bend over, struggling to get Mayhem out because his jumper has caught on a stick, which Milk has wedged between the car seats.

“That’s my sticky bridge!” Milk yells as I yank at Mayhem. “Don’t break my sticky bridge!”

“It’s fine I won’t break it,” I say, just as the stick snaps, and Mayhem tumbles out of the car.

Milk is inconsolable. “Mummy said my sticky bridge wouldn’t break, but it did break,” he wails as my husband picks him up to go and find a trolley.

While Mayhem and I wait by the car, a black BMW roars into the space next to us, and a man gets out and walks briskly towards the shop.

He doesn’t have any kids.

“Hey that space is for people with kids!” I call after him.

He half turns, shrugs and continues.

I am not having it. I wave my arms frantically at my husband, who is spinning Milk around in the trolley, shouting “Bananas! Bananas!”

I yell across the car park. “He doesn’t have kids!”

My husband is momentarily confused but stops shouting about bananas and spins Milk once more to block the man’s path.

I can see him saying something to the man, and then I can see the man saying something to my husband. Then the man side steps my husband and continues on his way to the shop.

“Dickhead!” My husband shouts after him.

I beckon him over.

“He said he wouldn’t park in a Disabled space, but it’s our choice to have kids and he doesn’t believe in Parent and Child spaces.”

“What does he mean he doesn’t believe in them? They exist.”

“What’s a Dickhead mummy?” says Milk.

I wink at my husband. “It’s that man’s name,” I say.

I rummage around in the nappy bag and after poking my fingers into a few bits of old food and a dirty nappy, I pull out a small pot of cream. It’s the thick white, waterproof, barrier cream we smother over Mayhem’s bum, to stop it getting sore when we forget to change his nappy for an entire day.

My husband’s eyes widen and he nods in understanding.

“Get back in the car boys, we need a quick getaway.”

We stuff the children back into their car seats, and I hurriedly write Dickhead across the BMW windows.

A lady washing cars watches me silently with a smile; her sponge dripping bubbles on her shoes.

“He’s coming!” my husband almost squeals, and I have a second to admire my work before jumping into my seat.

“Go! Go!” I shout.

We try to reverse, but there is an old lady standing behind us having trouble with her trolley wheel.

“He’s coming! He’s coming!” scream Milk and Mayhem, kicking their feet in glee.

I can see the man making his way through the car park. He has a bunch of flowers in his hand.

“He’s probably going to see his mum or a poorly friend. He’s probably quite a nice man.” I say, instantly regretting what I have done.

“He was not a nice man,” my husband says quietly as he looks in the rear-view mirror, and I can see him considering whether to reverse over the old lady.

“What if you left your finger prints on the car?” my husband whispers.

“I used the sticky bridge,” I say proudly.

We start reversing just as the man approaches his car. His face changes from smug BMW driver, to shocked smug BMW driver.

We swing out of our space like a getaway car in a movie, except we are driving a Volvo with two kids in the back, and my husband has to let the old lady with the wonky shopping trolley cross in front of us, before we can move forward.

BMW man looks round furiously for a culprit, but he can’t work out who to blame so he hits his car with the flowers.

We all shout “Bananas! Bananas!” as we speed away.

 

 

 

 

 

Shop ’til you drop

“There’s a hole in your bum,” my husband says loudly as we traipse around a National Trust garden in the rain.

I realise this is not the beginning of a biology lesson when he pokes the tip of his umbrella at my jeans.

“You need to go shopping.”

I shudder. I never go shopping. I order things online, wait for the package, try it all on, hate it all, and send it all back. I spend my life taping up plastic bags and filling out returns forms, ticking the “Not what I expected” box.

I’m not surprised my jeans have disintegrated. I have been crawling around pretending to be a horse for weeks, and they are so baggy the knees stick out when I stand up.

“Take the kids in half term,” suggests my husband, as we eat our squashed packed lunch on a damp bench. “It’ll be fun,” he adds gingerly.

“I’m not sure it will be fun,” I say as I watch Milk and Mayhem terrorising some ducks, “but there will be fewer queues, and I will spend less money than going to Legoland.”

I wait for half term and drive the boys into town. It’s a short journey but I still have to chuck rice cakes behind me to stop them complaining of starvation. In the clothes shop Milk and Mayhem discover if they hide in the middle of a rail of coats they can surprise each other (and innocent shoppers) by sticking their heads out and screaming. I persuade them to run around a table of neatly stacked jeans instead, while I grab at different styles and sizes. Everyone is relieved when we head to the fitting room.

The children watch me as I undress. “Mine,” says Mayhem pointing at my chest.

“Not anymore,” I grimace as I pull on a T-shirt. I get the first pair of jeans over my knees but have to do a wiggling motion to get them up my thighs, so I take them off and drop them in the ‘no’ pile.

“Have you finished now?” Milk asks, his finger up his nose.

“No.” I am red faced and sweating as I pick up the next pair.

These jeans do fit, if I tuck in a bit of fat.

Milk rolls his eyes. “This isn’t fun Mummy.”

I agree with him but Mayhem seems to be enjoying himself. He has climbed onto the bench and is shouting “Yellow! Yellow!” at the mirror, while rubbing snot across the glass.

“Nearly done,” I say taking off the jeans and putting them in the ‘yes will fit when I’ve been a horse for a few days’ pile.

I hear a grunt and notice Mayhem is disappearing backwards under the door. I grab his wrists at the last second.

“No Mummy,” he screams. “Walk! Walk!”

“Stay with Mummy,” I plead, lying on the floor to see if there is anyone more responsible than me on the other side.

“Can we go now?,” says Milk pushing the door.

“No!” I yelp, but I am holding Mayhem so tightly I am caught on all fours in my underwear as the door swings open.

“Shut the door!” I screech and push Mayhem’s head down so he won’t be decapitated when I drag him back into the cubicle.

I make it home to find my husband is back from work early.

“So, did you have fun?” he asks swinging the boys over his shoulders.

“Mummy did,” says Milk reaching for his sword.

I slump into the sofa and close my eyes. “Exactly what I expected.”

 

What’s SUP?

“I think we should buy a paddle board,” my husband announces one day over lunch.

He used to dream about us all snowboarding through the back country or downhill mountain biking in the Alps, but those activities involve an enormous amount of faffing with chains and bindings, and face-planting at speed, which is just about acceptable without kids, but probably illegal with them.

He has chosen stand up paddle boarding (SUP) based on an experience we had in Greece, before we had Milk and Mayhem. We wobbled and laughed and splashed about in the water. Then we lay on the beach to dry off, sipping cold beers and admiring our tan marks.

We are lucky to live near a reservoir, which has a SUP club, and a pile of stones covering a muddy slope, which they call the beach. My husband says we can wear wet suits and “really get into it.”

I need to stop this from becoming a reality. “We can’t fit a paddle board on the car.”

“Car,” says Mayhem. “Car. Car. Car.”

He is learning to talk, so we have to be patient and smile a lot.

“Yes we can,” my husband says reaching for the gravy.

“What’s a paddle board?” Asks Milk.

“No we can’t. They are massive!” I picture a paddle board blowing off the roof and into an electricity pylon.

“It will be fine.” Says my husband. He says everything will be fine all the time, even if he hasn’t the slightest idea if something will be fine or not.

I am flummoxed. “They are bigger than a canoe!”

“Canoe?” says Mayhem. “Canoe, Canoe, Canoe?”

“What’s a paddle board?” Asks Milk.

I keep my eyes on my husband as I explain paddle boarding to our four-year-old. “It’s good for your tummy,” I add.

Milk’s eyes widen. “Like a pirate?”

No, not really I think. Not really at all. I have no idea why he would think paddle boarding has anything to do with pirates, but I say: “Yes darling. Like a pirate.”

“Pirate!” shouts Mayhem throwing potato on the floor.

My husband smiles. “They’re inflatable.”

I stop eating. “What? Paddle boards? No they’re not, they’re hard like windsurf boards.”

“That was ages ago – they’re inflatable.” He is most definitely smirking.

“Pirates wouldn’t do that mummy,” says Milk.

“Mummy” says Mayhem. “Mummy, mummy, mummy.”

I stroke Mayhem’s hair to silence his excessive and pointless use of my name, and turn to my husband.

“You’ve just read something about them being inflatable, and you’re pretending you already knew that, and making me look stupid.”

“I’m not making you look stupid, I’m just telling you paddle boards are inflatable.”

“Pirates wouldn’t do that mummy,” says Milk.

I close my eyes in the hope everyone will disappear, but when I open them Mayhem is pushing a piece of beef into his ear and Milk is waiting for me to tell him that he is right, and that pirates probably wouldn’t do core exercises.

My husband is enjoying his lunch, pretending this conversation is normal.

I say very quietly, “You didn’t add the word ‘now’.”

“What?” he looks confused.

“You should have said paddle boards are inflatable ‘now’, instead of making out I am behind on the paddle boarding news.”

He pushes a carrot around his plate trying to cover it in gravy. “You are insane,” he says.

“Insane. Insane. Insane!” shouts Mayhem.