Aimee Horton

When you have a photo shoot.

May
18

So. Did you get The Guardian today then?

You know where you flick to the life-style page, and there’s that harassed round faced woman and two children being photographed talking about “Sharents”?  Yeah..that’s me. I KNOW!  You’ve finally seen a photograph of me that hasn’t been doctored by one of the many flattering filters on Instagram, and it’s not pretty.

I spoke to Nione just over a month ago, in the Easter holidays, and it actually turned out to be a really interesting exercise reminding me why I enjoy my blog so much, and what I want to get out of it – laughter.  It’s also what I wanted to achieve when I wrote my book.  But that’s another story all together.  During the conversation Nione asked if I’d be up for having a photograph done, and whilst I hate having my photo taken, I thought “why not”.  So I agreed wondering if there was a way of finding some cheek bones before the photographer came ’round.

As you can see there wasn’t.

On the Thursday I got the call asking if they were ok to come and take my picture on the Tuesday..“of course” I gulped…then they uttered those immortal words “and the children”.  I quickly responded with “are you sure” and they were quite sure.  After all, the piece is about THEM really, everything is.

On the Friday a parcel arrived from PartyDelights.co.uk containing a Captain America costume for The Beast.  Unfortunately due to an answering back incident and a strop which included throwing a cherry tomato across the room at tea time (him not me), his rocket went down to earth with a lecture, and the surprise was put away until the next time he got onto the star…which happened to be Monday.

To say he was happy was an understatement, and we were all very happy.  I mean, look at his face.

Captain America

The next day was THE SHOOT.  I think I cleaned more than when my mother comes to visit, ensuring that the laundry was shoved into the wardrobe in our bedroom so I looked like I was at least slightly in control.  I demanded Mr Aimee come home to help assert some authority over the children, after all, the photographer had called the night before to confirm times and my address, this would have been fine if he hadn’t heard the screaming of “NOOOOOO MUMMMAYYYYYYY NOOOOOOOOOOOOO” followed by the sound of a bowl of soup being flung to the floor in rage because I’d put the bread in it instead of next to it, so I had a feeling he was probably dreading the situation more than I was.

He turned up just as I parked the car from the school run, and witnessed The Chunky Monkey attempting to break into a neighbours car, and The Beast tearing inside, removing his school uniform and promptly appearing in his Captain America suit…not the Ava and Luc top I’d laid out ready.  After a few quietly uttered words we agreed he could wear the suit, just not the mask.  In my mind, I was relieved that The Chunky Monkey was wearing his Bat-Man top and regretting that I wasn’t wearing my cool superhero leggings.

We decided on the location of the shoot (sofa in the kitchen), and he set up his lights, I could tell whilst he mentioned he was worried for the safety of the kids and them tripping over the wires, he was worried for the safety of his equipment – I was too.

It was over in a fifteen minutes, however, in that time Captain America mainly looked dumb, Fat-Man kept licking my face, and I was sitting their thinking “there is no way he is getting my good side”.  Mr Aimee tried his hardest to entertain The Chunky Monkey with counting and pretending to throw a football.

Then he was gone.

The children went into the garden and I leant against the kitchen counter and poured myself a gin.

Just over three weeks later and it feels like a distant dream, and as I look back at that alien face in the paper (I DO NOT LOOK LIKE THAT IN THE MIRROR I SWEAR), all I can help thinking is “I wish they’d used photoshop”.

Pass The Gin.

p.s. If you’re from The Guardian and DID use Photoshop on the photo, please don’t tell me, because that’s even more depressing.

PartyDelights.co.uk were kind enough to send The Beast a Captain America costume after reading my recent Superhero blog post.  He loves it, it washes really well (3 times so far), and is often carried about in my car for emergencies.  

Four things I never thought I’d be discussing with a four year old.

Mar
28

Things are a bit hectic right now, work as a whole is super busy, partly because I’m coming towards the end of a project, and partly because it’s nearly the Easter holidays, and I really  want to spend time with the children without being distracted by editing and a ticking brain (ha ha, it does tick from time to time I promise).  Therefore things are also a bit quiet on the old blogging front – and may be for a while, it will be worth it I promise.

However, I’ve had quite a few things happen with The Beast over the last few weeks, he’s growing up, and whilst I’m loving it, the questions are becoming harder to answer, and often lead to more questions, here are four of the topics we’ve been covering.

1. Haircuts, the value of money, and fitting in.

If I’m honest, I’m not a fan of boys with really short/shaved hair.  I’m also not a fan of “tracks” (is that the correct definition?), on adults or children a like.  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just not my style, after all, if you look at my celebrity crushes none of them have really short hair, Dermot is about as short as you go.

Anyway, I digress.  A month or so ago we had a melt down on a catastrophic level.  It began because of the vest incident (below), but all got slightly out of hand because I said he couldn’t have a shaved hair with a Spiderman logo in the back.  It transpired that one of his friends said boys with long hair are “girls”, and The Beast is quite sensitive about fitting in as a whole.  He’s used to being top dog at nursery, so small fish big pond was a whole other ball game to him.  I often try to explain that it doesn’t matter what people think of you, it’s what you think of you.  A mantra that I try really hard to believe.  It doesn’t always happen, I’ve had wobbles over the years, but I’m getting there…and it’s one thing I want both my children to grow up with.  Self belief and self confidence.  Not having to fit in to the crowd, being able to laugh at themselves and being confidence in their own identity. Easy then.  It broke my heart to think he was already wanting to be “the same”  The thing is, he’s still young, he’s still little, and kids can be cruel.  We compromised and we’re both happier.

Now, we’re dealing with the whole value for money thing.  The school is very big on the use of  iPads and technology in general, something I’m very happy with, however at this age their needs to be some sort of restriction, and I REALLY want to write a piece about this, although I’m not ready yet, but at the end of the day I don’t believe a 4 year old or 5 year old should have their own iPad.  I just think something that costs that much shouldn’t belong to a small child.  And let’s face it, we all know I like buying stuff.

So on a daily basis we’re sitting down and explaining that iPads are a lot of money, that he can use mine, but not have his own yet, and yes I know certain children have their own, and yes I know at nearly five you’re very grown up, but it’s just too many pennies.  We then get the smart-arsed response “well, I’ll just put it on my list for Santa then” WHERE DO YOU GO WITH THAT?!  I started trying to explain that Santa has a budget based on how good you’ve been, and how many children are on his good list that year, and also, in the current economic climate it’s not always a big budget…I even considered mocking up a SANTA’S PRESENTS spreadsheet, but realised it was getting out of hand.  So I did what all good mothers do, I told him to ask daddy.

2. Peter Parker doesn’t wear a vest.

Continuing on with the above, the whole fitting in theme, obviously The Beasts little gang aren’t all about the vests, so he doesn’t want to wear one. However the child is smart enough to realise that if I didn’t cave on the haircut or the iPad (or the motorbike), then I’m not going to cave on this.  Well I have in the end.  But only because I respect the effort he went to to get his own way.  Let’s face it, any child which engages an adult into a full blown discussion as to what attire Peter Parker is wearing deserves to get their own way.  It was a very indepth discussion where we talked camera angles, argued continuity errors, but in the end he had a point.

Peter Parker doesn’t wear a vest, so now neither does Theo.

3. Jesus Themed Birthday Parties and War.

It’s that time of year, the time of year where children often go to the church to talk about Easter, they discuss the Traditional Easter Story, and learn everything that I have forgotten about why Easter is apparently here.

We aren’t religious, we don’t believe, so to me Easter is about three things. Chocolate, Roast Dinners and a long weekend.  HOWEVER, it’s very important that the children make their own decision.  As long as it doesn’t cost me any money.

So, I went along with the children in his class to the church, I managed to keep them all alive, and I watched as they all sat and paid attention as the vicar talked.  Except my son who was practicing picking his coat up with his feet.

For his homework he had to draw a picture about a part of the Traditional Easter Story, I sat with him and we talked about it, we  looked at photos on the computer, we had arguments about why Jesus had long arms (not longer then normal arms,  he just wanted them to be stumps – WHICH IS NOT REFLECTIVE OF THE PICTURES *cough*), I even caved with the conclusion he came to…that the skin had stretched from being on the cross.

However, I was totally unprepared for the question last night after tea.

“Mummy, can I have a Jesus themed Birthday Party this year?”

Even as I typed that sentence I closed my eyes.  Suddenly the “What is War? Is that why Jesus was  nailed to the cross?” question that came in the car on the way home from school didn’t seem quite as difficult to deflect.  All of a sudden he was asking if there were Jesus t.shirts in Asda, and if he could have a Jesus suit.  So as always, I did the only thing possible…told him we’d talk about it closer to the time…after all he’d just got his new Iron Man suit.

4. Death

I honestly didn’t think death would be discussed in any depth until the boys were older, but what with both the school Guinea Pig and Rabbit dying, and the child is quite sensitive to certain things, it’s become a constant talking point.

My only saving grace is that he doesn’t seem to be that upset about it, in fact, he’s quite matter of fact, the conversations often go like this, usually whilst he’s on the toilet:

Beast: “Mummy…when I’m sixteen you’re going to die, and I’m not going to have to have a bath anymore”

Me: (whilst thinking – PLEASE do not turn into a spooky horror film child) “nooo, why would you say that?”

Beast: “Because you’ll be really old, and I’ll have to look after Larry”

Sod.

Me: “Oh, noooo, don’t worry about that, after all, I’m not 16 anymore, and I still have Gran, and Daddy isn’t 16 and has Nan and Granddad ANDDDD Grandad is REALLY REALLY old (sorry granddad), and Great Grandma is his mummy, so you see you’re stuck with us for ages now.”

Beast: (without missing a beat) “But you’re daddy is dead isn’t it?”

Busted.

Me:”Yes…but that’s just one of those things…that didn’t happen when I was 16″ *grasping at straws*

Beast: “Did you want him to die?”

Me: “No sweetie, he was just poorly”

Beast: *cough* “I have a cough”

Me: “OOHHH Listen, I can hear Daddy calling wipe you’re bum and get back into bed mwah”

 

You see, it’s not that I don’t want to talk about these things, well I don’t, but you know what I mean, I’m not going to avoid them forever, but he’s only four for crying out loud, four is about being innocent, about superhero powers, about playing in the paddling pool, about not having to sweat the big stuff.  His biggest worry should be that I won’t him eat mini rolls in bed.

Now…where’s that bottle of Gin?  Oh yes, I drank it when we were doing homework.

When you feel a bit of empathy.

Mar
08

This week has not been my favourite.  I’ve had a headache since Sunday, my brain is fuzzy, and in general it’s been a bit rubbish, then this morning I woke up, and the only way to describe it was that I felt “blergh”.

We all know the monsters feed off your personality, if you’re happy they’re (usually), happy, and if you’re frustrated, so are they, and this morning was no exception.  After an incident with a table cloth and a vase of Daffs the older children appeared to be suitably crestfallen, and The Chunky Monkey was in a good mood, happily skipping into the car. Yay! I thought, the day is looking up, YAY there was no argument about shoes, and coats, and no tears about who got into the car in what order.

Then it all went horribly wrong.  The Chunky Monkey didn’t want to go into his pushchair to drop the kids off.  To be fair….I can see his reasoning.  It’s 10 minutes of sitting in a playground watching everyone else have fun, and I faltered, feeling sorry for him, thinking how good he’d been so far this morning. Big Mistake. I won’t even go into details, it just wasn’t a very relaxing wait for the classroom door to open, especially as I had to grab The Chunky Monkey by the wrist as he tried to leg it into next doors room, while I explained to the teacher that YES I did wash The Beasts clothes, and YES I did wipe his face, but apparently, whilst I was disciplining The Chunky Monkey, he’d thought it would be an excellent idea to roll down the muddy hill and skid his way through the tunnel. Marvellous.

Finally kicking ushering The Beast through the classroom door I dragged the Chunky Monkey back to the car, only for him to attempt to collapse in the middle of the road “NOOOO MUMMMEEE NO NO NONOOOOOO” he wailed, luckily, in the words of Daddy Pig, I’m quite an expert when it comes to forcing a child into the car, and pushing him into the seat, I swiftly clicked him in, (and I must admit I also did a slightly petty “HAAA LOSERRRR” taunt at him as I slammed the door).

Normally, given that I was feeling weak, and tired, and all I really wanted was to drown myself in cups of tea and brownies, I’d have headed home, but for once I was arrogant, I was going to persevere, I was not going to be controlled by a 2 year old hunk of fat. So I drove on to the shops, where I needed a few things so that I achieved something today.  In the car, I may have been on the edge of tears, not body shuddering sobs, just a few of frustration and embarrassment tears in the eyes, but I shook it out, turned the music up loud (sadly Lincs FM was not on my side).

Pulling into the car park, I may have used the F word towards the one way sign and rebelled by turning right instead of left and making my way to a space, before opening up the pushchair and bracing myself.  As I lifted him out of the car the yells “NOOO MUMMEEE NOOO NOO PEESSS MUMMEEEE NOOO” rebounded off the empty spaces, planting themselves squarely infront of the old couple getting out of their car where they then turned to look at me as I was attempting to bend him in the middle before strapping him into his pushchair.  Tutting they shook their head and wandered towards the shop.  I have to say, it’s a good job Larry wasn’t in the pushchair or I may have been forced to run after them and take their zimmer frame out.

In the end, after much finger wagging, threats of moving rockets down, and no Peppa Pig (who am I kidding), I ran out of options, and for anybody who has owned a Maclaren Buggy will know, brute force isn’t as easy as it is with a securely fastened car seat.  So I’m not very proud of what I did next, I lay him in the pushchair, and then I may have tipped it backwards, so the handles were nearly on the floor and shook it, this caused The Chunky Monkey to slide easily into his seat, then quick as a flash I flattened him in and clicked the straps. HAHAHHAHAHAHAAAAA. LOSER! I WIN YOU LOSE!

Some of you, mainly those who don’t have a twenty stone child, may wonder why I didn’t just let him walk into the shop holding my hand.  Because I wanted to achieve something. I wanted to go to the parts of the shop I needed to be in, pick up the various bits, go to the tills and pay for them, not have to drag an additional load along with me.  Plus. Pushchairs are good for carrying bags.

Anyway, after I’d calmed down, and he’d apologised (I’d just sent M the following message “Whatever the boys are getting me for Mother’s Day…double it”), we were downstairs looking for some plastic wallets, when I bumped into a Mum from The Beasts school.  She’s nice, we’ve spoken a few times, we got chatting, and she mentioned she’d seen me in the car park.  We laughed, and for the first time this morning, I didn’t want the ground to open up and swallow me in my entirety, smudged eye-make up, Nutella marked jumper and all.

We chatted some more, and then carried on with our day.

After that I was quite pleased I’d braved it.  After all, if I’d come home, we’d have no doubt fallen out over something else, tantrums would still have been had, and I wouldn’t have any contact with anybody other then my own grumpy self.  It was nice to feel a bit of empathy, there was no judgement in her eyes as she talked to Larry about his chocolate buttons I’d given him, and she relayed similar stories from her youngest.  Plus. She likes Gin.

Today isn’t going to be as awful as I thought, after all, I bought storage boxes, which, although some of you might not agree, is pretty bloody fantastic.

Have a good weekend x