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.  

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

 

When it’s the terrible twos. Again.

Jan
29

I’m not going to beat about the bush.  The terrible twos suck.

That’s right, currently my laughing chubby monkey is going through his least endearing stage.  It’s difficult isn’t it? When you have one that’s been through it, but you manage to block it out?  Then you have another child, it’s beautiful, it’s cute, it’s better behaved as a baby then the first one was (is that just it’s personality or is it because you’re more exhausted laid back second time ‘round?).  Then all of a sudden you realise you’re in full on terrible twos.  And let’s just get this out in the open; it’s not terrible it’s DUCKING awful.

It’s been building for a while, I’ve talked tantrums, I’ve talked about not bending, I’ve talked about kicking and screaming, but all of a sudden that’s it, and the thing is, unlike the previous two years, I’ve run out of things which cause me to be forgiving.

I mean, does he smile for the first time when he’s two? No. Does he role over or learn to clap?  Crawl, sit up, take his first tentative first steps. Does he say Mumma for the same time with that look of love in his eyes? Does he heck.  His vocabulary growth is no longer cute, it’s no longer endearing, it’s all “MINEEEE” and “NOOOOOOO” and “GITTTTT DOOOWWWNNNN”.  He doesn’t mix a mean gin and tonic and go to the toilet by himself.  He poohs on the floor and hits me when I suggest it’s time to do anything other then play trains.

Yesterday was possibly one of the worst parenting days I’ve ever had.  There. I’ve said it.  I didn’t enjoy one moment of yesterday.  Oh, no, that’s a lie.  I did. I enjoyed the bit where I sunk down onto the bed and Matthew took one look at me and brought up a bottle (or two) of wine.

He’s bored, and frustrated, I GET THAT.  It’s great that he wants to be independent, but not when it comes to staying in a nappy which hangs down between his knees all day.  Not when we need to get dressed.  PLUS, he only wants to be independent when I need him to do something, the rest of the time he clings to my leg.  Yanking my hand, screaming and grabbing my nose, trying to pull me off the toilet, and before you say it, yes I know I could lock the door but then he’d be hammering on it, hanging off the handle, and I end up getting stage fright.  THE PRESSURE IS JUST TOO MUCH!

I’m bored of trains.  There’s only so many times I can exclaim at him crashing it into a car and bringing it off the rails.  There’s only so many times I can build the best track in the world only for him to tear it apart.  So I suggest alternatives.

“Larry, do you want to do drawing?”  “NOOOOOOOOOO”

“Larry, do you want to do some play dough?” “NOOOOOOOOOO”

“Larry, do you want to go to the park and play on the slide?” “NOOOOOO”

“Larry, do you want to make some cakes?” “NOOOOO CHOOO CHOOOO JUST CHOOO CHOOOO”

So that’s what we end up doing.  Until I wander off to clean the bathroom, put a load of washing in, but then I suffer the mother-ducking tantrum from hell.  It results in 45 minutes of hall to-ing and fro-ing, hitting and screaming.

And yes, PERHAPS I shouldn’t film/photograph these sessions, perhaps he would be less full of rage if instead of pointing and laughing I just let it go, but you know what, if you don’t laugh you cry right?

The thing is, when we decided it would be a good idea to have a second child,  one to keep the other one company, The Beast hadn’t even gone through the terrible twos yet! He’d come out of the newborn pain, he was sleeping, he was funny, he was charming, engaging, loveable.  By the time he hit the refusing to go into his pushchair, but not actually wanting to walk stage it was too late, I was huge. THERE WAS NO GOING BACK.

So now, I’m fully aware of what’s coming.  I know how the next few years months are going to pan out.  I know that it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.  Terrible Two’s, Three-nagers, THREE YEARS UNTIL HE STARTS SCHOOL.  I’m steeling myself for the pain.  Not just potty training hell.  But (numerous) daily visits to the hall, refusal to eat anything that’s put in front of him, having to walk across the playground with him tucked under my arm him hitting my bottom because he wants to stay in the classroom with his older brought (trust me Monkey, if I could leave you there I would), having to race after him across the supermarket/car park, as he legs it as quick as a flash after leading you into a false sense of security by walking nicely holding your hand pointing out certain landmarks.  The getting dressed/getting undressed debacle, the fibbing, the having to text your friend to apologise for it taking TWENTY BLOODY MINUTES to make it out of the front door.  The loss of the pushchair, resulting in your child’s sudden inability to use their legs, the books being pulled off shelves and thrown onto the floor, the head bent on chest, the soul shattering sobbing (them and me), after a lying on the floor kicking and screaming, before the realisation that a favourite toy has been confiscated.

Pass the gin.