You Know You are a Parent of Boys when…


It’s Mothers’ Day – time for mums everywhere to be pampered and spoilt.  By way of celebration, I thought I would give you a little snapshot of my life as mum to 3 fetid, flatulent, feisty boys (well, 4 if you include Handsome Hubby…).

The trousers that walk right out of the laundry basketAs a parent of multiple boys, you learn to accept very early on that your laundry basket will never be empty. In fact some clothes will end up so filthy that they will almost walk out of the laundry basket unaided. On the very rare occasion that you do reach the bottom of the basket, you will find yourself dancing a little celebratory jig as you reach for the nearest bottle of wine. Even if it is only 11am.

Your television will only possess 3 channels: Dave, Quest and Sports. Best reach for that bottle of wine again as you learn all about the history of aluminium *groan*


Yes, you hang a new photo frame on the wall, minus the family photos that you will search for at a later date. Then you leave your boys in the house alone. And you find this on your return, along with much hilarity. (Clue: look at the photo in the middle of the frame…)

You will develop an automatic ‘duck’ reflex which will be activated any time an object of length nears your head. For example, when you’re in a supermarket and a lady reaches behind you to grab a long roll of wrapping paper… so you duck instinctively, expecting her to wallop you across the back of the head with it before she puts it in the trolley. Awkward.

Your kitchen will resemble that of Mother Hubbard – the moment you fill the cupboards, they will be raided by a bunch of gannets who will empty them within hours. Take son no 2: Mr Sports Fanatic. He will come flying through the door, grab a large bowl and fill it with 2 bananas, 4 oranges, a bunch of grapes, an apple, a yoghurt, a bag of frazzles (slurp) and a chocolate bar. Having polished that off, he will then lick his lips and ask cheerfully, “What’s for tea, mum?”

You will be assigned your very own seat in A&E at the local hospital (cue fluorescent eyeballs, dislocations, broken bones, plus lots of headbutting and falling over…) (just to clarify: that’s the boys, not you).
Son no 2 is the most accident prone child I have ever met. In the space of a year, he had an operation on a broken ankle (resulting in friction burns on his other foot due to hopping about like a lunatic, thus rendering him in a wheelchair), he also dislocated his shoulder and broke his nose in not 1 but 2 places – yay! Way to go!
Then there are those times when all 3 boys are sporting injuries at the same time: seriously, you imagine Social Services to come knocking when you have one child in an aircast boot, one with a bandaged elbow and your eldest boy then staggers through the front door with various injuries after falling off his bike.
The most bizarre injury wasn’t from son no 3 (dislocating his elbow in a violent sing-song session of ‘row, row, row your boat’) or son no 2 (jumping off a postbox to break his ankle). No, that accolade went to son no 1 who decided to take up a spot of tree surgery in his early teens. So how did his injury occur? Not from throwing his saw up into the tree; not from climbing up a high tree in a howling gale; not from falling off a branch; not from sawing swaying branches up high in the sky; not from swinging about with a saw when descending the tree… no. It came as he was standing with both feet safely on the ground, admiring his handiwork afterwards – as he dropped the saw on his hand and cut his finger to the bone *claps hands slowly*.

Your car will smell like a men’s locker room at the gym (not that I’ve ever been in one, obviously – I’m hypothesising here!) as you collect random boys to drop home after football/athletics/kung fu practice. Either that or you are treated to the pungent whiff of over-enthusiastically applied deodorant when you drop off a heap of lads for a night out. Both smells make your eyes water as you craftily open a window just to stop yourself from passing out.

The new apprenticeYou can walk into the house at any time to discover an engine in the bedroom (“It’s OK mum, I’ve drained out all of the oil!” “Where? All over the carpet??”).
Or a turbo in the middle of the lounge floor.
Or maybe a gearbox on the dining room table.

You realise that only a certain style of bribe will work.
Me: “Let’s go for a walk along the canal.”
Boys: “Nah.”
Me: “We could feed the swans and the geese.”
Boys: “Nah.”
Me: “We might see some traditional houseboats.”
Boys: “Nah.”
Me: “You can take pictures with my camera.”
Boys: “Nah.”
Me: *sigh* “Apparently there’s a dead animal floating in the water…”
Boys: “Cool!! Can we go right now?!”
*rolls eyes*

Any rancid smells in the house will automatically be blamed on your boys. Even if you inadvertently leave a vase of rotting flowers on the windowsill, or the chuffin cat has just had a major incident in the litter tray.

Board games take on a whole new meaning. Scrabble becomes ‘who can make the rudest word with their letters’. Whereas in Monopoly, the thimble will no longer be known as a thimble; it will be placed upside down and called a DALEK.

You will find Nerf darts in the strangest of places. Such as in a flowerpot, on a shelf, in the washing machine. Or in the freezer.

You will be asked the most interesting of questions, such as “Have you ever been in a Chinese jail?” or “How does petrol make a car work?” or even “If you have an arm wrestle with the Queen and you win, will she throw you into prison?”
That's what it really tastes like...My all-time favourite though came from son no 2. As we were all sitting in the lounge watching TV one evening, he noticed the chuffin cat sat enthusiastically licking her arse. He looked across, sighed and in a thoughtful voice said, “I wonder what that tastes like?” Yes, really.

You will realise it is time to do some housework when you discover your boys have written rude words to each other in the dust.

Brotherly love will be expressed in a variety of ways. Such as walking past the bathroom to throw up across your brother’s bed. Or the conversation overheard one afternoon between sons no 2 and 3:
3: “Please can I come into your bedroom?”
2: “Nah.”
3: “Oh pleeease??”
2: *sigh* “Only if you let me wipe my bare foot around your face.”
**2 second silence**
3: “Yes, OK.”
And there followed a large amount of chuckling and squealing as I quietly heaved into my cup of tea. Yuk.

I could go on; the list is endless. Enough for a book? Ha yes, one day!
You see, boys don’t only create noise, mess and havoc. They also create a sense of fun and nonsense wherever they go. Not to mention the wonderful hugs they give you. Arguments may be explosive, but at least they’re over with in 5 minutes. I look at our boys today and I feel proud. We have such fun, once I’ve finished washing, cooking and cleaning up after them of course. And do you know what? These boys are our greatest achievement, and I wouldn’t change them for the world.


“Why is there an eyeball hanging on the Christmas tree?”


As a parent, I’m sure I’m not the only one who is blessed with some weird and wonderful creations, courtesy of my boys’ efforts at school over the years.

“Mum, look what I’ve made!”
“Oh my word, that’s a wonderful… erm… a wonderful… ”
“It’s a clay vase.”
“Yes, that’s just what I was going to say. A magnificent clay vase. It can have pride of place on the mantlepiece!”
Until the cat knocks it off, of course.

So there we were enjoying the festive season, and son no 2 suddenly piped up, “Mum, why is there an eyeball hanging on the Christmas tree?!”

“A what??” I asked, quickly checking the contents of my tea cup.

“An eyeball! Look!” he said, pointing to the Christmas tree.

20150107-141016-51016489.jpgThere, hanging proudly on the tree, was a red object: spherical with a long tapered end, complete with string attached.

“That’s NOT a bauble??” I asked, somewhat bemused…

“No, it’s an eyeball. I made that at school years ago!” he replied, starting to laugh.

“But we hang that on the tree every year!” I giggled. How very absurd.

As I began to examine the questionable object I was none the wiser, until son no 2 grabbed hold of it and turned it over. “Look, there’s the pupil!” he exclaimed.

There indeed was a black circle on the top with a green ring around it. “But I thought that was part of the decoration!” I managed to say through the hilarity.


To me, that just typifies my life as a parent. You try your best to make your children feel proud of their work. If that means hanging an eyeball on the Christmas tree, then so be it. You see, as we packed away the decorations for this year, the eyeball was carefully placed back in a tub with the red baubles, ready for next year.  I just hope that won’t encourage my boys to make any other body parts to hang on the Christmas tree in future…

The Funny Thing about Dyslexia


Life with a dyslexic child is never dull. Our Son no 2 is sporty, clever, full of fun… and dyslexic. Moderately so, according to the experts. Rather than fret about it, we chose to embrace Son no 2’s differences, giving lots of support where needed but dealing with much of it through humour. For instance, in our house we don’t have left and right: we have left, and ‘the other left’.

Our boy gets many words muddled. Imagine the embarrassment when, at a charity fete one summer, he announced in a VERY loud voice, “Oooh I want a go on that stall – I love cocaine!” He was in fact pointing at the Coconut Shy and wanted to win a coconut, not score a line of cocaine. It wasn’t that kind of fete.

Or what about the time he desperately wanted a DVD of a film that he insisted was called ‘Meet Steve’. I searched high and low for this DVD, in shops and on the internet, all to no avail. After quite some time I did find a DVD entitled ‘Meet Dave’. “Oh yes, that’s the one!” he exclaimed cheerfully when I mentioned it.

Then there was the time we went to a neighbours’ bonfire party and he asked, again in a LOUD voice in front of a whole heap of people, “Will we be burning Ray Mears on the bonfire?” As everyone turned to look at him in bemusement, it was left to me to correct him: “Guy Fawkes. You mean Guy Fawkes.” “Yes, that’s the one!” he chuckled. To this day he still wants to burn Ray Mears on the bonfire every year. Poor chap, I have no idea what he’s done to deserve that.

A quick nap in the doorwayAs for games, Scrabble is never a good idea to play with Son no 2. Unless you change the game to ‘make as many rude words as you can with the letters you have’. You see, for some reason he can spell rude words reasonably accurately. Maybe that’s a boy thing. Then there’s I-Spy: a game particularly difficult to play with a child who often confuses the beginning sounds of words. You need to spend several hours guessing, plus ask for copious amounts of clues, to have any chance of even getting close to an answer. You might as well just guess any random words that come into your head. Or there’s Hangman of course. We can never win a game of Hangman with Son no 2. He adds spare letters in the middle of words with out realising, which might be useful if you’re playing in Czechoslovakian of course, but not in English.

Short-term memory is another strange area. We have a boy who can think several moves ahead in Chess or in a Magic the Gathering card game… yet give him a 2 step request (ie ‘do this, then do that’) and he is completely flummoxed.  For many years, he failed to recall the days of the week in order, yet he could recite all the rules and regulations on how to play Warhammer. He struggles to read fluently, yet can accurately work out complex Chemistry formulae (which is more than I can do!).

School has been a bit hit and miss. Give Son no 2 a ball or a bat, or a running track… in fact anything to do with sports, and he will excel himself. Yet give him a book to read or a sheet of paper to fill with words, and he will struggle. There are times when we struggle too. One day he came home from school with some English homework written in his exercise book. He told me that he’d copied it off a board at school. At the top of the page he’d written: ‘The Sobodret Cluce’. Apparently he needed to find out what that was for his next lesson. We were completely baffled. Once again, I trawled the ever-faithful internet but came up with a total blank. It was only after emailing the English teacher in a panic that we learnt what he actually needed to research: ‘The Subordinate Clause’. Shame neither of his parents had heard of that either.

In History he had been learning about the outbreak of World War 2. I had to raise an eyebrow when, leafing through his exercise book, I saw he’d written an essay on ‘Hitler and the Nancies’. I think that might have changed the entire course of history.

Or how about the Geography homework he had to complete, the title of which he’d written in his book as ‘Latitud and Longaturd’. My, how things have moved on since I studied at school.

Son no 2 daftnessCookery lessons have been something of an experiment to Son no 2. He’s never brought anything edible home. Most dishes have been dropped on the way back from school or knocked off the work surface in the lesson… that’s if they weren’t burnt, squashed or exploded in the oven. Once he baked something and apparently forgot to add any sugar. He didn’t know where the sugar had gone, only that he hadn’t put any in. Or how about the time he made Apple Turnovers? Easy enough, so you would think. Unless you forget to cut holes in the pastry of each one, so that they explode in the oven before you even take them out. I’m sure his Cookery teacher must have had a breakdown by the end of the year. Only once did he bring home some delicious buns: spongy, moist and baked to perfection. When I congratulated him he admitted with a grin, “Oh I didn’t bake them. I swapped mine with the girl next to me as mine were awful and she felt sorry for me.” That’s our boy, resourceful as ever.

I have to admit it seems that baking disasters run in the family. When son no 1 had to take Cookery at school, with relatively more success than his brother I might add, he once muddled up teaspoons with tablespoons when adding baking powder to muffins. Yes, you guessed it: they exploded in the oven too.

Science is one of son no 2’s favourite lessons. He asks his teacher the most interesting questions, such as, “If someone farts on your pillow at night, will you wake up with pink eye in the morning?” Or “If you split an atom and put it inside your head, would you have a head left?” Recently, he came home from school most chuffed with himself, having found out the answer to a question that had been puzzling him for a while: “Why does it make a noise when you fart?” The reply, according to his long-suffering Science teacher is “because your bum cheeks rattle when the wind passes through.” Not sure if that question will be on the GCSE paper, but Son no 2 was most enlightened.

Parents’ Evenings are a total joy to experience when you have a dyslexic child. “So how is my boy doing?” I asked his Maths teacher at the last such event. “Good, now that we’ve passed his Origami phase,” she replied patiently, “although I’ve still got one paper swan on my desk.” ??

Picking which subjects to study for GCSEs has been something of a challenge recently. Pondering which options to take, Son no 2 came up with quite a random question: “Mum, if you take Biology do you also have to take Textiles?”  “Erm no love,” I replied somewhat confused. “What makes you ask that?”  “Well,” he replied seriously, “if you cut someone open on the operating table, you’ve also got to be able to stitch them up again.”  Fair point.

You see, our boy looks at things differently to most people. He has diverse views, which when questioned, make total sense. You just need to open your mind. He is a very capable boy with, according to one of his old sports coaches, ‘the heart of a lion’. His humour is delightfully daft, and his ability to laugh at mistakes that he makes has made him a much stronger person. Far from defining him, his dyslexia is just a small part of who he is and how he functions. We wouldn’t change him for the world. Besides, when given the choice, who wants to be the same as everyone else?

The final say should maybe rest with the teacher of a Business Studies class, with whom we spoke at a careers evening held at Son no 2’s school. As we discussed the merits of the subject and whether or not it would play to our boy’s strengths, the teacher exclaimed brightly, “Oh I know your son, I see him walking to school each morning. I love the way his hair bounces as he walks!” So if the GCSEs don’t pan out very well, maybe we’ll just sign him up for the next Timotei advert instead.

Son no 2 smiles

A Question of Taste


The chickens were revolting.  Not in the sense that they smelt rancid, well not on a good day anyway.  No, they were causing a riot down in the chicken coop.  Upon further investigation I discovered the reason for their rumpus: their food bowl contained a large pile of dust.  Son no 2 had been tasked with tending them for a couple of days, but he had clearly been feeding them the dregs from the bottom of the bag of pellets.

Cobweb Gladys inspected the bowl of dust, then glared at me in disgust.  Doris DooDah let out a melancholy <cluck> and shuffled off to sit on the perch in a despondent heap.

“Never mind, ladies!” I addressed them cheerfully,  “We’ll get you some more.”

The chickens glanced at each other Cobweb and Cornflake face-offand together let out the avian equivalent of a very loud ‘tut’.  If they could have rolled their eyes, that would have followed.  Cobweb went to join her sister on the perch and there they sat, a perturbed pile of plumage, eyeing me in an accusatory fashion.

Feeling rather guilty, I grabbed sons no 2 and 3, jumped in the car and we shot off to Pets at Home.

Ah the fun to be had at a pet superstore.  The chicken food was soon forgotten as the boys became engrossed in 4 caged degus, fighting it out on a large wheel to see who could stay on it the longest.  Their little beady eyes glistened as their furry bodies heaved and shoved, legs going like the clappers.  So this is what a wrestling match would look like if the men wore furry bodysuits rather than lycra unitards.  Marvellous.

“Please can we get some?” asked son no 3, hope shining from his big blue eyes.

“No” I replied.  “They would frighten the cat.  Besides, they’re too expensive.”

The boys sighed and carried on moseying round the shop.

Suddenly son no 2 piped up, “Wow!  Look!  These are half price – we have to get some!”

Son no 3 ran across to have a look, then recoiled in disgust: his brother had discovered an entire shelf packed with plastic tubs which contained live crickets.

“No!” I said feeling somewhat bemused.  “We certainly can’t buy any of those!”

“Why not?” asked son no 2.  “Will they frighten the cat too?”

“No” I laughed.  “You don’t buy them as pets!”

“But they’re half price!” exclaimed son no 2, clearly trying to appeal to my frugal nature.  He pointed to some locusts: “These are even bigger, so they’re a much better bargain too!”

I shook my head, trying to suppress a smile.

“If they’re not pets, then why do people buy them?” questioned son no 3.

“For food,” I replied absent mindedly.

“EURGH! That’s disGUSting!” exclaimed son no 3.  “How do you eat them?  They wouldn’t be a very big meal would they?”

“They’re not for US to eat!” I laughed.  “Look, they’re for the bearded dragons up here.  Oh and no, we’re not getting a bearded dragon either!”

The boys could hardly contain their disappointment as I threw a sack of chicken food their way and made my way to the till to pay.

So what have I learnt today?Dim Doris

1.  Chickens might bathe in dust, but they won’t eat it.

2.  Degus put on free wrestling matches to endear themselves to boys.

3.  It might be worth buying some half price crickets, to try and increase son no 3’s protein level.

An Ornithological Observation


Being a parent can be confusing at times ,especially when you tend to suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome.  As your young child grows older, you often have to be careful not to read too much into what he says, and you most definitely need to take time to consider any reply.  Failure to do so could lead you into all sorts of problematic situations.

Take yesterday for instance.  There I was, washing up in the kitchen when son no 3 appeared.  As he merrily chatted away about nothing in particular, I nodded my head wisely.  To be honest I was barely listening, instead pondering the important question of what I’d cook for tea if Robin Thicke ever came to visit.

Suddenly son no 3 exclaimed loudly, “If Dad was a bird, he’d be a Great Tit!”

006Snapped out of my reverie at such a statement from a small boy, I turned to look at him as I tried to suppress a giant guffaw.  I didn’t know whether to reprimand him for being so rude, or to slap him wholeheartedly on the back for cracking a funny, albeit a naughty one.

Wondering how on earth to answer, I felt my eyebrows shoot skywards.  Barely keeping my hilarity under control, I just managed to utter a scarcely audible, “Errrm, what??”

Son no 3 pointed innocently to a large bag of bird food on a shelf.  He smiled and said, “Look at the bird pictures on the packet.  That one looks like Dad and it’s called a Great Tit.”

Oh.  Right.


*breathes a sigh of relief*


A Buffeting of Bear Ears


051So, the anxious wait is over. Your 17 year old son saunters down the garden path, cheeks rosy with excitement, a self-satisfied grin on his face.  Yes, he has just passed his driving test.  No more grey hairs for you, no more white knuckle rides with your foot crushing the imaginary brake pedal.  Or so you thought.

“I’ll take you for a drive in my car now Mum!” he declares.  He’s referring to the little kit car that he has lovingly spent the last 6 months renovating and titivating.  “It’s OK,” he adds, “I’ve put 5 litres of fuel in it.”  Ah.  Welcome back to the world of student poverty.  And even more grey hairs.

There’s less room to squirm about in the compact car.  There’s also no “Jesus handle” to grab in moments of sheer terror, as your loving son has thoughtfully taken the roof off for your first ride.  Perhaps he is expecting a lot of fright-induced flatulence.

When you sit down in the little convertible, your knee hits your chin as you wrestle your legs into a comfortable position.  Resisting the temptation to hug your knees to your chest while rocking back and forth like a total loon, you settle down and fasten the seatbelt securely.  Without thinking you pull the belt tighter, then have to loosen it slightly to enable yourself to breathe: it’s not advisable to pass out through lack of oxygen before you’ve even set off.  Son no 1 looks across at you, his eyes bright.  He hasn’t stopped smiling all day.

Then he turns the key in the ignition.  The engine starts to splutter and cough.  Just as you think it’s refusing to join the party, the motor roars into life with a giant belch.  Son no 1 glances across at you again.  You share a wide-eyed look of excitement and apprehension as a blizzard of butterflies swirl in your stomach.  You try to loosen your grip on the seatbelt, but your fingers are glued tightly in place.

Then you’re off.  Not so much a white knuckle ride as a heart-stomping assault on your senses: the smell of burning oil, the boisterous burble of the engine as you thunder down the road with the wind slapping you rudely across the back of your head.  You can feel the ears on your bear hat being buffeted about in the breeze.  What a total blast.



You feel 20 years younger as you remember the last time  you rode in an open-top car: memories of your brand new Handsome Hubby staggering to plonk you on the car seat as the netting on your wedding dress threatened to engulf him.  Ah, those were the days.  When he could lift you in the air without giving himself a hernia.


Talking of Handsome Hubby, it was his turn next for a ride in the kit car.  On their return, son no 1 filled me in on his latest journey.  “That was great!” he said cheerfully, before mumbling something that sounded like “We went 83”

“You went 83 miles per hour??”  I asked, shocked.

“No Mum,” he replied.  “We went on the A3..”  As I breathed a sigh of relief, he added quietly, “We actually went 85” before plodding off into his bedroom.

I can feel more grey hairs sprouting by the second.