An Important Day

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Dear Gloria

img_4417You may have woken me up at 6am (it’s Saturday, that’s really quite rude) by clattering a ping pong ball around the kitchen floor.

You may have run your teeth along my foot when I tried to go back to sleep.

You may have initiated an affectionate head-butt, but then turned at the last minute and yelled, “Sucker!” whilst slapping me round the face.

img_4525You may have insisted on going outside despite the rain lashing down, and then come in dragging wet leaves and debris across the freshly-vacuumed carpet.

img_4536You may have sat in the middle of the floor with your fur stuck up on end, looking like a giant fluffy porcupine, swiping away any offers of a towel, preferring instead to wipe your wet fur along the soft furnishings.

But today is an important day for you, so I didn’t shout.

I cleaned out your litter tray, since you prefer to use it like a ball pit, albeit with white grit in place of coloured balls.

I cooked a big roast beef meal, not because you like beef, but because you like the crispy bits from the roast potatoes.

img_4551I tried to take some pictures. You refused to smile for the camera.  You refused to sit still for the camera. You hate my camera.

I bought you presents, which I then wrapped in catnip-infused paper.  I did the same with the card I made for you too. You ignored that and chewed the foil bow instead.  You went berserk when you saw your new toy, but then ignored it when I removed the packaging.

But this is an important day for you.  Today is your second birthday.

And what did you do in return?

You decided to indulge me in a touch of forensic anthropology – my favourite subject. You left 3 dead mouse carcasses scattered in the front garden: fly-infested, mangled corpses, carefully placed in full view of the garden path.  Your very own body farm.  I only hope it wasn’t a warning for the postman.

img_4543So Happy Birthday, you mischievous heap of fluff and mayhem.  Here’s to another year of sleeplessness, irritability and attitude… I’m talking about you, not me, sweet cheeks.  Hope you’ve enjoyed your day more than I have *mwah*

with much love from the Chief Human Staff Member xx

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You Know You are a Parent of Boys when…

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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*

This.This.

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.

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How To Take Down A Christmas Tree When You Have A Cat

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1  Remove the cat from the tree.

2  Unplug the fairy lights.

IMG_39003  Explain to the cat (for the umpteenth time) that the wiring on the fairy lights is not to be used as dental floss.

4. Unwrap the wiring from the cat’s teeth.

5. Fetch the bag for the baubles. Remove the cat from the bag.

IMG_32376.  Look for the baubles on the tree. Note that there aren’t many left. Observe how the top half of the tree is still decorated whilst the lower half is completely bald (save for the odd mangled, half-chewed chocolate wrapper). Glare at the cat who is nonchalantly polishing her claws underneath the tree.

7.  Remove the cat from the tree.

8.  Pluck a bauble off the tree.  Drop the bauble on the floor as the cat pounces at your hand.

9.  Retrieve a plaster and stick it on your bleeding finger.

IMG_313110.  Chase the cat who is chasing the bauble round the lounge.

11. Retrieve the bauble from the cat and place it in the bag.

12.  Remove the cat from the bag.

13.  Remove the cat from the tree.

14.  Collect the remaining baubles from the tree, repeating steps 7-13 until all the baubles are safely deposited in the bag.

15.   Nip to the chemist to stock up on plasters.

16.  Remove the cat from the tree.

17.  Take hold of the fairy lights and gently unwind them from the tree branches.

18.  Remove the fairy lights from the cat’s mouth.

19.  Remove the cat from the tree.

20.  Replace the plasters on your fingers.

IMG_311821.  Keep unwinding the fairy lights from the tree branches.

22.  Unwrap the fairy lights from the cat’s neck.

23.  Remove the cat’s claws from the wiring on the fairy lights and stick another plaster on your bleeding hands.

24.  Lay the lights across the floor as you remove them from the tree.

25.  Remove the cat from the tree.

26.  Remove the cat from the lights.

27.  Run round in circles as you try to wind the fairy lights into a ball before the cat can throttle herself again.

28.  Find the box for the lights. Remove the cat from the box and place the lights in it.

29.  Take the tree down one segment at a time and place each segment in a large bag. Place any broken branches in the bags too, with the intention of reattaching them next Christmas… knowing full well that you will never get round to reattaching them.

30.  Pour yourself a large drink and dress your wounds whilst watching the cat sulk in the corner.

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Gloria’s Twelve Days of Christmas

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What could be more trouble than a kitten at Christmas?
A 1 year old cat, that’s what.

This is to  be sung to the tune of the traditional song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’… no drummers drumming or pipers piping in our house that’s for sure!

*****
On the first day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me
A chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.

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On the second day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me
Two eyes madly staring
And a chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.

On the third day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me
Three broken branches
Two eyes madly staring
And a chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.

20151231-172339-62619407.jpgOn the fourth day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me
Four paws a-boxing
Three broken branches
Two eyes madly staring
And a chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me

Five exasperated sighs….

Four paws a-boxing
Three broken branches
Two eyes madly staring
And a chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me
Six chewed candy canes
Five exasperated sighs…
Four paws a-boxing
Three broken branches
Two eyes madly staring
And a chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.

20151231-172038-62438522.jpgOn the seventh day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me
Seven puffed up pounces
Six chewed candy canes
Five exasperated sighs…
Four paws a-boxing
Three broken branches
Two eyes madly staring
And a chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me
Eight battered baubles
Seven puffed up pounces
Six chewed candy canes
Five exasperated sighs…
Four paws a-boxing
Three broken branches
Two eyes madly staring
And a chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.

20151231-171443-62083715.jpgOn the ninth day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me
Nine fractured fairy lights
Eight battered baubles
Seven puffed up pounces
Six chewed candy canes
Five exasperated sighs…
Four paws a-boxing
Three broken branches
Two eyes madly staring
And a chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me
Ten stolen sweeties
Nine fractured fairy lights
Eight battered baubles
Seven puffed up pounces
Six chewed candy canes
Five exasperated sighs…
Four paws a-boxing
Three broken branches
Two eyes madly staring
And a chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me20151231-172851-62931562.jpg
Eleven puked-up pine needles
Ten stolen sweeties
Nine fractured fairy lights
Eight battered baubles
Seven puffed up pounces
Six chewed candy canes
Five exasperated sighs…
Four paws a-boxing
Three broken branches
Two eyes madly staring
And a chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Gloria gave to me
Twelve chomped-on chocolates
Eleven puked-up pine needles
Ten stolen sweeties
Nine fractured fairy lights
Eight battered baubles
Seven puffed up pounces
Six chewed candy canes
Five exasperated sighs…
Four paws a-boxing
Three broken branches
Two eyes madly staring
And a chuffin cat in the Christmas tree.
*****

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And that just about sums up our Christmas.

Gloria and I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy and peaceful New Year.
But she’d like to keep the Christmas tree please.

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How to Introduce a Cat to a Chicken, Part 2

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Have you ever wondered if a highly-strung chicken and a naughty young cat could be friends?  Judging by my ‘Friend not Food’ post earlier, you would assume not.

014Doris has never been the brightest chicken in the coop. Throw her a grape and she often stands motionless, staring at you with her beak open, a vacant look in her eyes. The grape can land on the floor directly in front of her, and she will still be gazing up at you.

“It’s there, you daft ‘apeth!” you can exclaim, pointing to the ground.

Only then will Doris look down and gasp (in a chicken-like manner) “Well I’ll be blowed! How the chuffin ‘ell did it get there??”

“It bounced off your beak and landed there when I threw it to you!”  (She’s not called Dim Doris for nothing).

And the plump little hen will shake her head, give a little chuckle and attack the grape viciously. It’s a shame that she doesn’t show the same attack mode when Gloria Chufflepuff appears.

Being a fluffy ninja, Gloria just wants a sparring partner; someone to ambush and chase and slap.  Yet Doris just wants to eat. Therein lies the problem.

Whereas Doris used to dilly dally about in the garden when I called her to bring her back to the coop (much like an errant child: “Hang on a mo, I’ve just found a worm!”), she now scuttles furtively into the relative safety of her enclosure. However Gloria still persists in trying to play.  021Many a time recently I have been replenishing the chicken food in the coop, when I’ve heard a noise from above. As I’ve looked up, I’ve been showered in dirt and cobwebs (dusting the coop isn’t high on Doris’ list of priorities) – only to find a wide-eyed furry face beaming down at me through the coop roof saying, “Oooh look! A CHIKIN!”

I mean, stalking from above?  That’s a bit out of order. Don’t chickens have a right to privacy?  Imagine being slap bang in the middle of a dust bath and looking up to discover a voyeuristic cat ogling you! Shocking.

Once Gloria had mastered the coop-top spying manoeuvre, she decided to take things a step further. There was I, merrily poo-picking in the coop… well I say merrily… maybe I’ve exaggerated a bit there. 067Doris hopped outside, having found an interesting speck of nothingness to peck.  As I followed her out of the coop, I pulled the door closed behind me… and turned to discover a fluffy face looking back at me. Yes, the cat was sitting inside the chicken coop, and the chicken was gleefully stomping about outside in the garden!  Doris thought this was hilarious, and in an act of blatant bravado she kept waddling up and pecking the outside of the enclosure.  I had never seen Gloria so subdued, her whiskers twitching as she blinked her big, green eyes. It wasn’t easy trying to swap the occupants over, believe me.

008Several days later, I had an even bigger surprise: having been bent double whilst undertaking the coop cleaning chores, I stood upright to be confronted by Gloria nonchalantly sauntering out of the pop hole of the chicken house. She then sat at the top of the ramp and had a quick wash, before looking at me with an expression that said, “WHAT??”.  Clearly impressed with the sleeping quarters, she had decided to make herself at home.

We have now got to the point where Gloria accompanies me down to the chicken coop every day. I open the door, Doris waddles out and Gloria bounds in.  014017Sometimes they sit together in the coop, pointing and laughing at me as I clean.  At other times, they play leap frog or rugby with Doris’ yellow ball.  Of course outside the coop, on the grass, Gloria reverts back to her ninja training and Doris often has to dive for cover, clucking loudly in annoyance.

 

So there we have it: yes, a thick chicken and a cheeky cat can be friends. But only if they live together as room-mates in the chicken coop.  Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad – with so many cobwebs down there, Gloria could make excellent use of her beloved feather duster!

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Things We Have Learnt In Gloria’s First Year

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Balloon Peek-a-Boo!

 

We recently celebrated Gloria Chufflepuff’s very first birthday! To mark this major milestone, here is a list of 10 things that she has taught us.

 

Gloria's motto for the dayNo box too small1 No box is ever too small.

2 The recycling bin is an endless source of amusement, with items to chew, mangle and throw about the house, particularly at night.

3 The optimum time to indulge in a spot of feline karaoke is at 4.45am.

4 We will never have a bath alone. Nor use the toilet in peace. Showers may be communal at the very last minute.

5 No bed is out of bounds. Even a bed behind a closed door. Human beds are far more comfortable than a soft, fleecy cat bed. Hell, even a concrete floor is more comfortable than a purpose-made cat bed.

What do you mean it's not my birthday any more?!6 You may dance in your water bowl, but you should never drink from it.

7 Shedding fur is a technical business. The rule: only leave white fur on a dark surface, and dark fur on a light surface.

8 A food bowl can never be too full.

9 It is impossible to play ‘hide and seek’ with a chicken; they squawk unexpectedly at the most inopportune of moments. Even games of ‘tag’ are somewhat one-sided. The best game to play with a chicken is ‘leapfrog’ – if you get it wrong, they provide a wonderfully soft landing.

10 A feather duster can be used for many things including chewing, biting, ambushing, pummelling, ninja warrior practice and carrying around the house using only your mouth. It should most certainly never be used for housework.

A big smile for the camera

 

Teenage Travesties

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Teenage selfie!Recently an email unexpectedly landed with a thud in my inbox. The title made me raise an eyebrow: “Having tricky times now that Gloria is a teenager?

Tricky times? Seriously? Has the sender been secretly watching me through my front room window? Or maybe they’ve been reading this blog…Angel wings

The email merrily continued with the heading “Keeping your kitten in line“. Ha. Ha. Ha. Are you kidding me? Clearly these people have never met Gloria Chufflepuff. I have more success in keeping my 3 boys in line than I do this rambunctious explosion of fluff. Don’t let those ‘angel wing’ markings on her back fool you.

An endless supply of dental floss for GloriaShe may have a few bad habits…” You don’t say!  Are we talking about swinging from curtains, toppling scratching posts and pulling towels from rails to throw around the room? Or maybe partying in the litter tray at all hours of the night. Do we also include sitting in front of the television screen so that nobody can watch it? Half-eaten remains...with cat teeth marksOr eating freshly baked goods meant for a cake sale at school? Hmmm. What about wearing the standard lampshade as a hat and using the tassels as dental floss? Riiight.

Does she ignore you, hide or clash with other pets?” Tick, tick and, oh yes, tick. Although it’s not so much ignoring you as answering back. You see, Gloria just loves to have the last word, no matter what the debate. She is particularly gobby, albeit in a cute, cuddly way of course.
Not the best camouflage gear, but a great colour match for the eyes...Hiding? Are we talking about trying to camouflage herself by sitting in the recycling bin with a baked bean can wrapper on her head? That’s just one way to try and ambush an unsuspecting human. (There are many more, believe me…) I think the picture says it all, eh?
Clashing with other pets: maybe we should just head down to the chicken coop to answer that one. Or read my last blog post here:  Friend Not Food!

AttitudeMake the Rules” read the next heading. Oh do come on! Really? “Now is the time to nip any behavioural problems in the bud…” continued the email. I smiled in a self-satisfied way. You see, some progress has been made in this department.
Popping balloons and gagging on the soggy remains = tie balloons up high out of the reach of pole-vaulting cats.
Eating flowers and poisoning herself =  keep your house boring and drab by refusing all offers of cut flowers and house plants.
Turning on kitchen taps = turn off water supply to house. Oh no. Wait. That won’t do. Remove taps? No. Redesign kitchen? No! Oh.
Repeatedly trapping herself in bathroom at night = remove bathroom door. No! *sigh*
OK so maybe we haven’t made much progress on that either.

Let’s go back to the email. Next heading: “Manipulative Moggies“. Ah. Right. “Do you feel controlled by your cat?” Now you’re talking. I mean, how do you deal with a cat who sits in the middle of the kitchen floor shouting, “HAM!” each time you make a sandwich? The advice is usually to ignore such behaviour, yet how can you ignore an elite fluffy ninja who can give an ankle a friendly nip, climb up human legs using claws alone or somersault onto the kitchen worktop at lightning speed? Controlled by our cat? Tick.

The TeenagerSo there you have it. All boxes ticked on the email. Yes, we have definitely hit Gloria’s teenage years.

The action plan?

Absolutely nothing.