Mr Bodysoluble

It’s our wedding anniversary this week.  My husband remembered.  (I forgot.  Again.)  I also forgot Valentine’s Day this year.  Valentine’s Day. My husband NEVER forgets. So for all the years I’ve forgotten, and the anniversaries I have also forgotten (I know, I suck), this one’s for my husband.

You may have already met my husband.  AKA Mr Bodysoluble. This guy.

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Yep, that’s him.

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He is extremely good with kids. There was this one time when we were new parents with just one baby, and one night at about 2am when she had been crying in my arms for what felt like ten years, and I was losing my mind; he came over and took her and rocked her to sleep.  Even though it took him half an hour and she fought him on it.  By then I was about as useful as a wet rag, in the corner mumbling homicidal poetry to a stuffed toy giraffe and rocking back and forth.

He just calmly put on the baby sleep CD of whale songs and water whooshing noises, and rocked and rocked that baby, and when he finally got her to sleep, he put her down and we all stopped breathing in case she woke up, and she DIDN’T and I slumped on the floor and almost cried from relief.  He walked across the room to turn off the CD, and stepped on this rubber duck toy and it went

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Like a pteranodon in mortal agony. I think that’s the actual name of the squeaker insert.  We both totally froze, and looked at the baby, and she murmered and shifted a little, and then stayed asleep, and we both started breathing again, except then we realised at the same time that he had his foot still on the toy, and sooner or later he was going to have to raise his foot off the toy or stay there forever.  I was going a kind of purple colour and spluttering out of my nose from trying not to laugh, but he just had this look like he would definitely pick up the baby again if he woke her up. I really appreciated him in that moment.

On the downside, he’s ridiculously messy.  There have been other times when I wonder just how messy he really is, and whether
he makes any attempt at all to be more tidy. If he is, it doesn’t show.

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Plot twist: I found sticky tape instead.

It’s annoying, because I dislike extreme mess. Meanwhile the other four people in the house seem to prefer it. They all generate quite a lot of it. Sometimes I walk into a room and say “oh my gosh, it looks like something exploded in here!” and then I tidy up. This morning my eldest daughter walked into the playroom and said “oh my gosh, it looks like something exploded in here, something like a TOY-VOLCANO.”

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I suspect she was just wishing out loud.

So I lose my nut over mess pretty regularly. He never does, because he honestly doesn’t care. In a way it’s liberating. He doesn’t care if it’s kind of messy, therefore doesn’t care if I don’t clean and polish like a maniac. I do anyway, time permitting, but when I do it’s for me, not him.

Mostly he stays solid as a rock, while i lose my mind at something.

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It’s just that, at this altitude, I have certain expectations…

Or when I am struggling with absurd, obtuse instructions.

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Government forms are my nemesis.

Seriously?  So what on Earth do I do below it??

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He almost never does housework, so he kind of fails that, but on the up side, he does a heck of a lot of last-minute and/or late night running errands.  Except he can be pretty literal at times.  Like, really literal.  For instance, I asked him last week, “Can you go to the grocer and buy a bag of apples. Oh, and if they have eggs, get a dozen.”

So off he went, and half an hour later he’s back again, unloads his car, and fills the kitchen with apples.

I looked around and said, carefully, “um, honey, can you please tell me what is happening?”

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Well, they had eggs!

But he deserves some focus for a change. Because this guy has my back.

He deals with the blood, when there is blood.  And honestly, with small kids, trampolines, bikes, scooters, bunk beds, and general tomfoolery, blood will happen sooner or later.

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This one was jumping on the sofa. Correction: Jumping OFF the sofa.

He has saved each child from choking on something at least once. One of them tried to eat a box of tissues when she was very tiny and her mouth was so full and her airways so blocked that she couldn’t make a sound to let us know that she was choking. I glanced over at her and screamed and my husband threw furniture out of the way to get to her fast, and scooped them all out. Maybe she would have been ok anyway, but I’m seriously glad we never had to find out.

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Plus, I always hated that table.

This other time, one of our children was potty training, she was about 2 years old, and doing pretty well at it for the most part. we had also learned to recognise her signals, of when she needed to go. This one time, she obviously needed to go, like, REALLY needed to go, and for some reason the potty wasn’t where it should be, and she had already gotten herself ready to go, so she was panicking and sort of half-sitting and past the point of no return.

In other words, she was about to defecate on our brand new carpets.

My husband, bless him, realised there were no options left.  He closed his eyes and turned his face away and stuck out his hands and caught the poop on the way down. My daughter ran off happily. My husband stood up and ran VERY CAREFULLY to the bathroom.

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Yep, we know how to party.

So, happy 7th anniversary, Mr Bodysoluble; watch out for the Toy-Volcano, and here’s to the next 7 years. We’ll be having apple pie for dinner. Probably for all seven of them.

Food Fight

Food and children is a battleground.  Well, maybe not for everyone.  But certainly for my kids this is true.  I want them to eat properly, vegetables and everything, with a knife and fork.  They want to eat garbage.  With their hands.  On a beanbag.  While yelling at maximum volume.  Upside-down.  With their mouths full.

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Pictured: the natural state of a 5 year old.

So when the opportunity comes up to go out for dinner, I have mixed feelings.

See, at our house, I do almost all of the cooking.

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Takeaway pizza notwithstanding.

I have learned over the years that cooking for others can quickly become a soul-destroying experience.

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Even if it is something they actually like, there is always one fussy eater who won’t co-operate.

I drew your face wonky because I don't like what you are saying.

I drew your face wonky because I don’t like what you are saying.

This is why I love restaurants.  I’m not responsible for what everyone eats for a change.  That, and the hugely rare experience of someone else serving me.  Whenever anyone else brings me food I have to fight to hold back my tears of gratitude.  You could serve me tepid microwave quick-oats but it will still feel like I’m being served seared unicorn cutlets garnished with the hanging gardens of Babylon.

Actually in all honesty I suck at microwave quick-oats.  They always seem to climb out of the bowl.

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Is it cooked or is it… sentient?

But while I may love going to restaurants, I was still apprehensive, because I have memories of the last time we tried to take the kids to a nice restaurant.

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It didn’t end well.

OK I’m exaggerating.  But not much.  So this time I thought we’d better get in some practice first.  Take them out for lunch at a regular café, get them practised at sitting still, eating with cutlery and so on, eating from their own plate and nobody else’s.  That kind of thing.  Things I am actually always trying to do anyway, but that become infinitely more important when eating in public.

We found a small fairly casual café, and were seated amongst other people.  Right there, that puts us at a disadvantage.

There were no other children in sight.  This is a blessing and a curse.  On one hand, other kids means other parents, who will commiserate and who understand and who won’t judge and hate us for ruining their day.  Probably.

The downside of having other kids nearby is that within about ten minutes this:

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Becomes this:

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So we sat, and opened our menus.  And our eldest daughter, let’s call her Sonia, starts getting antsy.  Not about the food, which is guaranteed to be a struggle at some point, but about the table (too wobbly).  Then the cutlery (too heavy).  Then it’s the seat (too high).  Then the fact that she has to sit still for more than 2 seconds at a time.

When her food arrives she eats about two mouthfuls then loses interest.  It’s impressive to me that my children never seem to eat anything throughout the whole meal, yet always manage to have their mouths full when talking.  I don’t know how they do it, it shouldn’t even be possible.  It’s as if the natural rules of physics are something you have to grow into.  Like, up until the age of 8 they are more guidelines than laws.  It rubs off on me as well.  I find myself saying nonsensical sentences like “I put nothing on her plate and it’s all still there, she hasn’t even touched it.”

So anyway.  She says she has “finished” eating.  She makes herself comfortable.

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While my lunch is going cold, we have an exchange of words.  She resumes her relaxed state.

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By now, the warmest thing on my plate is the salad.

Just to get her off the wall I suggest that my husband take her to view the cake display and choose a dessert for the kids to share.  This goes off without a hitch.  Until it arrives, with a huge mountain of cream on the side of the plate.

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Sonia doesn’t even blink, just dives on in and scoops up a handful of cream.  That’s not a figure of speech.  I mean an actual handful.

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Even the 3 year old was shocked.

At some point in the carnage that was them eating cake, someone spilled a drink.

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The liquid streaked across the table, and began pouring over the edge, straight into my handbag.  I was holding the baby, and I think I shrieked, when I saw my bag filling up with juice.  I reached down and grabbed the handles, and swung it upwards away from the juice, straight into the back of the head of the man behind me.

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Me, smugly saving the day.

He turned around to get angry, but deflated a little when he saw me.  I imagine it was seeing the  look of complete horror that was on his face, perfectly mirrored on mine.

It’s around about then that we left.  It’s possible the room applauded our departure.

Actually feel like applauding our departure myself.

Actually feel like applauding our departure myself.

So that was practice.

As a result, I am far more anxious about taking the kids to a restaurant.