Janet Christie on parenting
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My Aunty Janet comes to visit with her daughter and grandson, aka Our Stan, so I have to clean and stay up till 3am bleaching the grouting. I can't bear for them to see how we really live – they'll think I'm depressed.
Usually it's Youngest Child begging me to go to something at the school when I'm busy trying to earn a crust for us all. But now the roles are reversed, with Eldest Child selfishly refusing to go to his prizegiving.
When Beyoncé announced she was coming to T in the Park Youngest was beside herself with glee.
Determined to introduce some examples of romance into Youngest Child's life to offset the blasted heath that is her mother's experience, I decide to take her to a friend's wedding.
Just because I consider the Royal Family an anachronism that has no place in a mature democracy doesn't mean I didn't want to see The Dress, so I arrived in front of the telly at the appointed time. Youngest, however, had other plans.
Back when Biggie Smalls' smalls were bigger, pre-operation, he "fell in love with the kitten next-door" according to Youngest Child.
Back when the snow was piled so deep that the children were forced into a truce in The Coat Wars, I promised Youngest Child a trampoline, confident it would be months before I would have to shell out.
At last, incontrovertible proof that Youngest Child is awkward for the sake of it. I've long suspected as much, but have given her the benefit of the doubt. Until now.
Dawn peeps over the horizon and I'm still trying to cling on to sleep, but something is stirring in the house.
Why did I think giving Youngest Child a mobile for Christmas was a good idea? Probably because my senses desert me around the first week of December when I realise resistance is futile and buy everyone whatever they ask for so it will all go away.
AMONG my acquaintances there have been one or two Dummy Mummies whose sole topics of conversation are offspring-related but, since most babies are about as active as Ken Clarke during a Budget speech, they're soon dumped in favour of the Pump and Dump mums, desperate to "get back out there".
MOVE over you yummy mummies - a new lexicon of language is emerging to describe the highs and low of modern-day parenting.
The children are still on testicle watch, or 'tessacle' as Youngest Child calls them, for our kitten Biggie Smalls, constantly checking him to make sure I've not had them whipped off.
I'm feeling under the weather so the kids are helping out. Youngest Child has offered to tidy the boys' rooms and Middle Child has cleaned up the vomit from his brother's bedroom rug.
Middle Child is on testicle watch. Not his own, but the kitten's. Biggie Smalls – named after the murdered rapper – needs to be "seen to" before he heads into the 'hood.
We're setting out in the car en famille. I love it when all three of my children are in one place.
Dirty cups, filthy piles of clothes ... I'm ranting about my teenage sons' rooms to a friend.
You'd think I could go out occasionally and trust people to behave. Once in a blue moon I get over the doorstep, but no, it seems I can't.
"Well, you wanted children," my friend points out (not strictly true, and not necessarily on my own and when I was completely skint, but it's pointless to quibble now).