Saturday, April 30, 2005

Nits! You know, it's obvious why Horrid Henry strikes such a chord with little boys - the stories so neatly tie in with everyday parts of their lives.


When no.3 son was scratching furiously at breakfast-time, I was suspicious. Now then, he has a distinctive white streak of hair on the top of his head - a Marilyn streak, I believe it's called. As we arrived back home after the swimming lessons, no.1 son spotted a moving black object on the white hair. No.2 son gleefully flicked it off. Mum found another four or five in the rigorous Bath-Shampoo-Conditioner-Teatree rinse that followed.

No.3 son is officially nit-free. No.2 has been checked and declared clear. No.1 will be checked tomorrow.

It's been a lovely sunny day. This afternoon, I took the kids to Largs. This picture is courtesy of


I sat on a rug, the kids skimmed stones and dug the sand ... and it was lovely just watching them play together contentedly without fighting for a couple of hours. Played frisby and ended up paddling into the water to rescue it. Played ball with a free Alliance & Leicester inflatable one that I was given last summer. What an idyllic way to spend an afternoon.

Came home and started cooking tea, and the kids went upstairs. Immediately, yelling, screaming, wailing - all down to the bloody electronic games. They're pure trouble, those gadgets!

I've pottered about, titivating the talk I'm giving at the conference tomorrow, and just have to go upstairs to tuck no.1 son into bed. Then it'll be time for a wee glass of wine before we too hit the hay.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Superspouse and the mouse. Readers, if you want a bit of innocent fun at tea-time, just mention mice. You're not with me yet? Superspouse told me he heard a noise during the middle of the day, and it wasn't coming from the hamster cages. Hmmm.

I casually told the boys that they ought to try not to get crumbs on the floor, because if there was a mouse, then it would get bolder (not to mention fatter) every day. Aaaagh! Feet up off the ground. Can mice climb stairs? Will we be safe in bed? Maybe I'll put my socks back on... (this from no.2 son, who takes off his socks as soon as he gets home. Don't ask!)

For heaven's sake, we have two hamsters and a gerbil. Apart from the fact that the potential mouse isn't tame, what is the problem? It's a good bit smaller than any of our present rodents.

"Can we catch it in a bucket?" To do what, exactly? Cage it?

"We could let it out in the garden ..." Yeah, fine. And see if it finds its way back home?

A few minutes later, I just scratched very quietly underneath the table. The effect was electric. Most amusing! Perhaps I'll buy a mouse trap, though. Just to be on the safe side.

A colleague left to go to another job, today. Right now he'll be enjoying a farewell drink with friends. Well, he might be. If he's still upright. This is 8 pm, right? He could well be hiccupping his way home! I don't usually go to farewell nights out. A farewell drink in the office is fine, but I have the boys to taxi about on a Friday night, and there's no question of me absconding to drink myself under the table somewhere in the middle of Glasgow!!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Ladies who lunch [too late]

If I had been sharper off the mark getting away for my lunchbreak, and if I hadn't gone to the bank before going to buy a sandwich, then I might have got an egg mayo sandwich with no bother. But I didn't stop to think that they'd all be sold out ... and by the time I got there, they'd gone.

I thought I'd have an egg roll instead. I didn't realise that someone would fry the egg then and there, and stick it in a roll. Still, once I got over the shock, it seemed a nice idea.

So there I was, crossing the road back to work, tucking into my egg roll and wondering when I'd get to the yolk. Little did I realise that it was drip, drip, dripping down my hand, the sleeve of my jacket, the front of same, my black trousers and even onto my shoe. What a yucky, disgusting mess! A colleague handed me a paper hanky so I could remove the worst of it before even venturing indoors again! I hurried to the ladies' loo, and scrubbed at my clothes until I looked decent again. I couldn't wear the jacket home, so it's lucky I also had a fleece with me.

Busy career mum? I'd be safer staying at home with a pinny over a woolly jumper! Next time I want something "in a roll", I'll have a bacon roll - it's marginally less messy.

Change of subject- my stress levels must be rising. My arms and shoulders ache when I'm at my desk ... at work, but not at home. My legs ache when I'm walking around ... at work, but not at home. Dear reader, the remedy may be glaring obvious, but it is economically impossible. The other remedy would be to find someone to give me a neck-and-shoulders massage, during my lunchbreak.

It would keep me away from egg rolls, too ...

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Birthday Boy is in bed - and still high as a kite!

At 3.17 am, he plodded into our bedroom. "Hi, Mum, Dad - it's my birthday!" - followed by his little brother. Not wanting to seem unfeeling, it still seemed a bit early to start celebrating.

"Happy Birthday, son - now, go back to bed please."


At 6.17 am, he was back. "Can I wake up my brothers now? I want my presents!"

"But they're asleep ..."

"But it's my birthday!"

He woke up the little one. The big one somehow staggered in five minutes later. Birthday Boy gleefully opened his cards, counted his cash, and realised with glee that he could buy the desired game. Yippee!

For his party, we took him and no.1 son, and four school friends, to Glasgow Climbing Centre. It is a converted church - a fabulous place.

They had a ball - I'd recommend it. The little one came home with me - I cooked turkey curry while he played on the GameCube uninterrupted. Then we went back to help ferry them all home to tea. We arrived back at the climbing centre to meet sons no.1 & 2 in the churchyard, having just climbed down the outside of the church tower. They were the only kids brave enough - the four little guests just watched admiringly and went back down the stairway!

The kids were wild! Two in particular were completely uncontrollable. I felt guilty plying them with Coca Cola, knowing the caffeine would only make them worse. And it did.

Still, we knew we only had an hour to go before the parents came to take our little guests away, so we survived.

A quick room-tidy ensued before no.3 son could get to bed. And, as I mentioned, no.2 is now in bed, still fizzing. They will be a little tired in the morning.

Do I feel like research tonight? I could as soon go back to the Climbing Centre as think serious, intellectual thoughts this evening!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Middle-man will be nine tomorrow. He has been counting the hours and minutes, and I bet you anything he will stay awake until a minute after midnight so we can congratulate him on his birthday!

The cake (a square Madeira cake which will be butter-iced and decorated with sprinkles and candles) is baking even as I write. Smells good!

Thanks to for the image, so pertinent to the story I'm about to tell ...

What a Saturday! I was woken up by no.3 son presenting me with a handwritten note telling me that he didn't like swimming and wasn't going. Oh, yes?

We all got to the swimming-pool in time for our 9 am lesson. At five past nine, no.3 son became not a school, but a Pool Refuser. I charged into the Gents changing room, called him to stop hiding in the cubicles, frog-marched him out and back through the Ladies changing room to the pool-side.

I followed SuperNanny's advice. Got down to his level, made him look at me, and told him calmly but firmly that he was going to have a swimming lesson. I had an audience of three other pool-side Mums and a whole viewing-area full of parents on the other side of the glass-fronted wall. So, I'm proud to say that I didn't loose my cool, and he did end up in the water - I got him sat on the edge of the pool and passed him down to the swimming instructor. After which, I do believe the little fraud enjoyed himself.

It was unfortunate that Cello Boy's orchestra practice began at exactly the same time that the swimming lesson ended. So yes, we were late, but it didn't seem to matter too much. I had time to read a friend's letter and drink coffee outside in the sunshine before I washed the car, before we went all the way back to collect Cello Boy again!

Since then? All the usual Saturday activities - washing, cooking, shopping. Decided I'd got about as far as I could go with the research artice revisions, and sent it off to the editor. Readers, keep your fingers crossed for me.

Now I'm about to chase no.1 son to bed, before I check the cake again. I don't feel like starting anything terribly intellectual at this time, so maybe I'll move some books round on my bookcase as I've been planning all week. It isn't work, but will make the corner look a bit tidier. Once a librarian, always a librarian...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Okay, I'm paranoid. I spend so much time worrying about whether people like me, approve of me, wish I wasn't there ... and now we have a new rota at work. So I worry whether colleagues will criticise me if I have a meeting elsewhere which prevents me from taking a turn on the rota. I was out this morning. I am out all day tomorrow. Faced with the prospect of a very early start for a day-trip to Aberdeen next week, I chickened out. Miss more time on the rota? I couldn't bear to!

And then, tonight, I suddenly remembered something. As a child, I had a cuddly penguin. His name was Peter Penguin, and I confided all my secrets to him. (In return, he told me how he'd spent the day whilst I was at school. No, you're not allowed to laugh.) Now, you show me any other child which worries that their own toys don't like them. If that doesn't show deep-seated insecurity, I don't know what does!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

He's upstairs wiggling that wobbly tooth. What I want to do is see if I can write today's blog posting before the tooth comes out!

Talk about hanging by a thread - the suspense of when he'll manage to pull that tooth out is almost unbearable.

Here is a salutary lesson about an over-ambitious PseudoSupermum: yesterday morning (Saturday), I woke with a slight headache. I took two paracetamols and thought no more about it.

By 11 am it was worse. Two more paracetamols.

It was no better by lunchtime, so after lunch I tried the new, patent method for tension headaches : heated gel pad tied round the back of the neck with a tea-towel. (Remember, if you decide to try for yourself - REMOVE the pad and tea-towel before you answer the front door.) Well, after two applications, the headache was definitely abating. What puzzles me is, how would I manage to use this method at work?

Okay, fine - so I pottered about with a little bit of gentle research until tea-time. As is always the way after a headache, I was shattered, so I had a little snooze after tea. Did a bit more vague web-searching in between getting the boys to bed.

Then came the fun - SuperSpouse's computer let him become an eBay vendor, but absolutely and resolutely refused to let him sell anything. It froze, at every attempt. Something to do with cookies, and yes, we did all the right things about internet options etc. We wasted hours. Finally, gave up and had a wee sherry and a light supper.

I suppose spending hours at a computer after a headache wasn't very clever, really. But it didn't merit what happened next - a terrible pain right across both collarbones. And a touch of indigestion. Must have been indigestion, because indigestion tablets settled it - but where did the pain across the collarbones come from? I felt decidedly weird for a while.

Finally, got to bed and fell asleep while SuperSpouse continued to work on getting his computer back to rights. Didn't feel too great first thing, but I was fine by the time I got to church and had to think about playing. And have been okay the rest of the day.

The tooth is out! Thank heavens for that. Now he won't be distracted it by it.

Did you read in the UK papers this weekend the fact that a small party for your kid's birthday can cost £300? Not in our household it doesn't! We're taking Birthday boy (no.2 son), and four school-friends, and no.1 son, to an indoor climbing centre. £60 for an hour and three-quarters of instruction, then we'll come home for burgers in buns. That's enough, we think! Some parents must go completely mad, for £300. I know peer pressure is a terrible thing, but haven't they the strength to resist it and tailor the party to suit their pockets?

Time to get Nearly Birthday Boy to bed, and to make some party invitations. Excuse me - gotta get SuperBusy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Two days spent checking citations and references has been so restful. I feel nicely chilled-out. (Leaving aside the wonderful tranquillity and equally wonderful view from the windows of the Special Collections in Glasgow University Library!)

I started the week with three typed pages of citations etc to revise. Now it's down to a few bullet-points on a single sheet, and four of those are awaiting reply emails. Didn't I do well?

Add to that a very pleasant hour spent having coffee with a new contact at the University - I can't imagine a nicer way to spend a couple of days' leave!

This evening I dropped no.1 son off for his piano lesson, then went to the park with nos.2 & 3 sons while we waited. Back home, time for a "healthy snack" (see who watched Super Nanny on TV last night?!) - got no.3 son to bed, no.2 son did guitar practice then headed for bed, and I am waiting for Cello Boy to come and join me for a quick spot of practice. What has he been doing since he got back? Sitting on his bed, reading, chilling out, and wobbling a frustratingly wobbly back tooth!

Do Tooth Fairies still visit eleven-year olds...?

Monday, April 11, 2005

How quickly can I update you on a Week in the Life of a Pseudo-Supermum?

  • Last week - lasting impressions of muddy football kit, x 3. It was the first week of the Easter holidays, and the boys went football training every day.
  • This week - at least swimming togs are just wet and chlorinated, as opposed to muddy! But they still need washing, daily. Our washing machine deserves a medal. So do its operatives. But when will we get round to the ironathon?!
  • A research article which I was aiming to revise by June 2005, looks as though it might be required sooner than that. I've gone into overdrive, working frantically on revisions of citations, all weekend - and I'm taking 2 days' leave to finish it off (hopefully!)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

This time, Charles and Camilla have got it right. I had misgivings about the 8th April. However, they're now getting married on our wedding anniversary, so surely that must be a good omen ...?

PseudoSupermum has been away to two consecutive conferences. First Durham, then on to Hatfield. At the first, research conference, PseudoSupermum felt OLD and mentally a bit slow on the uptake. However, I did give a paper, and it didn't go too badly. I stayed in the Castle (yeah! For me this was particularly unexpected, as it had been an all-male college when I was a Durham undergraduate) - and enjoyed being in my alma mater for a short while. I went in the cathedral, and had a brief walk by the river before going on to the second conference.

Thence to Hatfield, where I felt a little bit younger and brighter, didn't give a paper, but was on a discussion panel instead.

On the final night of each conference, was the conference banquet/dinner. At Durham, I pulled on my trusty velour "little black dress", and my multi-coloured sparkly poncho which a TV character was seen wearing in the Sunday Times a couple of weeks ago, and sighed wearily. "Another conference, another conference dinner". But truly, they were enjoyable. Even if the wine in Durham was a rip-off.

By this stage I felt I'd been away long enough. I was very glad to get home and see SuperSpouse waiting for me at the station last night. Five days was quite long enough.

Cello Boy has just informed me that he missed me very much, but he was afraid that if I'd been away any longer, he might have forgotten what I was like. Ahhh ... Meanwhile, Middle-Man missed me "tons", and "my baby" (all six and half years of him) just missed me. They each looked after one of my teddies whilst I was away, bless them.

Back at work today, I was half-dead. My arms ache (toting those bags yesterday, I expect). My throat aches. I am absolutely shattered. Dealt with an overflowing intray and a time-wasting external enquiry. (The question was too broad - it wasn't possible to answer it in detail.) Went to see my research supervisor in the late afternoon, apologising profusely for really not feeling very clever at all.

I've bathed and hair-washed two boys, tidied up a bit, done a mini-supermarket run to last us until the weekend. And now I'm done in.

Zzzzzzz . I'll tell you about my light reading on the train, another time.