Just a cat?

They think he died on a Sunday but his body was only found on a Tuesday. By Wednesday the body was delivered to me in a bin liner.

When the council lady rang me at 8am on the Wednesday morning the intonation of her voice went up at the end. ‘Up’ I took as hopeful. Like perhaps he’s alive and sat with her. Her intonation should have gone down because when I rang her back full of hope and a fizz in my tummy she told me she had his body. I thanked her for her call, my throat closed up and my heart burst.

It was inevitable really living where we do on the brink of a busy dual carriageway. We lost his sister 6 months earlier in the same way and as sad as that was it wasn’t this Wednesday.

I even reprimanded myself for crying so much over a cat but there was something special about Dash. He was technically the first pet that I owned even though he was free. He was always stood waiting on the console table every time we came in from the school run. If we were later than 3:30 in the afternoon he would be stood on the doorstep waiting. He slept on my eldest daughters bed every day and on us every night and would always run to my call. We even took him on our mini breaks. Yes he was a very special cat and now he is in the ground. He was out in the rain for 2 whole days and he hated the rain, we had that in common.

I was walking with the littlest babe through the village the other day and I met a dear older lady who was chatting village life and I mentioned our cat was run down a few days earlier and after describing our sweet boy she told me an elderly woman at number 87 took great joy in seeing him each evening. She would stand outside her back door and he would make a figure eight around her legs and make her feel like she mattered. Seems our boy gave joy to lots of people but most especially to me.

Just a cat? Yes, but not to me and I’m not a cat person.


Bit of nonsense

The best of intentions all fall away when my bottom hits the sofa.

After putting the children to bed I decided to do a little naked cleaning. I’ll just quickly add that it isn’t a desperate housewife ritual to entice my husband. Nope. My husband is away for five days and four nights on his final – yes FINAL residential stay at university so I shouldn’t grumble as I’ll be more glad than he, I think, when it’s finished but did I mention he’s away for five days and four nights and I have four children?!

Anyway – back to the naked cleaning. I do this purely as a multipurpose task. I am a very practical person so if I’m gonna clean, I’m gonna scrub hard so I can call it ‘exercise’ because I’m gonna sweat. I read somewhere that anything that gets your heart rate up can be called exercise…In that case my whole life should be called exercise.

Once I’ve given the house a once over – minus bedrooms that my sleeping babes fill – and the dryer has finished it’s cycle, I sort the clothes into ‘ironing’ and ‘put away’ piles, I set the table for breakfast.

One lesson I have learned from a family member who has four girls was to always be prepared for the next day the night before. I have always stuck to it.

This season I have two going to school and two staying at home but all four plus me have to leave the house by eight twenty am looking ready for the day even if that means I have to wear a nightie under my jogging bottoms for the drop off.

Once my ‘exercise’ session is over I shower away the sweat and polish residue, spritz a little Fabreeze everywhere and make a brew. I think of finishing my book and devouring a bag of munchies but once my bottom hits the sofa it takes all of my strength not to fall asleep.

Aching muscles dissolve into slush as the fabric surrounds my tush and envelopes my sore spine. I am done. Begrudgingly I turn on the tv to see what crap is broadcasting. I hate that I can waste hours watching people make meatballs in a crowded kitchen so I turn to writing and I turn to you. Hello. How’ve you been?


I had a mini meltdown of sorts the other night. Of course it wasn’t really a meltdown in the true sense of the word but since I have a flair for the dramatic we’ll call it that and all because I went to the opticians.

Dramatic right.

Since baby no.4 was born I have been having terrible headaches and as a none headache person I felt they were particularly bad. If I woke up with one you can bet it wouldn’t cease to ache until bed.

Along with the headaches I began to get a slight blurring and seeing bits of dust in my peripheral vision – I have come to learn they are called ‘Floaters’ (an unfortunate name that makes me giggle every time I hear it) and actually quite common.

I reported this to my local ‘eye doctor’ (if I was an American) and they got me an emergency appointment.

After an hour of tests which involved placing my chin on one of those little chin balancing bars and slapping my forehead against cold metal machines, they concluded that I was loosing some of the gel at the back of my eyes. Nothing that serious, but if it continues it could detach my retina. (Worse case scenario)

She showed me the scan of the back of my eyes and I hate to report that although I gave all the right head nods and ‘yeahs’ I had no clue what I was looking. She even went on to say it could well have been all the laborious baby pushing that made my eye-gel (stuff) pull away. Ain’t that typical. So it’s not just my tummy and my ‘Doris Day’ that’s been annihilated but my eyes too!!

The opticians (’cause I’m British) said they would monitor it but not before putting some crazy acid in my eyes that enlarged my pupils and made me look like a crack-head.

Back home and unable to see clearly, drive or operate heavy machinery, I got upset. And by upset I mean my chin did that weird downwards smile thing like it was trying not to wobble with the impending tears. Why is something else now wrong with me?? Sure there’s a lot technically wrong with me but now I have a second medical reason written in my history!

This got me thinking about my kidney transplant that is, this year, nine years old. It is a ticking time bomb that could go at any point and that made me cry and then I cried some more that I even had juice left in my eyes to cry. Who knew our eyes bobbed about in gel? I didn’t.

Lord keep me where the light is…or at least keep it light so I can still see.

(There’s your drama !! 😉 )

My life in bags

I got a Morrison’s delivery the other day. It happened to be on a day when my mother in law offered to have both girls. So you can imagine what I did. Yep, went back to bed.

Once the school run was complete and I had delivered the precious cargo to grandma’s I changed back into my nightie, drew the curtains and snuck back under the duvet. I set my alarm to the allotted Morrison’s slot and slipped into a peaceful coma.

When my time was done I got up and pottered around the house making a list of all the jobs to do but refusing to do any as this was my – ‘day off from life’ – day. Sometimes we need these days if we’re gonna be able to face all the other days that come along.

The Morrison’s man arrived. He began to unload my shopping bags. Litres of milk, bags full of bread, two different sizes of nappies, baby formula, cat food and sanitary towels.

When passing me the last bag with his twenty something, tattooed arms I swear I caught a look sympathy coming from his beard clad face. He gave me a muted smile and bowed his head as he walked away. I sent my thanks with him and closed the door on the many bags filling the corridor.

On my way to the kitchen I caught myself in the mirror and gasped. I was wearing my pink dressing gown with one fluffy bed sock up to my knee and the other down around my ankle. My hair was flat on one side of my head but standing on end on the other like it had endured a violent electric shock. My smudged glasses only slightly covering the eccentric eyebrows and crusted eyes. Wow.

Now I know why I got the look of sympathy from the twenty something or was it the contents of my shopping bags that made him nod at me like a convict on death row?

I had to laugh. I usually don’t care what I look like to other people as behind every person is a story we just don’t know, so why judge? Yet this tot had just seen the contents of my weekly shop and that told a story that made his buttocks clench. Two lots of nappies, a trolley load of food (and some for the cat) and a two for one bumper pack of sanitary towels that along with the wrecked appearance of a woman who gave birth to her fourth three months ago. I’m not more surprised he didn’t say goodbye with a sign of the cross.


I love that in a world of uncertainty you can absolutely be certain that when you mix butter, flour, sugar and eggs together you will have made a cake. Even if you used questionable sugar from the back of the cupboard, you can still wash it down with a giant mug of tea and life is sweet again. I only ever have this same experience with gin.

You can’t be certain, for example that since your now three month old slept through her first night that she will continue this way. In fact so blissful were the two days sleep post second round of injections you almost, almost – minus the pain experienced for the little mite – wish they would give them injections every week. I know the terrible thoughts of a mother award goes to…me! But man for a 36 hour period there life was good.

The baby does okay, I’m probably being way to hard on her. It’s not her fault that her three older siblings sleep through the night every night and since her arrival we have been desperately pleading by her cot for the same thing to happen to her. The one night she did sleep from 11pm to 7am I didn’t sleep for fear she wasn’t actually sleeping but was in fact dead. I know more awards for me.

Since moving into the 12 week bracket a veil has been lifted. The baby bubble has been popped and we find ourselves amongst the debris still standing and not just surviving with our addition but thriving. Baby smiles, coo’s and interacts with me. She actually seems to like me which is always a win if you’re gonna spend a prolonged period of time with someone.

Time will inevitably move on and she will soon sleep through the night, as will I and as one genius wrote; ‘the days are long but the years are short’ so enjoy them.

( I added that last really important bit )

Whoa baby baby.

I was chatting to a family member last weekend about kids and he was asking how on earth I handle four kids as one child was a challenge for him. I agreed completely that it was and it got me thinking about our numbers and how each child affected me.

One child – Exciting ( & exhausting )

The very prospect that I was now married and could get pregnant if I wanted to was a very big stamp in my ‘grown up’ book. I was now ‘allowed’ to get pregnant. That was a very novel and exciting thought to me.

The excitement didn’t wear off either from first discovery and secret smiles, to telling the world, and carrying life into a large bump and – okay not on everyone’s ‘exciting list’ – but all the way to labour! Everything was brand new to me, how I was feeling, thinking, craving. It was an exciting adventure that only I could physically and emotionally experience.

As most of you know I was told I may not be able to have children, let alone carry one due to my kidney transplant but my husband and I believe in an awesome God who can do the impossible and He did and along came our first girl.

When we brought her home and life began it was like being smacked in the face with a tired stick several times in a row, every single day and looking after her was utterly relentless but it was a joy because I’d never known a love where I would literally bite someone’s face off if they so much as laid an uninvited finger on her.

Two children – Exhilarating ( & exhausting )

In my naivety I thought I had motherhood down and so when the question; “Shall we have another?” came up I answered, “why not?” After all two’s company right?

After a reasonably ‘simple’ labour (if that’s possible?!) of just two hours my boy entered into the world like a whirling dervish. Completely the opposite of my first girl who was text book. He was born with a poorly heart and needed surgery at 3 months old, then he started teething at 4 months (!!) so I don’t think we had a solid nights sleep in months. That alone isn’t good for the mental health yet we had two kids. Everything worked. The ratio worked. One child per hand. One child per adult. A ‘normal’ sized car. One girl and one boy. 2.4. Done right?


It just wasn’t enough noise for me. Enough chaos. Enough bodies to hold. Enough cereal to pour. So we went for number three which for me was…

Three children – Experimental ( & exhausting )

It was juggling on a whole new level. Yet since we’d already dealt with the initial juggle of two, one in each hand, three just seemed to keep rolling. The eldest was turning four and at school later that year and she wanted to be treated as a ‘big girl’ which meant a whole new independent phase for her, plus she was more than happy to be the ‘entertainment’ for the others which helped me immensely. Plus this second girl was different all over again and the thrill of guessing what she would look like and act like kept us on our toes.

( She, if you want to know, is a brown eyed, brunette, curly haired fire-cracker quite the opposite of our straight blonde and blue first girl. )

Four children – well…I haven’t got a word for that one yet but I can definitely tell you … Exhausting.

Now, in a strange Mother Earth kind of way, I feel complete. Satisfied. Full up and mostly at my wits end.

I mean I wanted chaos – I got it. I wanted bodies to hold – I got five! And meal times? I’m considering buying a trough and just pouring it out in front of them each time.

There is a constant commentary from each child about what the other child / children are doing and frankly there’s only so many times in a day you can say ‘oh right’ in an interested tone.

The baby is currently going through a growth spurt, touch of tea-time colic (apparently it’s a thing) forgetting how to sleep, post injection meltdown so cries the whole time she’s awake which doesn’t really work along side the Sonos blasting out ‘Hallelujah’ in a bid to exercise her spirit.

But I have made my bed and sometimes I wonder why I made it so big because some days I could drown in it but most of the time I happily lie in it surrounded by sweaty little bodies and stinky morning breath and it is heaven to me.

The train wreck of nasty kind of a week

I thought I’d regale you with the tale of our worst week to date.

Of course everyday brings its trials and treats whether you have children or not but this particular week for us will go down in our memories as a nasty train that flew into our lives, uninvited, and smashed into smithereens all over us, to put it bluntly.

This is the same week that featured my near heart attack that wasn’t actually a heart attack at all but a trapped nerve in my shoulder, that should give you a taster of what we were up against.

It was a week full of extreme highs and tentative lows waiting for the extreme highs again and it all started with an unconfirmed ‘bug’. You know one of those bugs that are ‘going around’ because someone’s sisters, next door neighbours, auntie’s dog was sick one Sunday afternoon and therefore it’s fully logical that my daughter would therefore be sick too. Which she was, for four days and three nights two of which saw absolutely no sleep by me at all.

All she did was walk towards me one Saturday afternoon saying she didn’t like the apple I’d just sliced up for everyone’s afternoon snack and next thing I saw the apples again but in pieces along side some carrot, which was rather suspicious as we’d not eaten carrots in at least 24 hours?

There it carried on every twenty minutes or so for the rest of the day. Everyone was on sick watch. Any movement in my toddlers chin was reason to bolt to her side, bucket in hand. As evening came she slept in our room surrounded by towels, buckets and paper towels. I led on my side keeping one eye on her for what felt like hours as my other eye got some rest. At the allotted time, with my rested eye, I got up to feed the baby.

Feeding in the babies dark room I began to feel a little dizzy. I assumed it was just my eye playing tricks on me but the feeling got worse. Suddenly saliva filled my mouth and I knew what was going to happen. I desperately gurgled my husbands name through the baby monitor and thankfully it must have sounded weird enough for him to come dashing through. He took the baby and in one dramatic dash (nothing less for me) I swooped into the bathroom and regurgitated everything I’d ever eaten in my entire life into the sink.

By morning the next day nothing had changed in the toddler vomit routine, although I had miraculously recovered?!We moved toddler from the bedroom to the sofa where we could keep several eyes on her as she napped on and off in between throwing up. Day slowly shifted to night and sleep at last came to all. I slipped into a temporary coma as my head hit the pillow which left husband exposed to the night shift.

In the middle of a particularly deep REM I was abruptly woken with a bright light and a baby. Husband declared, as he knelt in front of the toilet, that he was going to throw up and then collapse should I need him. After a few dry wretch attempts he moved onto the latter part of his declaration and curled his body around the cold porcelain. He laid there for the rest of the feed and only when I returned to our room did he scramble back to his side to sleep it off.

The following days were a blur only to hit another vomit high on Wednesday. My eldest daughter told me she had tummy ache over chicken and rice. After an obligatory chorus about how, to grow big and strong you must actually eat something, and a rendition of the classic, ‘you need to eat what your mother has made you’ we allowed her to skip her meal and go to bed early. (We sound like tyrants!)

Not half an hour later she called me in to say her tummy really did hurt. I swapped sick buckets from the toddlers bed to the eldest in a bid to sympathise with her only to catch an outpouring of her entire stomach before it hit the bed. Which I was quite relieved about as my washing pile was warping a stud wall in my utility.

Our train wreck of a week ended with antibiotics and tummies tenderly nursing toast and water and successfully keeping it down! The final straw however, after my near death experience with a trapped nerve that is, was the following Monday afternoon. My husband rang to check in when I heard an all to familiar retching noise. I looked to all three children sat at the table their angel faces glowing with innocence only to realise it was the cat throwing up on my door mat!! I shoved his retching body back through the cat flap in a wake of suspicious carrot pieces?!

My boy was the only one left standing after the attack of the mysterious bug. We are all getting back to normal now and carrots have been removed from the menu for a while…