Tuesday, 18 December 2012

I've mellowed

I've not watched or read the news since last Friday. It's not that I'm not interested or don't care about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary.  I don't want to think about what happened that day and what the poor families are now going through. I don't want to think about what the children that survived see every time they close their eyes. I don't want to think about how everyone involved have changed forever more. I don't want to think about the fact these wonderful children were in the same class as my daughter. My heart can't take it and I'm thousands of miles away, my only connection to these people are my beautiful children.

The harsh reality of this world is that children die every day, parents bury their babies and need to continue living with an enormous hole in their lives.

My thoughts these past days have been with the families affected by the Dunblane massacre. What must they be feeling hearing this horrific news, all the memories of that day flooding back to them. In 1996 I didn't have any children but I still remember the devastation I felt on hearing the news. This time it's worse, you can't help putting yourself in their place. That's why I don't want to think about it, that may be cowardly but this is my way of coping.

I've mellowed these last few days. Many a morning I have left the house in a bad mood because one or both of the kids have been playing up. On the grand scale of things does it really matter? Does it matter that I repeatedly have to ask Anya to get out of bed? I'm thankful she is here to nag at. Does it matter that Derren wants to wear shorts and welly boots on a cold dry day? I'm thankful he is here wearing inappropriate clothing. Does it matter that Anya has thrown a wobbly about her hair getting brushed? I'm thankful she is here to scream and stomp. Does it matter that Derren doesn't want his teeth brushed? I'm thankful he is here to argue with me. Does it matter that the kids toys are scattered everywhere? I'm thankful they are here to make the mess.

I haven't gone soft on them, they will continue to play up and I'll continue to discipline them where appropriate. I'm determined to raise two polite, well balanced and caring individuals. But there is no point getting angry or upset over minor things. Instead I'll remind myself how lucky I am to have them, give them a big hug then ask them again to do what I need them to do.

When I find that the little things are getting to me I'll revisit this blog and remind myself how lucky I am.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Sleeping Angels

From the very day that Anya was born I've always checked on the kids before I go to bed myself. The only exceptions have been on the rare occasion when I've been in my bed before the kids! I love the little moment I have with them when they are sleeping soundly. Occasionally I'll lie down beside them for a sneaky wee cuddle. Derren's a wee angel, when you put him to bed you know that if you went back in to his room 30 minutes later, his bed is exactly where you will find him. Anya on the other hand is a different story.
On many occasions I've found myself in the living room putting my feet up with the contented feeling that both kids are tucked up in bed only to hear a noise coming from Anya's room. Usually as you head down the hall you hear the patter of feet as she charges across her bedroom and dives in to bed. I open the door to find her pretending to be asleep, "Do you think I button up the back?" is my usual cry as I clamber over all the toys she has strewn over the floor. I must admit I get great satisfaction creeping along the hall, then dramatically throwing open the door and catching her in the act. The look on her face is an absolute picture! One evening when I believed Anya had been sleeping for well over an hour I heard a crash and a scream come from her room. I ran down the hall to find Anya on the floor with the contents of her bookcase spread around her. She had attempted to climb the bookcase and the shelves had pulled out sending her crashing to the ground, thank goodness the bookcase was attached to the wall. Things had to change, most nights she was not getting to sleep until over an hour after her bed time. All the usual reprimands were making no difference, so we made a deal with her. She could have a light on for 30 minutes and she could use that time to read a book, draw or play on her leappad. What a difference, after that she was asleep not long after her light was turned off. Don't get me wrong she still gets up to some mischief.
When you check on Derren, he is usually stretched out on his bed with the covers kicked off sleeping soundly, I may occasionaly need to pry a spaceship from his hand. I tuck him back in and give him a goodnight kiss. I'm always curious to know what I'll find when I pop in to check on Anya. What way round in the bed will she be? Will she be on top of the duvet or under the duvet? What will she be wearing? Occasionally she has put a fleecy suit on over her jammies and she is boiling! Sometimes she has extra blankets and again she is boiling. Usually she has a vast collection of cuddly toys taking up most of the bed. I've even came in and found her with her head under the pillow, or if she is the other way round, her feet under the pillow. More often than not she usually has a collections of books and toys stashed under her pillow. How that can be comfortable is beyond me. I found her like this one night, showing her support for Team GB, which did make me smile.

Notice the yellow towel under her pillow, I have no idea why that's there. No matter how bad my day has been or how much the kids have frustrated me it always cheers me up when I see them peacefully sleeping. Although that could be because it's the only time of the day that they can't talk back!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Dear Santa

Tomorrow my youngest turns 4. For the last couple of months he has been constantly listing numerous things he would like for his birthday or Christmas. It's got to the point that I have no idea what he wants, I'm pretty sure he doesn't either! He announced today that he wants a batman cake, well he's going to be disappointed. I know I'm supermum but even I can't produce a batman cake out of nowhere. Some of his requests have been bizarre, the other week he asked for a Buck Rogers costume! For all you youngsters out there google him. It does worry me though, I know he is only 3 but when and where will it stop. This is one of his favourite toys at the moment and might explain why he wanted a Buck Rogers costume.

His constant babble about what he would like for his birthday and Christmas has made me think about how much your priorities change over the years. So here's my list to Santa.

Dear Santa

This year I have been a very, very good girl. Well I say good, that all depends on how you define good and what your tolerance levels are. Do I have to be good all year? I know you are supposed to be watching me at all times, do you really mean at ALL times? I have enough people (and pets) traipsing into the the bathroom when I'm on the toilet or having a shower that I don't really need any more. I'll soon be able to sell tickets. Lets just say that I've not been evil .. oh OK I was only teasing the kids, honest! Is that not why we have kids? OK, I've been a tired, stressed, working mum so cut me some slack please.

Please can I get (notice how polite I am :)) the kids to turn off the bathroom light when they are finished, a flush of the toilet wouldn't go amiss either. While they are in there it would also be nice if they put the lid back on the toothpaste. I would love it if you could get the empty toilet rolls to magically appear in the recycling bin as the kids and the husband think I'm the only one capable of magic tricks like that.

Can you remove the button from my backside that alerts the kids that I have sat down for 2 minutes of me time?

Can I get a universal remote control? I'm always having daydreams about muting the kids when they go into a screaming match after you have said no to them. And how my life would change if I could fast forward Anya in the morning. No more constant nagging to get out of bed, to get dressed, to eat breakfast, to brush her hair, get her shoes on, ahhh heaven.

Is there a way to stop the kids bringing out a toy if the haven't put the one they were previously playing with away? I'm sure one of your super smart elves could invent something. If not can I have one of your elves to follow the kids round and constantly nag them until they get the right idea?

Can you send my husband on a course that will make him a hairdresser, personal shopper and a masseur?

I would love a device that would make the kids smile and say 'yeah this is exactly what I want for dinner' as they got stuck in and cleared their plates. A personal chef would be great as well .. oh wait, I already have one of them, thanks Al!

Is there such a thing as a device that tells you that there are stains on the kids clothes that won't come out in the wash BEFORE you put  them in the machine and one that reminds you to check all pockets? Especially since Anya has a thing for stones! I've no idea why either. James Dyson has revolutionised the world of vacuuming perhaps if you employed him as an elf he could help.

Can I have a machine that exercises me while I'm asleep?  It doesn't haven't to be particularly quiet as long as it isn't any noisier than the hubbies snoring.

I'll stop now before my requests become ridiculous.

Thanks Santa, I promise to go to bed early on Christmas eve and leave you a glass or two of wine. What the hell I'll leave the whole bottle out for you.

Louise xxx

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Health and Safety Madness!

Winter is coming, today is a beautiful clear, crisp day. Before heading off to walk to school we made sure we were wrapped up warm in our winter hats, scarfs and gloves. On Wednesday mornings we also take my friends son to school, so off we all trotted on the frosty pavements. The kids had a great time, it's amazing what they notice that we now take for granted. I would love to see the world through their eyes. They were amazed by the tiny frozen puddles, the frost on the fallen leaves and even the rubbish that had a frosty glaze.

Their excitement was infectious and it grew the longer we were out. Before we had even left the garden Anya insisted on scraping some of the ice off of my car. Now I'm never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I left her to her fun while I wondered at what age this would no longer be fun.

As we arrived at the school and headed up the stairs to the gate another parent informed us the gate was locked. And sure enough in front of us was an empty frosty playground. So off we headed to another gate and as we arrived there it was obvious that the children were being taken straight into school before the bell had rung. So that was an end to their fun.

We had just walked to school on frosty unsalted pavements and once we arrived at the school the kids were not allowed to step onto the same surface. The world has gone mad! When I was at school you were chucked out into the playground in all weathers. Whether there is a minor frost or not kids will fall and hurt themselves. We can't keep our kids in a protective bubble, I dread to think what the next generations kids are going to be like. Kids need to learn about the dangers that surround them. Next they will be bubble wrapping the railings and replacing the playground with sponge.

I understand the school has a duty to protect the kids. I couldn't tell you how many times Anya has come home with scraped knees and a bumped head. That's what happens with kids and these have all happened on nice dry days. Letting the kids out in the playground when there is a wee bit of frost is not going to kill them! They need to be able to assess themselves what they can and can't do or they will never be able to make a decision when they are older.

Taking away an opportunity for kids to have an adventure on a beautiful winters day is a crime.

A wee update. I picked Anya up from school and the playgrounds had re-opened. However, the areas that have been painted with hopscotch and snakes and ladders etc had been coned off. I could have screamed when I saw them. I absolutely despair! If they were slippery surely they could afford a wee bit of grit to throw on them. Next time I head to school I think I'll stick a bag of salt in my bag

These were taken the last time we had any decent snow in Largs, c'mon the arctic blast and I hope they don't close the school!

Anya loving the sledging.

Derren wasn't a happy chappy, then again he had nearly ended up in the sea when he had a shot on the sledge. Luckily he fell off before he went for a swim.
The beautiful view of Cumbrae.


Thursday, 22 November 2012


I love the helpful stage that the kids are at. They are always so keen to help with something whether you want the help or not. Tonight as I sat on the couch with a wee glass of wine I asked one of the kids to bring my slippers and to put my shoes away. Instantly Anya appeared in front of me, put my slippers on my feet and took my shoes away. Now there is no gaurantee that she has actually put them away, tomorrow morning when I go to put them on there will probably be a mad hunt around the house to find them. Now the helpful big sister is helping Derren to make a rocket for show and tell at nursery. I may regret this, especially with scissors involved. I'll only have a wee bit of wine incase a trip to A&E is required.

Now it's a completely different matter when you are in a rush and need them to do something so that you can get out of the house on time. Some mornings I'm hoarse with constantly repeating myself, I'm sure they do it on purpose just to wind me up. Anya some mornings can take 15 minutes just to get out of bed! I've taken her duvet out of her room to force her to get out of bed. I've then carried on with what I need to do assuming she is up and getting dressed only to find that she has got up out of bed, found her duvet and crawled back under it. When did my six year old turn into a teenager? They seem to have formed a tag team when it comes to annoying me in the morning, which I suppose in away that's a good thing as it's only one of them that's playing up at a time or maybe I'm just more tolerant to the less annoying one.

On a different note I read a great blog earlier about a mum sharing 15 things she wants her 7 year old daughter to know. Here's some of things I would like my kids to know.

Derren it's not OK to play winkie guitar in the hairdressers. Infact it's not appropriate to play it anywhere.

Anya, your Dad has diabetes not diarrhea.

Anya & Derren, pantomimes are actually fun and silly and not real. There is nothing to be scared of especially when it is your own drama teachers that are acting in them.

Anya & Derren, the light in the bathroom turns off as well as on.

Anya & Derren, when I tell you to do something, crazily I expect it to be done after the first time of asking. I'm not actually asking (It's an order) and it's definitely not background noise.

Anya & Derren, when you start asking me questions about Star Wars I have no idea what you are talking about. You may as well be talking another language.

Anya & Derren, unfortunately the world is full of bad people but you should always do your best to be good and don't let anyone else bring you down.

Anya when you are a teenager all the sweet girl friends you have are going to turn in to bitches, don't join them.

Derren the song doesn't go Mary had a bum bum o' lord. And please don't sing that at your nativity play.

Anya & Derren, always do as I say and not as I do. Mum and Dad are not even close to being perfect.

Anya it's not OK to be playing Christmas songs on the 22nd of November.

Anya & Derren, despite the crazy stunts you pull Mum and Dad love you loads. Keep them up that's how you turn out to be well balanced individuals.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Kid logic

If there is one dead cert in life it's that there is no logic to kids. When my two are watching TV if anything remotely scary comes on, and when I say scary I'm talking Scooby-doo level of scaryness, they both instantly declare that they don't want to watch it. They are both very sensitive to emotions conveyed through music. They could have no understanding about what's going on but they pick up the emotions and again refuse to watch the TV. It's so frustrating, being scared while watching TV, when you're in a nice loving and safe environment is a great learning experience. You need to feel these emotions, it keeps you well balanced.

Over a year ago I came home from work to find that my husband had introduced the kids to Star Wars. Derren was still only 2 and Anya was 4. Much to my surprise they both loved it and have been confirmed sci-fi fans ever since, go figure!

Now to understand my shock let me take you through the mind of Anya. I bought her all of the Disney princess films. She refused to watch them, she looked at the covers and said they were too scary. To be honest I'm quite glad she's not a disney princess girl, it's saved me a fortune! But to flat out refuse to watch something because it's a wee bit scary drives me nuts.

One weekend I took her to the open day at our local theatre, they had actors performing the history of the theatre. One of the actors was Anya's drama teacher, who was acting like a diva, I had to take Anya out of the room because she was terrified! Derren who was fine then started crying as well, he had seen Anya getting upset and as usual anything Anya does Derren has to copy.

Friday night in our house is movie night, the only rule is it has to be a movie that the kids have never seen before. Surprisigly last night they both quickly agreed on a film, normally a referee needs to be called in to sort them both out but this time they both picked Casper the friendly ghost. Now the clue is in the title of this film but within a couple of minutes of the film starting both kids got up and walked out the room because it was too scary. I managed to persuade them that it would be fine and before long Derren was loving the slapstick humour, but Anya on the other hand never looked very comfortable. She spent most of the film in tears because of how 'scary' it was. She refused to leave the room and continued to watch to the end. Now it makes no sense to me why she found this film so scary. After the film she tells me that it was too scary and she would now like to watch Ghostbusters, what the hell! Work that logic out!

Now too many times I've let my fears get in the way of my life and I'll be damned if the kids will do the same, I'm determind to bring them up as happy, confident individuals with a thirst for the unknown but if I can't get them to watch Casper the friendly ghost without freaking out what chance have I got?

Here they are with their non-scary heroes! How adorable are they? Especially Anya in her homemade costume!


Sunday, 11 November 2012


My name is Louise Milligan and I employ a cleaner. There I've said it! 'Oh my lord what a bad, lazy mother and wife you are! What a failure, what a bad influence on your kids!'  Then there is the other side. 'You lucky lucky bastard! (In a Monty Pythonesque voice)'

Well to all those Negative Nancy's out there, I pay a professional to cut my hair. I can paint walls and hang wallpaper but it's OK for me to employ a professional decorator. If I cared about these things I could pay a professional to wax my legs and my unmentionables or paint my nails. Why does there seem to be a negative reaction to employing a cleaner?

What this women can do in two hours it would take me a day! I would much rather spend that day playing with my kids. I work hard and the last thing I want to do with my day off is spend it cleaning, life's too short. I'm not lazy and I haven't failed, I just have more important things to spend my time on. It also helps to focus my mind, I make sure the house is tidy before she gets here as the more areas she can see the more she can clean. Although the other day she phoned in sick just before I was about to tidy the house. So instead of tidying I baked a cake with Anya then took her ice skating, much more fun!

I always encourage the kids to tidy up their own mess and just because the kids don't see me clean the bathrooms or wash all the floors it doesn't mean they aren't been taught a valuable life lesson. I do hundreds of things for them that they don't see. When they are older they will get chores, they will learn how to clean, iron and cook.

For those folks that would love a cleaner but don't think they can afford it, have a wee think. Is there anything you can cut back on that won't have a big impact on your life? How much food do you waste? Do you buy magazines that you never read? Cut back on the wine ... OK I went a bit far there!

I have a good job, I work hard and if I want to treat myself then why not? If that treat happens to be someone else cleaning my house then so what!

I also pay someone else to do my garden, but that is because I'm too lazy to do it myself!

Here's me on a rare day doing some cleaning. :)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Awkward questions

When I was a little girl I was a big question asker. It drove my mum nuts, I was worse than my three brothers put together. Now I don't tend to ask questions, I'm the one that has loads of questions flowing through my head but I won't open my mouth. It's a shame, I'm pretty sure it was school that knocked it out of me. I'm determind that the same doesn't happen to Anya and Derren. Anya is always asking questions and Derren is now starting to, it drives me nuts! I try to answer all their questions and if we have time we will have a look in books or on the internet, it still drives me nuts but I'm paranoid about quashing their enthusiasm for the unknown.

Today I've been boxing up a shoebox of toys for a great charity that collects them and sends them to children who don't get any Christmas presents. Check out their website Operation Christmas Child. 

So of course Anya had questions and it had to be the big one. "Why doesn't Santa bring them a present?" Oh shit I thought, how do I answer this one?! When Anya was little I did put a lot of thought into whether we would go through the whole Santa is real thing. I have no memories of ever believing in Santa, I suppose that's what happens when you have 3 older brothers. It hasn't made any difference to my life, I still had great Christmases as a child thanks to my mum and dad.

I was persuaded to follow the Christmas lie because it was a 'nice lie' but I was determind that the kids understood that Christmas presents weren't free. That mummy and daddy paid for the presents and Santa delivered them. Thank goodness I had went down this route so quick as a flash I told her that Santa would be delivering the presents to the kids but it was the only present they would get because their mummy and daddy couldn't afford any presents.

Crisis over, although I  am sure she will have a good think about it. One day she is going to say "Santa seems to be a cruel bastard that only gives presents to kids if their parents have money!" (Hopefully without the bastard). "What about all the kids in the world that are poor or have no parents?!" Not sure how I'm going to answer that one, but it's my own fault, I put the thought in her head!

Here she is with our shoebox ready to be whisked off to Santa.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Starsky and Hutch

I've just been listening to a wee bit of The James Taylor Quartet. Shockingly it's been 20 years since I've seen them live! How come when you are in your late teens months fell like years and now years feel like months? When you are a teenager you never give a thought to the responsibility you will have in the future. When I'm sitting on my son's bedroom floor trying to reason with him why he should wear the tracksuit bottoms with the Olympic logo on them to mini kickers even though he argues that they are for Olympics sports and not football it's easy to harp back to those carefree days. I was a horrible teenager and when I see the wee sparks of defiance in my kids it fills me with horror when I project them through time and imagine them as teenagers! I think I'll enjoy the mad non logical moments while I can. They despair me while they are happening but mostly I can have a good giggle about them after the event, or other people can at my expense. Here's a wee bit of the quartet, grab yourself a glass of wine and have a wee boogie around the living room.


We have a rule in our house, It's that there will be no shouting. Anya even made a poster for it, she loves making posters. If there is ever a need for a sign or poster Anya is your girl!

Our no shouting ban doesn't last long, it's seems to be the only thing we all do well as a family. Occasionally Anya or Derren will pipe up that I scared them when I shouted. My answer is usually 'good you should be scared of me!'

The things we shout about are:

Getting dressed
Teeth brushing
Getting out of bed
Tidying up
and many more petty subjects. Two separate mornings I even found myself arguing with my 3 year old because he wanted to wear a shirt and tie and I wanted him to wear a collarless shirt!

I always hate myself when I resort to shouting, it achieves nothing and the only one that seems to be affected by it is the poor wee dog who is usually found cowering in a corner. This is one of the reasons I started this blog, there is no harm in reminding my self that there is no point shouting as the only thing I'm teaching the kids is it's OK to shout.

We shouldn't need Anya's poster but until we all learn the rules it stays.

We recently decorated our dining room and I got this excellent motto applied to the wall. It's OK to be loud but not to shout!
Check out the awesome Steve Poltz singing it in a gig in our house, sorry for the bad quality of the video. Steve was late and walked straight in and started singing, it was only when he was through the first part of his set that I realised someone had opened my blinds. Enjoy!

Louligan x