The Tiger Who Came To Tea… And Other Stories

Swimming, softplay and Sainburys – this is my usual routine for a Tuesday, the one day off I spend with Mishty. I always try to organise playdates but my frantic texts sent on Monday evenings asking local mummy friends if they are free the following morning usually don’t get a positive response. Turns out everyone else makes plans weeks in advance rather than thirty minutes before.

But every now and then the Fun Mummy in me will do something cool and book tickets to see a children’s show to make up for it. Then I feel smug, basking in the pretense that I’m one of those cultural parents who take their children to the theatre dahling. The reality is that I have taken Mishty to see four shows now and each one has made me want to cut off my own ears and poke my eyes out.

The first one was The Tiger Who Came To Tea. This is about (spoiler alert) a tiger who comes to a girl’s house for tea (clue’s in the title) who eats all the food and drink there (but not the humans who would presumably be more filling than all the buns and cake). This story can be read in five minutes but to make it last for a whole agonizing hour they fill it with songs and panto-style scenes. Lots of them. Some of this went down really well and Mishty was laughing and happily joining in. But some bits left him confused because a lot was happening that was not in the book. Also if you’re only three you can’t always make out the words in the songs. Also the songs are quite shit. On the bright side, he had fun day out in London and I binged on carbs at Pizza Express after.

The next one was Peppa Pig. It reminded me of the Rocky Horror show, only with pig puppets and possibly Mr Potato-Head. I don’t even remember the plot, just the annoying singing. Every two minutes a pig would burst into song, so headache-inducingly loud I just wanted to clobber the actors with the puppet they were pretending to play. Presumably the volume was intended to drown out all the crying babies who were like me, desperately wishing they were anywhere but there. A traumatic experience.

The Gruffalo I had high expectations of. I’d seen the BBC animation, the plot was decent and it was on at my local theatre. We got there and I was more excited than Mishty. The lights dimmed around us and focused on the stage. Mishty folded his arms and said he wanted all the lights off and was very grumpy that I couldn’t make this happen. Then the standard panto bits happened and instead of joining in with all the other screaming children he just said, “it’s too loud” like a moany old lady. This was not what I had envisaged. Then when inexplicably the snake started speaking in a Mexican accent and dancing with castanets (this was definitely not in the book) he was not impressed, saying loudly, “this is rubbish”. While he had a point he sounded so ungrateful I decided then and there, no more theatre treats (although he did say he liked it by the end).

But I forgot my rule when I saw Tiddler And Other Tales on and bought tickets. I got three this time as it was on the weekend so we could all go as a family, but mainly because I wanted Hubby to suffer as well for a change. As soon as the show opened with a confusing medley of people playing with random objects that nothing to do with any of the stories, Hubby looked at me in horror, a look that said, why have you brought me here and how can I hold onto my sanity for another 59 minutes?? Welcome to my world.

To be fair to the three actors playing all the characters on a budget set that required a lot of imagination, they weren’t half bad and it was less singing than Peppa Pig. Unfortunately Mishty told me ten minutes in he was hungry – the one time I had no food on me because I stuffed him for breakfast only an hour before and thought he could last. So then he wasn’t interested because all he could think about was food and kept fidgeting and whining. I started falling asleep but a sudden burst of song rudely interrupted my drowsy state and made me drop my phone in a crack between the seats. I fumbled around on the floor while puppets prancing in the background before realising the entire seat needed to be unscrewed and I had no hope of getting it without help. At the end when I asked Mishty if he enjoyed the show, he said he said yes but an hour later when I asked something else about it, his response? “I don’t remember”.

Culture is wasted on the youth. Next time I’ll stick to Sainsburys.


Dude, Where’s My Christmas Tree?

New Year 2018 (2)Happy New Year, people! It’s 2018 and Trump is still riding the Twitter waves, the World Cup is on this year and we have a royal wedding and baby on the horizon! Surely that’s grounds to skip to the next year already? My uncle is more positive. He told me that 2018 sounds like it’ll be a good year because it’s an even number. He is an accountant.

So in the spirit of looking back I’m going to recap on everything I’ve done in the last year.

Ok not much has happened so here’s a recap of our Christmas instead.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

I told Mishty that Father Christmas can’t come to our house because we got rid of our chimney and changed the locks so his magic key wouldn’t work. Instead he met him at the nursery Christmas party where he got a cool present. Then Mishty happened to bump into Father Christmas again at Tescos where he was collecting money for charity. That was awkward. “Mummy, is there more than one Father Christmas?” he asked. “No no, he just gets around a lot with his fast reindeer” I reassure him. Then we were at a funfair in Croydon where Mishty spotted a grotto with a half hour queue in the freezing cold. When it was finally our turn he told Father Christmas that he had already met him twice and didn’t look impressed when he got handed “reindeer food” that looked suspiciously like muesli wrapped in cellophane.

Rocking Around The Christmas Tree

We don’t really do Christmas. Hubby and I were both brought up that way because we already had not one, but two Eid festivals to celebrate instead. Subsequently, our house was not filled with Christmas cheer. Despite this, Mishty kept bringing home Christmas tree shaped moulds to hang on our non-existent tree. He desperately wanted an advent calendar but the threat of binge-eating was too great. Every day he asked how many days left until Christmas, and would tell me I was on the naughty list if I told him off. One day I had the following conversation:

Mishty: When is Christmas?

Me: 10 days away.

Mishty: Why?

Me: Because if you count the days that’s how many there are until the 25th.

Mishty: Why isn’t it on Tuesday?

Me: Because that’s not Christmas Day.

Mishty: Is tomorrow Christmas Day?

Me: No, I just said it’s 10 days away. What do you think happens on Christmas Day anyway?

Mishty:  I don’t know, what happens?

Me: NOTHING!! [Evil laugh]

Ok I’m not a total Grinch, it’s not like I told him that Santa isn’t real. Although, when he told me that Santa was watching me I couldn’t resist retorting that it wasn’t Santa who was watching but Allah.


As a compromise I decided to get some fairy lights and decorated the banister. A tree is for Christmas but a starry staircase is for ever.  Also I discovered Christmas Radio. THE best thing ever! Except when trying to explain to a four year old why your favourite song is about a man singing about driving in his car and being top to toe in tailbacks, with red lights all around.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas

Some people take their children to see the Christmas lights in London. We took Mishty to see the lamp posts down our local High Street. Same level of excitement, much less effort and a lot warmer when you go by car. He had a ball shouting “MUMMY LOOK, FAIRY LIGHTS!” every time we went past a house with Christmas decorations up.

Naughty or Nice

Christmas TV is full of classic tales telling you to be good. There’s the usual story of Scrooge and the important lesson of not being a tightarse trotted out each year. But the best has to be Home Alone. Aside from being really funny, it has serious moral undertones. I let Mishty watch it and explained how the film teaches the important lesson of not being rude to your family or they’ll go on holiday without you, leaving you all alone to face burglars. When you’ve learnt to be nice they all come back. Great film.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

Friends, family, parties – so much to do, so many people to see. We had a lot of plans. We were going to be sociable and active for a change. There was just one tiny hiccup. Mishty got chicken pox on Christmas Day. All over his body, head, even in his mouth! Five whole days of him being in quarantine meant we hardly left the house. We built mountains out of Lego, did arts and crafts, played puzzles and watched excessive amounts of TV. Days passed without me getting out of my pjs. We barely cooked, hell, we barely moved. Instead of Mishty running around like a loon and using our sofas as a trampoline, he was subdued and content to sit in my arms watching TV. Who knew chicken pox could be such bliss (for me obviously, not for Spotty Mcspotface!)

Celebrate Good Times, C’mon!

Mishty finally was out of quarantine, so we celebrated in style with a Sainburys shop. He didn’t really understand New Year’s Eve and kept asking when it was Christmas (he has issues accepting when things are over). To celebrate the last night of the year we cooked a pie, made a pudding, watched the emotionally draining Harry Potter finale and then took ourselves upstairs to bed. It was half past ten. Stop judging.

So there you have it, a quiet Christmas holiday filled with family, food, films, fairy lights and chicken pox. Perfect!


The Art of Rubbish

When I was a kid I used to watch Blue Peter and marvel at how they could make space rockets out of loo roll and an empty Coke bottle. I never made anything like that as it seemed to require a lot of effort and by the time I’d collected the things I needed, I’d forget how to make it.

Although my lack of craft skills has meant that I don’t make things with Mishty at home, he at least gets to experiment at nursery. He would come home laden with lovely paintings and plastic plates with bits of glitter and macaroni stuck on. I would tuck them safely all away in a little folder as a special keepsake.

However, since moving house I have noticed that the new nursery does things somewhat differently.  The quantity of items being brought home has increased but the quality of his art has decreased.

“Look Mummy, I made this for you” Mishty says sweetly as he hands me a piece of paper with one line faintly drawn on in pencil.

“Oh, how lovely, what is it?” I ask, feigning wonderment at this rather minimalist picture.

“I dunno”.

So that makes two of us.

I also have a sneaky suspicion that the nursery is offloading its recycling duties onto us unsuspecting parents.

For example, Mishty came home the other day with a plastic biscuit wrapper. It had nothing on it – no paint, no glitter and not a pasta shell in sight.  Of course he wouldn’t let me throw it away either as it was of immense importance to him. I’d understand if it still had the biscuits in it but being empty, this attachment baffled me.

I was expecting rockets, ships and robots but instead I got an empty plastic Persil box with a bit of masking tape on it. Focusing on the positives, at least it was something I could store things in and I could see that he had made some attempt to decorate. If I was marking it, Mishty would get a “must try harder” rating.

And lets not forget toad in the hole. I get an insight into the diet of nursery staff through the range of ready meal boxes he brings home. It’s nearly always toad in the hole. I think he is attracted to this one because he loves sausages and he loves Yorkshire puddings so a combination of the two is just too much to resist. But there’s nothing on it! Just another strip or two of masking tape that has probably taken him ages to rip and stick on.

A better mum would be appreciative of these efforts but the tiger mum in me has higher expectations. So what if he’s only three – this is hardly the stuff of treasured keepsakes. I can’t even get rid of the stuff because every time I try to sneak it in the recycling box he finds it and pulls it out with a hurt expression saying, “hey, how did that get there?” and then I say it must have been Daddy.

But who decides what is art? One man’s art is another man’s rubbish. My interpretation of Mishty’s minimalist art may actually be too simplistic. It may be the case that he is using the rubbish to depict societal ruin, consumerism and materialism and they are in fact exceptional pieces of modern art. Or it simply may be the case that one nursery’s rubbish is now another family’s rubbish. Whatever the case, here’s to art, whatever its form!

Update: After writing this post, I picked up Mishty from nursery and came across more art/tat which show a substantial improvement. 

Pic 1: The McDonalds cup – This has an entire roll of Cellotape wrapped around it. It still looks like rubbish but I appreciate the effort that went into making this. 

Pic 2: Super-Potato-Man – This is creative but I don’t like food going to waste so this will most likely end up on my plate for dinner. 

Pic 3: Red & Black Blobs – A traditional painting using two bold colour choices. This is clearly worthy of the Tate. My son’s talent has finally arrived!


Happy Mother’s Day! 

This was my fourth Mother’s day and I received this lovely card that Mishty had made for me, along with some daffodils and an afternoon tea spread at his nursery- onto a winner here with this one, Hubby didn’t even have to do anything!

So happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful mums out there! Hope you have a great day being appreciated for all that you do whether it’s with presents, yummy treats or simply a lie in!

[I know this is slightly belated but I’ve been under the weather so leave me alone.]


Mishty’s 3rd Birthday Party

Mishty: Hello, I’m Mishty. D’you know, it’s my birthday today! I’m three years old and I’m a big boy now. I was two but now I’m three. I’m having a party in my new house. My new house is a bit yucky.

Me: It’s been ten days since we’ve moved. My back is broken, I’m worn out like a pair of old socks, and my face is sinking underneath dark circles but it’s done. All boxes have been emptied for this low key family celebration for Mishty’s third birthday. It may be a “yucky” house but at least it’s tidy.


Mishty: For my party, Daddy cooked lots of yummy food and I helped him. My mummy blew up the balloons and I tried but I couldn’t do it. We did lots of tidying up too.

Me: I am a zombie bumbling around like Hugh Grant’s character in every film he’s ever done. Hubby is doing everything while I dazedly blow up balloons in my pjs and stop Mishty from mangling the mushrooms with his blunt toy knife. I let him help me stuff things under the bed instead.


Mishty: I was a bit tired so I had a nap and when I woke up everyone was already here.

Me: I’ve spent 40 minutes cajoling, restraining, cuddling, ignoring, yelling and reasoning with Mishty to get him to calm down after he morphed into a rabid animal screaming, rolling around and jumping on the floor because I changed out of the maxi dress he initially described as “yucky”. He was pleading with me to “put the flowery one on” and I was pleading with him to go to sleep. Obviously he refused to lie down, adamant he wasn’t tired. When he finally fell asleep, it was time for the guests to arrive.


Mishty: D’you know in the garden we have a greenhouse and it has tomatoes in it. My nanu and dadhu found them. The tomatoes are not ready yet cos they are still green. That’s why it’s called a greenhouse because it makes tomatoes go green.

Me: I am rushing like a headless chicken to get food out while the two grandmas are demanding keys to the garden. Never mind finding the bloody keys and figuring out how to open the back door, how do I turn the sodding oven on? Why have you brought me tomatoes? Where’s the flipping pizza?


Mishty: I sang happy birthday and ate lots of yummy cake. It was chocolate, that’s my favourite. I wanted to eat the hedgehog’s foot. I blew all the candles out too. I said cheese and everyone took lots of pictures and then I played with my friends.

Me: Managed to get one decent family shot and thirty blurred ones. Why can’t the kid stay still?! Cake tastes good. Mmmmm. Jeez, Mishty is wolfing the stuff down like a kid who’s never seen food before. This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for… and now I’m wondering how soon I can chuck people out after they’ve eaten so I can go to bed, preferably with more cake. Wait, it’s only 4pm? Well.. it’s dark enough at least.


Mishty: I got lots of presents – my daddy got me a fire engine and a nee-naw and ambulance and they have buttons and it makes noises like NEEEEEE NAWWWWWWWW which is really fun. I got a scooter and a fire station tent too which are the best things ever. I’m going to put it next to my castle which is reeeally big and really fun and I’m going to put all my toys in it. Sometimes I hide in there and play with my Lego. I like Lego.

Me: I have sirens wailing in my ears continuously and the tent has a wrong part which means I am fixing poles together with cellotape. This was supposed to replace the other tent which is torn but Mishty is refusing to let me take it down and has shoved everything inside there including an IKEA storage box which he is pretending is a bed. I hunch over inside awkwardly pretending to be a cat, wondering whether I could successfully pitch ‘Crouching Cat, Hidden Dinosaur’ to Hollywood film producers. My living room now resembles a polyester fire hazard and- OWWWARRRRGGGHHH – I just stepped on a Lego piece and want to amputate my foot to stop the pain.


Mishty: It’s my birthday so I can sleep in Mummy’s bed, yaay! I like being in Mummy’s bed, she is really snuggly. I really like being in the middle!

Me: Great, another night of me sleeping on the edge curled into a question mark while Mishty wriggles around, groping my earlobe and occasionally headbutting me in the face.


Mishty: That was soooo fun. Lets have another party tomorrow! 

Me: No.

[Happy birthday Mishty! I love you lots, you are the best thing ever in my life. Love and hugs, from Mama Mishty. xxx]


Moving On…

I’d had enough. I told Hubby I needed some space. He took it well and understood.

So, we put our cramped flat on the market and started house hunting. After a hundred viewings, three buyers pulling out, Brexit and endless legal delays, we finally exchanged contracts on a house two minutes before the deadline ten long months after we started the process. I nearly collapsed with relief when I got the call.

We had three weeks until the completion date. I wanted to use the packing service that removal companies provide but Hubby had other ideas. “Lets do it ourselves! It’ll be fun! We can throw out lots of stuff!” he said enthusiastically.

And so began the longest process of packing either of us had ever undertaken.

Soon there were boxes and bubblewrap everywhere. We had to move Mishty’s bed back into our room to free up space in the spare room to pile them up. And still there was more.

Hubby and I have different packing styles. He liked to throw everything into a box whereas I liked to try on every item in my wardrobe first. He wanted to seal them up and I wanted them open ‘just in case’ I found something that went with it later. Our daily clashes were making this process decidedly not fun.

One person who did find it fun was Mishty. He liked to run off with a flat pack box and try to assemble it himself by ripping it or stomping on it. Sometimes he would be a little helper and other times he would poke you with the mop. To contain him we would plonk him into an empty box.

“How do we have so much stuff?” Hubby pondered. Even after throwing out at least six large bags of stuff we had barely made a dent. Each night after work we would fill up boxes and yet everywhere we looked there was more to pack. “Hoarder” was muttered in my direction on more than one occasion. I won’t repeat what was shot back in his direction.

We packed right until the night before and even on the day as the movers carted everything into their van. I 20161118_113808wish I could say I had a few quiet moments in the empty flat alone but any sort of reverie was smashed by the sound of Hubby yelling that we were late and needed to leave.

I did have a little cry though. This was the place where we had brought Mishty home. Over by the front door was where he had taken his first steps. The entirety of his life was in these four walls. And now after five and half years we were leaving.

We dropped off our keys and rushed to the estate agent to pick up our new ones. Except the funds hadn’t gone through. The electronic transfer was having a Friday afternoon long lunch and taking its sweet time. We waited for three hours in the car outside the new house in a tense homeless limbo. The removal men slept in their van. The fridge delivery man turned up two hours early and then left the fridge on the doorstep. Our clock-watching was punctuated by prayer, swearing, singing, talking, eating and frustrated silence.

Then I got the call. The estate agent was coming over with the keys. As she gave them to me I needed someone to share this moment with. Unfortunately Hubby had gone to a café for a loo break so I ended up hugging the lady instead.

It was 3pm when we stepped inside our new freezing cold but clean house and I had two hours before Mishty came home from nursery. The adrenaline kicked in and I worked like a machine to unpack. The house was filled with activity and people – my parents, in laws, neighbours, removal men, the removal man’s son… and then finally Mishty.

Think of an excited puppy with ADHD and you still wouldn’t be close to how loopy he was at seeing all his favourite people in the new house. Hubby took ages getting back as he forgot his way and went towards the old flat. I left him with the others to manage so I could plough on with getting his room ready. I could hear him refusing to sit in his high chair for dinner, and then running up and down the living room, exploring under the sofa and jumping off them in between each mouthful. Dinner time was always eventful.

Once everyone had left, I was giving him a bath when he said the words I’d been dreading, “Mummy, can we go home now?” Clearly our efforts at prepping him for the move with tales of the new house had been in vain. “This is your new home now” I said gently. “Oh… but I don’t like this house, it’s yucky” he whined. Guilt was threatening to overwhelm me but he did have a point, the décor was pretty awful.

I tucked him into bed, anxiously wondering if he would be cold or scared. I knew he would come to our bed at some point like he had been doing every night for the past couple of weeks but I didn’t mind. It was the start of the coldest spell of 2016 and with our own bedroom curtains not up, every bit of extra warmth was welcomed.

We went to bed close to midnight, mentally and physically drained. I didn’t sleep well – I was too cold and too wired. But I was content. It had taken a long time but we were finally here- this was our new house and one box at a time, we were going to turn it into a home.


The Perils of Potty Training

potty-trainingIt was Wednesday and my turn to do the nursery pick up. When I arrived, Mishty’s key worker informed me that he would be moving up to pre-school in six weeks.

“Does he need to be potty trained before he can go there?” I asked, hoping that the answer would be no.

“Yes, most definitely.”


“Oh right, of course” I said brightly, trying to hide the look of terror on my face.

“Do you have any pants for him?”

“Eh? Oh, er… yes” I had actually bought some the other day in an uncharacteristic fit of forward looking parenting.

“Right, bring them tomorrow and we’ll start then” she said firmly.

I blinked and nodded dumbly.

I was not mentally prepared for this. I knew this day was coming but I thought it would be in a few weeks, not less than 24 hours. I felt like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a truck filled with poo hurtling towards it at a million miles an hour- things were gonna get messy.

The next morning, I packed five changes of clothes and cajoled Mishty into his new big boy dinosaur pants, praying for miracles.

When I picked him up, he was in different clothes. Three accidents only, they said positively, handing me a bag stuffed with wee soaked clothes.

At home Mishty was already getting the hang of telling me when he needed to go. The only problem was that once on the potty his pee would shoot out like a water cannon, spraying everywhere except inside it. I was left cleaning the floor, the mats, the potty, his bum and his legs EVERY TIME. Occasionally he’d even get it on his face.

Did I forget to mention that day one of potty training also conveniently coincided with Hubby going away for the weekend with his family? I dropped him off at the in-laws that evening as it was an early morning flight on Friday. I had hoped that Mishty would just fall asleep in the car on the way back. No such luck. He chose the one evening when I was on my own to projectile vomit just as we were five minutes away from home.

It was impressive that one so small could spew so much. Mishty began whining for daddy. I nearly joined in too as I spent the rest of the night cleaning chunks of sick off Mishty, the car seat, his clothes, and the floor of the car.

The next morning, a tired Mishty didn’t want to go to nursery or get out of pull ups. There was a stand-off and almost an hour late, we finally arrived. Another day and another three changes of clothes later, I still had no idea how to get him to pee in the potty.

Over the weekend I stayed with my parents and met up with some friends for moral support. I rocked up at my friend’s house looking like I’d come to stay for a month with potty in tow and weighed down by an overflowing changing bag. There was tea, toys and a few tantrums but the important thing was that we managed to go to the bathroom in time and there was pee almost in the potty.

Afterwards, I dumped all the spare clothes at my parents and went for a quick coffee to another friend’s.  Just as we arrived, Mishty told me he needed to go and then promptly gushed forth a tide of wee of such epic proportions that he flooded my friend’s hallway. The best thing about friends with kids is that there’s always an abundance of wipes and understanding. Coffee turned into dinner and with no spare clothes left, we were entering dangerous territory.

So obviously it happened again. He told me just as he started peeing but at least this time we were in the garden. I couldn’t handle any more accidents so he ended up back in nappies and a pair of girls jogging bottoms. The rest of the evening was spent getting intimately acquainted with their bathroom – two showers, several false alarms, three tiny drops and another full gush. Tiring work.

On Sunday Hubby was back and I told him to take over as I was exhausted. He came out of the bathroom irritatingly smug. No mess for him. WHAT?! The secret to success is to push the willy down so wee is directed into the potty. Obvious. I stared at him. It’s only bloody obvious if you have one! How was I supposed to know that?

Things improved after that but then he dropped a clanger. Literally. He pooped his pants. I fought the overwhelming urge to just throw them away (I figured this might be a frequent thing and then I’d not have enough pants left) and ran to the bathroom but in my haste the poo fell out. I gave a blood curdling scream and then yelled dramatically at everyone to stay back. There was now a slug like turd lying in the middle of the bathroom floor. This was truly the stuff of nightmares. With every muscle tensed and my gag reflexes working overtime, I donned some gloves and stoically picked it up but it was too squishy and broke apart. I had to scrape the remains off the floor before flushing it all away. Subsequently, I now suffer from PTSD.*

Aside from that unfortunate mishap and the occasional wet fart, Mishty turned out to be a quick learner and within a couple of weeks was fully toilet trained.

People will tell you that potty training isn’t that bad. They are lying.  You will see things that you can’t unsee. You will smell things that will linger in your nose for days. You will go through a month’s supply of toilet roll and wipes in two days. You will be haunted and exhausted, until one day it’s all over. The poo finally goes in the potty and you experience a dizzying euphoria that no one else could ever understand.

The battlefield of the potty – you will survive but not unscathed.


*Potty-training stress disorder