Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Liebster Award Post


Hi! So I've been nominated for the Liebster Award, which is lovely! Actually, I have now been nominated 3 times for this award, so big thanks to Mumma McD Blogs, House of Many Minions and Life Bubbles Blog. So nice of you to think of me and this little blog of mine.




 To participate in this, each nominee has to follow 6 simple rules:
  1. Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the Liebster Award on your blog
  2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  3. Give 11 random facts about yourself
  4. Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award, that have less than 200 followers (I went off the number of Facebook and/or Bloglovin followers if I couldn't tell from the blog)
  5. Let those bloggers know you've nominated them
  6. Give them 11 questions to answer.

Because I only get roughly 30 minutes a day to think for myself, and quite often that time is spent, you know, going to the toilet or having a bite to eat, I'm going to use this snippet of time I have now to answer Mumma McD's questions. I will do my best to get to the questions from HoMM and LBB  as soon as I can!

Here are my answers, Mumma McD! 

1. How did you choose the name of your blog?
Laney is a nickname of mine from high school. I knew I wanted to write a parenting blog but I didn't want to limit myself to writing only about parenting, so I wanted to keep it broad. So The Laney Files is what it became.
2. How much time per week do you spend on your blog?
I do something everyday for my blog. If I'm not doing it, I'm thinking about it! It actually feels like I've taken on a full-time job. But I really enjoy it so I am just finding extra little pockets of time to work on it rather than cutting down on the time I spend writing.
3. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Ah funny that. I wanted to be a writer. Excellent. 30-odd years later I am finally pursuing it! Oh well. I'm far from grown-up yet anyway.
4. Last piece of clothing you purchased?
I got myself a lovely black maxi dress in the sales earlier in the year. I've worn it twice and just love it. I'm not sure where it is now, but I suspect it's in a pile on top of the hot water tank in the laundry. I put clothes here when all the kids are asleep, as I can't get into any of the bedrooms to put them away. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
5. Where in the world do you live?
I live in sunny Australia, in a city I can't really afford to be in. I love the vibrancy and beauty of this place, though sometimes I crave a more peaceful pace of life. I'm not sure where that would be, and the more kids we have, the harder it is to think about uprooting ourselves and moving on.
6. Favourite television show at the moment?
I am tragic with TV. I only watch Eastenders or Coronation St, both found on UKTV. I am a wannabee Brit. My accent even has a slightly British lilt. What can I say? I'm a saddo, and I'm ok with it.. But I've got 4 children. I need the release.
7. Favourite actor/actress?
Um. Michelle from Coronation St? I like her make-up. Also, Shabnam from Eastenders. I like her hair. Yep, what they look like is good enough for me.
8. How do you relax?
See #6. With a glass of red.
9. Do you have a nickname? Or did you have one as a child?
Laney is my nickname from adolescence. 'Mummy' also seems to be very popular these days.
10. How do you take your coffee?
Oh, I'm so glad you asked! I'll have a large flat white with one sugar, extra hot please. Skim, full cream milk, doesn't matter. Just make sure it's got coffee in it. Coffee makes my world go round. It honestly will not turn even slightly until I have some caffeine in my system. Although it has to be decent. I've been known to cry over a coffee that disappointed.
11. How many hours sleep do you get each night?
At the moment, I get 7-7 1/2 with at least one wake-up from a child. Sometimes it is multiple wake-ups from different children. I don't mind. This time last year, and for most of last year, in fact, the sleep deprivation we suffered was beyond terrible! So I am actually feeling really well-rested these days!
11 Random Facts about me
1. When my twins were born in 2013, we had four children in the house under 4 1/2.
2. My identical twin boys were born 2 months premature.
3. I was one of those people that craved a third child (aka 'just one more and I'll be satisfied, I promise!') and ended up with twins.
4. I have a coffee addiction. If you paid me $1000 to go without it for a week, I'd have to politely refuse.
5. I have started my first novel. Strangely, I developed writer's block when trying to write about a character giving birth to premature  twins. Two weeks after stalling I found out I was pregnant with twins. Weird
, hey?
6. I go on about my twins a lot. Sorry! No more for this list!
7. I met my husband in a local pub that we had both been frequenting for 5 years without ever meeting each other.
8. As well as the coffee addiction, I also require a glass of wine. Every. Night.
9. I love music, and used to love going to gigs before children. Now and then, I get a bit groovy when I put some favourite tunes on, from back in the day. Unfortunately, I am now one of those adults who really doesn't get the 'music of today'.
10. I used to work in a cinema complex as an usher and candy bar attendant. In between movies we made 'choc-tops'. We got to see movies for free in our spare time. It was the best job I've ever had. If it paid my bills now, I'd be back there in a shot.
 
11. I cry really easily. In public. It's embarrassing.
 
And lastly, here are the blogs that I would like to nominate for the Liebster Award:
(as the Liebster thing is pretty popular right now, apologies if you have already been nominated. But this is my way of giving your blog a shout-out for being a great read. Also, I know some of you have way more than 200 readers. Still want to put you out there though, so that more people can read your fantastic blog)
1. The Business Classroom
2. Real Food with Dana
3. Spark of Allure
4. Ever-Changing Life of a Mum
5. Not Another Slippery Dip
6. Looking for Mama Me
7. Crunchy not Crazy

8. Yummy Green Mummy

9. Mama Raj Says
10. Have a Laugh on me
11. Parties, Pearls and Being Precious

And here are my questions for you:
1. How long have you been blogging for?

2.  Lollies or chocolate?
3. How many siblings do you have?
4. Last place you went on holiday?
5. One thing that most people don't know about you?
6. What did you have for lunch today?
7. The last concert or show you went to?
8. If I gave you $500 dollars, and told you that you had to spend it tomorrow on something you love, what would it be?
9. What's your star sign?
10. What's one piece of advice you would give to your adolescent self?
11. What do you do to unwind?

 Phew, that's it! It's a bit of a task, but a really nice way to get round to seeing some other blogs, as well as put yourself out there for readers to learn a bit more about you. Thanks again for the nominations, and thanks to all these brilliant blogs for giving me so much inspiration.
 
 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, 26 January 2015

It's Savvy Monday! 26/01/15



Welcome to Savvy Mondays!

This series is designed to inspire and make life each week a little less stressful and a lot more sweet.

Every Monday I will post up a new idea, tip or challenge for you to take away and think about for the week. 

 

Getting them to eat more veggies

I don't know about you, but we are in the vegetable rut when it come to the kids' dinners. They eat carrots, broccoli and corn on the cob. That's it. I've always been pretty grateful that they tolerate at least these veggies on their plates, but then I came across some tips from this website and just had to share.


These ideas are so simple, I don't know why I've never thought of them before.

Interestingly, the writer points out that we shouldn't have to sneak veggies into their food, that ideally, they should enjoy the choice to eat veggies, of their own free will.

Hmm. I'm not about to rule out sneaking in the veggies whenever possible, to pasta sauces and the rest of it. But I really love the idea of serving up a plate of fresh, crunchy vegetables while they wait for the main event. I mean, I definitely need something at this time to pin them down, given recent events.
 
So, here are 4 clever ways to get the kids eating more veggies:

1. Put out a veggie plate before meals.  Before lunch and dinner, set out a veggie plate or tray for the kids to snack on while you are fixing the meal.  Include vegetables that you know they like along with some new ones, or previously disliked vegetables.  Make the plate colorful and appetizing with bite-sized pieces.

2. Offer dip.  Some vegetables can be too bitter for young taste buds.  Dip can help transform a bitter disliked veggie into a fast favourite.  Try homemade salad dressing, hummus, or Greek yogurt for dipping.


3. Let kids help pick out vegetables at the supermarket.  Kids are curious, let them choose a new vegetable each week to try.  Whether they like it or not, they will be more likely to try it if they had a hand in picking it out.  When they don’t like a vegetable, offer the encouragement that they might like it next time since taste buds change all the time.

4. Grow your own vegetables/herbs.  Whether you have a giant backyard with room for a garden or a balcony with room for a few pots, you can grow something.  Make it a fun project with your kids to plant, grow, and tend to your veggies and herbs.  Kids who taste vegetables straight off the vine usually fall in love at first bite!

What do you think? Anything you can try here that you haven't already attempted? Would love to hear how you get on - let me know!

Source: http://blog.fooducate.com



Friday, 23 January 2015

How to age ten years in half an hour


Last night I aged ten years.
This happened:

 Awful, I know. My beautiful little girl has her first battle scar in the making. What an evening it was! Naturally, it happened during the mad hour, when I was doing my best to get dinner underway so I could get the big kids sitting down. They were getting their crazy heads on and starting to mess around, playing chase and wrestling. So I started dinner early by putting the pasta on and heating up the leftover bolognese from the night before. Meanwhile, I'd spied a little mess of biscuit crumbs by the front door, so I was working on that while the craziness developed around me.
Then suddenly Miss P screamed loudly and came running over to me, clutching her head. I guessed that she'd been hit in the head by a flung-open louvre door, which is what they'd been playing with. Now, Miss P is a noisy little sausage, but this cry was different. It was REALLY loud and high-pitched. And instantly hysterical. You've probably heard similar at your place. You know the one, where you think, 'S*#t, something BAD'S just happened.'
Dreading what I was about to see, I lifted Miss P's hands away from her head and made the gasp sound that only a mother could make when she sees two gaping holes in her kid's head. And I do mean gaping. Weirdly, there were two separate gashes on her head, that were stacked vertically on top of each other with a gap between them. The top gash looked more or less superficial, but the bottom gash was really open, which made me instantly panic.
Meanwhile Mr B started freaking out with all the drama, screaming that he was sorry and worried about being in trouble. While I comforted Miss P, he ran up and down the stairs, completely hysterical. I grabbed a nearby tea towel and pressed it to her head to stop the bleeding. My heart was absolutely thudding. Both the big kids were screaming non-stop. Husband wasn't yet home, but would be any minute. Oddly, the twins just watched from their playpen, quite mesmerised by the unfolding scene.
I carried Miss P into the kitchen and grabbed my phone, turning off the boiling pot of pasta as I did so. There was no way I was going to attempt to get Miss P into the car, strap her in her seat and drive to the hospital, which I knew she needed. So I rang for an ambulance, which was a very difficult phone call to make with all the screaming from the kids. I managed to get my message through by shouting down the phone and getting my details out in between the screams. I kept trying to say, 'Look, it's definitely not as bad as it sounds! They're just really upset!'
With all the noise coming from our place, our next door neighbour came to check on us, instantly taking Mr B off for a cool drink to calm him down. Meanwhile, Miss P slowly started to quieten down as well.

 
Then poor Husband turned up, understandably a little taken aback by the scene. In all the mayhem, I still hadn't got round to calling him. The ambulance arrived directly behind him and the paramedics came into to assess Miss P. Everything was a lot calmer by this point, and Miss P's bleeding had stopped. The paramedics told us that she would need to have stitches, so off she and Husband went in the ambulance. 
After some cuddles with Mr B, we were soon back in business at the Laney House, though no one felt much like eating. I was completely distracted, walking from one part of the house to the other and then forgetting what I was meant to be doing.
Husband called regularly with updates. Apparently the bigger wound was down to her skull, which just killed me. Then he said they were talking about putting her under general anaesthetic to stitch her up. I hated the idea of this, hated not being with her. But thankfully we avoided the need for  this in the end, with the doctors deciding that gluing the wound would be just as beneficial.
The two of them arrived home a couple of hours later in a taxi and she more or less bounded out of the cab, with a huge bandage around her head, declaring that she was hungry. Mr B was very relieved to have her home, as we all were. They snuggled together on the couch to watch TV. The poor things, what an ordeal. They seem fine now. It is Husband and I still having the awful flashbacks to that wound!
All very distressing, but I am ok now. Just very busy gathering together all the cotton wool I have in the house to WRAP THESE KIDS UP IN.
Yeah, I know, I know, there'll be more of this to come. I've got three boys. There's going to be injuries. But does it get any less traumatising?
How about you? Have you been rocked by a major injury to any of your children yet? Any tips for me??

Monday, 19 January 2015

It's Savvy Monday! 19/01/2015


Welcome to Savvy Mondays!

This is the first of a series designed to inspire and  make life each week a little less stressful and a lot more sweet.

Every Monday I will post up a new idea, tip or challenge for you to take away and think about for the week. A little something that might just help in your everyday life or give you that spur along that we all need sometimes.



Here's a question: how often do you catch up with a good friend for one-on-one time, maybe over a glass of wine or a coffee? Without the kids?

If you're like me, the answer is probably not nearly as you'd like. Or, more specifically, 'When the f*#k would I get time for that?' Fair enough, really. I mean, why should your needs come into it anyway, when there's mouths to feed, bums to wipe and little minds to entertain?

After a year of being unable to go very far without at least two children in tow, I've recently been able get out for a few hours on the weekend or in the evening during the week to catch up with friends. Sure, there are times when I feel like it's too much effort or I can't really justify the expense, but man oh man, is it worth it in the end! The feeling of freedom, the beauty of relaxing without worrying about the kids wondering off, and the power of connecting with a good friend leaves me feeling completely recharged.

So this week, my Savvy Monday super-task for you is:

book a catch-up with a friend
 
 
Be it for coffee, drinks or a movie, schedule a catch-up this week with a friend and enjoy some adult conversation as well as some time away from the usual routine.
 
 

In case you need more convincing, here are three more reasons to book your partner in to mind the kids so you can head out:
 
1.  It is so easy to let friendships slide when kids come along and your immediate family becomes your whole world. But I've learnt that friendships aren't static things. Especially as we get older, when we all get busy and life can send us in different directions.  If you let things slide enough, you could lose touch with good friends to the point of no return. Which means you absolutely have to keep making the effort to maintain your relationships outside of the home.
 
2.  A glass of wine and a gossip does wonders for the soul! When your life with kids frazzles you, getting out for a decent break and some adult conversation will make all the difference. Sure, you might spend an hour talking about little Josie and her sleep issues, but it's still a conversation you're having in a different environment. And it's so nice sometimes to find out that other people are having the same battles at home as you!
 
3.  It's nice to watch the world go by in a different environment than the park or supermarket. I love people watching and seeing what's happening outside my little family bubble. It's also nice to put on 'going out' clothes that are free from snot/vomit/food. Try a spritz of perfume if you really want to push the boat out. 
 
Provided you don't get too 'merry', you will return home a renewed woman! Don't procrastinate on this one, book it in now. For all you know, the friend you have in mind could be thinking that a vino and a gossip is exactly what she needs too....

Have a great week, and feel free to drop me a line to tell me how you get on with this one! 
 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

What it's like to have four children - Part 2: Why It's Brilliant

 
 
We used to have neighbours next door with three girls, who I think were all in primary school at the time. Their front door was behind our back garden fence, so it was easy to hear them coming and going if we were out that way.

They had a nanny that did the school pick-up, and I often heard her arriving home with them. One time, as she opened the front door and did her usual ushering of them inside, I heard her say this:

'Right girls, shoes off and bags in the kitchen!'

I just loved this line! It made me think of a little row of shoes diligently left by the door and three school bags dumped on the kitchen counter, ready to be rid of lunch boxes and rummaged through for important newsletters from school. I loved the idea of needing rituals and organisation like this in a big household.

I wanted this. I wanted to need instructions and routines for a bunch of kids. I wanted the row of shoes by the door and school bags in the kitchen. Mine aren't at school yet but I can't wait to use that line when I get them home after a long day at school. I'm sure by then we'll have a big family kitchen, and I'll make them an after-school snack that they can eat at the kitchen bench while I go through their bags, asking them about their days. They’ll probably just grunt at me or ask to watch TV, but for now, I’ll have the fantasy.

And according to my calculations, all four of them should be in the same primary school for at least a year or two. Multiple school pick-up!!



I spend a lot of time on here writing about how hard it is being a mum to four young kids, but that doesn't meant I don't love what I have. When we were pregnant for the third time, I was so excited about us becoming a bigger family. I wanted the chaos and noise that comes with having lots of children in the house. I wanted to hear laughter and chatter coming from different rooms. I wanted all those little excited faces on Christmas Eve, waking up to find their presents on Christmas day.

All those wants. And now my dreams have come true. While four kids is a lot of work, it's still brilliant. And yet, the best is still to come.

I can't wait to have family meetings. And big family organisation planners up around the house. I want notice boards with loads of letters and artwork from school. I want to say things like 'Come on, everybody!' or ‘Let’s put it to the vote'.

When we play games, we have the perfect division for teams. No one is left-out. Between us, Husband and I have a hand to hold each child’s hand. 

My Mother’s Days are going to ROCK.

I love that we have made these little people, who are forming amazing relationships with each other, ones that are so much deeper than we’ll ever know. Hopefully they’re relationships they’ll have for the rest of their lives. When Mr B and Miss P are in sync (i.e. not screaming at each other), they are amazing together. This morning she wanted to dress in shorts and a t-shirt, just to be like him. And she likes to take one of his teddies to kindy.



There are so many good things coming to me. Right now, we're in the dependence years, where it is mostly hard work and maintenance. This morning I had wiped three dirty bottoms before 6.15am.

These are the years where we live for the cuddles from soft, chubby arms and the giggles around the house melt our hearts. They’re tough years but they’re also precious, because they go by so fast. The last thing I’m going to do is wish them away. No, instead I’ll just keep on counting my lucky stars.

 

Monday, 12 January 2015

What is 'getting mummy savvy' all about?

Maybe you're wondering by now what my tagline is all about. Or maybe you get the drift, but wonder why it's a bit grammatically askew. So I thought I'd spend a wee bit of time explaining it.

Parenting is a huge learning curve for me. For most of us. But see, I work really hard at being a mum. I sweat bucket loads (figuratively, not literally. I am actually quite a delicate sweater). I'm always busy, always thinking about what's next on the to-do list, instead of being present in the moment and enjoying my kids. I criticize myself constantly for not doing a better job. I should be better with quality time, should provide healthier food, should take them out for new experiences more often. There's always something that I feel I should improve on, or do less or more of. Always something. My mind is so busy.


And then there's the other roles I have in life. As a wife, a friend, an employee. I want to be better at all these things too. It’s so easy to get caught up in one role and neglect the others. I also have personal goals. I want to go out for cocktails, write a novel, get back into some exercise, read more books. I want to wear accessories again. Sometimes all the things I want to be and do gets overwhelming, but I'm not willing to sacrifice any of it. I just want to figure out how to get it by making the best of what I've got and the time I have.

So I thought, how can I be the best parent I can be and still have time left over for me, and all that other stuff? The answer: get mummy savvy.

Just like tech savvy is about being clever, comfortable and happy with all things technological, mummy savvy is about being clever, comfortable and happy with being a mum. It's about working smarter, not harder to be the best parent I can be and learning to be happy with everything I am and have.  It's about doing a great job as a parent and still having time for myself somewhere along the way. After all, it's my life. And don't the years start going by quickly when you've got kids?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have this mummy savvy. Not yet anyway. But that’s what this blog is for. It’s my journey, and yours, if you like.

So how do we get mummy savvy? It has a lot to do with accepting ourselves as mothers and shunning the pressure to be something we're not. It's about working with our strengths and finding great 'mummy hacks' for the things we need help with. It's about not sweating the small stuff and having a good old laugh when things go pear-shaped.

It's also about looking after our other needs.


See, I believe we can have it all. It just depends on how much we want it. Great kids, fulfilling job, healthy relationship, goals and dreams for the future. Holidays, catch-ups with friends, time to put make-up on. I'm determined to have all of these things.  Just because I have four children doesn't mean I can't have other dreams. It just means I have to work harder - and by that, I mean smarter - to make them a reality.


So, if you are like me in any way and would love to embrace the mother you are and not the one you think you should be, then you are definitely in the right place. If you want to make room in your life for the other things that you love, this is the blog for you. If you love a bit of a laugh at other people's chaos, definitely stick around. Believe me, I have plenty of it to share with you, and I will never be offended if you giggle away at my expense.

And in my quest for mummy savvy, I promise to pass on everything I learn to you!
Maybe you can offer me some tips in return?


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A lovely little story with a sparkly finish

I am not one to harp on about the power of positive thinking, and this is by no means an 'Anthony Robbins' type blog (although I DIG him). But I do get a kick out of the great effects that making a small tweak to thinking can have.

For example.

 The other day, I came across this quote:

don'tgiveupworld.com



And I thought, wow, I would find that really hard. I complain ALL the time. So I took it on board and tucked it away in my mind to have a little think about. My day went on as usual, and I didn't give it much thought until I'd finished work and was waiting for a bus. There was weird diversion traffic happening, and I ended up jumping on a bus that took me a really long way round and meant I had to change buses to get a connecting bus home.

I started grumbling to myself about how I'd have to get another bus ticket for the second bus, which meant I'd have to find an ATM first, which was a bit of a pain in the arse. I called home to say I might be late, and while I was complaining, I caught myself. Woops. So I tried a different way of thinking. Instead of it being a huge pain in the arse, I decided it was just slightly inconvenient and not such a big deal to have to change buses and buy another bus ticket, and have my journey home extended by a few minutes.

So with this new way of thinking, I chilled out. I got off the first bus at a stop I'm not used to, and made my way to the connecting bus. And then I passed one of my favourite shops in the world:


Like an excited robot, I automatically headed inside. Now, I know some have their opinions about Starbucks and not all of them are good, but I LOVE it, we go back a LONG way, and share some GOOD memories. So in I went to order my usual grande skim hazelnut latte and that's when I saw the divine sparkly Starbucks mug. You've probably heard about it by now if you've been anywhere near my Facebook page. Lined with silver glitter, it has a smooth finish and a fabulous oversized, metallic handle. Gorgeous. It gleamed magically at me, so I checked the price (on sale), and then put it back, as one of my resolutions is not to BUY THINGS IMPULSIVELY.

So I took my grande skim hazelnut latte and headed out for my next bus stop. But the thought of the mug stayed with me, and my footsteps faltered. There'll never be another mug like that one, I thought sadly (clearly this is typical thinking of an impulsive spender). And with that, I turned around like the aforementioned excited robot and headed back to Starbucks. I asked the shop assistant to wrap it extra protective layers and then I carried my new purchase home like one would carry home a new baby from the hospital. And here it now stands in my kitchen:

sparkly starbucks mug *dreamy*

This mug gives me a kick in my step! Now I won't say that trying not to complain has changed my life but I do feel as though the altered course of thinking I decided to take that day opened the doors to this sparkly treat. And guess what? I have been back to Starbucks to get my sister one, and they're gone!!!! It was a right-time-right-place situation. Sorry, sis.

Why don't you try it today? Try not to complain for a whole 24 hours and see if anything awesome happens for you. At the very least, maybe you'll just feel lighter at the end of the day. Complaining sure gets wearisome.

Let me know how you go with it! Seriously, not an easy challenge! Good luck!

Friday, 2 January 2015

What it’s like to have four children - Part 1: the crazy-making stuff

The hardest thing about having four delightful little people under 5.5 is that they are all highly dependent.  They all need me for nearly everything: going to the toilet/changing nappies, getting food, drink, washing hands, help with getting dressed. Help with brushing teeth and combing hair. Help with changing clothes once I realise what they’ve got on is filthy and was put away in the cupboard without being washed.  Mr B is 5.5 and getting more independent every day, but he’s at that age where you have to constantly remind him of things he needs to do. Or you need to repeat yourself 10 times because he doesn’t listen. At any one time, all four of them can need me for a variety of things. And no sooner do I get through meeting one lot of needs, the next lot present themselves.  I’ve been known to hold in my own wee for HOURS because I just can’t get 2 minutes to myself.

And then there are the constant reminders that we have to dish out: ‘finish your breakfast/leave the babies alone/stop crawling up the stairs/leave the Foxtel machine alone/stop arguing!!’  Put all this together with trying to get general stuff done like a load of washing, changing the bed sheets or even making a freakin’ cup of tea, and it gets CRAZY-MAKING.
Gawd, it exhausts me just writing this stuff out. Sometimes I pretend I’ve got a family day care business. Only I’m really bad at it. And I’m prone to the sudden urge to run out of the house screaming at various intervals throughout the day.
I won’t bore you with a ‘day in the life of’ us, because we would be here all day. Our days are full, chaotic and only mildly interesting to other people. But just to give you an example of what it’s like, this is what happened at dinner-time yesterday:
 
I start cooking sausages, rice and vegetables.
The babies whinge incessantly, being hungry themselves. They crawl between my legs, each wanting to be picked up. I start making them a sandwich alongside the sausage-cooking, thinking I can swiftly get them eating and quiet.
Miss P comes into the kitchen and says, ‘Mum, I want to paint.’ I quickly say, ‘No, you’re about to have dinner.’  She comes back with, ‘Mum, I need a poo!’ Dammit. The deal-breaker. I stop what I’m doing and rush her off to the toilet, then leave her there to do her business.
The babies continue to cry.
Mr B comes into the kitchen, balancing a bowl on his head. The bowl falls off and breaks on the kitchen floor. Husband and I quickly remove all children from the kitchen due to sharp bits from the bowl being scattered everywhere.
Husband gets cross with Mr B for being silly with the bowl. Mr B cries loudly. He seems to be competing with the noise from the babies.
The kitchen is getting a bit smokey from the sausage-cooking.
Miss P doesn’t do a poo. Instead I go into the toilet to help her off the seat and step in a massive puddle of wee. She has missed the toilet bowl. I hop around with a wee-drenched foot trying to clean myself and the floor up.
House is very smokey.  Babies are still crying and Mr B refuses to speak to Husband.
I put the fan in the middle of the room to move the smokey air out. The babies immediately gravitate towards the new dangerous object.
Babies are put in their highchairs. Dinner is served.
During dinner, all the children make a huge mess with their food. Mashed up broccoli and carrot, and thousands of individual rice pieces are scattered all over the floor. After they're finished, I painstakingly pick up every morsel of food as I can’t be bothered getting the vacuum cleaner out. It’s buried in a pile of crap in the cupboard under the stairs.
I’m not joking, it takes me longer to clean up all the food than it did to cook the stuff. When I have it all collected in the kitchen bin, the total amount looks suspiciously the same as what I’ve just served up.
Finally, the floor is clean, and the highchairs and kids' table is spray ‘n wiped. The children all seem a bit calmer. I think about putting the kettle on.
 Baby J goes exploring in the kitchen, tips over the kitchen bin, and the food I’ve just disposed of spills all over the floor. It’s mixed in with old teabags and a couple of dirty nappies. I get down on the floor and start cleaning it up again. It is a massive and evil case of déjà vu.
 
Ah, the urge to run out of the house screaming. It’s like an old friend that lives in my brain. Right next to the one that tells me I need a drink. 

 Stay tuned for Part 2: How having four children is actually pretty great. No, really!