I Need a Hero?

Do I really need a hero? It is a question I’ve found myself asking quite a lot recently. I blame Thomas the Tank Engine. Let me explain.

T is prone to obsession. I’m well aware that he gets that from me but it is bloody annoying. It means that only his current favourite will do and it drives me to distraction. I end up searching the house endlessly when he has absentmindedly put this month’s pride and joy down somewhere random and lost it.

imageRight now, all he wants is his Hiro. Hiro is one of the Thomas the Tank trains but you’d be forgiven for not knowing who the hell he is, even if you have had a small boy at some point in recent years. He is one of the pretty obscure ones. He is a dull and unassuming black and, as far as I can tell, there is nothing particularly special about him. I’ve never seen him in a single TV episode, or noticed him featuring in any of the books. Hiro is clearly an also ran, no matter which way you cut it.

But in this house, he is an idol. He is adored and carried everywhere. He is stared at lovingly and pushed gently back and forth in bed, as T drifts off to sleep. T has very little time for other kids his own age so Hiro is basically the boy’s best friend.

The weird thing about Hiro is that I have literally no idea where he came from. He just appeared one day in the train box, smiling his enigmatic smile. He isn’t a toy we’ve bought or been given and he is a different type of train to the ones that fit our track, so he is a total misfit. I’m guessing a friend’s kid left him here at a play date or he was mistakenly sent home from nursery in T’s bag. However he got here, he was welcomed with open arms and, now that he is flavour of the month, he is going nowhere anytime soon.

I think the love affair started because Hiro has an on switch and could chug along on his own, at least until T decided to put him in the bath that is. He doesn’t chug anywhere now, natch, but the obsession had already taken hold and T doesn’t seem to care. Hiro is still deeply loved.

Hiro gets lost roughly 25 times a day. He is usually stuffed down behind a cushion or under a sofa and only takes a short while to find but, until he turns up, T bombs around the house yelling “I need Hiro! I need Hiro!” He doesn’t go on to say that he’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight, sadly. But my brain does. I’ve had bloody Bonnie Tyler as an ear worm for weeks now.

imageAll this yelling for Hiro (and Bonnie’s endless wailing inside my head) has got me pondering the vast quantity of heroes in our house. It is literally stuffed full of them. We have a superhero box packed with the buggers. It contains approximately 8 Spidermen alone, H having been very into Spidey a few years ago. One of them is large and makes little Spidey quips and web noises every time someone so much as breaths on the box. It can be a little unnerving, hearing the web-slinger chatting to himself from a darkened playroom at midnight.

And then there is Superman. Now, he is a tad too big for the box. My husband ordered a Superman for H a few years ago, around the time that Man of Steel came out. I’m pretty sure that T was after a little one that he could hold in his grubby little mitt but my husband made the classic mistake with online ordering and didn’t check the dimensions.

Well, Superman arrived and he was literally bigger than the youngest two kids. I’m not joking. The Man of Steel was over 3 feet high. Utterly useless for playing with basically and only good for tripping over with alarming regularity. H was delighted. I was a bit less so.

This was around two and a half years ago and I’ve been unable to palm old Superman off on anyone yet. Which is odd. I mean, who doesn’t want a weird half-life-size Henry Cavill in full hero garb, right? He is literally never played with but when I recently floated the idea of sending him off to a charity shop, both the older two had a fit. So, here he stays, in our too small house, taking up precious space and not even saving anyone or using his laser vision or anything. Twat.

So, what with all this yelling of “I need Hiro” from T and all these hordes of superheroes in my house, to be tripped over and trodden on painfully, I find that I have come to the conclusion that I don’t need a hero really. No matter how much Bonnie wails about it in my head, I think we are pretty much sorted for heroes/hiros in this house.

In fact, if Bonnie is still as keen on heroes as she was back in the 80s, she is welcome to pop over and take a few home with her. I wonder if she fancies adopting a midget Superman while she is here…..

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The Little Things That Kill

imageAs a parent, I am used to putting up with a lot of shit, both literally and metaphorically. I’m naturally a pretty patient person and I manage to let most of the multiple annoyances that accompany having three young kids wash over me. But every now and then one little thing will break through my outer layer of “yeah, whatever” and seems to pierce my brain like a drill. It could be a particularly annoying toy, a much repeated phrase or a behaviour pattern. Once the bloody thing works it’s way into the ‘unbearably annoying things’ pool, it sends me fair mad.

I’m not at my best right now, to say the least. We have been up 5am most days with Terrible T for months on end, and often in the night too. The constant relentlessness of that exhaustion is having an impact on my patience levels and there are a few little irritations that have been becoming more and more unbearable of late. 

We’ve all been there with the noisy toys, right? Most of the time, I can pretty much blank most of them out. My husband sometimes winces when T races in and out over our new wooden floors with his push along monkey, which relentlessly whacks the floor with each step, but I don’t even notice that one. Even the incredibly loud Buzz Lightyear bellowing about going to Infinity and Beyond every time anyone so much as walks past the toy box doesn’t really bother me.

But that fucking Grandpa Pig and this little train that goes Choo Choo Choo, well I would sooner chop his porky head off with a carving knife than have to listen to Peppa et al cheerfully singing at top volume about him one more time.

Like the majority of the most irritating toys, Grandpa Pig’s Train was a gift (thanks Mum) and it doesn’t have a volume switch. It plays a variety of annoying noises but one in six is the train song and it is horrifically loud and absolutely infuriating. Unfortunately, T loves the damn thing. I keep wondering whether sabotage would be acceptable. Could I drop it in the sink by mistake perhaps? Or accidentally file it in the charity collection bag? But then I look at my baby’s big blue eyes and feel massive preemptive guilt and bottle out.

But it isn’t just the toy from hell that is getting to me right now. One issue that is driving me mental is spit related behaviour from my disgusting little girl. M is four now but she still puts everything in her mouth. She is forever sucking her sleeves, collars and soft toys. But worse, much worse, is the hair sucking. She has hair long enough to stuff in her mouth and she sucks handfuls of the stuff. I tie it back as much as I can to stop her but when it is loose she can’t seem to stop herself, despite my constant reprimands. It hangs in wet, spitty rats’ tails, tangled and smelling of drool.

I am so at the end of my tether with the hair sucking, I cannot tell you. I’m used to the disgusting ways of little people but the hair sucking feels like a new low, somehow. I physically recoil from touching her spit soaked locks. I have no idea why I feel so repulsed by it when I am constantly mopping spit off the baby’s face and dealing with considerably worse bodily fluids the live long day. Perhaps it is because she is four now and really should know better; perhaps it is just the texture and faint aroma that comes from her spitty hair. Who knows, but it is driving me to distraction and I am seriously considering drastic action.

imageSo, it looks like my girl will be having a neat little bob next time she has her hair cut. It is either that or I blow a gasket. It has to be just short enough to be out of reach of her mouth. Part of me is sad at the thought of chopping off her lovely hair but the repulsed part of me is delighted and knows that her ‘lovely’ hair is never really allowed to be lovely, as it is always tangled with flob. Besides, she’d look super cute with pretty much any cut so would probably look great.

And the final thing that is driving me totally nuts is H’s obsession with his tablet, primarily with sodding Angry Birds. He is a total tech fiend, like his father. He would be on it 24/7 if I let him (which I don’t). There really is nothing that isn’t deeply annoying about this obsession. When he is playing it, he is totally engrossed, head down, deaf to all other things, with the irritating little tune piping gently around the house. When I ask him to stop, all hell breaks loose and we have moans, even tears sometimes. Between Bird sessions he spends his time asking me when he can play it again and losing his soft toy birds around the house endlessly. And perhaps worse than all of this is his insistence that he tells me all about it.

“I’ve just done this one amazing level Mum where Red smashed this pig and he few right up in the air and it was awesome”.

To which I reply “I don’t give a flying pig’s ass about fucking Angry Birds and I want you to shut up about it forever more or my head is going to explode, OK?”

imageOf course I don’t. But I want to. I feign interest and smile. It isn’t actually the Birds that I hate, to be fair. It could any of H’s intense obsessions which come and go and that I have to hear about in minute detail. I know this is a bad one and I should encourage all communication but it is so mind numbing, hearing about what each of the bird’s special powers are, that I can sometimes hardly stand it. How can a kid who gives such endless detail about a computer game have nothing for me after school beyond “Yeah, it was alright. Can’t remember”?

Sometimes (now) life can feel like it is made of nothing but these small irritations that fester and combine to make one big screaming ball of head fuck. Dried up lidless felt tips, our possessive toaster that burns everything to a crisp, H’s terrible aim in the bathroom, Mr Tumble. I could go on.

But I think I’d probably be a lot less mad at these little things if I could only get a good night’s sleep and drag myself out of bad after sunrise. Even being woken up by a cheerful little babble rather than an ear-piercing scream would be a huge improvement.

I know I’m not as tired now as I have been in the past. It isn’t even really about the level of tiredness at this stage. It is about the fact that we are still doing this, still subject the to hideous demands of a bad sleeping early riser.

Before you say it, I know it will get better. I have done this twice before, after all. I just wish it would get better a bit bloody quicker. I am sick of being a zombie and sick of dealing with a overtired, grumpy toddler.

T is two now so I am still stupidly optimistic that it might improve any day now. Perhaps then I won’t feel like a rage monster over these little things. And I won’t have to send Grandpa Pig to slaughter.

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Lost Things

image“Mummy, where is Batman?”

I am asked this question – or a variation of it – roughly 20 times a day. It is usually Batman at the moment but it can be any current favourite. I am constantly baffled by my eldest’s ability to lose just about anything. It goes from being in his hand to being apparently irretrievably lost within seconds. This, coupled with a staggering inability to find things even if they are in front of his nose, can lead to a little bit of conflict in our house.

One of the many, many things that no-one tells you before you have kids is that you will spend a vast quantity of time dealing with lost things. A good portion of your day will be spent looking for, discussing, rowing over and fielding screaming tantrums about said lost things. You’ll also receive various injuries by treading on these apparently lost things that are actually right in the middle of the floor, where they were dumped five minutes before.

Both the older two, H and M, lose things with alarming regularity. M is pretty laid back for someone of just under four. She is also pretty reasonable so, when she loses a favourite thing, she understand that it will turn up soon. So she usually has a little moan, gives up and moves on to something else for a while until the lost thing materialises.

Not so for our H. He is the king of melodrama (I have no idea where he gets it from) and Batman hasn’t just been temporarily misplaced. He is gone forever. H is therefore never going to play with anything ever again or, indeed, ever be happy again. Life is over, as we know it. Now imagine having this conversation 20 times a day. Wearing.

I can usually nip this particular misery in the bud by finding Batman. He is often in the Batcave (natch), or on the floor, on the table, even in H’s pocket. All obvious Batman places. A quick scan of the room usually allows me to call off the search within seconds. But sometimes, Batman can be a bit more sneaky and has crept off to the bathroom or wedged himself down between sofa cushions.

When Batman plays hard ball, I have a number of options:
1. Drop what I am doing and search the house on my own – Batman is found, H is calm.
2. Orchestrate a full house search involving me and all capable children – time consuming and often involves the kids moaning before making a hell of a mess turning out boxes and throwing cushions around – Batman is eventually found (usually by my)
3. Tell H he should look after his own things and that he needs to look for Batman himself – hours or even days of moaning, sulks, tears. Batman is not found (until I eventually find him by emptying a coat pocket, tidying up or I tread on him).

I know the right answer here. I really do. I need to teach H to be responsible for his own things and go with option three. And I do…..sometimes. But option one is just soooo much less painful.

The ultimate misery of course is when something is lost at school and is therefore a total goner. Our old friend Batman was apparently irretrievably lost at school a few weeks ago. I took pity on my inconsolable H and ordered him a second hand one on EBay, but not before that pesky caped crusader had popped out smiling from under the Batcave, yelling “surprise”!Little git. Batman has now been banned from school.

So, we now have two Batmen. Good, so we have backup, you would be forgiven for thinking. But no. It seems New Batman is wearing a different suit so isn’t nearly so cool. Besides, H has generously gifted New Batman to M. Sweet, but unhelpful in the endless round of lost Batman games.

So, until H moves on to the next favourite, it seems we are all doomed to lose and search for that moodiest of superheroes on a daily basis. And I dare say it will usually be me searching for and finding him, to prevent my own little crusader turning as moody as his idol. I know I shouldn’t but some days I would rather run about the house briefly looking for a small plastic man in black than endure a hour of doom. Is that wrong?