Getting on a bit

I reckon I spent a goodly amount of time looking forward to being an adult. I wanted to be able to wear fancy bras and travel, eat and bonk with abandonment.

And here I am, a fully fledged grown up and it’s friggin boring. It’s all road tax, food shops and picking Weetabix out of the carpet. I hate that I now associate July with insurance renewals.  I AM SO BORING. And there’s so much I don’t know any more: bands, fashions, slang, dating etiquette, how to pronounce the word ‘memes’. I recently had to text my god-daughter to ask her what tumblr is. I AM SO OLD.

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Keep scrolling…Keep scrolling…

Anyway, the good news is I’ve found a solution to feeling ancient and boring: marry someone older. I could make a brew in the time it takes me to scroll down down down  to the early ’80s, but I’m always heartened that AO is a good nose pick further down.  Together, we had the foresight to move to an area where are friends and neighbours are mostly retired and that makes us feel like maybe we’re the ‘young couple’ and at a Bon Jovi tribute concert on Cromer pier recently we were the youngest by easily a decade.

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Sis ‘n’ I chat fashion

And it’s not all bad because we do get to travel…in our minds…in the travel section of The Times. And we do get to eat what we want because who wouldn’t want to eat spaghetti hoops at 4.30pm from the toddler’s reject pile and, as for bonking with abandonment, well, that’s between me and the wig wearer but let’s just say things can get steamy in the 40 mins between kids’ bedtime and Strictly…

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‘Make mine an Options’

An Oliver Guide to Bonfire Night 

Bonfire night is my most favourite night of the year: it’s my equivalent of Christmas. As everyone knows, high expectations are always a good idea. Try and make sure everyone realises how important the day is so that they will put in an extra big effort. Like they did for your birthday and mothers’ day, remember?

Step 1: A Wholesome Walk

Make sure you radiate enthusiasm close to Blue Peter presenter levels. That way, with a bit of luck, only one kid will have a shit fit about mud/rain/lost conkers. 

Look like you’re enjoying it.

Step 2: Make sure your kids are on their knees with exhaustion- that way you can all appreciate that the fireworks don’t start until 7.45pm. Try and hype them up to the point of tears by making them chase the beam of a torch like Katniss’s cat. 

Hyper

Step 3: Wrestle the kids in to multiple layers and sweat them in to Wellington boots. Try and do this after you’ve put all your own layers on and you can really work up a base layer of warmth. 

Muuuum. I neeed a weeee. #timing

Extra tip: Bonfire night usually takes place at night so it’s pretty much akin to a night out and therefore a fashion opportunity. 

Even I fancy myself in these knee-high knitted socks.

Step 4: This one is not easy but thoroughly recommended: en route, try to get pulled over by the police for driving without insurance.  The kids’ll find it really exciting and it’s guaranteed to put your husband in a raging good mood. 

Bollocks
Step 5:  On arrival there will be at least 15 seconds where no one is moaning and your children’s faces are aglow in the warmth of the fire and you’re all giggling in anticipation of the fireworks. TAKE A PHOTO. 
A bonfire night dreams are made of! We are so damn happy and wholesome!

Step 6: Leave early because the kids are cold and the older one cries when the fireworks bang and the toddler cries when they don’t. 

Enjoying the fireworks from the car park
Step 7: Dig deep to maintain a stony silence for the drive home and let the feelings of high expectations being bitterly disappointed wash over you. Build them back up in time for Christmas – what could possible go wrong?!

An Oliver Guide to Family Photos 

Always aim for a natural pose

Nailed it
Take 8000 pics of cute moments because the kids will look adorable in one of them and psycho in the rest

Guess which one made it to Instagram?
Encourage your children to take the photos themselves: you may discover they have a flair for it.

Gifted
Try and spend as much time as you can on your phone, that way you’ll have it ready to capture all those precious moments you missed because you were choosing filters and googling ankle boots.

‘Mum! Mum! Look at me!’

Bendy Legs Oliver

Alex boasts a wealth of ridiculous ailments, but his hypermobility has been as frustrating as brushing a toddler’s teeth. 

It’s meant he’s only just learnt how to walk this summer at the ripe old age of 23 months 

“So I pick it up and then just put it back down again?’
 

It’s meant that my body is crippled from carrying him EVERYWHERE and I have developed a permanent counter-balance lean to the right

Serious limpet

On the plus side, having to do everything one handed means I’m  now basically ambidextrous. 

I’m not one to moan-ha!- but Alex’s bendyness has caused some full-scale panics as I regularly lose him only to find him furled up in some odd spot. 

‘If I’m really quiet, mum’ll have to call mall security like last time!’
His ankles sag in on themselves and he drags himself along on the insides of shoes like some Frankenstien’s monster that’s been on the lash and because of this he needs super extra expensive dinky ankle boots to keep him up and about. 
£50

But it ain’t all bad because when he grows up he can be a ballerina or a contortionist or a gymnast. Although this may come as a blow for William because he has plans for them to be nurses and live in the conservatory together. 

‘This may hurt a bit’