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Rummaging through my cavernous handbag for my car keys at the end of a day at work I managed to pull out a pirate's eye patch, a mini compass, a pack of crayons and a plastic slinky before I found the keys. It's the mark of being a parent - nothing is actually your own anymore. Your handbag is a holding centre for, well for just about everything - husband's wallet (no complaints there then), toys, spare pants, emergency box of raisins, wipes (never ever go anywhere without wipes), fairy cream (it's actually just plain old balm, but calling it fairy cream gives it magical healing qualities). I went out for lunch with work colleagues once and even found a half eaten pear in the depths of my bag. There were just a couple of little child sized bites taken out of it and a million bits from the bottom of my handbag clinging to the flesh. Gross. I often feel the need to apologise, but they're all used to it now. Let's have a look what's in there now shall we, ooo a pink princess ring, a fake tattoo (Pirates of the Caribbean, of course), a Barney (shudder) badge and a figure of Lazytown's Stephanie with moveable arms and legs. I mean, let's face it, when you are the parent of small children, leaving the house is like a military operation anyway, so you may as well cram as much as is humanly possible in to your bag 'just in case'. But it made me think of all the other little 'you know you're a parent when' instances that take over your life. Feeling slightly miffed when you actually manage to go shopping on your own but don't have a pushchair to hang your bags off. Shouting out "tanker" or "cow" or "train" then realising the children aren't actually in the car with you. When you and hubby enjoy building the new Lego set together AFTER the kids have gone to bed. When you search high and low for the car keys only to find them in the seat of the sit-on plastic tractor daughter's perched on watching TV. When you hang your son's latest piece of artwork on the fridge - even though it's a picture of Darth


Vader drawn in black paint on a black piece of paper. You know all the words to the theme tune of Lazytown - and find yourself humming it while at work. You know that Vilgax is a Ben 10 character and not a region in Spain. Over at True Mom Confessions I laughed out loud when I read some of the entries under the heading You Know You're a Mom When . . . ". . . u don't care that all their bodily fluids are all over you." "You wake up in the morning to the smell of a my pretty pony being microwaved to 'dry' it off." But one blogging mum seems to have cornered the market in You Know You're A Parent When issues - she's even named her blog after it! Some of my favourites from her utterly brilliant observations are: 1: Your breakfast is now the other half of the pureed apples. 2: You know the least creeky path across your floorboards from your bedroom to baby's room in the middle of the night. And then a bonus route to the bathroom. 3: You've played with the baby toys in the bath, when you didn't have the baby with you. 4: Your baby sees more of you naked than your partner does. There is also a great list at Tas Greetings which include my favourites: You know you're a mum when . . . You count the sprinkles on each kid's cupcake to make sure they're equal. You have time to shave only one leg at a time. You hope ketchup is a vegetable because it's the only one your child eats. You say at least once a day, I'm not cut out for this job, but you know you wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

I am an English working mum with two young children and a slightly less demanding career I write at http://blogs.coventrytelegraph.net/fromdawntillrusk/

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You Know You're a Parent When...cupcake tattoos