Alpine Mummy

A new life in the middle of nowhere


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Only as Good as Your Latest Success (or: Alpine Mummy Learns Not to be Smug)

A couple of months ago, nearly three years to the day since we took our first hike as a family of five, we finally saw a tiny glimmer of light at the end of that baby-carrying tunnel.

Since moving to the mountains five years ago, we had never gone for a hike without at least one child on at least one of our backs. And a bag (or few) full of STUFF.

Climbing every mountain, fording every stream… the hills were alive but the going was slow, what with the increasing number of kilos strapped to us.

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Bag ‘n’ Baby – Apline Mummy the Packhorse

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All New Boots and No Trousers

When Alpine Boy was born I was starry-eyed and naive. It was only months and even years later that I started to realise I’d missed a trick, when other mums would casually query what present Alpine Papa had got me for giving birth.

“Eh?!” I’d respond, before finally noticing those enormous hunks of diamonds  painfully weighing down their earlobes. Apparently that’s what other husbands buy you for harbouring an ever-growing being inside you for nine months and then pushing it out of somewhere delicate (and never-quite-stretchy-enough).

I got bugger all.

(Apart from this little beauty…)

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Alpine Mummy’s (Totally Expert and Not At All Negligent) Guide to Parenting

Alpine Mummy should be a parenting guru. Not because she’s an expert in parenting. But because she categorically is not.

My parenting technique may send shivers down the spines of Gina Ford groupies, and cause panic in Mumsnet forums but, really, it’s all for your benefit.

I should write a parenting manual in fact. It would be a sell-out, simply rolling off the shelves, like squishy poo escaping from an unchanged nappy (more about that later). By sharing terrible screw-ups in Alpine Mummy’s usual ‘aren’t-you-glad-your-life’s-not-like-this?!’ style, this new handy reference manual would produce perfect parents everywhere, as they rush to do exactly the opposite of what Alpine Mummy does.

Our new babysitter...

Our new babysitter…

Don’t believe me? Perhaps a little taster of my terrible parenting would assist. Here are my top 10 recent parenting failures:

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Alpine Mummy’s carefree life…

Life isn’t exactly carefree at the moment, that’s for sure.  I leave home in the dark, at 7.23 each morning, before the kids are up.  I get home in the dark, any time between 7.45 and 8.15 each evening, just as the kids are going to bed.  Well, actually, just as the kids are successfully avoiding going to bed by joining forces (for once) to create as much noise, naughtiness and general chaos as possible.26102014391 Continue reading


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On the move again…

I start full-time work tomorrow. Gosh.

Midweek Alpine Mummy fun will be no more. Gone are the days of frolicking in the mountains on a Monday afternoon, or cycling round the lake on a Wednesday, or spending the entire day eating cake and drinking lots of tea with other English mummies every Tuesday (and Thursday. And Friday. And… OK – I do more cake-eating and socialising than I do mountain-frolicking and cycling. Life is tough).

I think I can cope with having to wear vaguely presentable clothes every day, rather than the knackered jeans and holey t-shirts that have become my usual uniform (on the days I actually get out my pyjamas…). I can probably even cope with brushing my hair every day (I got it all hacked off on Friday to ease this pain), and I am certainly looking forward to speaking to grown-ups about things other than sick, poo, sleep, poo and sick. (Forget career aspirations – I’ll just be proud to get through a day without threatening to put my colleagues on the naughty step, or absent-mindedly spoon-feeding my boss at lunchtime…)

Anyway, all that will be fine. What I’m not looking forward to is my commute. I live about an hour and a quarter away from Geneva. More (a lot more) at peak times. I am working a full day. Every day.  I will never (and I mean never) see my kids if we stay here.

So the Alpine Family are on the move again… But where to?

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Secrets and lies

The other night I awoke to strange whisperings coming from Alpine Boy’s room. Pulling my ratty dressing gown around me I shuffled to his bedroom door, and was amazed to hear the following coming from within.

Now it all makes sense… every last bit.

I jotted it down, word for word, to pass on to other parents who, like me, are at the end of their tether and wondering why their kids are such brats. Here it is, take note; now the secret’s out, parenting will be a piece of cake…

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Me… revisited

In July 2012 Alpine Family, then a somewhat smaller unit than we are now, embarked on a new adventure: giving up hectic London life for a new start in the French Alps.

It was a temporary move – I had a year’s maternity leave, and what better way to spend it than gallivanting up and down mountainsides with the soundtrack of cow bells echoing around us. The hills were indeed alive, and the Von Trapps had nothing on us (although admittedly I am yet to dress my little darlings in curtains…). Life couldn’t have been more different had we moved to the moon – life as a City lawyer was a distant memory as I got used to life as a stay-at-home mummy in the middle of nowhere with two kids (Alpine Boy aged 3 and a half; Alpine Girl aged 7 weeks when we moved here). Doctors’ appointments, supermarket trips, and snow (lots of snow): all was new, all was in French, and I blogged about the lot (well, some of it).

 

My dream house... (shame it's not ours)

My dream house… (shame it’s not ours)

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Eat, Poo, Love

Well Alpine Baby is here! Our beautiful girl made her way into the world at the end of March, bringing with her a sense of family completeness, total happiness, and constant sleeplessness.

She’s already a true Daddy’s Girl – with a headful of dark brown hair she looks nothing like me or either of my other children, and I’m constantly waiting to be stopped in the street and accused of kidnapping her whenever Alpine Papa’s not with us.

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The nine circles of hell (otherwise known as… pregnancy)

 As Alpine Papa will attest, I am not very good at being pregnant.  Not at all. 

You know those people who glow their way through pregnancy like a sunbeam, with nothing to slow them down except too much damn gushing about how they “luuuurve being pregnant” and “isn’t it amaaaaaazing”?  That’s not me.  Not at all.

Don't get confused - that's a sunbeam, that is, it's not me...

Don’t get confused – that’s a sunbeam, that is, it’s not me…

Alpine Papa is no help.  I don’t think he believes any of the suffering I am genuinely going through to bring this beautiful new life into the world.  In fact, when I moan (admittedly for the 40th time that day) about how crap being preggars is, he immediately takes great delight in pointing out how desperately I wanted to be pregnant each time, and how I would whine any time anyone I knew would dare get pregnant before me.  “Ooooh , it’s not fair”, he mocks (apparently that’s how I talk).  “So-and-so is pregnant, how come I’m not pregnant? I want to be pregnant. It’s not faaaaaaaair.  Why can’t I be pregnant? I want to be pregnant!”.

I would like to point out, though, that he is wrong.  Very.  I have never said “I want to be pregnant”, or moaned about not being. I have often whined about the fact that I want another baby and I want it now.  But that’s entirely different.  I have never had any desire to be pregnant. Why would I? It’s rubbish.

Hell in fact.  Nine months of hell.  Must have been what Dante had in mind.  Here are my nine circles of hell:

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5 blog posts I could have written. But didn’t.

Well going back to work certainly changed my life.  I only work three days a week (albeit in another country twice a month, with a 6-and-a-half-hour commute).  It’s not much at all, really, but it’s as if a little Time Fairy has sneaked into my life and brazenly stolen all my ‘me’ time.

I used to have ‘me’ time, I’m sure.  Maternity leave last year now feels like a perfect dream (though I’m sure it wasn’t always) – gallivanting up and down mountainsides with a baby on my back and a camera round my neck.  I had time for stuff like that!  And I still managed to cook fresh meals for my family, clean the house (from time to time. A bit. OK, let’s not exaggerate…), see my friends, and even write blogs.

The good old days

The good old days

(I’d love to know what that damn fairy has done with it that time.  If I found her stash I’d make a fortune.)

These days I’m lucky if my children get to eat pasta pesto or fish fingers less than three days in a row.  I haven’t seen the sofa for a good few weeks – I think it must be buried under that pile of jumpers, books, DVDs, toys, handbags and letters from school demanding lunch money, but I couldn’t be sure.  Despite the constant running of the washing machine and the fact that the house resembles a laundry, no one’s ever got anything to wear, and I’m so disorganised in the mornings that Alpine Boy regularly goes to school without gloves or a hat.   Usually when it’s -10°c .  I’m such a great mum.

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And I have no time to write blogs!  The little ‘me’ time that the Time Fairy has begrudgingly left behind is generally spent crashing on the sofa propping my eyes open with matchsticks – I’m in no fit state to talk, never mind write.  (I just want to mention that it’s not pure laziness on my part, all this exhaustion… there’s a real reason, see below…).

So my lack of posts recently (ok, for months) doesn’t mean I’ve got nothing to say (as if).  Au contraire, mes petits, I’m sure you all want to hear about my exciting life of working, washing and not so much walking!

Here are the ‘best’ bits then.  Here are 5 posts that I would have written had I been bothered/had the time: Continue reading