Thursday, 24 July 2008

Things I have said to my Husband today

  • Ooh, yes I'd love a night out tonight
  • What do you mean just you?
  • But I do like them
  • I love Pokey, Stu and Bucket Head
  • Oh
  • Right
  • Of course I want you to have a good night
  • I know Pokey, Stu and Bucket Head don't have girlfriends
  • Apart from each other
  • Nothing, sorry
  • I didn't say anything I just coughed
  • Will you be coming home after?
  • Are you sure you don't want to stay at Pokey, Stu and Bucket Head's?
  • Yes of course I want you to come home
  • Well you only have to sleep in the spare room if you snore
  • I know you snore when you're drunk
  • So you're guaranteeing that you're going to snore?
  • Well then it'll have to be the spare room
  • Because I have to get up with the children
  • What do you mean where will Pokey, Stu and Bucket Head sleep?
  • Invited them here?
  • After a night in the pub?
  • Hmm
  • Well OK then
  • Could you just make sure you all throw up in the toilet?
  • I know there was a queue but the wok's just never been the same
  • OK I'll put buckets out
  • Send my love to Pokey, Stu and Bucket Head

Monday, 21 July 2008

Super Dooper

One of the universal truths of life is that Super Nanny is neither Super nor a Nanny. She may have been at one time but now she is a TV presenter who wears unsuitable attire for the job in hand. Have you ever worn what can only be described as daytime bondage attire complete with spiky dominatrix heels to look after the children for a day? No I thought not, even if you wanted to it may be a little difficult to make friends at playgroup if you look like you're about to whip anyone who comes within whipping distance. Regular readers of this blog may think that for some reason I dislike Super Nanny, I do, but not the actual person, I have absolutely nothing against Jo Frost (aka Super Nanny), she's done really well for herself. She was doing a perfectly ordinary job and simply by adding the prefix Super to her job title, she automatically made herself a force to be reckoned with in the field of child care. In fact if that's all you have to do to release yourself from the tedium of ordinariness and launch yourself a high profile television career both sides of the Atlantic with regular appearances in your very own magazine then I'm amazed more people aren't doing it. Forget blogging, just upgrade your job title to a non existent one that makes very clear that you are the very best. There are loads to choose from; we could have Super Accountant, the most Super of accountants who marches into your house, shouts at you for all the unpaid bills and unanswered correspondence regarding said bills, sorts them out for you and leaves for a week. You then spend a week enjoying the paper-pile-free existence that had heretofore been only a dream while letting the post build up until Super Accountant turns up again to see how you've been doing to sort out that week's bills for you. A year later for the update show, you could have a whole room filled with unopened bills for Super Accountant to shout at you about before sorting them again and leaving you with stern words about how to look after your accounts. A small price to pay for not having to bother with your bills, you never did anyway.
Consider if you will also, Super Plumber, who arrives with a long declogging thing and inspects all of your pipes. The cameras focus in on just how grimy and disgusting you are, highlighting the Sunday roast fat in the dishwasher and hair in the drainpipes, Super Plumber performs this most retching of tasks for you and cameras cut to clean shiny pipes that will take years for you to clog again. Super Plumber even gets a tie-in magazine Plumbing New Depths where photos of you and your pipes are displayed with canny headlines about your lives being changed by Super Plumber: 'My marriage flows better now my pipes do' or 'Drainage never seemed important before, now Husband and I discuss it every night, it keeps things interesting.'
So no, I take no offence at Jo Frost I just dislike the way the programme makes you feel as if any tiny misdemeanor on your child's part is all your fault. It is of course, I accept that deep in my sub conscious, but I keep it in the Survival Cortex area of my brain with such truths as food eaten standing up counts where it lays quietly, with only occasional firing up of the denial synapse to remind me of my self delusion. What the TV show doesn't get that its message of you're rubbish, don't even try to bring up your children alone or you'll mess them up. In fact you probably already have, is no new thing. We know that! Why else do we go around guilt ridden to every class/extended education programme/experiential workshop, dragging the children whose only wish is to play with the playdoh? Because we know we're going to mess it up somehow and we'd like someone else to blame in the future: Sorry madam, but your son's been arrested for graffiti.
Really? Oh dear officer, I blame the existential artist he studied with when he was four, used graffiti as a way of expressing community concern. Whatever happens you have somebody other than yourself to blame.
I did give it a go once though. I tried all the Super Nanny tricks to bring a semblance of discipline to the Millennium Housewife brood, oh yes. But it didn't work, I just couldn't get the tone right for explaining that things just weren't acceptable. In one last, huge attempt at getting it right, I donned the Super Nanny attire in order to give me the necessary stern look and started bossing the children about once again. To be fair it did have more of an effect, I quite enjoyed it really. Until Husband came home and looked at me delighted, thinking that at last I had decided to agree to a little light bondage.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

California Dreaming

My Mother has returned from Los Angeles where she has been visiting one of my sisters for a month. It's been rather quiet round here. Disconcertingly quiet. It's difficult not to miss hourly phone calls with regular updates on the dog's appetite/Shirley-the-Competition's latest downfall/the new rich tea biscuits Recently Discovered/Dad's vasectomy (still a matter of interest twenty years later apparently, he's never been the same poor fellow).
But miss them I did, not least because I had to steal myself to enquire about any particular area of obsession of My Mother's and report dutifully on progress or lack of in a weekly e-mail to my sister. The report was then printed out for My Mother's perusal and comment (she can't read the computer language on the screen and has to have it translated into English by the printer). Have you ever asked your Dad about the state of his vasectomy? The one he's forgotten he had? The one where he's never been the same poor fellow and has probably forgotten about on purpose. No? Well I have, once a week for a month, and it doesn't get any easier. I don't think he realises you see, that My Mother has his vasectomy down as Particular Point of Interest (PPI). I think she just checks surreptitiously, how I don't know and I am unwilling to debate the possibilities. So now Dad thinks that I have developed a once weekly curiosity about his fertility capabilities, or lack of them. I think he has concluded that I have deemed it Husband's Time, because he keeps looking at him mournfully and patting him on the shoulder with a kind of there there hunch of the shoulder. I swear I even heard him whisper you'll never be the same.
So the best thing about My Mother returning from LA is release from Vasectomy Watch (coming to a screen near you) and now I simply have to listen to updates rather than research the material myself. Ah, bliss.
Such was the anticipation that I even offered to pick her up from Heathrow myself, oh yes, I even told My Mother myself. Oh darling, she breathed, that is grown up of you. Now, when you get to the airport look for ARRIVALS. She spelled arrivals for me in case I had trouble spotting the sign, I was all set.
I arrived at Terminal Two fairly buoyant, it's amazing what a month away can do to soothe the nerves and plant Forgetful Fug in you memory. Crikey, I was even giving fond inner smiles to our hourly conversations, her A-line skirts, Deidre Barlow perm, beige Hush Puppies (well, it had been a month).
I stood, eager and excited, tiptoed and straining trying to catch a glimpse of her through the ARRIVALS channel (see, I had done my homework). Her plane had landed but so had eighteen others so it was a little difficult to check everyone who was coming through. And then I heard it. The Cooo ee! that the Forgetful Fug had hidden from my memory. It pierced my brain, blasting away the Fug in the manner of a sonic blaster gun. This Cooo ee! takes no prisoners, it says here I am, take notice of me, and if you don't I'll shout it louder. Soprano. I whipped around trying to catch her, to let her know another greeting wasn't necessary. Once again I was in the playground, surrounded by giggles, whispers and points (I eventually solved the Playground Problem by telling My Mother that all students over seven were expected to walk to and from school on their own as part of Independence Training. I told my friends that My Mother had run off to be a lion tamer. It was believable) My eyes focused across the barrier in the direction of the call. Focused and re focused. That was her wasn't it? It was, it was, but different. She was wearing a leotard. And matching stirrup tights. And leg warmers. And head band (sparkly).
She had, as she informed me later, found her inner self in LA. She'd discovered something alright but I fear it was her inner, older, fatter, Jane Fonda.
There you are dude she yelled across the concourse (dude?), and to my shame and horror she dropped her bag and proceeded to lift her leg high in the air and wrapped it around her head. Power Yoga she breathed, it'll do you the world of good sister (Sister?). It'll get rid of those saddle bags of yours! It'll help with your cellulite too, although I don't think even Power Yoga can deal with it all. And the wonky way you walk, I'm sure it's because of your weak core darling, we'll soon get you sorted out. She clutched her saddle bagged, cellulite sodden, wonky walking, weak cored middle daughter by the arm and marched me out of Terminal Two.
I'd missed her, oh yes. But never mind, she plans to make up the time I have missed with frequent visits as opposed to phone calls. In fact she's on her way now, bin liner in hand, to De Carb my house.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Flight plan

It's been far too long since I last had to sit with a one year old on a plane. Far too long. If only I had dredged those smoldering brain cells through the smog of potty training and Getting Rid of the Dummy, I may have grasped a scant wisp of the time we took Isla abroad aged one-and-a-bit, and warned myself firmly off it (I love it when I'm firm with myself). But no, that's the trick of children you see, they tire you out so completely and supply such an endless stream of inane but urgent questions to be answered that the really important stuff lies dormant. So like lambs to the slaughter, or idiots to the £39 both ways website (what they forgot to mention was that they meant £39 cubed), we convinced ourselves of Jack's cherubic nature under stress and opted for two and a half hours with a one year old and a four year old stuck inside a metal tube. Ah relaxation here we come.
We were the only people with children on the plane. Do you hear me at the back? The only people with children on the plane. And we walked on last. Late. And Jack needed his nappy changing. It was a sober moment. Even the plane seemed to sigh its displeasure and sank ever deeper into the tarmac, as if it wanted to tuck its cockpit under its wing and just sleep the ordeal away. The ordeal of children in an enclosed space. An enclosed space where they absolutely have to be tied to a seat for a significant proportion of the time. It was the law in fact, there was no choice about the tying to the seat thing, and the less choice there is is directly proportional to the level of protest that will be made. Guaranteed (apparently Einstein had a really good theory about it and even produced an equation, but everybody was so caught up in the theory of relativity thingy it sort of got lost).
We entered the plane employing the First Rule Of Entering A Plane With Children: make absolutely no eye contact whatsoever with anybody. Do not look up, do not pass go/collect 200. Unless in a brief second you glimpse another parent when you are entitled to catch a glance, nod ruefully at each other and then sort of smile in a we're in it together kind of way. Of course you aren't and you're secretly hoping that their child is a little monster and drowns out any noise your angel makes cooing happily at the sick bag. In fact you even attempt an quick administer of a smarty to their child as you pass, hoping the sugar will create the desired effect.
The second rule is never ever to apologise as you go, thus pointing out to all that you are aware that you are bringing several unwanted passengers into the metal tube. Passengers who kick seats/make a mess/crawl in the aisle/pull hair/insist on using (and blocking) the toilet every ten minutes. Yup, that was us, the lepers, heading to our seats, daring to attempt a holiday.
Doom descended along the aisles, the stewardess swapped the little basket of boiled sweets that she was handing round with a little basket of Prozac, using a sleight of hand that Paul Daniels would be proud of (maybe even a little jealous of; she was a lot better looking than him and had all her own hair, but I doubt she had a wife called Debbie so he could probably use that to cheer himself up). The pilot came through from the cockpit to personally speed up the handing round of alcohol as we walked, the funeral march playing resoundingly in everybody's heads.
As we got closer the Zone of Despair thickened, reaching crescendo level around rows 13-15ABCDEF, everybody eyed the empty 14ABC with suspicion and contempt. Our seats. No one looked up as we sat down, instead the the instructions on the sick bags became crucial and compelling reading (something that never seems to be achieved with the inflight magazine, despite the recent craze for including porn). As we sat, a man in front gave a disapproving sniff and turned away in disgust. We placed Isla in the seat directly behind him and forgot to mention the no-seat-kicking rule.
We rustled and bustled, found bags and colouring books, and then at last we had it. We could look up now, even attempt a grin. The members of The Zone of Despair looked around. An audible sigh reverberated around, smiles of approval, shuffles as people made themselves comfortable and cracked open broadsheets, crikey I even detected a ruffle of high fives. There was something you see, that I had brought out of the smouldering remains of my brain cells, this was no ordinary mummy-on-a-plane. I had bought chocolate.


So while I have been away on holiday I have missed all the excitement of being tagged by Froggy, and have appeared extremely rude at not responding to all the lovely visits that I have had. So this is a heartfelt apology to you all and a group reply. I'll try and dedicate this evening to getting back to all the comments.

Anyway, welcome everyone, and let's have a go at thinking about tagging, it promises to be quite an eclectic mix.

So firstly, the woman who makes me laugh, apart from Froggy is Nunhead Mum of One, funny, dry, a prodigious blogger with an interesting Mother-in-Law... I'll give you this one, some time out for her birthday...Then I think we could go to Santa Clause's very own blog. Fantastically done, by the real Santa (of course), great detail about the complexities of delivering presents in the modern day. This one is quite short, but as you'll see clever and funny at the same time.
Next we could look at Jolly Good Yarn Girl's blog. A new blog that mixes country life, quilting and Motherhood, it promises to be an interesting journey and has a wistful air, lovely. I give you the one about Country Living. Reading Ngorobob House is just a pleasure, a whole other way of life. Written about life living in a pink house on top of a hill in Tanzania, the everyday detail such as the blackboard list gives you an insight into a World away (unless of course you live in a pink house on top of a hill in Tanzania, in which case you'll really relate to this one, and perhaps even know each other?). I'll give you this one with lots of detail in it. Finally I couldn't go without tagging The God Diaries. Pretty heavy going sometimes, and completely over my head at others, this Guy is a massive thinker and well worth a visit. He always responds with great thought to your comments, even if they are rambling ones... I give you the very first blog, because as the name suggests, it all started In The Beginning.

I hope you enjoy them, and that the links work, this is by far the most technological thing I have ever attempted. It's taken several hours and my two typing fingers are numb and it's far too early for a drink.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Things I have said to my parents today

  • Hi dad, it's me
  • Me
  • Your daughter
  • No don't fetch mum,
  • Well you answered the phone, perhaps we could chat?
  • Dad?
  • Hi mum
  • Can you put me onto dad?
  • He hasn't gone out, I just spoke to him
  • He's not down the garden, I told you I spoke to him just now
  • He gave you the phone for pity's sake
  • Hi dad
  • I just thought we could chat for once
  • Dad?
  • Hi mum, put me onto dad please
  • Thanks
  • So
  • How was golf today?
  • Yes
  • Uhuh
  • Oh dear
  • Umm
  • Can you put me onto mum?
  • Hi mum
  • Can you ask dad not to answer the phone again?