Saturday, 27 September 2008

Growing Pains

So the dog has entered puberty, we're delighted as you can imagine, delighted. To be fair (on me) I was expecting more warning, a kind of slow descent into puberty, a process if you will that gave us plenty of warning that Twizzle was All Grown Up and ready to fly the coup (oh if only he would). I expected at least an awkward period where he changed from bouncy, happy-to-see-you, grateful for a pat puppy to sulky, grumpy, hid in his kennel when he saw you coming, said whatever to any question asked however reasonable (would you like me to bury your bone for you darling? Whatever), a stint writing soulful, yearning poetry by the light of a torch and wearing black because it expressed his inner self. Next (my expectations went) would come the Embarrassed Period where his voice broke when he least expected it. One minute he's lolloping happily around the park trying out his poetry on any lady dog that came his way, the next he's trying to bark out the line my heart, black as pitch, alighted upon your sweet bosom, only for it to be delivered in a thin squeak followed by a croak. This is the bit where he stops communicating altogether and simply lives in his kennel eating entire loaves of bread and cultivating Stinky Feet Syndrome. He appears occasionally for walks but makes Husband walk at least one hundred yards behind him so as not to embarrass him in front of the lady Rottweiler he's got his eye on (he likes them big and beefy apparently, I found the magazines).
Did Twizzle supply me with any of this? Did he give me any warning at all - which would have been the courteous thing to do, I have after all cleaned up after him all his life in the manner of a chamber maid.
One day he was that happy-go-lucky, tongue hanging out cuddly mop of a Spaniel, the next I came down to find that his best 'friend' is his dog pillow and he plans to spend as many amorous hours with it as possible and could I please leave his dinner outside the door? I have had to remove anything of humpable height into the garage, put cling film on the sofa and ban anyone watching Crufts because the ensuing mayhem is far too much to bear, and I fear for the poor pillow's life. The crunch came last week when I left Jack for one minute (one minute!) to return to see him exhausted and dishevelled as he attempted to outrun Twizzle's advances on his little one year old legs. It was time to call in the Rottweilers.
So I have begun taking Twizzle to the park more often, firstly because a bit of exercise may run off some of the urges, secondly because he may meet a Lady Dog and get a bit of social life going. I've upped his allowance so that he can treat on a date and generally kitted him out in fresh boxers (of the under wear kind unfortunately, not the canine kind, dog ladies of the night not being too abundant round here), and helped him gel his hair. He's started out quite well really, I'm proud of him, his chat up lines seem to go down well with the bum sniffing community and he's even had a few dates. He took the Greyhound from across the way for a drink last week, but she dumped him for drinking Babycham rather than a pint (I mean really, is that any reason to dump a fellow?). Two nights ago he scored big time with the love of his life the Rottweiler (called Stacey apparently, Stacey the Rottweiler)but a few days later, teary eyed and heartbroken he told me that she'd finished with him because his name was to effeminate. He sunk into his kennel and wrote lyrics about his lost love, begging for guitar lessons as he went because he'd finally found what he wanted to be (though with the musical genes he will have inherited I fear it is not to be).
So he's moping about the house, getting in everyone's way, eating the contents of the fridge and refusing to let me wash his bedding. He says it's all our fault for giving him the name Twizzle Sportacus (to be fair it's all Isla's fault really, but she is four and mad on Lazy Town, he's lucky she didn't call him Stephanie), and lamenting that in a rush of love he'd told Stacey the Rottweiler his middle name. He also says that we've ruined his life and that he hates us, jolly good, puberty moving on steadily then.
Anyway, he seems a lot cheerier this morning, more his old self. He went out on his own last night and found some kind of club called The Village People or something, I haven't really heard of it. He even tried out a new look of studded collar and tight white T shirt. I think he met someone too, he's being a little coy about it, but apparently no one at this club seemed to mind about his name and he came home with a few phone numbers, and there's definitely a spring in his step this morning. He even said that he felt more like himself than ever, which was cheering, and enjoys trying out new mustaches in the mirror. He even speaks to someone called Tiny regularly, I hope he brings her home to visit soon.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Things I Have Said To My Husband Today

  • Oh that's fantastic news, tell them congratulations!
  • What did they have?
  • Boy or girl?
  • How can you not know?
  • You did actually speak to Steve didn't you?
  • And neither of you thought to discuss the sex of his firstborn.
  • You can't think it's a girl, it's one or the other definitely
  • He didn't mention it
  • Did he perchance mention how Karen is?
  • I suppose that was a silly question considering you forgot to ask if the baby was a boy or a girl
  • How do you know she's fine?
  • You talked to her too? Fantastic!
  • What exactly do you mean she was shouting in the background?
  • Shouting what?
  • It's coming?
  • Darling, she wasn't actually in labour was she?
  • Are you sure that's what it sounded like?
  • Well why on earth was Steve calling you in the middle of Karen's labour?
  • What score?
  • Football.
  • Oh I see
  • I'm not surprised the midwife took Steve's TV off him
  • Well. I would have done the same thing
  • So, Karen's had the baby
  • She may have?
  • Well I suppose we will find out if Steve's ringing back at half time

Monday, 15 September 2008

A Real Brick

I do realise that I hardly ever mention Jack, apart from in Second Child Syndrome he has never had a post dedicated to him. When you're the youngest and can't speak/whine/negotiate/bribe you tend not to get much of a look in I'm afraid. He is lovely though, and going through a Duck Phase at the moment. This is not, as you may be forgiven for imagining, an actual fixation with ducks, or even one duck in particular, not at all. We call it the Duck Phase because (apparently, I'm no Duck enthusiast except if it's number 72 on the Jade Palace menu) when they hatch out as Ducklings they decide that the first thing that they see is their mummy and fixate on her for life. Fantastic evolutionary idea if the first thing they see is Mummy Duck; instant rapport and easy discipline for Mummy Duck as offspring simply follows Mummy around and around, simple. Not so clever though if Mummy Duck has been taking a well earned break from egg hatching (she's allowed some life you know) and Baby Duck hatched out of sight only to open its world-new eyes and alight on a brick. A brick is a jolly useful thing obviously if you want to build a house or some such thing, but it makes a pretty rubbish duck. It doesn't peck at seed or quack, it doesn't flap its wings, indeed it has absolutely no wings at all with which to demonstrate flapping to its new offspring, and it's a dreadful swimmer. Sinks, you see, straight to the bottom. In fact a brick would be the best thing ever if you needed to drown a duck, but not to teach it to swim. A Rubbish Duck is all I can say. Baby Duck would be at a disadvantage from the start, all the other ducklings would be waddling after Mummy Duck to the water to try it out for the first time, while Baby Duck was left, standing very very still trying to look as oblong as possible, next to its Mummy, the brick, wondering when it was going to teach it anything useful.
Anyway, Jack is going through this Duck Phase in that the first thing he sees in the morning becomes his fixation. He loves it, it is his new best friend, he wants to marry it. And to prove his commitment to his new fiance he absolutely has to carry it around with him all day. On Saturday he wanted to marry the broom. Not his own, appropriately sized plastic broom, oh no, Mummy's big wooden dangerous one. Said broom was dragged from place to place, had to be found its own place in the car, was used to sweep the toys up in creche and carried home again, exhausted, to bed. Yesterday was Tupperware Box Day, easier obviously than Broom Day but more reluctant to be useful at creche. Today it's Half A Coat Hanger Day. I'm not sure why or how we have half a coat hanger but at this moment Jack is proposing to it earnestly. It has been used to poke the dog, eat porridge and lever a dog biscuit from under the sofa.
The only way out of this that I can see is to pre determine his crushes and present him with an object immediately upon waking. Tomorrow I'm giving him a carrot to fall for. It's small, easily inserted into the car, not sharp enough to hurt the dog when poked and can double as a snack in creche.

Just Loving It

How excited was I to receive such a lovely award, thankyou Nunhead Mum of One, I really did feel the love. I'd like to pass it on to Man and Boy the splendid Froggy and A Confused Take That Fan, three of the blogs I love reading.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

One Day (part two)

Today Isla refused to hold my hand while going into school because the other girls and boys don't. It seems One day is closer than I thought.

One day I will have a small car again. One that only fits me and the occasional passenger and is clean, shiny and hand print free at all times.
One day I will go with my husband on a second honeymoon (for two), wake with the sun high in the sky, get ridiculously and dizzyingly drunk at lunch time and go straight to bed until the next morning.
One day my house will stay the way I left it, not mysteriously mess up the minute I turn my back.
One day I will pop out to the shops - and I mean pop - and be finished in five minutes. I may even treat myself to a basket rather than a trolley-for-three and queue up giddily in the baskets only aisle.
One day I will go to all the shops in my village and buy elegant things for dinner, stopping to chat or for a coffee at leisure. I will be able to fit myself (because there is only myself and no pram) into every tiny specialist shop, smug and happy that I'm 'buying locally'.
One day I will have a cup of tea during nap time without the tension that someone may wake at any minute and ruin the moment. In fact I may even have a set cup-of-tea-time that I adhere to religiously just because I can.
One day my children will refer to me as That Mad Old Bat or The Parental Guidance rather than Mummy Can I Have and I will be pleased at my eccentricities and lack of responsibility.
One day I will actually go on a 'date night' (ha ha ha, did anyone really believe they would ever get to do that?) with my husband without the little knot of tension that everything's alright at home.
One day my kitchen will be my own, the high chair, mini chair-and-table set and play mat will be gone and I will dance a waltz with my husband around our own elegant dining table in all the space.
One day my day will end when I want it to, possibly as late as 11pm, rather than at 3pm when I start thinking about school pick up and tea.
One day evenings will be for relaxing, possibly a glass of wine or even the cinema, not getting-ready-for-the-morning, ironing, sandwiches and signing notes.
One day I will sleep all night long without nightmares/coughs/toilets/monsters to wake me.


One day the house will be ever so quiet, I will be able to whisper to myself and hear the echo.
One day strangers won't smile at me on the street, pause and say; isn't she/he lovely, envious of my status, my life, my treasures.
One day I won't get up to two smiling faces, ever so pleased that I'm awake and ready to play.
One day the worry will be further away and thus more scary and less controllable.
One day my tea break will be interrupted by the phone ringing, and it will be one of the children and I shall be very very glad.
One day my heart won't burst with pride every morning just for the existence of another human being.
One day the feeling of a tiny hand slipping into mine, skipping and pulling at it while I go, will be a distant, precious memory hard to grasp and pin down.
One day tiny clothes and underwear that are so cute your heart skips will be missing from my washing line, my ironing pile.
One day I will wish for little cold feet and snuffly noses to creep into bed with me. I may even wake in the night thinking they have only to find it was a dream.
One day I won't be a hero, a queen, the focus and meaning in my children's lives. Just an ordinary person living invisibly.
One day life will be for filling, but not necessarily fulfilling, not in the same way anyway.

Until grandchildren?

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Big Chief Little Chief

So Isla has gone off to school, all pony tails, scrumpled socks and too big hats. That was it, I thought, off she goes into the big blue yonder to make and break friends, eat inappropriate lunches and learn how to play kiss chase. They do still do that don't they? Or have Health and Safety banned it on the grounds that running is dangerous, grabbing someone is dangerous and you need written parental permission to kiss someone? If so school will never ever be as much fun as it was for me. Kiss chase was the girl's version of conkers; the tougher the nut the bigger the challenge, unless of course they had been soaked in vinegar first, that was just cheating and downright off putting.
I spent the day in nervous anticipation; would she find someone to play with/go to the toilet properly/remember her manners/find a cool boy to kiss, and arrived half an hour early to pick her up. She ran straight at me and hugged, while looking over my shoulder to see if I had bought her anything for being such a good girl. Nothing had changed then, lovely, my worries about no longer being the main influence in her life over. School was, as Husband had assured me simply a continuation of parenting, I was still the Big Chief just with a few more little Indians to delegate to, lovely, just what I wanted to hear. I love being in charge. And delegating.
We drove home, Isla puffed with excitement and words unspilled, desperate to impress on me the importance of her day.
Mummy, she said, red faced, eyes shining can we have coco pops for breakfast? Coco pops?
Whaa t? I spluttered, trying to gain composure and decorum, Isla, I said soberly Where did you hear a word like that? You can tell Mummy.
From Sophie, she replied,
Well then, I said deep breathing, whatever Sophie says, no we can't have coco pops for breakfast.
But coco pops and milk make a bowl full of fun.
Coco pops and milk? Make a what? I struggled to comprehend the world at this point and was almost (but not quite) lost for words. That infernal (but to be fair pretty catchy) jingle was about to haunt me.
A bowl full of fun, finished Isla helpfully.
Yes I got it the first time I assured Isla grimly and I'm afraid it's a no.
Still the main influence am I? School is just a continuation of parenting is it? How on Earth did I fall for that one? Oh, I know, I didn't want to home school. Right, well then better get on with exerting my still dominant influence. I took a deep breath.
Isla, I said, coco pops do not make a bowl full of fun, they make a bowl full of chocolate which is not a decent breakfast and will not give you enough energy to play kiss chase at school.
A bowl full of chocolate? She squealed well then we have to get some, I love chocolate. She then went on to inform me that Sophie's mummy had a nicer dicer from JML which will chop vegetables much better than I can. Great.
So that's it. My days of rule are over, instead I am at the mercy of other four year olds and their unique take on the world. Fabulous.
Or, I could just ban Isla from making friends with children who are allowed to watch adverts. And ban adverts myself. Yes, that's it, problem solved. From now on it's British Broadcasting Corporation all the way.