Monday, 15 December 2008


I have been terribly remiss about passing on awards and joining in with the tag list, it's my shy and retiring nature you see, it just won't let me show off. But I'm going to have a good go and try to think of seven 'interesting' things about Millennium Housewife....And to pass on a few awards.

So, I was lucky enough to be tagged by the lovely Confused Take That Fan and Boy From Oz as well as the hilarious Potty Mummy , 21st Century Mummy and Nunhead Mum of One, all of them blogs I love to read so it doubled the pleasure. As mentioned above I have to write seven things about myself and tag others in return...

So, seven things eh? Sounds familiar, let's have a go....

1. Lust: I was born a mermaid, it was quite a shock both for My Mother and the midwife, they haven't had a live Human to Mermaid birth for 49 years round here. They had to put me in water straight away, luckily one of the nurses found a big potty which sufficed until they could get me to the sea. About eight years ago I was swimming in my lovely glistening bit of water when I spied Husband walking along the shore, I had to have him. Had to. So writhing in lustful thoughts I bought a spell to change my tail into legs. The rest as they say is history. And let that be a lesson to you about where lust gets you. Married to a ginger surveyor, that's where.

Pride: I am most proud of my chocolate collection. I have been adding to it for years and am most diligent in keeping it updated with the latest lines. I keep it on a shelf in my stomach.

Envy: I do envy my sister, she lives in Los Angeles with an extremely large pond between her and My Mother.

Wrath: Buses make me wrathful, I don't know whether it's just the way their headlights are positioned but they always seem to me to look like they think they are much much better than you.

Greed: Husband would say I'm greedy when I won't share my bottle of wine with him. To me it's an invesment in the future, the more pickled I am the less I'll age.

Gluttony: is something I will fight all my life, and it often feels like I have one hand tied behind my back (and the other hand has a large piece of chocolate cake in it).

Sloth: This sin was invented just for me. I LOVE sloth, call yourself slothful with pride and it gets you out of all sorts of things. "why haven't you cleaned the house for a month?" "Oh that's just me being slothful" "Why do we need a cleaner when you don't work" "Sorry, that's just little old slothful me again, got to go I'm off to put my feet up and read a magazine, byee," You get the jist.

So now to awards, I was incredibly lucky to get this from Devoted and would like to pass it on to Rosiero who writes an amazing blog about life with a alcoholic, she is never self pitying, always entertaining and an all round good blogger friend.

I received this one from the wonderful Mud in the City and would like to pass it on to the hilarious Confused Take That Fan, she makes me laugh (loudly), she makes Husband laugh (loudly), tells it like it is and makes me think, phew!

Fabulous Cheshire Wife and Rosiero gave me this one and I'd like to pass it onto Mud in the City, I just love living vicariously through her romantic adventures....

Monday, 8 December 2008

Books I Am Planning To Write

  • The School Run. Why it should be called The School Creep, The School Struggle to Find A ItalicParking Space, The School Wrestle With Coats and Hats, The School Remove Clingy Child From Thigh. Then you can run.
  • DIY for Husbands. Volume one: Bandaging
  • Getting Enough? Sex or sleep, you decide.
  • Baking with toddlers and other ways to ruin your house
  • Why? The Definitive Answer (RRP £1.2 bn)
  • The Joy of Sex and Other Great Jokes Men Have Played On Women
  • The Place Where Curvy Women Are Worshipped (includes free map)
  • Crisps: fat free if you wash them
  • The Only Diet You'll Ever Need: The Seafood Diet. Crisps, chocolate, croissants, chardonnay, cookies, cake, cream, chips, cheese

Monday, 1 December 2008

Eye Eye Cap'n

I knew trouble was brewing the moment I laid eyes on My Mother's friend/critic/enemy Shirley-the-competition. She had new glasses. Not just any glasses, oh no, little gold, shiny, half moon ones, the kind your headmistress wore hanging on a bead necklace that you always imagined she tied her husband up with in bed. Thinking about it now though she probably doesn't anymore, not with the arrival of Ann Summers, and besides she must be about a hundred by now and operating bondage gear with arthriticky hands would probably put them off most nights. Maybe just special occasions and birthdays:
Do you fancy one tonight Bert? (or some other old person sounding name, you're welcome to use your imagination),
Why, what's the occasion Doris? (again, imagination-using invitation proffered),
Another one of those blasted telegrams from the Queen
Oh heck, best get your necklace out then
Shall I do your bunions first to stop them chaffing?
I'll get the sandpaper
Anyway, Shirley-the-competition stood there, half moon glasses perched Dame Edna-like upon her rather pointy and long nose (for sticking into things according to My Mother), staring at My Mother's carrot cake. And this is when it happened, Shirley -the-competition lifted her chin a little into the air (not too much you understand, just enough to let you know she'd practised this in the mirror at home) and peered down over her glasses at the cake.
Hmmm, she said, in her best Church Flower Arranger voice I think you may need to add a little more baking soda next time, it's a little flat this side.
My Mother glared upwards, no doubt spotting herself reflected in the new glasses and not liking what she saw (who does? it's like discovering you are really an upside down spoon shaped potato head), and observed Shirley-the-competition peering down at her. It was as good as saying excuse me little worm and flat carrot cake maker, I am older, wiser and significantly more important that you. In fact, forget my advice about the carrot cake, you're not worthy of it.
My Mother sniffed and moved away from the glare of the glasses and busied herself with a pot plant. I knew then, with a certainty as strong as my liking for chocolate, that trouble was a-brewing, and I scarpered.
The next day My Mother came calling, running the usual finger along the mantelpiece checking for dust, sniffing loudly at the milk before she used it and laying the clean tea towel she'd bought with her onto the chair before sitting down. She cut straight to the point: I've been noticing recently Darling that I'm not quite as observant as I once was, have you noticed anything? Because if you have you would tell me wouldn't you? I mean one isn't quite as young as one once was, and one does know that one's faculties may be fading just a tad (My Mother talks like she thinks the Queen would, personally I think the Queen would have a fit at the interpretation, or at least require a stiff whiskey and an early night with Prince Philip and the necklace). If she had paused for breath at all, just once, I would have taken the opportunity to break in and save her the trouble of the pretense. She wants some glasses. Half moon, shiny, gold ones (although heaven forbid I hope she doesn't want the necklace) just like Shirley-the-competition. How on earth can she be expected to keep Shirley in her rightful place (i.e. lower than her and last on the Church roster) if Shirley uses such a downright unfair prop? Once she had turned so blue that she was forced to pause and inhale, I suggested this to My Mother who looked at me as if I'd just stripped in front of the WI (she hasn't seen the calendar so doesn't realise it's de riguer now). What Shirley has she sniffed, means absolutely nothing to me, I'm simply concerned for my eyesight and was wondering if I may need some glasses. This from a woman who, when we were growing up, could spot a misdemeanor at one hundred paces, it was like being raised by an owl.
There was no point arguing, once My Mother wants something, she invariably gets it, so I've booked her into the optician tomorrow. Now I just have to work out how to slip a pair of half moon, gold, shiny spectacles into the optician's hands without My Mother's owl eyes alighting on them like some unfortunate rodent and guessing that the question of her getting some glasses (albeit ones with plain glass in them) is a foregone conclusion. That and how to explain that under no circumstances is she allowed to keep them on a beaded necklace.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Mummy's Little Helpers

Isla has been invited to an allotment party. Shall I say that again in italics? Isla has been invited to an allotment party. If I mention the words allotment and party a lot here, it is meant to convey confusion, confundity, general mirth, an image of shrugged shoulders and a twirling of the index finger about the ear, and general all round befuddlement. An allotment party (sorry, I really can't help it). Worse still, it's from the daughter of Right-On Mum, the Mummy everybody hides behind their cars to avoid as she struggles into show and tell with a scale model of Daughter's bedroom complete with working light and bookcase filled with the Complete Works of Shakespeare (unabridged edition). Right-On Mum wears a lots of beige because organic clothes just can't be bleached, and Rah Rahs around at coffee mornings force feeding everybody with her hemp and sofa stuffing muffins (homemade. Rah). She's even converted her hybrid car to work off cooking oil and can regularly be seen in the school kitchens syphoning off the chip fat, all the while Rah-ing about saturated fat and salad bars. We're great friends as you can imagine. The best.
Anyway, at first I thought Isla had got it wrong, four-year-olds and correct, detailed information do not make easy bedfellows, but no, she produced the invite from her satchel with a told you so flourish and unfolded the paper. It was bedecked with images of spades and wellies which I thought were simply decoration and a chance for Right-On Mum to show off her computer skills (which incidently runs off a dynamo that she works with her foot while on the computer. She has a really big left thigh). But no, the pictures were actually a visual list of items needed to enjoy the aforementioned allotment party (I did mention it didn't I?). It turns out that an allotment party involves turning out your four year old in wax jacket and flat cap (well that's what the picture suggested), dropping them off at Right-On Mum's allotment (of course we can stay and help if we like rah rah) where they will dig and plant and water, eat a picnic picked from the allotment and then go home. That's right, come and celebrate the birth of our child with slave labour. We're a bit behind on the weeding you see, but to make it fair you can harvest as many tomatoes as you like for your lunch.
And why not? Set the children to work, they've been sponging off the state for far too long now. Free education, free healthcare, isn't it time they gave something back to people and a society that has been too soft on them? They get Two Whole Days off a week, that's 104 days a year of lost productivity. What have we been doing allowing them to sit back learning ballet/karate/TV watching when they could be making themselves useful?
This is a fantastic turn of events. Why didn't I think of this first? Not an allotment party obviously, Husband says we can't get an allotment until I manage to keep one supermarket-bought basil plant alive for at least a week. But there's loads of things that would make a great party, a greeaat party. I could turn my entire house into a play zone, send out invites and watch them flock. Fabulous.
Now let me see, what kind of parties do I need to have to get all my jobs done? We could start off with a Light Dusting and Sweeping Party, followed by a Window Cleaning and Vacuuming Play Session. We could break for a Make, Serve and Clean Up Your Own Lunch Party before moving into the Ironing Zone (possibly followed by DIY First Aid for Burns Tutorial, but it depends how the Ironing Session goes down). To finish we could play hunt the dog turds in the garden and enjoy a brisk race to be the first to put them in the poo pot (oh yes).
This is wonderful! Brilliant! Dare I even say inspired? My very own Eureka moment has finally occurred (but not in the bath I'm afraid, the laptop tends to short). All I need to do is have ten more children, make sure that they are each born in a different month, then I can throw a Cleaning Party for each one. That's it, a totally clean, ironing free, dog mess free house and garden every month. It's time to sack the cleaner.

Friday, 7 November 2008

You See That Lady In The Corner?

It's been eighteen months since Jack was born and the final hor-moan wave has started to dissipate. You'd think wouldn't you, that this would mean a bit of space, a bit of time, crikey I'd even go for a bit of sex, that wasn't encumbered by babies/milk/crying or anything else your Husband does in the night. But no. The minute I begin to feel myself again (although it's been so long now I'm not sure whether that is exactly who I'm feeling) then that old chestnut procreation rears its head (and I don't mean literally). It's to do with the propagation of the species or so I'm told: wean one offspring and raise it to walking standard and then please have another one immediately so that we can carry on the Human Race. I will say this only once: we have plenty of Humans, I can see three as I write, we do not need anymore now please, hormones, leave me alone.
But do they listen? No. They just secrete away their day, creating negative feedback as they go (did you know one of the only times positive feedback occurs is during labour? Ha! There's nature's irony for you), getting in the way of my mood swings and general misbehaviours, causing havoc just by existing. Mine have been busy, ooh, for about the last five years now, and suddenly they have nothing to do. They're bored, sitting in my Pituitary scuffing their trainers against the wall, moaning that there's nothing on TV and why can't they have a Nintendo DS because Thyroid next door bought one for her child Thyroxine. They've been led to expect, you see, a high level of employment and now there's nothing to do so mischief must be made.
So I blame my hormones for becoming the predatory woman in the gym changing room, the one in the corner that just can't leave babies alone. She stands there casting desperate cow eyes at any woman with a baby (even the scary one with the mono brow), trying to gurgle and coo, thinking just how gorgeous every single baby she sees is. But this is the trick that hormones play on you. Yes, they are cute. Cute, and loud, and sicky, and incontinent, and incapable on every level. Who on Earth would like someone like that to come into your life when you've already got two? Hormones, that's who. When you no longer have a baby, you hormones helpfully point out Every Other Baby In The World, saying: wouldn't you like one like that, look how clean and good and sweet he looks. He's not crying is he? That's because only your first two babies cried, your third won't (cue ghost like, mind altering voice) Yyyoouuur thiiird woooonnn'tttt. Don't you want to pick him up, just a cuddle? Go on, ask his mum, she won't mind, she'd love you to pay attention to her baby. Ahhhh, isn't that nice, ignore his mum you're doing a great job. A Great Job I tell you. Wouldn't you like one just like this, all warm and cuddly and clean. See what a natural you are? All the other mums in this changing room are looking at you as if you're a pro. You ARE a pro, look at you. Don't you want another? Just one tiny, little, won't know he's there bundle? Talk to Husband tonight. You know he loves the spare room, it's become his really and he just loved having the last baby. Remember his tears at the birth? You could both have that again you know, you'd both bond again over this tiny sweet thing. Go on, you know you want to.
At this point you notice the baby's mother glaring mono-browed at you and you relinquish your bundle with much sighing and regret. Until, that is, you look into Mummy's eyes. You forget you see, that behind every cute, fragrant bundle is a Mummy, leaking from every orifice, sleep deprived to the point of delirium, sobbing into baby's neck every night as he wails the hours away, wondering what on earth she's done to her life and who's bright idea it was to have another baby (hormones, lady, I tell you). And often behind Mummy there's a Daddy, sleeping in the spare room, attempting guesses as to when aforementioned orifices are going to stop leaking, wondering what on earth he's done to his life and worrying about the proximity of The Vasectomy (it's closer than he thinks, the vet's doing a home visit tomorrow).
And behind daddy are the grandparents. Doe eyed and willing - to an extent- to help out, but just as willing you understand to hand baby back. You see this is where nature got it right; your parents just can't wait for you to have children, as many as you please! Have sex at ours any time you like dear (as long as it's with Husband) and furnish us with as many little poppets as you can. Ahhh, because that's what you are aren't you sweetie, a poppet (cue copious amounts of cheek squidging), yes, that's what you are coogie coogie coo (yes, My Mother actually says Coogie Coogie Coo). But you see, grandparents get double the pleasure from their grandchildren. They get to watch them inflict years of sleep deprivation and what can only be termed as abuse on their parents, in much the same way as you did on them. Then, they get to have them for tea, fill them with mood enhancing additives and hand them back just in time to go out for dinner, return home at a reasonable hour and enjoy eight hours uninterrupted sleep.
So I suppose that's the only answer, have as many as you like, enslave yourself to the hormones, bring up the children, and then sit back. Sit back and watch the very people who gave you such a tough ride, attempt to do it themselves, secure in the knowledge that whatever happens, it can't be as hard as it was in your day. That's when my time will come. Excellent. I'll just give Husband a call about it and then I'll make a start on those oysters.

Friday, 31 October 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name

I have recently installed a stat counter on this blog, just so I can keep an eye on you all you understand, nothing to be alarmed about, nothing, I assure you. Tum te tum te tum. Anyway, it has come to my attention that I may have chosen a rather unfortunate name for this blog. You see, Millennium Housewife was intended to imply a new wave of housewives, just like the housewives of yesteryear (who often used such words as yesteryear/gay to mean happy/frightfully/twin tub/hot dinner), except less inclined to cook/wash up/iron/bake/look after children/say yes dear. Oh no, the Millennium Housewife does none of the above unless she really wants to/is really good at cooking, instead she stays at home/starbucks waiting to pick the children up from nursery writing in her blog book (geek!) vast reams of copy for her blog that revolves around complaining about being the aforementioned housewife. This is, obviously, in between visits to Marks and Spencer/Waitrose to pick up ready meals, put them in a baking dish and arrange them so they look home made (mess it up a bit and add carrots usually, although leave out the carrots if serving creme brulee. Creme Brulee? Oh yes I make an amazing one. Aisle 4, Waitrose). Later the Millennium Housewife will serve her Husband a delicious meal, and when (as he is wont to do) he remarks on the general deliciousness of it all and the amount of toil it must have taken, Millennium Housewife smiles sweetly and simply explains that the magic ingredient is the extra bit of love (a love of ready meals especially).
The Millennium Housewife does do general child care/dog care/ Husband care, but when she does she acquaints her tongue firmly with her cheek and performs the tasks with a huge sense of irony. In this way she can tell herself that she has not sold out to feminism, could still be a suffragette (if she lived in yesteryear and was not very gay about being a housewife) and it allows her to use her best sarcastic lines on the entire family without fear of retribution (any retribution rearing it's head is met with a firm, I gave up my career to do this which usually does the trick). The Millennium Housewife then heaps Male Guilt (for suppressing us all those years you see) atop the irony and makes sure that Husband does his fair share of child care/dog care/washing/ironing and asks him to cook one night a week to give her a break from the delicious-meal-producing toil, it goes without saying though that no irony is allowed.
So, here I am, blithely blogging, imagining that you all got at least some of what the title was about (you did didn't you?), when along comes the stat counter and ruins my day. The stat counter, as one of its (free) services, allows you to look up all the keyword searches that have lead people to your blog, and therein lies the flaw. I was expecting (as I'm sure you all were) that the Google searches would be awash with such words as ironic/feminism/intelligent/doesn't really think she's a housewife. But no. It turns out that quite a few people are interested in housewives, apparently lots of people requesting dominant housewife/submissive housewife/sexy housewife/role play with housewife/nice round bottomed housewife/housewife who is strict are lead directly to this blog. I didn't know we had so many uses, or followers for that matter. Excellent.
The main worry obviously is that this blog is going to be a huge disappointment to anyone searching in this genre. Rather than the desired site of (I assume) writhing housewives dressed in next to nothing holding a whip/feather duster/spider man costume (it's all she could find, the kids have lost the key to the shed) they get a blog bleating on about being a housewife. Rather like a very long and boring bit of foreplay, with no satisfaction at the end.
So I suppose I owe anyone who has come to this blog with hopes of something a little more risque a huge apology. I am sorry, I didn't realise you see that I was supposed to writhe as well as buy ready meals. Oh dear. I'd better go and practise. Now, where did I put Jack's spider man costume?

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Things I Have said To My Four Year Old Today

  • Well, I'm not sure really
  • I just don't know where God lives
  • Well I don't think that he's a person
  • A person, like you and me
  • We are girls yes, but we're also people
  • I don't think God is a person
  • No, as I said I don't know where he lives
  • Or even that he's a he
  • Well he might be a she
  • I don't think he's got a bottom
  • Yes, I suppose that's how we'd tell
  • No, I still don't know where he lives
  • Yes it might be on a cloud
  • Perhaps he lives in Maidstone?
  • Maidstone
  • Sorry darling Mummy was just being silly
  • Maidstone's in Kent
  • It's just a town
  • No, I don't think God lives there
  • Yes you're right, Aunty Margery lives there
  • Well she had blue knees when we visited but I think they're better now
  • And her wobbly lip, yes
  • No I don't think she ever had six toes
  • Yes she may have cut them off with scissors
  • No God doesn't live with Aunty Margery
  • Mummy just doesn't know where God lives sweetheart
  • Yes, you're right he lives in Maidstone
  • With Aunty Margery
  • Well done darling
  • God lives at 24 Beausale Rd, Maidstone
  • Yes, in Kent

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Soap Opera

We are being thrifty in the Millennium Housewife household, showing willing during the credit crunch and saving all we can. You never know, reuse enough tea bags and we may just make our mortgage payment this month. My Mother has been over daily with useful titbits and tips which has been exciting as you can imagine. Today she breezed in with her Jute Bag slung over her wrist and briskly ran a finger over the hall shelf. Dust dear she said, screwing her lips into that I've Eaten A Water Buffalo And I don't Much Like Your Foreign Muck look that only she can do. I was well aware of course that there was dust on the hall shelf, I've been cultivating it nicely, it's almost done now and is ready to create life of its own. Success. Anyway, My Mother put her hand into her Jute Bag (have you got a Jute Bag dear? Very useful you know, organic, whatever that means, Shirley-the-competition still uses plastic, I mean, plastic! in this day and age. Chuh!) You have to be very afraid when My Mother puts her hand into her Jute Bag, you never know what's coming and it's usually something hideous that she thinks will suit you because you're young/save you money/decorate your house in a style becoming to an eighty year old. Last week she pulled out a big, white, plastic toilet roll holder to hide your toilet rolls in the bathroom. It took a lot of tea and most of the biscuit selection to convince her that four toilet rolls stacked up in the bathroom looked more attractive than the box.
So, she put her hand into her Jute Bag and pulled out a see through plastic container with a cloth inside. This, she announced with an I've Practised In The Car flourish, is an e-cloth. One wipe and you're done dear, and not just those easy-to-reach dust areas, oh no, wet it and presto it cleans your bathroom too. Marvellous! But that's not all, oh no (here she winked at me, she'd obviously been at the Kleeneeze again), the best bit about it (she paused building the suspense/boredom) is that you need no soap! No soap whatsoever, she added, unsure that her announcement had created just the right amount of excitement. Think about it darling, she urged, you'll save thousands!
Thousands? Sorry, did I hear that right?If I think back really carefully, in minute detail, all the way back to my birth, I can honestly say that added up over the years I have never spent thousands on cleaning products. Any cleaning products, not just those that could reasonably be called soap. Really the annual saving would be about £8.92, and if the e-cloth is £22 it will take approximately two and a half years to start paying for itself, by which time it will have become raggedy and need replacing (by this time with inflation it will be selling for around £178.34). It would just be better I suppose to sack the cleaner, thereby saving £22 a week (I could easily furnish a weekly e-cloth habit with that) and do the cleaning myself. Ah, right, talked myself into a bit of a corner here haven't I? Look, let's forget the whole sack-the-cleaner fiasco shall we and go back to what a ridiculous product the e-cloth is. Ridiculous is what I say, la la la la la.
I took the e-cloth in its plastic container nervously from My Mother (once you take anything you're as good as saying, you're right Mother Dearest, and I shall be using the e-cloth/portapotty/special pastry lifter/Kleeneeze special gift daily, hurrah), and looked at it. E-cloth? I could do that! All I'd need to do is buy a pack of a hundred regular cloths from Asda for 24p, package one in a very environmentally unfriendly plastic box, cover said box with words such as eco/save/rainforest/fool/money/parted, hang it on the end of the supermarket aisle in the impulse buy zone and watch them flock. Simple, £22 handed over, cleaner paid for. La la la la la.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Twenty Reasons Not To Get A Dog

  1. They steal your Granny's iced bun
  2. They search and rescue empty cigarette packets from the bin and leave them on the floor, leading your mother to concluded that you have yet to give up that occasional cigarette habit
  3. They rub their bottoms along the floor in front of your boss
  4. They bark heartily at anyone under 2'2" but not at Big Burly Man
  5. They attempt to mate with dogs blatantly too large to attempt mating with
  6. They dig up your new turf causing the gardener to get cross and refuse your cake
  7. They attempt copulation with anything, including your new Magi Mix
  8. They chew your husband's used socks proving lack of any hygiene skills
  9. They chew the buckles off your new shoes
  10. They think that 'sit' means attempt to snatch the biscuit out of your hand in two alarming leaps
  11. They enjoy watching you shout their name loudly and desperately across the park for several hours
  12. They think your car is a portaloo
  13. If you're camping, they will see it as an opportunity to eat raw sausages/show up your lack of dog control/bark steadily and consistently through the night at a volume only you can hear/use your car as a portaloo/sleep on your husband's head
  14. They attempt to catch every fly they have ever seen by leaping generously around the kitchen knocking over your cup of tea
  15. They rub their bottoms across the floor in front of your dad
  16. They prompt many many questions from your children about mating/attempts to mate/mating habits/your own mating habits/general biology of mating
  17. They eat the cork of the wine bottle thereby forcing you to consume the entire bottle
  18. They attempt to mate with dogs that are blatantly too small to mate with
  19. They crush smaller dogs in mating attempts
  20. They cost you thousands in replacing small dogs

Monday, 6 October 2008

Things I Have said To A Waiter Today

  • Could I have the chicken and avocado sandwich without the chicken?
  • The same sandwich but without the chicken
  • If you could just take the chicken out
  • I know it comes with chicken but I don't want it
  • Just forget to put the chicken in
  • It might be on the chef's sandwich list but he could just pretend to forget couldn't he?
  • OK, I'll have an avocado salad sandwich
  • I know it's not on the menu, it's the chicken and avocado without the chicken
  • I don't mind paying for the chicken as long as it's not in the sandwich
  • Couldn't you just give the chicken to someone else?
  • It's not unhygienic, I didn't mean serve me the chicken, let me remove it then put it in someone else's sandwich
  • Could you just ask the chef?
  • What do you mean there isn't a button for it on the till?
  • Just press chicken and avocado sandwich
  • I know you're going to forget the chicken but I'm happy to pay for the whole sandwich
  • So the chef only reads the computer print out?
  • Can't you go downstairs and tell the chef in person?
  • Why won't health and safety let you walk down the stairs?
  • How does the chef get down?
  • Special rubber shoes, oh OK.
  • You got me there.
  • So you can only press chicken and avocado on the till and there's absolutely no way of telling the chef to forget the chicken?
  • Could you phone him?
  • No
  • Just no?
  • Oh
  • Well then could I see the manager?
  • You are the manager.
  • Well then I'll just have a cheese and pickle sandwich.

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.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Last of the Summer Whine

So it's the end of another camping trip for the Millennium Housewife family, the last of the summer unless all those ridiculously optimistic friends of ours are right and we have a 'late summer' (read: few hours of sunshine which everyone desperately and idiotically takes as the summer and walks around in shorts shivering). So we packed away with more care this time, aware of the fearful moment we face each year at the beginning of the camping season when we realise that neither of us removed the old sock/squashed banana/woodlouse family/entire cast of Grease! from the ground sheet and it is about to be presented to us in all it's eight month old glory. In fact Husband and I have been known to draw straws to see who actually has to unpack the tent at this time. I tend to win, I have an extending straw. Thankyou Paul Daniels Magic Kit and my tendency to hoard decades of birthday presents.
It was fun though, the weather held (and when it didn't we held it with an umbrella), camp fires were built, games played and best of all (according to Husband) I didn't insist on cleanliness.
Normally I tend to ruin Husband's camping trips and insist everyone showers at least every other day. Yes, I know that it's all a bit basic and cold but the tendency to build up smell while camping is simply too much to bear. Between campfire smoke, dirt, grass and sleeping in a sleeping bag you have quite a potent mix, hence the insistence of showers.
I do sympathise with Husband, as he puts it he likes to look rustic and really feel the grime. Lovely of course on a campsite with other like minded individuals, but what about when we go out, say on a long walk? If we stopped in a little tea room for refreshment (which we are wont to do) the couple at the next table wouldn't sit and smile genially at Husband and say ah, smell that really smelly man, isn't he enjoying his camping trip Bill? to which Bill would reply; phew! yes, he really is feeling the grime isn't he, what fun. Let's sit here for a while and really take in the smell.
Oh no, much more likely they will look at us suspiciously, wondering why this nice woman and children have befriended the local tramp and lent him some camping gear. They'll shift away to the furthest point that their table will allow (which isn't much in a tea room I assure you) and the wife would say Careful Bill, (obviously all this depends on the lady's husband actually being called Bill, otherwise a Who's Bill? argument would ensue and Husband's odour would thankfully move down the list of Things To Be Discussed Urgently In Hushed Whispers to number nine after: if there's been a Bill how many others have there been? But before: Any other business). Anyway, she'd say: Careful Bill, the man over there really smells don't sit too close. Breathe this way you don't know where he's been. At which point, my hackles will have been raised and I would be forced to leap to the defence of my lovely (but, to be fair, very smelly) Husband and shout He's been camping and he's enjoying himself in his natural state, haven't you ever felt the grime? And stomped off out of the cafe (having left payment and a fair tip). To be honest though, my nerve would probably fail me and I'd just hunch silently at our table, blowing Husband's air down wind. Or else point to a random man and shout to the husband There's Bill, there's the man you want, he's been at it with your wife! And scarper as quickly as possible.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Things I Have Said to Myself Today

  • OK you can have one
  • Just one mind
  • One biscuit doesn't count
  • Not if you have it for breakfast
  • Hmm how many calories?
  • Let's see
  • 117?
  • Ah
  • Well then, being as it's breakfast
  • 117...x3...300 calories allowed
  • I can have three
  • Goody
  • If I break a bit off each biscuit that'll make them about 100 calories
  • There
  • Yum
  • I suppose I might as well eat the broken off bits
  • They're only about 17 calories
  • That one looks quite small, it's probably only about 10
  • No one else will want them anyway
  • Today I will be a better mummy
  • I will not shout
  • Unless the situation warrants it
  • No, I will not shout at all
  • Or get them to do things by saying that Daddy will be cross
  • Or by pretending to give the dog away to the neighbours
  • I must apologise to the neighbours
  • Perhaps five times in one day was too much
  • They're probably sick of the dog
  • OK, I will not give the dog away
  • Or say that Santa phoned and he was very disappointed
  • I will not take Jack to creche with a dirty nappy
  • It is nice that they do it though
  • But £2.50 an hour to change a nappy is a bit steep
  • OK, I will take Jack to creche but I will do a work out while he's there
  • Not sit in the cafe
  • Eating the soft cookies
  • Ooh, soft cookies
  • I wonder if they'll have the double chocolate ones today
  • One won't count
  • Not if I have it for lunch

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Just Call Me Sherlock

Today I have solved a myth, a riddle, a puzzlement if you will that has been niggling at me for ages. There is nothing quite like the feeling of actually getting to the bottom of something (especially if that something is called Mr. G Clooney) and sighing a satisfied aha! in your face sister, or some such hip and happening remark. I am hip aren't I? Anyway, today I had my moment.

My friend Kate and I had decided to take the children to feed the ducks, Kate is a typical Mum-about-town, all 4x4, gym membership and Boden, and before you ask I am not jealous one tiny bit, oh no, I swear. I mean 4x4's are terrible for the environment, if God had meant us to exercise in an air conditioned studio she would have made them free and Boden? OK I'd quite like the flowery boot cut thingys, and I do have visions of Isla being one of those achingly cool models, but I'm afraid the gene pool I have supplied her with will make it nigh on impossible. So no, I am not envious of Kate and her Mum-about-town status.

Anyway, this is the riddle: every time we go to the park to feed the ducks Kate's children whip out bags of fresh (yes, fresh) granary bread. The sort you get from those specialist shops in a paper bag, the sort where the shop also home makes the Chelsea buns and remembers to accidentally slip one in with the bread to eat on the way home. I didn't think much of it at first, being my only Mum-about-town friend I just assumed that this is what they fed the ducks. Indeed a daily boost of B vitamins would go a long way to ensuring a healthy duck population. How community minded. But last week we went to Kate's house for tea rather than feed the ducks, who wouldn't have been there anyway since the rumour of Noah building a Modern Interpretation of the Ark to escape the rain and flooding meant all the local animals have been queuing for days. Our dog even camped out, but came home when his sleeping bag flooded. It won't do them any good though as apparently the Modern New Interpretation involves lots of holes through the hull representing (I'm told by the dog) the disintegration of society, so not much chance of floating off towards an olive tree (we have two in the back garden for them to aim for, though no dove, unless they want to borrow Jack's hand puppet one).

Anyway, having tea at Kate's I noticed one tiny thing; she served white bread. I looked around the kitchen to see if it was just for the children and that she kept a lovely fresh granary for her and her Husband but no. Why? Where was it? Cue music for Scooby Do and the arrival of the Mystery Machine. Oh yes, I was about to become one of those Pesky Kids. I spent most of the afternoon trying to find reasons to look in cupboards, Kate began to think I may have had some mental impairment or at least a brain as leaky as (New Modern Interpretation) Noah's ark, as for the eighth time I offered to make the tea and proceeded to open five different cupboards before locating the cups. But it paid off, unless she kept the bread in the cloak room there was no granary loaf to be seen. No granary loaf at all. Right, something strange is going on and I have to get to the bottom of it (or perhaps I need a part time job to give my brain something else to do).

So today we met at the park, and there it was; the brown paper bag filled with fresh granary bread. Why? It turns out that Kate doesn't like to feed white bread to the ducks in case Other Mums-about-town think she eats it at home, or worse feeds it to the children. She does though, the family get through two loaves of thin white sliced every week. They don't eat the crusts either so she puts them in the middle of the compost bin so that the bin men don't see them and think that she eats white bread and is very unhealthy and feeds her children unhealthy things too. So the granary loaf is bought fresh from the bakers before going to the park and dolled out to the children much in the manner of left over bread. She recycles the brown bag though, she told me solemnly. She uses it to hide the Nesquick packet in the recycling bin.

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?

Monday, 16 June 2008

Camping gas

Ah the first camping trip of the year, the excitement, the planning, the getting-out-the-old-stuff and checking it over, the buying of the new stuff, the non walking child, the dog. We set off bright eyed and full of hope, the specially picked camp site only an hour away door to door to test Jack's staying power and Twizzle's guts. The car packed with people and stuff; tent wedged between Husband and Twizzle, cool bag balanced precariously atop the dog cage (it follows me wherever I go, I call it The Shadow), sweets, treats and doggy drops lined up along the dash board for just-in-cases and tears. I'd thought of it all ladies and gentlemen, this was going to be one flawless camping trip, yes siree.
The queue started about ten minutes from home, unusual at this time and would probably start moving in a few minutes. It did, very verry slowly. Note to blue Golf on the A429 to Stow: if there is a two mile queue behind you and a caravan is tailgating you, perhaps you may want to take your foot/feet off the brake and apply the accelerator. It's the pedal to the far right of the foot well. Next to the Brake, your favourite pedal.
I maintained my dignity, refused to sound the horn and an hour later glided smoothly past said Golf, head up, pleased at my restraint and calm in the face of extreme provocation. I looked in the wing mirror to see Husband signalling Isla to flip the bird through the back window, she did, expertly. Ah.
Note to blue Golf, bird flipping child is not mine.
The camp site was just as promised, basic, rustic even and suitably outdoorsy for the Millennium Housewife family. Despite our everyday personas of normal working Husband-in-suit, Housewife at home (blogging and bleating about it) 2.4 kids, get us camping and we change faster than Superman in a telephone box. It's as if our real lives are our Clark Kent disguises but when let out for the weekend we become the love-children of Ray Mears and Bear Grylls, all campy and kitted out.
It goes without saying that a camping trip always involves a visit to the local camping store. Where else to feel outdoorsy and really part of nature than when buying all the equipment needed to experience it? I don't know about you, but I always get a sort of jittery feeling when going into a camping shop. Think of all the things I could be! The urge to buy crampons/climbing ropes/freeze dried beef casserole, as you imagine yourself skipping up mountains like Tom Cruise at the beginning of Mission Impossible 2. The red mist comes down as the desire takes root, in your head you need these things, they're just what you need for the rest of the weekend to be successful, it'll show everyone how part of it all you are. Look at her they'll all say, she must do out doors things every week, and you know that they're imagining that once out of the camping shop you're off to do something indistinct but dangerous and clever. The fact that after the camping shop trip you're going to drive back to the camp site and have a quick kip before opening the wine is irrelevant. Irrelevant.
The best bit about this particular camping trip is that we had invited Uncle Matt. Everyone's favourite uncle and Husband's best friend, Uncle Matt comes unfettered by children/dogs/strange wife wearing crampons in a field. He serves as a bench mark by which we can measure just how much more cluttered our lives are than the last time we saw him and, (the painful bit) what our lives may have been like had we made different decisions/used contraception/said no to the dog.
He arrived ten minutes behind us, all smart car, expert parking and I've-had-enough-sleep-for-the-last-32-years grin, you've got to love him. Once parked, he proceeded to open his boot and set up his tent. It took four and a half minutes, neat and crease free, he had opened and repacked it before setting off to check it was sound. He then started to bring out neat, well kept gadget after gadget: a small metal table as an extra surface, a slightly larger table because, well you know, you might need another, slightly larger table, a cafetiere with attached bean grinder, a spoon/fork/knife contraption, neat packets of teabags counted out before packing. I held my breath, praying that the next item would be a camping black Top Hat out of which he would pull a fold up rabbit (a live one), but was disappointed to see only his fold away sofa, ah well, next time maybe.
Uncle Matt then proceeded to help us with our camp; the seven birth tent (fits dog and travel cot) that we still haven't cleaned since last year, the blankets and pillows, the complete lack of gadgetry, the copious amounts of Barbies/trucks. Oh I had packed well, everything (everything) the children could have cried for in the night had been thought of, blankies, teddies, duvets, Rabbit Clock, you name it Millennium Housewife had packed it. There were going to be no sleepless nights not attributable to the actual inconvenience and uncomfortableness of camping. Fab. What a fantastic mother I am.
But perhaps not Wife-and-supplier-of-comforts. There had been no room for anything Husband and I may need you see. I was more intent on the possibility (ha!) of sleeping that night. Oh dear. Still, Uncle Matt's spoon/fork/knife contraption came in useful (we wiped between users) and the fresh ground coffee was lovely. We didn't drink too much tea though, he'd only counted out enough for himself. He'll know better next time.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Careers I am now fully qualified for

  • Bounty Hunter (tiny Barbie accessories and car keys a speciality)
  • War strategist
  • Hostage negotiator
  • Chips-and-bread-only restaurateur
  • Sleep deprivation consultant
  • Code breaker
  • Cut-corner-cleaning-co (owner)
  • Spy (Multi Tasking Division)
  • Spell checker
  • Doctor (over dramatic and minor episode ward)
  • IT engineer (call 0800 NOLIFE, anything from toast in the hard drive to finding Noddy home page emergencies. No job too small!)
  • Philosopher: difficult and seemingly impossible concepts analysed and answered.
  • Politician, Minister for Procrastination
  • Sat Nav (nagging dept)

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Supermarket sweep

It is the place guaranteed to reveal any flaws (any flaws whatsoever) in your parenting skills. The place in which, if you enter in a lighthearted I'm A Mummy And Aren't I Doing A Great Job mood, you will be crying and trying to sell your children to any shopper that dares show an interest by the end. The supermarket (or child market as I prefer to call the bit near the exit) is the place that Super Nanny always takes the parents and Very Bad Child at the beginning and end of the programme. A before and after shot, if you will, designed to show that ordinary parents Fail at the supermarket, and anything they Fail at will be highlighted here in a way that no other situation can show. By the end (shot at the same time as the beginning in different clothes with the children on Benylin? You decide), said Very Bad Child has become Reasonably Good Child, but only because mummy/daddy has engaged them in several highly intelligent games involving helping with the shopping. Now, I don't know about you, but I always make it a point to have a peek into the parent's shopping trolley at the end of the scene. It's nearly always empty, if there is anything, it is Jammy Dodgers, Dairy Lea Unmentionables or Barbie/Postman Pat spaghetti. In other words, things the parents have said yes to just so that the cameraman can get the shot and they can all go home. Anything else they may have wanted to buy has had to go by the wayside, simply because they were all too busy playing those stupid games to actually get around to buying anything.
Have you ever devised a Super Nannyesqe shopping game? I'll save you the trouble and tell you about mine. It took two hours of pre preparation at home, making and colour coding the chart (pink for Isla, blue for Jack - I have no imagination or issues about genderising the future population), another half an hour to get said chart into the car and away from the children who wanted to play it now. I then had to find a shopping trolley with two seats, one small enough for a one year old and one large enough for a four year old, Isla refused to walk you see as the chart game was a lot more fun than walking. We then spent a fruitful hour perusing the aisles looking for any of the things that Mummy had drawn on the chart and ticking them off. And here lay the flaw, neither child can read so the drawings were all they had to go on, and Mummy can't draw (do you see where I'm going with this), well Mummy can draw some things, but not can of coconut milk/smoked haddock/hair gel, so we ended up with a trolley of Jammy dodgers/Dairylea unmentionables/barbie and postman pat spaghetti, anything to end the chart game. Once the last unintelligible picture had been ticked off by each of them, I cheered wildly in the aisles, congratulated them both on a good job! lifted Isla from the trolley and proceeded to attempt my usual shop, just an hour later than usual.
Jack sat, gurgling and dribbling while trying to eat the trolley, bending double to get to just the right angle to cut his lip/lose a tooth, while Isla skipped beside me shouting slogans about why I should buy Cillit Bang/Philadelphia/Liletts and pointing helpfully at things we had no use for and suggesting we buy them. The only hairy moment was Isla disappearing, lost in tune, flapping her arms like wings, the sound of I feel like chicken tonight floating over the toilet roll aisle. But I had an answer to that; I steered them both skillfully to the cake aisle and let them choose whatever they wanted, anything that would get me round the supermarket without embarrassment or having to shout. Ha! One in the eye Super Nanny I thought, all your years of 'experience' and a cake would have done the trick just as well, and you could have filmed the before and after shot in a few hours. Cue scene with no cake and crying children, cut to scene with cake and biddable, quiet children. Job Done. And I didn't even try to sell them at the exit. Now where's my television contract?

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Things I have said to my mother today

  • Because I don't know what we're doing 23 weeks on Sunday
  • We should be free for dinner, yes
  • Hang on, that's near Christmas
  • It gets really fixed up
  • I know you're fixing us up, but I don't know if we'll be free
  • Yes we're free now
  • Fine, see you 23 weeks on Sunday
  • No, no I was just joking, of course we'll see you before then
  • I'm well aware you're only 10 minutes away
  • I'm not sure what I want for Christmas
  • Because it's June
  • I'll have a think and let you know
  • No don't think of something yourself
  • OK, I'll let you know by tomorrow
  • We're just getting over the shock
  • Of the burglary
  • Yes I know, it was awful
  • What do you mean you know just how we feel?
  • When were you ever burgled?
  • You dreamt it
  • That's hardly the same
  • Oh it is, right
  • Poor you
  • I'm so glad victim support were helpful
  • And the Samaritans
  • Yes I'll give them a call now

Saturday, 24 May 2008

I have married my mother

It appears that I may have married my mother. It wasn't immediately apparent at first, but it has shown itself in little winks and nudges over the years until today, when it finally twigged. Yes I have definitely married my mother. Oh dear.
Obviously I haven't actually married her, that would be weird, at the very least illegal, but the emerging similarities between Husband and my Mother are alarming. They both allow themselves a quiet panic (badly disguised) when confronted with my chocolate/chardonnay habit, they both treat texting like it is a form of devil worship (cue more badly disguised panic), both have a penchant for tutting under their breath when the television programme fails to meet their expectation (but never at Ray Mears/Jeremy Clarkson (Husband) Coronation Street/Heartbeat (Mother)), both think that anything the children do beautifully (manners/eating/general genius) is a direct result of their influence while any misbehaviour is down to my parenting skills, and neither has a clue as to how to work a dishwasher. In fact my Mother's dishwasher stands open at all times, gleaming and shining in the light, cleaner than the day it was bought, which it should be, she has never used it. She likes guests to see the inside so that they think that she's so fastidious that she cleans inside the dishwasher (should I point out that it's self-cleaning?) therefore giving the two fingers to Shirley-the-competition who also has a gleaming house/dishwasher and a secret cleaner to help her to do it.
I know about the secret cleaner because Shirley-the-competition has a daughter my age, we were pitched against each other at any opportunity when we were growing up as part of the competition - anything would do, as long as I won at it. The fuse finally blew when we were asked to have a Who Can Write Their Name The Quickest competition and I technically won, having written my first name first, but Shirley-the-competition's daughter went on to write her three middle names and started on the double-barrelled surname which, said her mother, negated the competition due to her daughter's obvious desire to stretch herself while I was obviously quite happy to do the minimum. Cue a fierce but polite row at which us two girls decided to throw in the towel. We were 27.
So here I am, several years free of competitive parenting and enjoying the freedom to tie my shoelaces without a stop watch being bought out. I have sworn many times that my children would never be subjected to the same level of expectation and they haven't. They will probably never appreciate it, having never experienced it, and will look up from their worthwhile job as a street cleaner and judge me for not having invited them to stretch themselves.
Or maybe not. This morning I walked into the playroom where Husband was dressing Isla. You know he said, Isla can put her dress on three seconds faster than last week, he showed me the stop watch as proof. I wonder how fast Matilda can do it, she's coming to stay next week isn't she, we could have a look.
I told you, I have married my mother.