Thursday, 24 April 2008

Theme tunes I know off by heart

  • Balamory
  • Big cook little cook (has no one stepped on him yet?)
  • Top gear
  • Postman pat
  • Roooory the racing car (complete with roar)
  • Scrap heap challenge
  • A question of sport
  • Match of the day
  • Ray Mear's extreme survival
  • Ray Mear's bushcraft
  • Country file (?)
  • In the night garden (can spell all the names)
  • The Tweenies (can identify all the characters including Doodle the dog)
  • Roly Mo

Theme tunes I wish I knew off by heart

  • Property ladder
  • How to look good naked (God bless Gok for trying)
  • XFactor
  • Strictly come dancing
  • Coronation street
  • Eastenders
  • Emmerdale
  • Pushing dasies
  • Desperate housewives (they read this blog apparently)
  • What not to wear (and wish Husband would watch too)
  • It's me or the dog (I relate)

Thursday, 17 April 2008


Apparently you can buy a pram for £880, my friend Catherine saw it on the internet. £880. And that's not for one of those fancy buggy come car seat come cot come first-car-when-they-turn-seventeen. Oh no, this is just a pram. A seat on four wheels to push your toddler around in (or toddler's dolly while toddler walks slower than a mothball admiring every molecule along the route. Twice). Husband reckons he could knock one up in the garage for £4.50 (coming to ebay soon, hold your breath) so by his reckoning, he logics, that's a profit of £875.50. You could buy a small car for that he grumbled into his Horlicks while cleaning his bifocals on his cardi. Quite.

The price is justified, hints the advert, because it's made of leather. You know, that stuff that absorbs water and stays sodden for days even after the slightest down pour, weighing as much as Belgium. The stuff we wear on our feet all day and get for £8 in Tesco. Who on Earth would buy a leather pram? For £4.50 let alone £880? Even if you were a multi millionnarie surely you'd have more sense? This pram is destined to be a walking depository for all things liquid/mucous/crumbly/sticky. It will act as a barrier to big dogs, be rolled recklessly over dirty puddles, be used as temporary highchair/bed/naughty step. Why oh why wouldn't you buy the one that has a wipe clean seat, anti sticky material, a tissue pocket that dispenses perfectly sized tissues for the nose of a toddler, a mini vaccuum cleaner, a dog whistle and a pull out naughty step? Ok it doesn't actually exist but I'd be far more likely to buy it at £880 if it did.

Actually maybe not, it's still an horrendous amount. For £880 it would have to get up with Isla and Jack, bath, feed and de-sticky them, take them to the park itself, buy them an ice cream and stroll back gently so that just the right amount of rocking motion was produced to lull Jack back to sleep. It would then creep quietly back inside, put Isla in front of Cbeebies, Jack into bed and wake me gently with a cup of tea and no chatter. Oh yes, now I see. A pram for £880? Where do I sign?

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Second child syndrome

Now I know that this blog has been very Isla-centric up until now. It's not that we don't love and adore Jack, but in many ways the lack of attention we give him is all his fault. If he will sit quietly and sleep through the night, when on earth are we expected to cuddle and coo at him? When he's playing beautifully on his own? When he's eating neatly, self feeding like a pro? No, that would be madness. Now, if he would just make a fuss, cry, scream and generally make his presence felt then he'd get just as much attention as Isla did at this age. More even as Isla would be a third attention giver and earn herself even more stickers for her Barbie fund (she's saving for Ken's Koktail Bar, his only chance since Barbie took the True Love Waits pledge). Anyway, the point is that Jack is our second child and, just as all parents with second children warned us, he comes second.
It's all so scary with your first, with the second you begin to relax a little, mainly because you know his eye isn't going to bulge out if you throw him in the air, or stop breathing just because you stopped watching. But also because the older one already has a schedule (yes a schedule, mock me if you dare but it's fab, taped up on the fridge even. I hope you're never late for Circus Club). You can't rock him to sleep with a bottle at 9.30am and put him down for two-hours-uninterrupted, there are places to go, teachers to smile at, hats and coats to hang up, schedules to keep up with. Now, I don't know about you, but Isla is three years older than Jack and three years is a lot. We had acres of time to fill in those three years, I couldn't keep a live spot open just in case another child came along. So our week is filled I'm afraid, and Jack has had to fit in.

It was so different with Isla, we'd never had to worry before. Worry was something that our parents did that annoyed us greatly and we had to tiptoe and lie around. Husband's mother still doesn't know about his motorbike in the garage. He's thirty-three. (Perhaps we'll tell her on her death bed Husband said bravely, except that'll probably be what does it). Anyway the point is that with each consecutive child things tend to get more relaxed. Friends with three children cheerfully inform me that they'd let their third child juggle knives (First Child was only allowed a plastic spoon until she was ten). In fact if said knives happened to chop a leg half off they'd tell them to go to the doctors themselves. They may give them the bus fare but only if the leg couldn't be walked on and there was no faking-to-get-out-of-school going on.
When Isla first needed to go to the doctor Husband took a day off (took a day off!), it sounds absurd even now and I was half of the decision making process. He even took it as annual leave rather then try to pull a sickie, he couldn't trust his acting abilities under such worrisome circumstances, afterall she had a slightly pink eye.
We arrived at the doctors that day with Isla bundled up in blankets taken fresh from the airing cupboard to ward off any chill and bundled her in, expecting to be fast tracked like the families with terribly hurt children in Holby City. We had to wait like everyone else which did nothing for our heart rates or husband's worry line. Eventually the two of us walked into the doctor's surgery and carefully unwrapped our treasure. It's a bit of a sore eye doctor said Husband in a slightly choked voice, the doctor took an implement and proceeded to look into Husband's eye. To be fair it was quite pink from holiding back tears, and watery. Not mine, Isla's, said Husband. The doctor asking which eye was not the crowning glory of our day but he did eventually look at Isla's diseased eye and generously tutt tutted before asking us to keep and eye on things and bring her back if it developed any pinkness. Thankyou doctor said Husband rising from his seat, I took the day off just in case. Very laudable the doctor muttered in the kind of voice that said he was going to have a good laugh about this with the receptionist later.
Trying to muster a little of our dignity back I chuckled in an embarrassed way and mentioned that Isla was our first child and that we'd be letting our third juggle knives and bring himself to the doctors on his bloodied stump. Quite said the doctor, in the kind of voice that said he'd be asking the receptionist to call social services if I ever mentioned I was pregnant with a third child.
As our second child, Jack is taken to the doctors by me and me alone. Not because we don't worry as much (Husband has two worry lines now and has started buying hair follicle thickener and making me photograph the crown of his head evey month) but it just isn't so alien and scary taking care of this second human being. And anyway, the doctors is near Circus Club and fits right in with the schedule if we only take him on a Thursday. Perfect.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

April fool

What on earth have we done? What possessed us? Aren't we busy enough already? Honestly, sometimes I look at my mother, shake my head and think you taught me nothing. Why oh why did two sane, intelligent grown ups agree to a (nearly) four year old's request for a puppy. Called Twizzle especially. It's rule #1 in the parents guide book surely; do not ever, ever agree to a pet until your child is of an age to take care of it themselves (about 52 should be old enough).
We already have a spouse each (one of whom has limited self-care abilities as it is), two children, one mortgage, one (official) job, one (apparently voluntary) job, one MSc course, three credit cards and a car loan. Why not a puppy! Throw him in to the mix, that'll stir things up nicely, we don't have enough to do anyway. It's like adding TNT to a box of fireworks and used nappies and then throwing in a match for good measure. Just watch it hit the fan ladies and gentlemen.
I'm the only one in the household who was slightly reluctant to have a dog, and yet somehow it is me that seems to have a dog, and only me. Oh yes, Isla plays with him sometimes, she likes to stroke him and generally do anything that is pleasant with a puppy. Husband adores him; he's a lovely treat to come home to after a long day just as Twizzle is winding down and being cute, and Jack thinks he's a big toy. I am the only one that has a second baby to care for. Because that's what he is. A small furry baby. Jack and Twizzle are alike in so many ways: they're both small enough to trip over frequently, neither understand danger, personal hygiene or irony (I've wasted some corkers, I tell you), both sleep and feed regularly but never to suit you, they both whine to get up at 6.30 in the morning to fall promptly asleep again at 8 (just when I would like to be getting up), neither understands a word I am saying or anything about the world except food, sleep and treats. Both treat this house like a hotel/toilet, eat off the floor, eat the other's food and throw up and generally treat me as their cook/chamber maid/personal hygeine manager (come to think of it so does everyone else in the family).
Except Twizzle is harder work than Jack, I promise. The fact that I can't put a nappy on him is a little galling. At least Jack's mess stays (mostly) where he's deposited it, rather than being dragged through the house and up the stairs. Jack can come anywhere with me and is reasonably welcome in most shops (that incident in Ann Summers notwithstanding). And although tying Jack up outside Sainsburys would be a little frowned upon around here, taking Twizzle into Sainsburys would cause a near riot (they'd have a point, I haven't cleaned his paws since the last digestion incident). And Twizzle has a full set of teeth. Sharp ones. Jack has been straining to grow his three teeth for the last ten months. I'm really proud of him. Twizzle arrived with a full, glistening set and absolutely no sense to go with them. He uses them frequently. On me.
So a moment of pure madness, one weak moment trying to please our little girl has resulted in this. Nine possibly ten years of my very own dog to look after. Actually strike that, the teacher at creche says her Spaniel is fifteen. Ooh lucky me, fifteen whole years of a dog to myself, whoo hoo! I bet he gets old and smelly really young.