31 January 2007

Not Such A Perfect Evening

As I wrote “Who knew parenting could go so smoothly?” I did wonder whether I was alerting some Mummy Monitoring Divinity to my smugness. When Chickie woke up at 1.30am, I thought perhaps. At 3.30am, probably. At 5.30am, definitely.

When I lifted my weary head from my soggy pillow for the fourth unfair time that morning, it was to prepare us for our weekly jaunt to The Flying Fortress. Fifteen percussion wielding toddlers later and I was awake. As I got down with my triangle to “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain”, I realised I may have been enjoying myself a little too much as Craddicus suggested that I might like to let Chickie have a go on the triangle. I think the teacher has a soft spot for me though as I’m very enthusiastic.

Simmie Six-Pack, Sydders the Space Hopper and the newly named, Craddicus were also in attendance. Craddicus was previously Sportacus but in a brilliantly cunning literary manuevre, I incorporated his surname with the ‘cus’. Genius. Incidentally, if anyone wants a Sportacus lookalike (he does backflips, forward rolls and has access to copious amounts of lycra), just contact his manager, me.

After all the fun, Poff and Chick were pooped as were their mummies. As they sat in their car seats staring into the promise of a dreamy land inaccessible to mummies, I instructed Luce to ensure they stayed conscious until we could transfer them into their cots in twenty minutes time.

Twenty minutes later, two very, very tired and aggravated babies arrived home. However, it seemed Luce’s warning to keep their eyes open and not fall asleep under any circumstances had scared them sufficiently that a further twenty minutes passed and neither had blinked, let alone closed their eyes.

As hideous as the prospect of two un-napped tots were we had no choice but to release them whilst we belatedly ate lunch. After Chickie bounced up and down on Poff’s tummy like a trampoline, we thought may be we should take them out into see if we could push them to sleep. Success.

We nipped into the travel agents to start planning ‘Holiday 2007’. I use the word holiday loosely as our first family trip to France last year taught me that I won’t ‘holiday’ in the true sense of the word until at least 2023.

As I longingly stroked the silky smooth surface of the 260g paper weight brochures to idyllic locations it was no longer deemed practical for a mummy­ to travel to even if she could afford it, I took a moment to mentally push the model on the front cover out of her hammock and imagine myself lounging between the palm trees.

I put the “never going to happen” brochure down and realigned my expectations. As I now came as a package deal, that, sadly, seemed a good place to start.

30 January 2007

Such A Perfect Day

Every once in a 15 month period, a day comes along where everything falls into place. Today was that day.

The sun was shining and Chickie was chirping. He spent his morning happily trying to destroy the new toy Grandma bought him, his distraction such that he didn’t even notice me commando roll out the room.

Then followed the perfect nap. To qualify for perfection it must incorporate the following features: mute descent to cot, simultaneous and immediate unconsciousness; 2 hour minimum duration. On retrieval, a nappy dumpling had successfully escaped which provided another tick in my “Yip pa dee do da” box.

Lunch was everything I’d spent many a dejected moment wishing it could be. He opened his mouth, he chewed, he swallowed. Chickie was showered with thank you kisses.

The All New Co-operative Chickie was then whisked off to Claire’s house to play with his mates. His clinginess was short lived as he happily trotted off to torment Matthew. I watched as he pushed the coveted shape sorter towards him provocatively, then, just as Matthew could almost touch it, he swiped it back with the speed of a ninja. He chuckled merrily at his fun little game whilst Matthew sobbed. Unfortunately, I had my hands full stuffing Jaffa Cakes into my mouth so could do little to intervene.

Three stories lower, another baby was sobbing. She had been pressing her little cocktail sausage sized finger on the doorbell for a full ten minutes but no one had answered. LucyWucy explained to a bewildered Poff that they’d have to go home and she was very sorry that she couldn’t play with her friends as promised. A heartbreaking tale and a lesson to all those who have loft rooms.

However, my day just got better (sorry Luce!). Claire kindly offered some tea to all the babies that had managed to gain entry into her house. As I pictured myself sat at home, wiping myself and everything in the immediate vicinity down with antibacterial wipes or Chickie sat in her house and her wiping everything down with antibacterial wipes once I’d left, I decided Option 2 worked best for me.

To all those who contributed to my perfect day, I love you all. Specifically, the Baby Whisperer (nap advice), the Organic Vegetable Soup People (straight down the hatch) and Claire (for letting us in, jaffa cakes, trashing your house instead of mine). Who knew parenting could go so smoothly?

29 January 2007

The Snow Song

Grandma and Grandpa came down today to dote on Chickie and provide the level of undivided attention he feels he deserves from me everyday. He has had no time to whinge or cry as the adoration and entertainment came thick and fast. “See Mummy, I’m a little angel when you treat me right".

Accountant’s mother thinks that her little boy has been getting a raw deal on the blog. More importantly though, she let slip about Accountant’s special ‘Winter Song’ that he wrote out of snow fuelled excitement, aged 8. It goes a little something like this:

I look out my window
I see some snow
I look out the window
And hark the wind blows
When there’s snow on the ground
Don’t even pay a pound
So let’s get together
In this stormy weather


To help with the imagery, remember he wore a red bow tie and had a comb over.

As she chatted about getting Chickie toughened up to deal with this horrible world, I felt the odds might be stacked against me if he was going to be writing girlie songs about the weather and using words like ‘hark’ when his peers were outdoors rolling giant snowballs to pelt him with.

To keep his mummy happy, I would like to add that Accountant is dextrous with a calculator, is in touch with his sensitive side (as the song clearly demonstrates), is a wonderful husband and father and I love him lots, even more so because he tucks his lips in, loves his wind-up torch and is a lyrical genius. xxx

28 January 2007

Please Don't Make Me Go Out In Public

“Deep cleanses the skin and draws out impurities”. “Perfect” I thought as I eagerly slapped the Warming Mineral Mask onto my face.

Three days later, I’m still struggling to cope with the influx of impurities that answered the call and left their previously happy home to journey to my highly visible epidermis.

I haven’t enjoyed zits this bountiful since my wedding day. The only difference is that I sobbed about it then asking Glam-Nan to ask God how he could have let this happen, now I’m just not leaving the house. Or at least that’s what I’d hoped. Gambogini is due round this evening and has told me we’re going out to mingle with three-dimensional people who don’t feature in their own sitcom. She’s suggested going for a pizza in honour of my complexion.

She was due round at 6pm and, allowing 1 hour to plaster my face, 1 hour for it to set, that gave me until 4pm. As I was housebound, I rather productively painted some furniture and granted permission to Accountant and youngest nephew to go and watch football whilst I prowled round the house with Chickie.

It’s not the first time I’ve been imprisoned by acne. It’s happened many times before. Just ask any of my old friends and family who were let down at the last minute because I happened to walk past a mirror situated within a mile radius of a 100 watt lightbulb. Sorry to you all by the way, I couldn’t help myself. During my school years, I attacked my face so badly, I had to cut myself a fringe to disguise my forehead as Glam-Nan didn’t think “very, very spotty” was a good enough excuse to stay at home, despite my pleading.

As I looked in the mirror that evening, still disbelieving that I could find myself in this predicament aged 30, I wondered whether ‘cakey’ could be a new trend for Summer 2007. Whilst one tube of concealer and a palette full of powder had gone someway to covering the redness, the lumpiness was still posing a problem. Short of a balaclava, there was little else that could be done.

Gambogini arrived 6ft tall in her heels, model skinny and blemish free. After a moment’s deliberation, I decided to open the door. As I stood beside her looking like a hobbit from Lord of the Rings, I decided to forget the zits and dumpiness and enjoy my night out, after all, they hardly ever happened.

As we zoomed off to Brighton (actually, Gambo drives like Miss Daisy but that didn’t sound quite so Thelma and Louise!), I felt liberated. It was like old times, except for the baby whose bottom lip had started quivering as he watched mummy wave goodbye, then run back in for another cuddle and then wave goodbye again.

As I hid at the darkest table available, I felt like an impostor amidst the young and the pert. When the bar suddenly transformed into a nightclub at 10.30pm, I felt it was time for me and my thick woolly cardigan with accompanying crocheted flower brooch to leave before someone made me.

27 January 2007

Handbags At Dawn

“It can’t be the tomatoes or the peppers, he’s had both of those before”. “What about the cucumber?” Glam Nan enquired. “He’s had that too” I replied, resisting the urge to call an ambulance. A red, blotchy Chickie watched our exchange with interest, clearly wondering what all the fuss was about as he pumped his tomato like a stress ball.

It had all happened very suddenly. One minute he was cramming pepper into a perfectly peachy little face, the next he was sporting a leperesque rash. Glam-Nan remained calm having been there and done it all before, twice. I tried to pretend I was equally chilled whilst tracking the rash’s progress down his cheek to his neck.

It did gradually subside, along with my blood pressure although I’m still baffled as to it’s origin. I felt a second cappuccino with extra chocolate sprinkles was deserved after such a stressful hypochondriac moment.

My relieved, self indulgent buzz was short lived as the glamorous air hostess with the perfectly magnificent handbag, fresh from her trip to South Africa, chose to sit a bottom firmer than Chickies down next to me. Just when I was riding high on the wings of lactulose induced bowel movements and self clearing rashes, the tote of my dreams was flaunted under my nose.

She was also the chatty type. “Next Tuesday, I’m off to New York”. “Really? Next Tuesday, I’m off to Flying Fortress Family Fun Centre”. Conversation stopper you’d hope, but no. She continued describing every shopping filled detail of a life I vaguely remembered.

As I reminisced over my once regular trips to Paris to spend whimsical amounts of money on Furla’s finest, I could almost smell the leather. Today my nostrils are filled with an all together different aroma, the supplier of which was stirring in his pushchair.

Seconds later, two small arms reached out to me, much like Frankenstein, due to the constrictions of his very padded coat, and I pulled him onto my lap. As he cuddled into me with his snoozy face, fuzzy hair and rosy cheeks, I knew that I was the lucky one.

However, every once in a while I take a moment to envy the financial and personal freedom of the single. Then I revel in the smug satisfaction that they’ve got it all to come!

26 January 2007

Can I See Your Permit Please Chickie

Chickie was delivered at 4pm by a fatigued Glam-Nan. Chickie immediately let it be known he was unimpressed as he stared at me accusatorily as if to say, “how dare you dump me at Nanna and Grandad’s whilst you had a lie in, lounged around in your fluffy wear until 12pm and pranced round the house singing peace perfect peace is the gift of Glam-Nan and Snowy”. He was further antagonised by the addition of a barricade to the kitchen, impeding his regular jaunts to the pots, pans and tray cupboards he loved emptying out so much.

Our previously open plan house now features Controlled Baby Zones. Zone A, the lounge. Zone B, the dining room. Zone C, the Kitchen. Access is granted at the discretion of mumagement.

Since his return, he has cried constantly. Not proper crying, just tearless attention seeking whingeing. Unfortunately, my lack of regular exercise left me unable to catch up with mum’s car as she drove back to her peaceful little world where she woke to bird’s chirping and a cup of freshly brewed tea a la Snowy.

That evening, a girlie trip to the cinema was planned. As much as I was looking forward to it, it occurred to me that it probably wasn’t quite the routine buster I needed as all I’d effectively done was trade sitting down in front a small screen for sitting down in front of a big one although there was the crucial addition of Pick’N’Mix.

As there were no chick flicks showing, we opted for Babel. BIG mistake. Like it’s name suggests it was chaotic and confusing and after 2½ hours of gruelling viewing I felt drained. I know it’s nominated for zillions of awards but if I wanted dreary and depressing, I would just lock myself in my house during the winter for a week, which has the added benefit of being free.

Sniffing Chickie's head fluff on my return home and snuggling up to a snoring Accountant made me thankful for the simplicity of my predictable life.

25 January 2007

Motherhood Is For Life - Not Just For Christmas

I was supposed to be going to see Vicster and baby Lola today but, as my car had been transformed into a giant snowball overnight, we thought it best to rearrange.

The day isn’t a total write-off though as I have a reservation for dinner at Glam-Nan’s and Snowy’s at 6pm. It gets better. Chickie’s booked in for bed and breakfast. His room’s dusted, his cot washed and ready, his tea is being prepared as I type, the central heating reprogrammed to Chickie time and I get to sit back and let Glam-Nan take over. Not because I make her, but because she can’t help herself. Brilliant.

In short, I can revert to the belligerent teenager my parents enjoyed for all those fun filled years. ‘My’ sofa that I lounged on unashamedly for most of my adolescence still houses a full size ‘Liz’ shaped dent that fits me to this very day, albeit a little snugger than before.

It doesn’t get better than living with Glam-Nan. This is the woman who would kneel by my bedside and feed me marmite on toast whilst I struggled to gain consciousness in the morning. Tea was cooked to my exact fuss filled specification and brought to my throne bang on 5pm without my even having to turn away from the TV. Clean, crisp clothes just grew in my wardrobe. Taxi rides were complimentary. In short, it was a cushy, cushy number which, like so many things in life, I can only really appreciate now that it’s gone.

A couple of hours reliving my carefree, pampered days was a divine prospect and I was raring to go. I squished my momentary feeling of cautiousness about being so excited as I was feeling optimistic that such a simple handover couldn’t possibly go wrong - “Mum, here’s Chickie. Bye.”

Hours later, instead of being propped up by fluffy cushions with one of my special blankies tucked round my tootsies, I was shouting for Glam-Nan to come upstairs and help me as a still awake Chickie was firing from every orifice. As I hid the wee wee stain on her carpet with a baby wipe, she washed and dried his pukey sleeping bag with the hairdryer. I then changed his nappy for the third time in half an hour as it seemed the lactulose had finally kicked in. Forty-five minutes of cuddling and temperature taking later and Chickie was finally asleep and deemed well enough for his sleep over.

As I threw the dirty nappy bag down the stairs, Glam-Nan was on it like a hungry raccoon. It’s that kind of service that I miss. Love you Mum and sorry about the carpet and the 3am wake up call xxx

24 January 2007


Sister had been harbouring two secrets. I knew about them, Accountant knew, Eldest Nephew knew. Brother-in-Law didn’t.

Sister was saving them for a time when his craving for nicotine had subsided sufficiently that he could be told about two costly hits to the joint bank account without the very real danger of his head exploding.

Unfortunately for Sister, Brother-in-Law reviewed the account ahead of schedule so discovered her shopping spree to Aladdin’s Lighting Cave. As she watched the big vein in his head bulge menacingly, she pondered whether it was the best time to also mention she’d scratched my car whilst borrowing it and an expensive repair bill was heading his way.

This morning, Chick, Poff and Sydders went to The Flying Fortress for more music and mayhem. I managed to injure myself on one of the baby slides by trying to climb back up the slide the wrong way to collect Chickie. He just laughed at me as he watched me slide all the way back down just as I’d reached the top. I also managed to hurt my foot on my speedy undignified descent but was too embarrassed to let on so just sat biting my lip in a big fat heap at the bottom.

On our return home, Meerkat rang and said that ITV had called back regarding LucyWucy’s email to Trinny and Susannah. I looked at Wuce, Wuce looked at me. Oh Sweet Lord, I thought that had gone away. On calling back, the researcher requested full length photos of us to assess our ‘body shapes’. I thought my verbal description was clear enough – oversized bottom, saggy man boobs, pot belly, stumpy legs. Voila. Surely that should qualify me for professional help. Requesting a photo was just mean.

Chickie Vocabulary Update: he said ‘Mummy’ properly for the first time today!

23 January 2007

Don't Look A Gift Baby in the Mouth

Waking a sleeping Chickie goes against everything I work all day to achieve. It’s such a waste of a perfectly unconscious baby. As much as I hate it, I had to do it today in order for Chickie to be able to go and play with his raisin eating friends. Chickie spat all dried fruits out of his mouth and pointed expectantly at the Jaffa cakes .

The rest of the day I watched Chickie destroy stuff, cry, spit any healthy food out of his mouth and clench his bottom. Yes, you’ve heard it all before.

There was no dinner on the table when Accountant returned home as I’d spent over an hour rubbing Chickie’s tummy in a clockwise direction in the hope I could squeeze the resident backlog out like toothpaste. Accountant was gracious about the eventual arrival of some cheese on toast but told me it would come up in future arguments. I thanked him for the advance warning.

I spent some time pondering whether I minded the predictable rut my life had fallen into and decided that I did a bit. Babies and routine go together like 'rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong' but I need some 'shoo bop shoo wadda wadda yipitty boom de boom'.

I will therefore be working on a strategy to see what can be done to ‘chang chang chang-it-ty chang shoo-bop’ things up a bit.

22 January 2007

Pretty In Pink

A legless Chickie greeted me this morning. It seems he has a penchant for stripping, something to add to my “Worry About Later” List. His sleeping bag and new pyjama bottoms had both been thrown overboard and his chubby legs were exposed to the elements – this one was added to my rapidly expanding “Worry About Now” List.

The day that followed had it’s highlights and it’s lowlights. We popped round to Meerkat Manor for an impromptu lunch. Afterwards, the menfolk cleared off down the pub to watch footie and the girlies were left holding the babies as usual.

Accountant returned so late, I had to bath Chickie with The Poff. Five minutes into the ‘Splish Splash Splosh’ competition, a shocked Poff and Chick were suddenly evacuated from their bath after Chickie, once again, mistook the water for his nappy. Two stunned babies stood at the bathside in their matching hoodies, whilst LucyWucy decontaminated the bath, mat and a whole farmyard full of, now, bacteria squirting animals. Babies were then hosed down. I think LucyWucy wished the Flash spray could be used on babies as she looked at her poor baby girl who had effectively been pooped on by her boyfriend.

As I hadn’t anticipated being at Meerkat Manor for so long, I was unprepared for bath and bedtime. LucyWucy kindly provided the necessaries – nappies, bottle, minky, pyjamas!

When Accountant set eyes on his little boy, he was less than pleased.

21 January 2007

Cold Feet

It’s official, Chickie’s not a baby anymore. He has pyjamas.

As I culled his 12-18 month baby grows, replacing them with his new, neatly folded co-ordinating t-shirt/trouser combos, I felt a twinge of wistfulness at the transition of my chubby little baby into a boy now deemed big enough to brave a footless two piece. “Won’t his feet get cold?” I asked Accountant. “He’ll be fine” came the standard male response. I made a mental note to check Chick’s tootsies at regular intervals that night to make sure.

To me, the baby grow is perfection. Everything neatly and efficiently snuggled into one glorious piece of comfortably stretchy fabric. No draughts, no creasing, no ironing, no socks. If they came in my size, I’d have fifty, in black velour.

That’s why I feel sad for Chickie’s loss. Unfortunately though, it’s a fact of life that things get less comfortable the older you get, starting with the purchase of your first pair of pyjamas. Don’t worry though Chickie, I’ll do everything I can to keep your feet toasty. X

20 January 2007

Reduced To Tears ... By A Baby

Deep breath. Gain perspective. Oh, who cares, just cry like the big girl you are.

Chickie had buzzed around me like a bluebottle for hours. As swatting wasn’t an option, I was forced to say “No” 1,598 times, each to no effect whatsoever. He turned the laptop off, repeatedly bashed the keyboard whilst pretending to be roaming the neighbourhood on cuddle business, snapped the front cover off the telly twice and threw his nice dry clothes into the bath.

I considered turning myself on the mercy of the elements again just to get out of the house but his tea time was looming. It didn’t disappoint. He spat each and every mouthful back out onto his lap and the floor. I just hope that he managed to absorb some nutrients for the brief second they were permitted to rest on his tongue. Tea time ended abruptly as I could take no more so Chickie turned his flair for anarchy to screaming about his bum.

As I picked his lovingly prepared food off of the floor for the 12th time since Monday and listened to him straining in the other room, my feeling of exasperation was so overwhelming, I sobbed. I knew I shouldn’t as other people have far worse things to deal with but I couldn’t help it. I knew this was just the start of a long journey of self doubt, worry, frustration and guilt.

“Why won’t he just chew food and swallow it? Why won’t he poop? Why won’t he listen to me? “What am I doing wrong? Where are the damn instructions?”

I just want good things for my baby and I have it on good medical authority that eating and pooping are in the Top 10.

Hours later, the perspective that I couldn’t see for tears earlier dawned. Whilst I know worry and frustration are now my constant companions, not a day passes where I don’t feel complete joy and amazement at being blessed with such a beautiful son. So, more food will be cooked for him to spit on the floor in the hope that some goodness will penetrate a tastebud, “No” will ring out a trillion more times if it means keeping him safe from harm and I'll try my very best to laugh at all the other stuff in between.

19 January 2007

Come Back Quiffy, All Is Forgiven

Nearly there, just 4 inches to go. They were, however, the most perilous 4 inches to ever be navigated by a bottom this large. 2 inches, 1 inch. Bingo, as my bottie cheeks kissed the washable cotton of my mothership, I couldn’t quite believe this moment had finally arrived.

Before we both got pregnant, my friend, who shall remain nameless, and I spent a lot of our paid ‘work’ time masterminding a “Get Out of Work Forever” Plan. After numerous brainstorming sessions, we finally decided babies were the easiest solution and would allow us the free time to shop, sunbathe, holiday and watch daytime TV when it rained.

Well don’t I feel like the big stupid chump? As anyone with any common sense knows, no work equals no money equals no shopping and no holidays equals no sunbathing. And, as I gave birth to a Relaxation Prevention Officer, all attempts to watch TV are off.

That was until right now. I’ve done all my housework and three months' worth of ironing and, unfortunately, can’t hoover because ‘Short Stuff’ is asleep. I’m buried in the sofa, I’ve just watched Diagnosis Murder and I would class this as one of my highlights for 2007 in addition to all the mushy mummy stuff of course.

I felt particularly deserving of a sit down after battling through gale force winds to go and buy the paper and an onion. The shopkeepers called me brave which I knew was just code for stupid. I unsuspectingly walked past an archway, ignorant to the fact it had been transformed into a 90mph wind tunnel which nearly sucked Chickie and I into another time and place. I must have looked ridiculous as I struggled to return his pram onto all four wheels, whilst clinging onto his raincover which was coiled around my torso like a boa constrictor and collecting the tears trickling down my face.

Further tears welled up on my arrival home as I turned to Page 30 of the local paper and saw the latest batch of frightful images of myself. The Editor was very wise not to show them to me before they went to print. I was further horrified to read the caption next to the photo referring to my collecting "body hair" from the drain which makes me sound like some filthy, freaky, furry yak.

I would like to make it clear that I pride myself on cleanliness and am rarely spotted without an antibacterial wipe in my hand. I don't plunge gunk from our drains and then spread it around the house. I just used a few stray and fresh HEAD hairs lying on the top of the plug as a token of affection. That's HEAD hair, not any other part of the body hair! That would just be gross.

18 January 2007

What Goes In MUST Come Out - Surely?

Without wishing to sound harsh, I have noticed that babies offer few practical features. As Chickie is also male, I don’t see that situation changing in the foreseeable future. However, at the very least, you should be able to rely on your baby to provide the following functions:

Be Cute; Sleep; Cry; Eat; Poop

Chickie’s got the first three down but we do seem to be having a spot of bother with the basic principle of food in, food out.

On the ‘Food In’ side, I made a rookie mistake today. Experienced sprog owners will read this shaking their heads. I let Chickie feed himself a sardine sandwich. Yes, I really was that stupid.

Fishy hair, fishy hands, fishy eyebrows, fishy highchair, fishy jumper, fishy table next to highchair, fishy floor. In my defence, Omega 3 is essential to keep Chickie’s hair manageable, his fingernails strong and his skin glowing.

One very bubbly bath followed coupled with some rigorous scrubbing. His earlier than scheduled dunking was actually well timed as we had an appointment at the doctors for ‘Food Out’ issues. I wanted him to look as healthy and well maintained as possible in the hope his sweet baby smell and freshly fluffed hair would distract the doctor from the now yellowing bruise on his face.

The doctor prodded Chick’s belly and confirmed there was such an impressive backlog that he currently consisted of 1% baby and 99% poop. All hope now hinges on increased doses of lactulose to release the captive and ease the passage of future detainees.

I had hoped Chickie would be at least thirteen years old before I was told by a medical professional that he had behavioural problems. I’m not sure how I managed to mess up my child so early on but congratulations to me, I thought it would take me at least ten years.

17 January 2007

A Pint Sized Predator

I’m a reformed mummy. Up at 7.45am, showered, dressed badly, and ready to sample the delights that The Flying Fortress Family Fun Centre had to offer. Chickie was in hot pursuit and we were both sat on the doorstep, waiting for our ride at 9.30am.

We were some of the first mummies there which made me feel even more virtuous. It also made me think that perhaps I wasn’t the only one who would really rather be surgically attached to her duvet on this grey, drizzly day instead of stood in an aircraft hanger.

Poff and Chickie were unleashed to do their worst. They clambered, slid, bounced, rocked and even got a mangling. LucyWucy was also fed through the giant mangler to see if it flattened out 'mummy tummy' but, unfortunately, she just got wedged between the rollers.

Slowly, other children tottered in. One took a shine to Poff which presented Wuce with a dilemma that all parents face at one time or another. How polite was she willing to be in order to let someone else's child grasp the concept of “gentleness”?

Poff stood very, very still as Lola demonstrated her full range of karate moves under her nose. Lola’s mum, Wuce, Chickie and I all watched with anticipation to see if Lola could be trusted. Poff was less anticipatory, more worried.

Poff was right to be concerned as Blackbelt Lola took her bow, yelled "HI - YA" and promptly bopped her around the head. All Lola’s mum said was, “No, gentle”. Victim looked from mother back to attacker. She was scared attacker was about to strike again, disappointed with attacker's mummy for her casual attitude and waiting for her own mummy to take bad baby out. Victim’s mother’s instincts were to grab the Poff and run but she didn't want to appear rude. An awkward situation. Eventually, Lola was carried off loudly, unwilling to accept that slapping and biting smaller children was anything other than shrewd use of her clear size advantage and advanced motor skills.

Once Poff manually inspected every square baby foot of aircraft hanger to make sure Lola really had left, the fun resumed. They sang and played triangles, kazoo’s, tambourines and clappy hands. They had a great time and, of course, I left feeling guilty that I didn’t do this more often and vowing to do more activities.

16 January 2007

Don’t Step on my New Red Shoes

As I looked up at my mum with my spotty, teary eyed little face, she assured me that it was just a phase. As I peer in the mirror 17 years later, I still have enough pimples to keep me amused for a month. To be fair, she couldn’t have predicted her freak of a daughter would still have teenage acne aged 30 but what did she expect when she chose big pored Snowy as a life companion to her oily skin?

Chickie was also not looking his best as an accident in the café had left him with a big red line down the side of his face. Unfortunately, it was too late to rearrange the appointment with the photographer from the paper.

After the Munster family photoshoot, I actually did some ironing. The pile was thigh high and I’d run out of ideas to bribe Accountant into doing it. It was, however, quite nice to be reacquainted with clothes I’d forgotten existed.

I wore one of my new discoveries when I went out with LucyWucy and The Poff later in the afternoon to try and get Chickie some new shoes. I must have invested ten hours of my “tv watching time” into finding him a pair. I never anticipated it being so hard.

The crux of the problem was that all anyone could offer my super chic and stylish baby, whose individual colour preferences include autumnal colours only, were bright, primary blue coloured shoes.

Our long and boring journey trawling around every child’s shoe shop in West Sussex, finally ended today and Chickie got his very first pair of proper shoes. The little baby sized shoe box is even cuter than his new 'cruisers'.

Chick really enjoyed antagonising Poff as they shared a double buggy together and she had no escape. Poke Poffy, Poffy angry, Poffy slap Chickie, Poke Poffy, Poffy angry… What fun.

15 January 2007

Sorry... He's Teething

I don’t know if it’s his monster munchers coming through but, despite regular tranquillising with approved drugs, Chickie has wailed his way through most of the weekend. Any rare moments of quiet have been spent converting his list of ‘Unacceptable Behaviour’ into a ‘To Do’ List.

He’s emptied cupboards, unravelled toilet roll, thrown his food on the floor, writhed his way out of nappy changes, repeatedly thumped the laptop and thrown a tantrum each time he’s been asked not to do any of the above.

We had to leave the café today because his behaviour was so horrible. His giant belch on exit left me blushing as every head at every table spun round to stare at the perpetrator. I know they all thought it was me as Chickie looked far too small to produce a burp registering 5 on the Richter Scale.

In the evening, we went out for LucyWucy’s birthday dinner. Meerkat, the sophisticate, sampled the wine by swilling it around his nose. He attempted to regain his dignity whilst subtly dabbing at the red juice dripping out of his nostrils. We explained to the waiter that the wine would be fine.

Accountant caught the moment when the waiter dropped dirty cutlery on the lady at the table next to us.

14 January 2007

Pardon Sweetheart?

As I dabbed at the blackcurrant stain that, naturally, had chosen to splosh the white stripe on the rug, I wondered whether the Vanish Spray worked on husbands.

Accountant’s self-righteous “Mary Poppins” Daddy routine was beginning to grate on my nerves. I’ve clocked approximately 10,920 hours on my ‘Mummy Mileometer’ since Chickie’s birth. Accountant was approaching his 3rd consecutive hour spent in his son’s company in over a week, when he thought it prudent to point out to me that Chickie was just a baby and couldn’t help crying.

I thanked him for his profound insight into my child’s psyche. Of course he was right, what sort of mother expresses any sign of weariness at her son's screaming, bouncy, temper tantrum as viewed through the bars of his stairgate?

Forgive me if my extra 10,917 consecutive hours sometimes find me teetering precariously on the tightrope of tolerance. How do you stay so calm after a full 180 minutes? Then followed a screaming, bouncy, temper tantrum all of my own.

13 January 2007


I used to be a romantic, then I got married. I had high fluffy hopes for the master specimen of manhood that would finally become my chosen one. He was based strongly on Johnny Castle from Dirty Dancing but, despite hanging outside Butlins for years, my twinkle toed red coat never gyrated his way into my arms.

What appeared in the Patrick Swayze shaped hole in my heart was this. A slight shock, I’ll grant you, but we discovered a shared passion that has formed the basis of our relationship for seven years. A passion for tormenting each other.

The drain hair garnish I lovingly placed on Accountant’s Shower Gel the other day amused me so that I’ve practically been pulling out my hair in order to produce enough drain fuzz for daily adornments. This morning, however, Accountant had organised a little surprise of his own. Why do boys always go too far? Unable to use my now germ infested toothbrush, I desperately foraged through the cupboards for an alternative. My journey led me to Chickie’s room. His doll’s house sized toothbrush that had only ever known sweet baby breath was in for a shock. As each tooth enjoyed individual attention from the weeny fangbuffer, it gave me plenty of time to plot my revenge.

The note I’ve left on the most expensive replacement I could find will hopefully teach him a valuable lesson. Don’t mess with the woman who has unrestricted access to your bank account x

I realise to those of you who enjoy a normal, healthy relationship with your spouse, this may seem slightly odd behaviour and you’d be right.

Chickie got up to his usual antics this afternoon. I always thought intimidating a 1 year old into submission would be easy. Say “no”, raise a disapproving eyebrow or two and immediate compliance would naturally follow. Not so, my child just laughs at me and repeats the offending behaviour with added gusto. I’ve tried every shade of “No” and raised my eyebrows clear off my forehead and am still faced with utter defiance.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve warned him to not remove the Smartcard from the cable box. He knows the deal. He was in the lounge, I was in the adjoining dining room. Both have tellies tuned into the same channel. When I look up at my television and see this, call me a genius, but I know the next thing I’ll see at the other television is this.

If anyone can tell me how they get their child to take them seriously, please let me know.

12 January 2007

Two of You, One of Me – It Must Be “Oh My God” O’Clock

Today had been looming since November 2006 and was highlighted on the calendar by big, bold, red capitals. “THE POFF”.

When I glibly offered to babysit, I never really expected to open my front door to find a Poff on my doorstep. Yet, there she was this morning, finger sellotaped to the doorbell, looking so perky and energetic. Operating instructions were in her suitcase and all that I saw of LucyWucy were her taillights as she screeched off in a cloud of exhaust fumes.

As I glanced at the specification for the Poff Deluxe 2000, I thought it would be a great opportunity to put this super baby through her paces and see what separated her from the common child. I plucked out my ‘Examination pencil’ from behind my ear and sat Poff down at her desk. Spell ‘incredulous’. What’s 15% of 987? Define ‘irony’. The beauty of the intellectual child is the speed at which they absorb new information. “Repeat after me, Poff, FAR –T”. “Good girl, excellent pronounciation”.

After a quick Agility Test, Poff was released to play with Chickie who was happily gnawing on one of his books with some of his new teeth. I, as always, am feeling guilty again. I hadn’t realised he had four giant gnashers erupting simultaneously and the sobbing he’d been doing was actually not intentional but because he was trying to let me know his teeth hurt. Bad Mummy, try harder, do better.

By 10.50am, I had popped my first aspirin. Glam-Nan rung to laugh at my predicament. She did offer her services but I explained that it would be nap time soon enough. An oasis for the knackered child minder.

However, today it was more of a mirage. I put Chickie down, all was quiet, okay, next baby. Tippy toe upstairs, Poff beautifully quiet, snuggles and cuddles, eyes closing, surely this is too easy? I don’t believe it, she’s asleep. Perfection. Noises from Chickie’s room, not as asleep as I thought. Poffy still asleep though. Let’s just put her in the cot. “WWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH”. Drat.

Repeat process above. Cuddles, snuggles, eyes closing, snoring. Brilliant. Lowering into cot, easy does it, careful now. “WWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!”

How do they know? HOW? That’s was Poffy’s sleep for the day. A full two minutes which meant I had a very, very tired mini companion attached to my leg for the rest of the day.

When Chickie reappeared revived from his three hour nap, Poffy was on the brink and in no mood to share Teddy. FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!!! And fight they did. An ugly scene indeed. Custody swung from Poff to Chickie, to Poff and so on and so forth. Teddy was eventually put into care, out of sight, which provoked complete meltdown.

I was too emotionally, physically and spiritually drained to employ distraction techniques so just sunk to the floor, staring past the two purple, tear stained faces staring back at me.

LucyWucy, the flowers were a lovely gesture, but a mere drop in the “YOU OWE ME BIG, BIG, BIG, BIG, BIG TIME” ocean. x

11 January 2007

Do I Seem Alright To You?

Pam the Sonographer and I both knew that everything wasn’t alright despite my whimper to the contrary. It’s hard to pretend your fine when your whole body is shaking violently. I think Pam realised she had a ‘special’ patient on her hands as she caught my thigh in a vice like grip in an attempt to steady her camera which was wobbling around like a trifle, making her examination a delightful challenge.

As I lay there, holding my breath, I tried not to think about whether she’d just discovered an abnormality by redesigning the poster above my head. Ditch the medical diagrams, replace with some text along the lines of, “There’s nothing wrong with you – you’re just peachy”. There, much more comforting. If Pam remained silent for more than 30 seconds, I would thoughtfully enquire as to whether everything was still normal since my last enquiry, 30 seconds before. Pam was sweet considering the ‘Neurotic Vibrating Patient From Hell’ was making her wish she'd taken the day off.

A less than humourous start to the day degenerated further as there was four hours worth of cleaning with my name on it. I found a box full of toys under the sofa though which was a plus.

I then sat down to write my blog. 94 keys on the keyboard and Chickie goes straight to the ‘off’ button. It took half an hour to log back on again as the laptop is old and tired, much like me today. Chickie grinned back at me as I told him I was adding 'Laptop Tampering' to his list of 'Unacceptable Behaviour'.

10 January 2007

The Lazy Housewife Award Goes To...

I had to double-check my watch this morning through my swollen eyelids. It couldn’t possibly say 10.15am, surely? I decided it couldn’t and would recheck by the much bigger clock in the kitchen downstairs after turning off the 2ft alarm clock belatedly going off in the nursery.

A blurry Chickie stood at the bars, noisily awaiting ‘The Help’. His critical sleepy gaze speaking volumes - “Do you have any idea what time it is? How could you have let this happen? It clearly states on the packaging that these nappies are good for 12 hours. That’s 12, not 15! I’ve got nappy rash up to my armpits. What’ve you got to say for yourself – well? I explained to Chickie that it was actually his fault as he was Head Waker Upper and definately, not the other way round.

By the time we got to the kitchen, my vision was returning and the little hand on the clock was on the 10, the big one on the 30. I swear Chickie tutted. It may be time to try and reset my body clock which seems to have turned itself back fifteen years and sucked Chickie into it's slobby clutches. To be fair, we had no reason to be up early but it did feel a bit naughty to be languishing in bed when other mummy/baby duos everywhere were doing something productive together.

We then visited our buddies where I used to work and where Chickie did most of his incubating. Thinking back, it may have been the tropical temperature of my old office that contributed to his 91st percentile entry weight.

Dynabum and I had a “Wobbly Tum Tum” competition. It was close, but as we sat side by side on the floor, tops tucked into our bras, I had a clear roll advantage and was declared winner. Apparently the excuse of having had a baby 15 months ago no longer washed and a disapproving Smiler told me I should have addressed it long ago with something called 'exercise' (that's him).

A quick trip to Sainsbunny’s followed. I managed to pick the aisle with the Comedy Checkout Lady who tried to sell my nappy bags to the eighty year old gentleman in front of me. Once she realised her mistake she loudly joked about why he would ever want to purchase nappy bags. I could think of a reason and, from his little red face, I think he could too.

09 January 2007

Pea Ping Pong, Pea Marbles, Pea Dodge Ball.........

As Chickie made the most of being left alone with a bowl of peas, I was forced to reappraise our relationship. I thought he would respect this gesture of trust but, as I returned to a highchair that looked like Kermit had met a grizzly end on it’s tray, I realised I’d misjudged this one.

He was having a great time, practising his over-arm and playing spittoon. I went to the happy place in my head as mini green missiles whizzed past my face. I muttered, “No Sweetheart, mummy doesn’t like that behaviour” which was all the discipline I could muster. Chickie cared not and had already moved onto a game of pea marbles.

Earlier in the day, Chickie had spent a fun afternoon playing with his friends. Catching up with the girlies was lovely after a week of solitary confinement as we fell into the easy patter of discussing bowel movements, developmental milestones and the latest viruses.

08 January 2007

A Visit From the Tax Man

I was in no mood to get off the sofa but the relentless ticking of Chickie’s just-out-of-reach car indicator was torturing me. You can tell the people who don’t really like you. They buy your child gifts that they’re guaranteed to adore and play with endlessly. They’re too big to store discreetly, are hideously luminous and have a musical repertoire designed to punish. Most importantly though, they must have no “off” switch.

It had been a relatively peaceful day up until that point. Accountant had wallowed in bed until midday and Chickie was happy as, after suffering a bad botty night, he’d finally lost the will to clench and let himself go (not in the same way his mummy's let herself go). He was much chirpier when I went into him this morning and I was pleased to see he had felt well enough to wipe his nose on my white linen curtains.

Accountant audited me today, ploughing through years worth of paperwork dumped randomly into our ‘filing’ cabinet. The questions came thick and fast – “What’s this credit card? And this one? What’s the current balance? What did you purchase for £184.89 in January 2004?”

Flustered, I tried to keep up wishing I had more time to prepare. I miss the days when I had my own money, could spend it on whatever I wanted and was unaccountable to an Accountant.

My day concluded with a grilling over the eight phonecalls I made to the Hallmark Channel Quiz at 75p a pop. I know now it was a sad mistake but it was a slow moving day and I was sure I knew the answer…

07 January 2007

Chickie's New Wheels

I felt crawling out of bed at 11.30am was an excellent accomplishment. Usually, the first thing I do is clean my teeth as I’m not the kind of person who can afford not to.

Unfortunately for Chickie, I didn’t have the chance to chisel the fungus from my tongue before he plopped onto the bed next to me this morning. He lay there, drifting in and out of consciousness as the toxic fumes worked their magic. Small tears escaped from the corner of his eyes as I sang him a “dead rat” scented lullaby. He let his feelings be known about mummy’s dental hygiene by punching me in the mouth.

Next we were off to town to “Pimp Chickie’s Ride”. He watched it the night before on MTV and wanted his Mamas and Papas Retro Pramette transformed into a lean mean cruising machine. Specifically; alloys, spoiler and some hot flames transfers.

Unfortunately, Mothercare were all out. A despondent Chickie was pushed away in his ‘so last season’ wheels which were actually broken and the real reason we were shopping for a new one. A new go faster version was selected amidst the mania that is Argos in the January Sales. We put it together in the shop. I say ‘we’ but when I looked up after assembling the entire pushchair, Accountant was still trying to clip on the cup holder. Excellent contribution sweetheart x

Accountant spent the walk home droning on about what an important weekend it was for football and quizzing me as to why? I took the opportunity to allow my mind to wander to how wonderful it was to have a new pushchair full of possibilities. It’s lighter, leaner and the wheels go where I point them. I’m taking it into Woolworths tomorrow – bring on the chicanes!!!

06 January 2007

Pre-Menstrual Mummy Meltdown

Getting eyeball to eyeball with Chickie to add dramatic emphasis to the delivery of my “no spitting” warning was not one of my smartest moves. Chickie, not one to miss a golden opportunity, took aim and fired, spraying a fine mist of fishy slobber straight into my unimpressed, but previously, dry and non-fishy, face.

There are many aspects of my personality that are not ideally suited to child rearing, namely, my deep love and respect for order, cleanliness, sleep, peace and obedience.

Preparations for “Operation Self-Feeding Chickie” had been delayed numerous times as I tried to ready myself for the inevitable horror that awaited me. I could put it off no longer so, armed with a 6ft squared piece of plastic and draped in vinyl, I put my fate in the hands of The Lord who I had conversed with regularly during this stressful time.

Day 1 went well, Chickie concentrated on the task at hand, was willing to accept help and any wayward food landed on the plastic as per my prayer requests.

Day 2 was horrible. The novelty of feeding himself already a thing of the past. My dining room looked like a food version of “Saving Private Ryan”. He used his spoon for evil, wielding it like a devil's sceptre, catapulting food around the room, way out of range of 6ft plastic square catchment area. He poked out great mouthfuls with his tongue and spat out any that dared remain. Then the ‘mushing’ began.

My initial guidance took the form of “No Sweetheart, that’s not how you do it”. A more forceful tone was quickly adopted and the No’s grew in intensity. The final stages found me tearful, my spirit broken, infuriated with the creature that had wrecked my home. I did wonder what the neighbours must have thought at my handling of the situation which, I admit, was probably not what The Baby Whisperer would have recommended.

To try and remain calm, I chanted to myself, "He’s only one, he doesn’t mean it, he’s just a little baby" - deep breath and repeat.

05 January 2007

Clingfilm Chickie

Chickie has been super clingy today, monitoring my every movement. Had he been a boyfriend, I would have dumped him. There’s been no pleasing him and every little thing had him reaching his arms up to me with floods of snotty tears rolling down his little face.

If he’d been asked to complete a childcare satisfaction questionnaire, I know his overall rating would have been ‘Rubbish’, with suggested improvements of ‘more cuddles’; ‘more playtime’ and ‘more chocolate malt biscuits’.

His mood was not improved by the fact it was Cleaning Day so I had less time to cater to his cuddle demands. I didn’t much feel like cleaning today, so took some time out to procrastinate. This included a trip to the shop to get the paper. I'm in there again and the more I look at that photograph of myself, the more I wonder just how I managed to achieve quite so much volume and height on that quiff. What was I thinking?

Luckily for me, I bumped into a neighbour, who pointed out that I needed to tend to my moustache. Extensive questionning of family and friends followed who declared my top lip hairless. He then kindly spared me thirty minutes of his time to educate me on the most recent research on male circumcision and the resulting health benefits. A wide-eyed Chickie peered up at me from his pram, his brow furrowed in concern, no doubt wishing his vocabulary extended to "No" and "Snip Snip" rather than "Moo" and "Woof Woof". On my return home, I explained to Chickie that, if he was a good boy, he should have nothing to worry about.

It was the “Take One Thing at a Time” song on CBeebies that finally inspired me to reach for the duster after the slow, unmotivated start to my chores.