30 May 2007

Lord of the Strop

Typing my blog, sat at my kitchen table overlooking my lawnless garden, with a cup of tea and homemade flapjack, it couldn’t be a greater contrast to the scene of utter mayhem that occurred in this very spot just twenty minutes ago.

There are moments of motherhood that I wish I could pickle, locking them in a jar for safekeeping knowing that, one day, when I’m old and my memories are all I have left, how wonderful it would be to open the lid and feel the perfect softness of my baby's cheek squished against mine, his slobbery raspberry kisses only ever issued before bedtime and how he strokes my hair as he falls asleep in my arms, the scent of his freshly ‘Sudacremed’ bottom wafting up my nose.

Then there are moments when pickling the baby itself seems the more appealing option. Watching my father struggling to move a screaming pushchair that was rocking fiercely from side to side whilst two alternating kicking legs thrashed in and out of view, it wouldn’t have been inconceivable that Godzilla had somehow found his way into my child’s buggy and didn’t much fancy a trip to the park.

Personally, I felt Chickie had over-reacted to my changing the angle of his yoghurt pot from pour to eat mode. It is clear to me now that previous tantrums weren’t tantrums at all. Merely, strops. I know this because the previous didn’t incorporate stamping so fierce and fast, to a soundtrack of Irish folk music, he could be Lord of the Dance. Secondly, the screaming of yestermonth wasn’t so forceful that you could spare yourself the trouble of blowdrying your hair in the morning and just wait for Chickie’s breakfast meltdown and thirdly, yoghurt pot correction wasn’t cause for hyperventilation.

Now living in an environment of tyranny and fear, Chickie’s new temperament has found Accountant and I tiptoeing around him warily, frightened that, should we look at him in the wrong way or upset him by offering to read him a story or give him a bath, we could inadvertently unleash the beast. Communication has been reduced to a minimum whisper, adopting a ,”if he’s quiet, leave him” policy.

Public outings have become perilous minefields, fraught with the potential for hideous humiliation. Sat in the café on Monday, all was going swimmingly until Chickie’s frustration levels escalated out of all control when he couldn’t do the buckle up on his highchair. At the first whiff of an outburst, I declared a “Code Red”. Accountant, taking his cue, swooped him out of the highchair, bundled him inside his coat and made a run for the exit.

Admittedly, it has come as a shock that “my child won’t be like that” philosophy was a pile of plop. My ignorance in assuming that I would always be able to control his behaviour using logical reasoning or chocolate now obvious. However, I do still hold out some hope that, when he’s old enough to understand, “get on that naughty step and stay there for three days!”, that might just do the trick.

29 May 2007

Sleep Deprivation on our Summer Holiday

Stuck in a 12 mile traffic jam, somewhere on the A30, east of Cornwall, two sets of parents, in two separate cars, were experiencing two very different starts to their holiday.

In the precision packed Vauxhall Estate, an impeccably coiffed 19 month old baby girl named “Poff” was perusing her mobile library, contemplating whether “Cornwall: Leisure Walks for All Ages” or “Truro and Falmouth – Roseland Peninsula” would be stimulating enough to amuse her for the rest of the journey.

In the VW hatchback behind, it was hard to tell just how many people were in the car thanks to the ‘ram and squish’ packing policy of the driver. Despite the limited amount of air pockets, the smallest, yet most audible, passenger was selfishly gulping down oxygen as his initial grumblings were upgraded to ear-popping howls.

By mile 11, Poff put down her book which she’d found to be a thoroughly informative read. She couldn’t wait to tell Mummy about the route she’d planned for the family hike but she’d wait until Mummy finished her nap.

In the other car, Mummy No 2 was keeping a glazed eye out for the nearest lay by. She knew that hitchhiking was illegal but thought, under the deafening circumstances, she’d take her chances.

Unfortunately for Mummy and Daddy No 2, this proved the perfect introduction for what was to come. Chickie, indisposed to alterations to his established routine, repaid our kindness of allowing him to remain in the car despite my suggestion of giving him some “time out” on the roof rack, by going on poo, sleep and hunger strike.

Admittedly, he’s always on poo strike although he did release a sausage shaped souvenir into their shared bath. Unfortunately for Poff, it wasn’t detected until it was too late. Five more baths, three showers and a rub down with Dettol were incorporated into the decontamination process. Seemingly inspired by the possibilities an unprotected bottom presented, Chickie then did a nice big wee in the doorway of Wuce's room.

Next came the conjunctivitis. Two more outlets to add to his ‘oozing illuminous yellow goo’ list. Eye drop administration proved trickier than anticipated as Chickie decided he hated them more than anything else he’d ever come across before, ever! His response to scream and writhe as if being murdered, whilst doing kung fu moves and wild head butts. Accountant was employed as resident heavy, instructed to hold down all flailing bits whilst I endeavoured to jimmy his eyes open.

By the end of the week, tired and withdrawn, we presented the “Best in Show” Award for the second year running, to the Poff who had outperformed in every category. Compliance, Attitude, Slumber, Sanitation & Hygiene, Regularity & Ease of Bowel Movements, Consumption, Vocabulary, Critical Reasoning, Congeniality and General Well Being. As she took her lap of honour, hindered slightly by her covering of red rosettes, Chickie was busy trying to peel off the sellotape covering the plug sockets after his foiled attempt to insert a key into one earlier in the week.

Now back in his own home, fully equipped with a full catalogue of health and safety products a child prone to kamikaze activities requires, I’m hoping the comfort of the familiar will lull him back to the sweet child of a week ago.

Later that evening, whilst administering eye drops to the household's second baby, whose eyes had begun to fill with a suspiciously familar gunk over the course of the evening, it became clear Chickie wasn't the only whingey bum in the family.

Cornwall 2007

26 May 2007

Excess Baggage

“Can I play badminton Thursday night?” asked Accountant.
“We’ve got to pack for holiday”
“We can do that Friday morning”
“We’re leaving at 9.30am”
“That’s loads of time!”

And there you have it. The brief exchange that highlights, simply yet brilliantly, the vast preparatory chasm that separates the male holidaymaker from the female.

The calendar declares in bright, red capitals, that Thursday is, “PACKING DAY”. 16 hours dedicated to hand selecting, re-selecting, whittling, re-whittling, painstakingly folding then layering meticulously in order of thread count, the perfect holiday wardrobe.

Consideration is shared equally amongst four core categories:


For sunny days, madam will require the ½ length, cobbled thigh concealing, black linen trouser. For brisker days, the ¾ length and for anything cooler, full length is essential to avoid one’s leg hair bristling in the breeze. Bottom size is, of course, a major factor and all trousers selected must comply with my ‘Wide Load Code’ for 2007.


As I spend my days attached to a wee beastie, prone to blowing his nose on my trousers and spitting fruit particles deemed an unsatisfactory texture into my hair for that ‘just slept in a skip’ look, a wipeable pvc catsuit with tummy control panel would be the most practical of uniforms. That said, it’s an unforgiving fabric more suited to glue making than mummywear, and likely to make the woman who turns up to playgroup vacpacked into one the subject of much malted milk biscuit flavoured speculation, washed down with a beaker of squash.

Body Mass Index

Short sleeved shirts for hot, flump shaped days. Jumpers for chilly, bloated days. Lycra and Imodium for those uncomfortable, yet slimming, irritable exploding bottom days.

Once all fifteen pairs of black linen trousers of assorted length are folded and organised according to the five day weather forecast, they can be placed in their pre-allocated positions as per the ‘master suitcase diagram’.


A heading unto itself and the reason we considered hiring a lorry for the trip. Chickie was barely visible by the time the car was packed. A small, yet vocal, passenger wedged between three suitcases, a mattress, a cot top changer, a fire truck and three bottles of lactulose.

16 May 2007

Dirty, Dirty Dancing

“I am Carlo” he said in a thick Spanish accent. “Liz” I muttered, British styley, to the floor.

Arriving at Salsa that evening, I was woefully ignorant of what lay ahead. It was the start of a new class. A beginner’s class. A class I had expected to offer no surprises and to highlight me in a more favourable rhythmic light than previous efforts thanks to my 12 week headstart.

I had even worn 4” heels for my debut and gone to the trouble of changing out of my snot stained hoodie, opting instead for one of my old maternity smocks. Comforted by the additional swathes of fabric ruched over my midriff, I flung my magic knickers aside, confident I would be able to get through the evening without breathing out.

After Cuban Step No 2’s 17th attempt, I was beginning to regret two things. Firstly, the high heels, which were burrowing into what I was now confident was a bunion forming on my right foot and secondly, my unscaffolded stomach that required a further 80 minutes of intense sucking in before it was free to flop.

A third regret was soon added to the list when it became clear that Salsabum and I would no longer be able to seek refuge in the arms of the other and were expected to rotate around the class like everyone else. Having watched Chickie empty my extra, extra strong peppermints onto the floor earlier that day, I dearly wished they were with me now. Now I needed to hold my breath for two reasons, which is difficult when you’re nose to halitosis detecting nose with a complete stranger, desperate to say something, anything, in an attempt to dispel the embarrassment of being so beyond intruding on their personal space that you actually are their personal space.

First Becky, then Sally. David the instructor, merrily chirping, “Look at your partner, don’t look at the floor, this dance is about passion, love. Look up, look up!”.

Looking into Sally's eyes, as Sally looked back, was just too much. This dance was about uneasiness, over familiarity and a desperate need for some Listerine. Next up, Chris. “Don’t look at the floor, look up” I said to myself out loud. Followed by, “mind you, sometimes it’s worse when you look up”.

Nice one. “Not that I’m saying you’re not nice to look at”. Hole 1 metre and deepening. “Not that I mean you’re nice”. Hole 2 metres. Oh God, someone stop me. “I just meant, it’s embarrassing having to gaze into a stranger's eyes”. Hole 3 metres.

“Change Partners” said the Instructor.

Oh, thank God. “Bye, sorry!” I squeaked, gratefully scuttling into the arms of another. That’s when Carlo made his introduction.

He wasn’t like the other men at salsa. He stood very straight, reminding me of a proud Matador, poised for the arrival of whichever bull dared enter the ring to take him on. So flustered was I from my previous release, this bull was somewhat shocked to find herself locked into a thigh rubbing embrace with a man clearly very skilled in the art of gyration.

Wondering whether he could feel my padded bra at such unexpectedly close proximity, the benefits of which were being flattened against his no doubt extremely hairy chest, I was grateful that I hadn’t opted for my big knickers after all, sensing that he was the kind of man that would spot a pair at a hundred paces.

As my ungainly hooves repeatedly cracked his seemingly elastic legs, I longed to return to the comfort of the lumbering, stumbling men I was used to. Apologising to Carlo as he attempted to twirl the untwirlable onto her next partner, he said, “you will have no trouble, a sexy girl like you”.

‘Sexy?’ ‘Girl?’ Two words I’d deleted from my description on October 24th 2005. I couldn’t wait to embellish and regurgitate to Accountant.

Upon arrival home, Accountant was descending the stairs, his joggies pulled up to his armpits. “If you want my body and you think I’m sexy, come on baby let me know”. Unimpressed by my crooning with accompanying Cuban sidestep, Accountant mustered an eyebrow raise.

I was told I’m sexy, yes, that’s right I’m sexy, don’t you want to know by whom?” (same tune as above).

“Have you seen my calculator?” came the response.

15 May 2007

Life's A Journey, Just Don't Travel With Us

As my friends will testify, there are two types of story that I consider my specialty due to extensive experience in both areas.

1. Navigational Nightmares
2. Soiling Situations

Today will focus on the former and was also the day of Accountant’s Uncle’s 75th Birthday Party in Kent. My last words to Accountant before we left were, “print a map off”. Accountant’s last words to me before we left were, “I don’t need one. I know where it is”.

Seven years of multiple misplacements have taught me that his confidence was just the first misplacement of this particular journey. Seven years have also taught me to keep quiet and pack for the long haul. As I nestled a bottle of water into my survival pack, next to the motion sickness pills, emergency flares and toilet roll, I wondered how long I'd be trapped in the car this time.

It was doubtful it would beat the 5 hours we spent driving up and down the same road trying to locate our accommodation in Spain which we’d selected for it’s close proximity to the airport. Or the 4 hours that it took me to cover the 45 minutes it usually takes to get from Tunbridge Wells to Crawley. Or the time Lauren and Lee followed us to Brighton, as we were local, taking a fun filled 1½ hours to travel 11 miles.

Yes, when it comes to getting lost, Accountant and I are brilliant. When it comes to bickering, Accountant and I are also brilliant.

That’s why a fly drive around New England on our honeymoon was especially ridiculous. It was all going swimmingly until the day we drove from Cape Cod to Vermont. A journey anticipated to take five hours. A journey that took ten.

Accountant was dubious in the face of my claims that the dirt track we had to switch into four wheel drive to negotiate was in fact the interstate we were looking for. Adamant that I was right although slightly unnerved by the burnt out cars and Blair Witch style surroundings, I prayed we weren't off roading to our chainsaw induced deaths. After half an hour of repeated checking of my wing mirror to ensure the sinister looking jogger we passed wasn’t clinging to the bumper wielding an axe, I was beginning to accept that I may have made a slight misjudgment. On closer inspection of the map, I did happen to notice that the ‘Goshen’ I’d directed us towards was actually in a different state.

That said, it’s not always me. There was the time Accountant arranged a surprise trip to France. The arguments began the moment we arrived and I discovered Accountant was travelling map-less opting for complete reliance on his finely honed navigational intuition. Each subsequent wrong turn, of which there were many, provoked loud huffing, tutting and muttered insults.

When we finally arrived at our accommodation, via Belgium, communication stopped. The rose clad, quaint French pensione with wrought iron balcony and black shutters that I had imagined awaited our arrival and would give Accountant the necessary brownie points lost for forgetting the map, was replaced by a concrete multistoreyesque monstrosity. Glancing at Accountant through slitted eyes, we and our luggage deposited ourselves into the foyet.

Two French ladies looked up. Accountant, now in a foul, foul mood, spared the niceties and shouted loudly, “Reservation Ruby”. Two confused French ladies looked back. Accountant, highly skilled in the art of international relations, repeated and shouted louder, “R-E-S-E-R-V-A-T-I-O-N R-U-B-Y”. Two French ladies smirked back and said, “Non Monsieur. C'est l'hôpital.”

Accountant looked confused. The two French ladies could hold back their mirth no longer and neither could I. “It’s the local hospital” I explained slowly and ever so slightly smugly to a scowling Accountant. Finding it difficult to walk for laughing, I sat on the steps outside watching Accountant’s embarassed silhouette stomp off into the distance. Lucky for us, our hotel was positioned right behind the hospital. A dream location. More arguing followed.

Accountant felt I should be grateful that he had arranged anything at all whilst I felt staying at a Hotel Ibis on an Industrial Estate behind the local hospital on a motorway was testament to the fact Accountant didn’t know me at all and our whole relationship needed immediate re-appraisal.

Thankfully, it was a short trip despite being made hours longer when Accountant drove through the biggest pothole in France whilst gauking at another motorist on our way home. When the tyre went pop, whilst another nail in the "weekend from hell" coffin, we thought it was just a case of putting the spare tyre on. That was until we met the locking wheel nut that required a special, yet absent, tool to remove it.

Not covered by international roadside assistance, Accountant spent the next hour shouting at the French lady the British RAC had put us in contact with trying to explain that we were on a roundabout somewhere near the Eurotunnel.

Another hour passed of which I had spent a frenzied 20 minutes trying to position various pieces of newspaper and clothing around the windows of the car to create a now desperately needed private toilet area. Thwarted at every turn and increasingly worried about the curious glances of other motorists using the roundabout and my pulsating bladder, I was forced to seek refuge down the adjacent embankment. I chose to ignore the busy motorway just 300 metres away, hoping the passengers wouldn't notice the girl squatting in the grass with her tights round her ankles.

An hour and a half after our puncture, help arrived. A French mechanic, despatched by the lady on the phone, who had obviously been told an Englishman had got a puncture and was too stupid to fix it (not far wrong). French mechanic didn’t have the special tool to remove the safety nut either. French mechanic left, grunting that he’d return. A further one and a half hours passed - no F.M.

In the meantime, a fellow Englishman stopped to offer his assistance. Explaining our predicament, we waited for him to leave as all the others had before him. Instead, he reached into our glove compartment, where it transpired locking wheel nut removers are kept. Feeling that Accountant should perhaps have known this little gem of information about his vehicle, my mood darkened, crossing from severly pee'd off to simmering, stewing fury.

We didn't speak on the journey back to Eurotunnel Terminal to catch our much later than planned train home. Armed with a hot drink and bubbling resentment, we sat in silence in the car awaiting our departure and an end to the relationship.

When called to embark, Accountant shifted into first gear, driving forwards out of the space. The only problem being the big, fat dividers intended to stop people driving forwards out of the space. As we ricocheted backwards, the jolt was such that my very hot, hot chocolate leapt out of it's cup landing in my lap, burning both thighs and leaving an attractive, steaming wet patch in my crotch. That's when crying seemed like the only thing left to try. And cry I did, most of the way home, which took an hour longer due to the spare wheel restricting our speed to 50mph.

I also cried when Accountant arranged a special weekend away for us in Cornwall.

St Ives actually - a 7 hour drive when you arrive home late from work on a Friday night despite saying you were taking a half day. I took the pre-agreed half day and spent it waiting for Accountant. Another bad start to a long, long journey.

We arrived in St Ives at 11pm Friday night.

We left at 10am Sunday morning.

A 12 hour round trip, whilst pregnant, for one day's sightseeing in St. Ives. I should mention, I've been twice before.

Oh, and we were half an hour late for John’s Birthday. “This looks like the right road”. “May be not” “Let’s try this one”. “No, not this one either”.

That said, his heart is always in the right place despite our always being in the wrong one. x

12 May 2007

Warning - This Isn't Pleasant

Chickie’s got a mohican. Glam-Nan thought she’d style it in readiness for his day out claiming it enhanced cuteness levels. Whilst she says she used authentic wax based hair product, I couldn’t help but think there was a strong chance he’d styled it himself using the abundant supply of gooey slime currently being manufactured by his over-productive nostrils. Whilst appreciating the extra volume added a cheeky ‘Chick about Town’ quality, I did wonder at what age spiking your tots hair crosses from chav to fab.

Chickie had stayed over at Glam-Nan and Snowy’s, giving them the fun job of peeling him off his sheet in the morning and scraping the crusted goop from his cheeks, hands and hair. A child's capacity to churn out vile and unsavoury substances on a daily basis never fails to amaze me but not more so than my ability to handle them without the protection of surgical gloves and goggles. The sight that greeted me two mornings ago, I could never have imagined. A snuffly Chickie having been slimed by his own nostrils during the night. A bath was considered essential coupled with vigorous exfoliation from the shoulders up. A wire brush would have been my exfoliator of choice but apparently considered bad form.

On a positive note, a fun, new mucous based game has been devised by Glam-Nan. It’s called Snot Winders. All you need for minutes of family fun is 1 sheet of kitchen roll and 1 snottie tottie.

Roll kitchen roll into a cigar shape. Place tot in a highchair facing away from you. Place kitchen roll cigar under snotty nostril ensuring snot adheres to cigar. Roll kitchen roll continously until nostril runs dry. Repeat for remaining nostril.

Gross? Try it and you’ll discover there are few things in life as gratifying as winding 10 metres of green stuff out of your child’s nose.

10 May 2007

Thigh Surprise

Since having Chickie, the Doctors has become our top attraction. If it’s not me, it’s him. Today was me.

Despite my no doubt featuring on the top of his "Monthly Neurotic Patient Report", my Doctor looked as interested as ever as I described my itchy spots in fascinating detail.

“They start like stinging nettle marks, then they go red, then itchy”

My doctor looked perplexed, as he always does whenever I pay him a visit and present him with a fresh array of obscure symptoms.

Next up:

“It’s got ridges in it”.

More perplexion followed by some prodding and poking.

“You’ve got flabby-thigh-itis”. Okay, whilst not his exact diagnosis, that was the upshot. A lump of fat that’s taken the time and trouble to journey, no doubt from my bottom, to set up home on my right thigh creating a somewhat unique cobbled effect.

No hot pants for me this summer then, not that they were ever an option really but, a girl can dream that a diet rich in cocoa solids can and will lead to being toned somewhere.

06 May 2007

Best Laid Lawns

I can’t quite believe I’m typing the following but, it would seem that Accountant may have been right. This is a rare occurrence that happens as often as my being wrong but, it has finally happened in my life time.

He relented under my brutal badgering and approved a complete lawn transplant. However, my smugness was short lived. Every day has been spent working the land - digging, excavating, stamping, levelling and raking then re-raking in readiness for the Bank Holiday Weekend. When Chickie slept, I raked. When Chickie went out with Nanna and Grandad, I raked. When Chickie went to bed, Accountant dug and I raked. Twenty hours of toil, five callouses and hands that may never look womanly again and we were ready to go.

When a scowling Accountant dumped his 15th wheelbarrow full of turf at my wellied feet, I could tell he was beginning to hate me. And I was beginning to hate gardening despite my initial enthusiasm and the development of a curious crush on Alan Titchmarsh. As I surveyed the 27 squared metres of dubiously levelled mud and then down at the 4ft high pile of turf, I did wonder why I’d done it to myself.

Upon unrolling my new green carpet, my spirits wilted further. Rather than the lush, thick bowling green grass I’d come to expect (a la batch No 1), this sad looking offering was yellowing and smelt of something very, very familiar.


As Accountant had barricaded himself in the house to avoid all involvement, I decided I’d plunder on and see what happened. One hour and four squared metres later and I decided a call to the garden centre was overripe as was my, now steaming, lawn.

Me: "It's yellow and smells funny"

Penny at the Garden Centre: “What does it smell like?”.
Me: “Horse droppings”.
Penny at the Garden Centre: “It shouldn’t smell like that, that means it’s fermenting and won’t root. You need to bring it back”
Me: “Marvellous”

Me: “Sweetheart, we need to take the lawn back”
Accountant: “@#;!in& b@#%!** hell

Not only had I spent every waking moment preparing the lawn for this weekend meaning I had no time to do anything of an enjoyable nature and, most importantly, couldn’t even do my housework leaving me rocking in the corner muttering “dirty, dirty, dirty, must clean, clean, dusty, bad, dirty”, our dull bank holiday weekend arrangements have been scuppered and we now have a giant mud pit for a garden until June.

A toned upper body and sunkissed glow would have been some consolation for my wasted efforts but, no, bingo wings, acne and a disgruntled husband is all that’s on offer.

03 May 2007

Waitrose Tantrum Shocker

If you were unlucky enough to be in Waitrose today around 12pm, that shrill screeching you were no doubt tutting about and that was probably responsible for your swifter than planned exit was none other than my precious little angel.

Despite desperately hoping that his behaviour at Cecilia’s was due to excessive tiredness, irritable bowels or pmt, it would seem not. That day was the start of something. Something horrible.

Terrible two’s my bottom. Terrible eighteen months more like. Immediate screaming follows any action deemed unsatisfactory by a precariously balanced Chickie. Today’s outburst was general displeasure at being placed in a shopping trolley. My attempts to inform Chickie that John Lewis partnership babies don't do tantrums, instead opting for sitting perfectly still whilst occasionally pointing to the organic fruit and vegetables they fancy for tea, fell on deaf ears.

Whilst he’s developed the adorable habit of cuddling into me before bedtime and stroking my hair, it’s the least he can do when you take into account the preceding behaviour. However, every cloud has a silver lining. In this case, there are two.

Firstly, it would seem Chickie has the telly addict gene which my father gave to me when I was a tot and I’ve lovingly passed on to my first born. Turn telly on, turn bad Chickie off. Fab. Yes, I know toddler tv addiction is not to be encouraged but the entrancing spell it casts is hard to resist.

Secondly, pre-school. A looming sparkly option. A place where Chickie can go and destroy someone else’s property leaving him so tired from his efforts that he'll sleep for the rest of the day.

As Chickie now demands that he walks everywhere free of the constraints of his pushchair or trike, I have cunningly tweaked the 'routine' to incorporate an intensive toddler power walk in the morning which has the dual benefit of keeping Chickie sweet whilst making him as sleepy as sleepy can be following luncheon. His three hour naps are making his mummy very happy.

01 May 2007

Chickie The Menace

“He’s not normally like this, I’m really sorry. I think he’s tired”

The excuses were coming thick and fast as I tried to convince Cecilia, Vicky and a perfectly behaved baby Lola, that Chickie was usually a lovely, well behaved child and not an out of control minion of anarchy.

What did he do? What didn't he do! It started with screaming on arrival when Cecilia tried to give him a hug followed by sobbing whilst clinging to my leg. When he finally let go of my leg it was to make a run for it back down her garden path.

Upon retrieval, attempts to extract my car keys from his vice like grip prompted tantrum Number Two.

Tantrum Number Three began when he was confined to the living room. After chasing him around in circles for most of the morning all doors were finally closed. Each time a door was opened, Chickie could be found hanging from the door knob.

When the kitchen door was left open for a nano second, he was in Cecilia's kitchen cupboards before you could say, "NOOOoo, Chickie, put the baked beans back now!" which is where Tantrum Number Four began.

Then commenced the throwing. Sandwiches, keys, blocks, baked beans. Vicky was quick to form a protective shield around Lola with her hands.

Oh, then there was the biting. Firstly my trousers/leg and then Cecilia’s nice leather sofas.

Finally, ashamed and exhausted from his exploits, I apologised profusely and carried my disgraced and still screaming son to the car where he objected forcefully to being put in his car seat.

That was the point I realised I may never be able to go out in public again.