30 September 2007

Premature Hair Loss

Chickie’s new hair pulling obsession found him back at the Barber’s for a rather severe but necessary No 4 all over. To teach mummy that any efforts on her part to control him were futile, he reached up a chubby hand to twiddle his new do. On discovery that stubble wasn’t twiddlable, he rather resourcefully began pinching it out instead.

That night as I sewed mittens onto the arms of his pyjamas and wondered whether the permanent wear of a bicycle helmet would single him out as ‘different’ from the other children at pre-school, I wondered how Chickie would get out of this one. Twelve hours later, the amazing Chickie had managed it. I still don’t know how he did, but he did, and he looked smug about it too.

This lunchtime I purchased 3 giant t-shirts and spent half an hour sewing the arms shut. A balding Chickie watched me as I chuckled evilly at my genius. “Let’s see you get out of this one, Chickie”. “Bring it on Mummy – bring it on!” (okay, whilst he didn’t actually say those exact words, I could tell what he was thinking. Mummies know these things!)

25 September 2007

Rolled Off The Wagon

I feel dirty, dirty and ashamed.

It all began when my friend who bakes, Vicster S, became "Little Miss Weight Watcher 2007", refusing to eat her own calorie loaded wares, making her friends with no will power, i.e. me, eat them instead. Then my friend Sarah H, began shunning all things carbohydrate, and became "Little Miss Atkins 2007", dropping 7lbs in 2 weeks. Then there's the ever lightweight Six-Pack-Simmie who puts all women to shame, with her "why drive 30 miles when you can jog?" policy. A recent conversation with her has ruined my every subsequent squirt, her words coming back to haunt me as I guility munch, "mayonnaise is the devil's food, it's loaded with saturated fat...devil's food...fat, fat, fat..."

Slightly resentful to be pressured into action by the fact that everyone around me would soon be featuring in weight loss commercials, with their chubby friend, me, saying something trite like "Yes, she's a new woman" and Accountant muttering in the background that "he couldn't help noticing how 'well' she looked in those pink lycra hotpants", I decided a serious attempt to cut back on the scoffing should be made.

The contents of the 'yummy' cupboard were dutifully binged upon in order to start with a clean 'plate', as it were. So, four days ago, it began. No mid-morning packet of Jammy Dodgers with my tea, no scrumptious salt-free Lurpak lathered on sweet, sweet waffles, no dastardly mayonnaise, just boiled rice with boiled peas and boiled fish for dinner. The weight loss initially was encouraging. A 4lb bag of sugar was positioned, as a bodyguard, in front of the cracker cupboard, my next stop after the 'yummy' cupboard, to obstruct entry and serve as a reminder that the equivalent weight in blubber is not attractive.

It was going well, my resistance strong, until today, when, for the second day running, I was a 1lb heavier. Where that pesky pound came from, I just don't know but I hated it and it needed to be punished. After making a serious effort to eat my "Weighwatchers" tomato and lentil gloop this evening, I could take no more. Scrumptious wafts of Accountant's 456 calorie four cheese pizza bubbling in the oven didn't help. Two slices of pizza later and the diet was over.

A further five minutes and 16 party rings (purchased for Chickie's party) later and, high from the sugar rush, I felt an odd combination of shame and elation. Sugar, my dear, dear friend, was back in my life, let us never be parted again. Damn my sweet tooth, well actually, sweet teeth, complete with 13 fillings, I blame Snowy. A greedy pig himself, with a cholestrol reading regularly cause for debate with doctor and daughter. I never stood a chance.

P.S. The party rings are no more. I ate the whole lot. Snowy, you've got a lot to answer for.

24 September 2007

Does My Nappy Look Big In This?

Baby clothes shopping is so much more satisfying than mummy clothes shopping, or at least it was. The simplicity of the ‘one baby fits all’ rule, a little piece of retail bliss in the fashion maze facing those getting to grips with decorating their post-baby shape with snot resistant fabrics.

That was until my child reached the age where his morning greeting is, “Choo Choo”, Postman Pat is the best thing since sliced apple rings and the accompanying slipper, pyjama and scarf set are must have accessories . It would seem my days of browsing the Verbaudet catalogue for cord sailing trousers and lambswool tank tops in classic shades of mocha and putty are already behind me as family members gleefully bestow gaudy coloured garments emblazoned with CBeebies cast members upon a thrilled Chickie. My scowls of distaste just seem to spur them on if the luminous blue Thomas the Tank Engine scarf my Sister smugly wrapped around Chickie’s neck is anything to go by. She’d fished it out especially, knowing how pleased I’d be to see it.

Chickie really was pleased to see it and kisses the choo choo each morning before breakfast. It’s been hard to suppress my urge to hide it. A strategy that has served me well in the past when confronted with an Accountant in a ridiculous cricket hat not meant for a skin tone whiter than his whites, an Accountant in a West Ham beanie not meant for an egg shaped head and an Accountant wearing a hideous festive tie that, when squeezed in the right spot, played Christmas carols. It may seem harsh, but it was for his own protection.

However, with every step of motherhood, comes self-analysis, something I managed to skim over when performing my amazing disappearing hat trick. Whilst the fact I’m a perfection seeking control freak served me well at work, it goes about as well with children as black knickers with white trousers. So, a change and apology to a poor, bewildered Accountant must be made and the Postman Pat pyjamas turned around quickly in the wash so Chickie can sleep happy in the knowledge that he and Pat are both very happy men.

15 September 2007

Hair We Go Again

You’d think I’d learn that being impulsive and optimistic is a disastrous combination, especially when it comes to hair cuts, but no. As always, I decided, after 12 months and with no forethought whatsoever, today was the day to get my hair done after spending a year growing it back from my last unfortunate encounter with a savage hairdresser and some over enthusiastic layering.

My spate of bad luck with hairdressers began at childhood when my mother, an alleged hairdresser although nothing she did to me or my sister’s hair would verify her story, permed me. Blessed with fine hair, but plenty of it, my hair poufed in indignation, swelling to five times it’s normal size like a mousy shroud of candy floss around my head. Glam-Nan set the supposed ‘ringlets’ off with a bulging quiff at the front, kept in place with an industrial strength Alice band. The kids at school were cruel. When I reported back to Glam-Nan that I was now known as Elvis she reapplied the perm solution and straightened it back out.

Things haven’t improved in recent years and the search continues for my follicle soul mate. I envy those women who have found that special someone to groom them like a monkey. Someone who knows that hair prone to frizzing should never, ever be razored. That the chinless shouldn’t go chin length and blonde highlights, no matter how good they look on Jennifer Aniston, will always make me look jaundiced.

Despite all of this, I still remain optimistic that I’m just one cut away from having perfectly gorgeous Mandy Moore hair (PGMMH). When my hairdresser this afternoon actually thought I was the Mandy Moore in the photograph, perhaps I should have been alerted that all was not well. “I can’t believe that’s you” she said, incredulous. “It’s not. It’s Mandy Moore” I replied.

I ignored my gut instinct that had become a devil type character with a comb-over floating above my left shoulder, “Leave now, it’s going to be the 2006 bob crisis all over again”. Then popped up my optimistic angel, with the PGMMH, she was treading water over my right shoulder. “It’ll be fine. She’s the one. In 30 minutes, you’ll have the manageable, perfectly coiffed hair of your dreams, just sit tight”.

30 minutes later, Comb-Over Devil was rubbing his hands together gleefully, “I told you but you wouldn’t listen. This is even worse than last time. This is the worst cut you’ve EVER had”. Comb-Over Devil was right, it really was.

Whilst I could feel disaster was imminent from the two layered bowl cut that was emerging from the wreckage of my hair, and evasive action was desperately needed, I was bound by British politeness to stay routed to the spot. However, when she asked her colleague for advice on how to deal with the “thick chunky bit she just couldn’t get to blend in”, I knew this was my only chance and I took it.

“I’m sorry to interrupt” I said, surprised by my calmness, “and I don’t wish to be rude, but would you mind if your colleague finished the hair cut please?”. Altogether as polite and as rude as can be in one sentence but I’d be jiggered if I was going to sit there any longer and watch the upper bowl reach eyebrow level.

“No, no, of course not” she lied and mumbled something about the perils of cutting dry hair. An uncomfortable 30 minutes ensued whilst de-scissored hairdresser sat in the chair next to me, glaring at every snip saviour hairdresser made in her attempts to make two bowls become one.

Clutching my crumpled photo of PGMMH, I wandered out of the shop, now so used to looking like I’ve been attacked with a hedge trimmer, I didn't even cry.

13 September 2007

The Pit of Love

"Happy Anniversary”. An excellent start. May be I could dig myself out of this Greeting Card catastrophe after all. On opening, it turned sour, “To A Special Couple”. Whilst there’s no doubt we are a “SPECIAL” couple, and not in a good way, my reserve card stash wasn’t offering anything I could fob off as pre-selected for my husband in celebration of our 3rd wedding anniversary, which was approaching faster than I could pop out to purchase the card I could have sworn I’d already bought.

As Accountant proudly bestowed his offering, delighted with himself for its early dispatch and tasteful frontage as opposed to the usual last minute petrol station dash to purchase mixed carnations and any card where a teddy and love heart had become inextricably entwined. It seemed as though our repeated 'chats' over my floral and stationery standards had finally paid off.

As he waited expectantly for his ‘good boy’ pat, I felt bad. Largely because I knew that all future arguments would now centre around the day I forgot to buy him an anniversary card. The day I became fallible. The day one of those pesky 3,420 balls I’d juggled so brilliantly for 31 years, slipped from my grasp and tumbled to the floor in slow motion. Drat. Drat. Drat. That’s when I decided my misplacement of one sodding ball wasn’t going find me slung into the ball pit with an Accountant for company.

I had two options:

Option One: Lie and Hope He Forgets.

Me: “That’s lovely, Sweetheart. Thank you. I’ve got your card but as it’s not our anniversary officially for another 2 hours, I’ll wait till then to give it to you so it’s extra special.”

Option Two: Distract and Hope He Forgets.

Me: “Thank you Sweetheart. I love my card, it’s lovely”

Apply hug of appreciation whilst turning over tv behind Accountant’s back to Baywatch reruns.

Me: “ Oh my god, what does Pamela Anderson think she looks like in that pvc thong?”

Accountant: “Where?”

After careful consideration, I went with Option Two. Job Done.

08 September 2007

To Be Wound Up to The Point Your Head Might Explode, Please Press 1

A friend said to me the other day that I must be the kind of person who sees the humour in everything. Generally, that’s true, and it’s usually when I shouldn’t.

Take the time a colleague went kasplat into the glass wall of our office with an impact so forceful, her glasses needed replacing. A concerned enquiry as to her general well being and a helpful tug to her feet would have been the appropriate response, but hard to pull off sincerely when it ranks in the Top Ten of your funniest comedy accidents of all time.

However, today I have struggled very hard to find anything vaguely amusing about my telethon with Virgin Media after trying to connect my highly anticipated and awaited new laptop to the internet.

By telephone call number eight, I’m ashamed to say that I was intermittenly sobbing. It may sound pathetic and, you’d be right, it completely is.

“Hello, Virgin Media, Before we continue I need to inform you.....”

I helpfully interject at this point “calls are 25p per minute, networks and mobiles may vary and you will be charged a 10p connection fee –I KNOW! ”

Virgin Operator now realises they are dealing with a nutjob and proceeds with caution. “How may I help you today, Miss Ruby?”

“This is my eighth phonecall to Virgin” I whisper in the tone of a horror baddie teetering on the edge of sanity. “I have been on the phone trying to resolve this issue for what is now approaching 5 hours” snarl, snarl. “Four members of your staff have said they’ll call me back - they haven’t”. Big dramatic breath. “All I want to do is connect my new laptop to the internet and for my old laptop to also remain connected to the internet rather than your operator connecting my new one whilst disconnecting my old one despite my queries to the operator of “are you sure you’re not disconnecting my old one?”. Huge huff.

“Okay Miss Ruby” says the robot operator turning to the script in her manual entitled “How To Fobb Off The Mentally Unbalanced Customer”. “What I need you to do is click on start, then type in cmd” she starts.

Now completely in character for my role as “Sarcastic Customer From Hell”, I jump ahead 10 stages and give her the IP address she’s trying to guide me through like the moron she assumes I am. Robot continues in monosyllabic tone, unimpressed by my newly acquired technical abilites and reports that there’s a fault. A fault that lies with Virgin. A fault that has been ongoing for 3 weeks and she has no idea when it might be resolved.

“So I have spent 3 hours on the phone to Dell at a cost of £10 for them to tell me there’s a problem with Virgin. A further 2 hours on the phone to Virgin at a cost of £30 for you to tell me it’s your fault but you have no idea when it might be fixed and now both my laptops aren’t working when previously at least my old one was”, I summarised helpfully.

“That is correct Miss Ruby” said the Robot with the indifference and superiority of someone far, far away and whose personal internet connection was just peachy.

Chickie begins giggling. He’s watered the rug with his blackcurrant fruit smoothie and is now using the spillage to colour in the white stripes purple.

That’s when the tears began to well and with a pathetic gurgle in my voice I wished the robot a good day and ended the call. Blaming my theatrical reaction on my hormone imbalance, I rang Snowy for some sympathy. “Calm down” he suggested. Big mistake. Snowy got an earful. Phone call terminated. More crying.

This blog will double up nicely as my letter of complaint to Mr Branson.

02 September 2007

The Impenetrable Bottom

"Ooooh, a Ninky Nonk”, I said, genuinely excited. Lifting up the brightly coloured little train in it’s box, I pretended to be engrossed in it’s design to avoid the sympathetic glance of the saleswoman who, probably quite justly, was looking at me like I needed to go out with three dimensional grown ups more often.

The thing is, I do, they come with the children. However, most of them would be equally as excited at the prospect of a Ninky Nonk, Pinky Ponk or Tombliboo now available in a Mothercare near you. For the uninitiated, your tot won’t stand a chance of being the coolest kid at nursery if he doesn’t know his Trubliphone from his Og-Pog so make sure he’s tuned in to ‘In the Night Garden’. It's the latest craze to hit CBeebies and casts an entrancing spell over all children who watch it, instantly hushing their whining and making them sleepy, very sleepy. All of the above feature heavily and the opportunity to purchase the promise of something which may hypnotise your child into a temporarily mute state or, my personal favourite, unconsciousness is delightful.

The only slight spanner in the works is Chickie’s curious distrust of ‘The Tittifers’. A singing toucan group, yet to appear on X-Factor, who pop up from time to time. Their appearance is cause for immediate alarm and all the soothing benefits of Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy are lost as he quivers behind my legs, eyes firmly averted.

This is the latest in a growing list of “Reasons to Hide Behind Mummy’s Big Bottom” which Chickie obviously feels is of sufficient density to shield him from all evils in this world.