29 January 2008

One Way Ticket To Florida Please

Whilst babies may look like adorable little balls of chub, something sinister is lurking beneath those gummy smiles.

Whilst nothing can compare to how you’ll feel about your very own sproglet, no one told me that having one live with you is like being shacked up with the virus carrying monkey from Outbreak.
It’s been a good nine months since I’ve had full use of both nostrils, my glands are constantly swollen in anticipation of the next sinus infection and I spend more time inhaling Vicks Vapour Rub than I do oxygen.

In the good old days, my annual cold would find me tucked under my duvet watching Doris Day films, a tissue plug up each nostril whilst sipping hot Ribena through the straw provided by my mummy who would stroke my brow and tend to my every whim. At times, it was actually quite enjoyable.

Now that I’m the mummy, the gig is well and truly up. Toddlers don’t authorise sick notes. Neither do husbands. Family members are still recovering from the last thing they caught from your child and attending any social function is considered bad form if they appear contagious.
After a week of solitary confinement, I did wonder if my new corrective powder might just reduce his heightened colour and, with a bit of concealer dabbed on his nose, no one might notice that I’d just unleashed something small and highly contagious upon them. Thinking better of it and unable to stem the flow of luminous goo, Chickie, millions of germs and I opted for watching Postman Pat for eight hours stints.

Eventually, food and decongestant supplies began to dwindle. Looking like an advert for Beecham’s Cold and Flu with streaming eyes and red crusty nose, I dragged me and my snotty sidekick to the Supermarket. We were on our second packet of tissues by the time we got to tinned goods.

At just the point I was feeling my very worst, Chickie began to show a marked improvement. His energy levels rising to the point he was feeling well enough to throw everything out of the trolley. Such a fun game warranted the shrillest of shrieking. As I was bent over retrieving my shopping from the floor, grateful for the sinus deadening my ability to hear, a packet of Honey Roast Ham bounced off my aching head. As Chickie, delighted with his achievement, giggled menacingly from the trolley, a single self pitying tear rolled down my flushed cheek.

As I looked into Chickie’s unmerciful eyes, I tried to explain that mummy didn’t feel very well and just wanted to go home to bed. She wanted to watch old movies. She wanted hot Ribena. She wanted a big fluffy duvet and complete silence. She wanted to be the one high on Calpol.
Chickie began to sob as he realised he was ill too and shrieking and throwing stuff was tiring. “Cuggle Mummy” he cried, before flinging his little arms around my waist and rubbing his nose on my jumper.

“Cuggle Mummy” I whispered, wishing mine was there for me to wipe my nose on.

21 January 2008

Chickie Wins Again

Chickie's transferal to a big boy bed didn't go as hoped. His nightly pilgrimages to his stairgate, where he would stand and howl whilst attempting to squeeze himself through the bars, proved relentless. After totting up just ten hours sleep over the course of a week, an executive decision was taken to disassemble the bed and reassemble the cot.

"It'll only take me ten minutes" said Accountant, allen key in hand, as he ushered Chickie and I out of the nursery so he could concentrate on his man's work.

Historically, I have undertaken all DIY activities at Chez Chickie as Accountant proved time and time again why he was an Accountant in the first place. On this occasion, the sleeplessness left me to weak to argue and so Chickie and I snuggled into bed and watched Columbo.

Twenty minutes of swearing and banging later and two inquisitive heads were poked around the nursery door. A puce Accountant was undoing the frame. An enquiry as to why, turned him pucer. 'I put it on the wrong way' he admitted quietly before shooing us out again.

A further twenty minutes passed, a further enquiry as mummy was tired and wanted Chickie behind bars as quickly as possible. I kindly reminded Accountant of his ten minute promise and pointed out that forty minutes had now elapsed.
As helpful as I knew I was being, Accountant reacted badly so Chickie and I returned to the waiting room.

1 hour and 22 minutes later, Chickie's cot was proclaimed ready. The reunion was emotional.

Chickie snuggled down without a murmur and slept the night through, and so did Accountant.

20 January 2008

A Walk To Remember

The beauty of being the younger sister is that you can learn from your sibling’s mistakes, heed her advice and, every year, point out in her birthday card that you’re still ten years perkier and perter than she. That’s why I can’t really blame my sister for being as smug as smug could be.

It hadn’t been a good day. I was tired, I was grumpy and my arms were dragging on the floor. It had all started when I agreed to meet her for a stroll. Chickie was in attendance, summoned as entertainment for the nephews. Nephews who later decided tennis was more interesting so wouldn’t be coming after all.

Upon discovering that the buggy wasn’t actually in the back of the car, I was optimistic in the face of my sister’s concerns. “It’ll be fine. He’ll enjoy the walk” I said. She look unconvinced. “I’m sure the gale force winds, freezing temperatures and swamp like terrain will all add to the sense of fun” I enthused.

Chickie was keen. “Careful” I said before watching him skate through a mud pool. The inevitable kasplat roused a gasp of horror from all watching. I peeled him up, leaving behind a Chickie shaped cast in the ground.

“Carry Mummy” choked a setting Chickie, reaching up a pair of mucky arms as tears cleared a path down his mud packed face. Looking down at my clean coat, I tried to encourage more walking. Chickie became hysterical. Although I repeatedly told my sister I was fine, the second mile of carrying a toddler mistrusting of walking felt like a feat of endurance.

On arrival back at her house, Chickie was finally set down to the sound of my back breaking. He immediately went on one of his 2008 rampages. Chasing him around my sister’s front garden, I politely requested he come back. Chickie ignored me. “COME HERE NOW!” I shouted in my best no nonsense voice. Chickie laughed before screaming, “NO!” and pegging it down the side of the house.

My sister stood on the doorstep. “I told you” she said. I knew exactly what she meant. Admittedly, prior to having my own child, I’d spent a lot of time watching her raise hers. Whilst she was despairing about less than desirable behavioural developments, I’d offer trite parenting advice from the comfort of the free world. Such little gems as “don’t worry, he’ll grow out of it”; “It’s just a phase” and “he won’t still be doing it when he’s eighteen”.

As Chickie reappeared and dived into a nearby bush, she chuckled. “You saw what mine were like” she said as if that should have been enough to put anyone off reproducing. I got ready to pounce.

“Yes, but I’d assumed it was all your fault” I shouted back as Chickie shot past me shrieking with dastardly delight.

“Well, now you know” my sister chirped, finally redeemed and deliciously self righteous as I rugby tackled Chickie to the floor and awaited his wrath.

13 January 2008


Transferring Chickie into a 'big boy' bed seemed like a great idea. Next would come college, then marriage and babies. A time when I anticipate sitting back smugly and watching him be tormented by his very own toddler inbetween my frequent and lengthy holidays abroad. Hopefully, he too will be more interested in squeezing between the bars of the stairgate barring his bedroom door than spending any time actually sleeping between the cold, dark hours of 12am and 7am.

Tonight, he was so tired from his all-night stairgate vigil that he fell asleep in his fish pie. He managed a whimper of distress as he was tucked into bed at 4.30pm before his little body, covered by his new baby duvet, succumbed to utter exhaustion.

Of course, once he wakes up and realises he's in his "big boy bed" they'll be trouble. I'm just hoping that'll be at 8am not 3am.

07 January 2008

Chick Wrangling

It's been a dull one. It was time to see a new set of faces, to hear some new stories and to put an end to the hyperactivity of a toddler so high on chocolate he was functioning on just three hours sleep a night.

Unlike Chickie, I was feeling less energetic. That depressing post-Christmas phase where all children's entertainment stops and the child itself has turned into the anti-Christ thanks to the chocolate buttons selection pack and renewed expectations that life should be an endless cycle of opening presents.

Chickie has also entered his most destructive phase ever. Nothing is safe. Not even me as swiping has begun in earnest. "NO MUMMY!" swipe swipe. "NOOOOOOOOOOoooo" SWIPE. Daddy really gets it as Chickie doesn't take anything he says seriously. "No Chickie" "OW!" "Stop That NOW!" swipe swipe.

When his friends Annabelle and Titch arrived yesterday for a playdate, Chickie wasted no time in showing everyone just how excited he was to see other children again. Annabelle cowered in the corner of the room, fear filling her eyes as Chickie began his rampage. Toys went flying as Chickie kicked them around the room to a tribal war cry, scaring Annabelle into the foetal position. Titch, a younger boy, looked on in admiration at what, with an adjusted attitude, he too could become.

Chickie spent the afternoon boomeranging off the naughty step which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Mummy spent the afternoon desperately leafing through "Kid Wrangling" in pursuit of survival tips.

03 January 2008

The House of the Tiny Tearaway

School holidays are bad. Bad because Chickie has no planned activities, leaving him to prowl round the house destroying all in sight.

Now that Chickie is stringing words together, a trend is definitely developing. "Do as told" he shouted at me today (his way of telling me to Do As I'm Told). "NO Mummy" is another favourite. Followed by "NO! Don't like it". Chickie's enhanced vocabulary comes with accompanying expressions of outrage, distaste and horror.

In Beales on Friday, a kindly lady made the mistake of smiling at him in his pushchair. "NO!" he shouted, glaring at her and swiping at her with his hand. Apologising profusely, I suggested Chickie might like to do the same. "NO!" he screamed before swiping at me.

His destructive streak has also reached epic proportions. He's posted the remote into the video. Snowy had to unscrew it to get it out. Each morning he empties every toy onto the floor before driving his little red car through the wreckage. When told off, he begins throwing his selection of toy cars at the furniture.

To the bearer of the FIFTY little cars (you know who you are) whilst Chickie loves and deeply appreciates them, we need to have a little chat.

At mealtimes the fun continues as he empties the yoghurt pot onto the table before scooping it up with his hands. Pinging his food around the room with his spoon is another favourite pasttime.

Naturally, I'm coping brilliantly with all the mess and attitude and can generally be found, head in hands, surrounded by various forms of transportation, gently rocking as toy cars whizz past my throbbing head.