26 March 2008

Super Chickie

To ensure the preservation of any male child, communication between parents is vital. That’s why I like to think I would have mentioned to Accountant if, on my watch, Chickie had decided he could fly.

So, when I opened the gate at the top of the stairs to find Chickie soaring through the air towards my folded arms, I was unprepared. Chickie, realising from mummy’s horrified expression that daddy hadn’t informed mummy of his new super powers, began flapping desperately.

Fortunately, since becoming a mother, my body has been on constant high alert and adrenalin levels have never dropped below ‘very anxious’. As my adrenal glands pumped into action, I caught a swooping Chickie, before he began his descent.

“Again!” exclaimed Chickie, thrilled by the near death experience and mummy’s screams of pain as her shoulder pinged in three places.

Mummy lay shaking on the step, waiting for her heart beat to regulate.

Chickie made his way back to the launching pad.

“No Sweetheart, you mustn’t jump off the stairs. It’s really dangerous” I pleaded, trying to grab him as he wriggled away.

“Okay mummy” he said so earnestly, I almost believed him. Until he started positioning himself for take off.

“NO!” I screamed, slamming the gate shut as he began his run up.

Looking at his disappointed face through the bars, I wished he could stay there forever. Protected from danger.

Taking his little hand in mine as he padded down the stairs at my side, I looked down at the top of the fluffy head I’ve spent hours sniffing because it’s simply the best fluffy head in the world. Fluff wasn’t enough to protect that precious head. I wondered if his neck muscles would be strong enough to support a motorcycle helmet yet and whether it’s constant use might single him out as ‘different’ at playgroup? Plus, as he’s never even going to be allowed to look at a motorbike, perhaps a cycling helmet would be fairer?

Chickie, unaware of my inability to relax since his birth and my plans for him to become ‘that weird kid in the headguard’, chatted about ‘daddy’ and ‘jump jumps’.

I rang my mother and sister to inform them Chickie now had wings and Accountant had been implicated. Then followed a call to Accountant to update him on how we both nearly died and to question his involvement.

Consistent with the behaviour I have come to expect of all men (with the exception of my father who’s been lucky enough to enjoy an all female household for 40 years) Accountant’s concern was masked brilliantly by his thorough enjoyment of my story. At times, he even sounded proud of his playmate’s irresponsible attitude towards health and safety.

After hanging up to his denials of all involvement, I wished I was a boy. Free to live life like a lemming, knowing some tormented woman somewhere would do her best to catch me.

18 March 2008

The House Of Poo...

Take one bored toddler, one steaming nappy and a small pair of wandering hands and you too could have the type of morning that I enjoyed last Monday.

It's rare that I'm rendered speechless but the sight of a nursery and its accompanying toddler repainted using botty dumplings will do that to you.

For the first two minutes, I just stood staring at my son as he held his two makeshift paintbrushes up to me. "Cuggle?" he offered. I gagged in response.

Aware that I'd much rather someone else deal with the horrific scene that confronted me, I fetched the phone and pressed one on the speed dial. "Hi Mum. It's me" I said, attempting to sound like a contented little mummy who had just woken up naturally to the scent of Johnson's baby powder and the gentle cooing of her toddler's affirmations of love and appreciation.

"Hello Darling. How are you?"

"Fine thanks. You okay? Good. Are you doing anything at the moment?"

"I've got some friends coming round for tea and scones. Why?"

Tea and scones! I longed to retire. "Oh, no reason. Just thought you might like to pop round and see Chickie but not to worry."

"Sorry. Can't today. But perhaps another day?"

I considered how long you could legally leave a fermenting child locked in his room. "Can you make tomorrow?" I tried.

"No, sorry. Can't do tomorrow"

"More scones?" I enquired.

Drat and double drat. With my 'Head of Sanitation' too busy enjoying her golden years, I was all alone. Unless, of course, you counted the newly tanned menace watching Mummy pace up and down the hall with her head in her hands. Unnerved by mummy's deep brooding, Chickie broke the silience, "Poo Mummy!"

"Poo" I confirmed, holding my nose whilst opening the window.

If only I owned a pressure washer. I would have enjoyed nothing more in that moment than blasting his over productive little bottom with a high pressure detergent gun. Instead, I trudged to the cleaning cupboard, returning with antibacterial wipes, marigold gloves, face mask, wallpaper scraper and a plunger.

Chickie, happy to see I'd come back, helpfully pointed out all the creative little smudges that required mummy's attention. "There Mummy, there, other one Mummy." The curtains were a delightful challenge - being white linen and all!

One hour later, as Chickie sat decontaminating in a very bubbly bath, I wondered whether the morning's activities were something a mother might mention to a child pyschiatrist? Probably. I decided to add it to the list.

Despite thorough exfoliation of both mother and child, I sensed there was a strong chance that I might never smell truly clean again. At just the point I was warming to the idea of speaking to Chickie again, he pointed to the carpet and said three little words that almost found him posted on e-bay with a Buy-Now price of 50p.

"Wee Wee Mummy!"

13 March 2008

Bog Off

Whoever said that being stuck between a rock and a hard place was a bad thing clearly never found themselves stranded in the middle of a bog. Unlike me.

Reviewing my situation from my mossy perch, I wondered why my brain hadn’t stopped me before I reached the middle. Watching my favourite trainers and new jeans begin their descent into the sludge, I wished that I’d worn more sensible shoes. I made a note to buy some wellies. Spotty ones.

Half an hour before I found myself in my little predicament, I’d dropped Chickie off at playgroup. Armed with three hours free time and inspired by the rural scenes in this month’s Country Living magazine, I decided to escape the soiled streets of Worthing. I headed West, where the scent of Poop Freeze floated by on sea air and the rustle of Scoopy Doo Doggy bags accompanied the trills of local residents as they bid all a ‘Good Morning’.

And a good morning it was too. The sky was brilliant blue, unveiling a sun that looked vaguely familiar and Chickie was destroying someone else’s stuff. Yes, I felt fabulous as I skipped off for my country stroll and to relive happy childhood memories of Ferring.

As I came to the River Rife I remembered my mother expressly telling a ten year old me not to go near. I would have got away with it too had I not fallen in. I would have had even more chance of getting away with it had I not put all my wet clothes into the laundry basket. I don’t know who I thought did the washing, but, after that day, I was left in no doubt.

And now, 21 years on, I was, again, in a spot of bother at the Rife (on the boggy bit on the West bank to be precise). I was quietly scared as I suddenly realised how isolated I was and how perfect the landscape would look on my Crimewatch reconstruction. I took solace in the fact any would-be-killer would need a canoe to reach me.

Knowing that I needed to move from my three inch square marshland patch, I deliberated my next move. The main problem was the long reeds that made it impossible to gauge whether ground, ditch or River lurked beneath. Plus, if I fell in the River again, my mummy would be cross.

I looked around to double check no one was available to phone the Coastguard to airlift me to playgroup before leaping. It was a perilous 15 minutes of hopping around the quagmire in search of solid land. Finally, exhausted and, feeling like a woman given a second chance at life, I reached some.

Whilst I might not be ready for ‘Country Living’ just yet, I still couldn’t resist buying a pair of black wellies with hot pink spots, just in case!

08 March 2008

Well Slap My Smaller Thighs!

You may recall my recent whining about toddlers being germs on short, chubby legs. Well, it transpires, every virus has a silver lining!

My very own pair of short, chubby legs now fit into a pair of size ten jeans. A sight that hasn’t been seen since I was twelve years old and, even then, they were a ‘snug’ fit. It would seem the appetite suppressing qualities of your average cold are not to be sniffed at.

Naturally, an urgent shopping trip was in order to showcase my new assets before my bottom grew back. I could tell from my mother’s worried expressions that I might just fit into something from Top Shop so off I skipped to see how the perter half lived.

Making my way to the stumpy legged selection, I picked up some ‘skinny’ jeans. My child had given me the gift of smaller thighs (further to his gift of massive wobbly tummies) and this would finally be their moment.

Or not. The skinnies never reached my new thighs, or my knees. They became very un-cooperative round about my calves. Determined and stupid, I continued to heave in an upwardly direction. It wasn’t long before the denim noose around my ankles left me bouncing around the teeny changing room like a space hopper. I knew the ten year olds in the adjoining cubicles would recognise the delusional grunts of a middle aged flump, entangled in a pair of jeans not meant for legs the shape of pork chops.

Tired from all the jumping, I took a moment to lean, ponder my predicament and regain my strength. Did customers have to pay for jeans that they had to be cut out of? I started to regret the fact I hadn’t shaved my legs for a week and had opted for my ‘comfy’ knickers. That’s when I decided it was well worth another effort to heave in a downward direction.

I finally emerged from the changing room, twenty minutes after entry, my legs red raw under my trousers, my hair a fuzzy halo and my eyes wearing that look of alarm that only a woman ensnared by a pair of skinny jeans can understand.

“Any good for you?” asked the assistant who would never understand what I’d just been through.

“No thank you” I said, handing back the jeans that had held so much promise just half an hour before.

Despite my trauma, I pushed through and returned to the stumpy rack. There was no way I was leaving without something in a smaller size. I owed it to my bottom.

And that’s when I found them. Boy fit jeans. As soon as they negotiated their way past my footballer’s calves, I knew they were the ones.

As for the impending re-inflation of my bottom, I’m hoping a calorie controlled diet and big long sniffs of snotty totties will deflate it again.

03 March 2008

No Nap Chickie

Many (men) think that being a full time housewife is just an endless rotation of coffee mornings and fluff filled fun with one’s little poppet. Before I had the poppet, that’s what I’d banked on too.

Now two years and three months into my incarceration, my friends in the free world still scoff at the days I would sit at my desk, using work time and resources, to plot my escape. It was a simple plan.

‘Get: 1 diamond ring (a big one), 1 husband (a big one), 1 baby (a small one)’. Et voila.
Of course, it all started to go wrong when the baby was nearly as big as I was and the husband started demanding laundry services in return for his investment.

Then my stash of cash dried up and I was forced off the High Street and into Tesco where Accountant was less likely to detect that £50 of the ‘food’ shop wasn’t so much ‘food’ as ‘shoes’.

Whilst always happy to indulge my tidying compulsion, it transpired I didn’t much care for ironing. Nor did I particularly enjoy Chickie’s devil may care attitude towards table manners which left me scraping spaghetti off of the ceiling and feeding him wearing wellies and a kagool.
I didn’t take well to the unauthorised interruptions to my nine hour sleeping schedule either. I’m sure there were coffee mornings, I just can’t remember them.

Looking back, those were the good old days. Those were the days when he would sleep for up to three hours a day. This week we’ve got a new ‘No Nap Chickie’. A phenomenon that has mummy hiding in the understairs cupboard come 4pm whilst her abusive and burnt out toddler hunts her down.

I’ve tried to be patient and empathise with Chickie’s distress over Postman Pat being in the wrong side of his red van but I’ve discovered he’s not a reasonable child. I discovered this when Postman Pat and his red van were subsequently torpedoed at my head. Followed by his drum, Thomas the Tank Engine and Bertie Bus.

His morning greeting is ,”go away”. His answer to every question, “no”. His general chit chat during car rides, “Don’t like Mummy”.

My family all thoroughly enjoy it. Allegedly, I was ‘full of character’ myself as a child and my parents smile happily as I recycle their old chestnuts. “Just do as you’re told!”

Morphing into your parents is just one side effect of parenthood along with realising just how much you made them suffer. Accountant now does unto me as I did unto my mother, throwing rarely, yet freshly, ironed clothes onto the floor because hanging them in the wardrobe is just too much effort.

So to my lovely mummy and daddy who repeatedly informed me that, “one day you’ll understand”, that day has arrived and will be back tomorrow, and the day after that, and the one after that...