29 January 2009

Bad Mamma

I’d been a bad mummy. I told Chickie that we’d bake some dinosaur bibbicks. Then I went and cleaned the kitchen. I took a deep satisfied sigh as I viewed the sparkling taps, spotless floor and perfectly buffed worktop. It was beautiful and I was happy.

Then Chickie tugged on my cardigan and enquired as to when all the baking was going to begin. I pictured a mushroom cloud of icing sugar engulfing the house, buttery stalagmites being squished into the floor before being padded around the rest of the house by two small, sticky feet. Hundreds and thousands of hundreds and thousands would still be being discovered in three years time.

Biding for time, I enthusiastically redirected Chickie’s interest to Scooby Doo. “Wow look Chick, a ghostie!” By the time he’d tired of it, I’d come up with a cunning plan. “Let’s go to Waitrose and buy a choo choo bibbick!” He liked that idea and off we trotted.

Unfortunately, my conscience wasn’t so easily appeased. ‘It’s only a biscuit’ I told my inner ‘Bad-Mummy-Monitor’.
‘You broke your promise’ she replied.

After that, ‘Bad-Mummy-Monitor’ was on high alert. “He needs some fresh air” she said as Chickie sat watching telly.

I looked out of the window at the endless gloom. “But it’s so cold and he’s so quiet. And he’ll want to jump in all the puddles”. She reminded me of the dinosaur biscuits and dragged me off of the sofa to prepare a small suitcase of munitions. Spare trousers, spare pants, spare shoes, wellies, plastic bags, towels, wipes, hypothermia blanket, pressure washer hose and scraper.

“We’re going on an adventure” I informed Chickie as I vacpacked him into his old coat, one size too small. He couldn’t move from the neck down, but at least he was snug.

“Where we going?”
“To the best puddles in town” I replied, already planning the five stage clean-up operation in my head.

As we pulled into the Bluebird Cafe car park, puddles as big as paddling pools rippled in the icy winds. Within approximately two minutes, Chickie was lying on his back in one of the larger ones. He turned his head, like a robot, to see how mummy was going to react to his baptism. His first of three as it turned out.

As I skidded along behind his mud caked frame, watching him testing puddles with his special ‘adventurers stick’, I knew these were the memories I’d dreamt of making before being introduced to the magic of antibacterial wipes. We watched the river for crocodiles, poked the unblinking frog (gently) to check his vitals and had sword fights with our sticks. I even jumped in a muddy puddle.

We returned home with red cheeks, runny noses and muddier than a pair of pigs.

It was probably the messiest day of my adult life, but it’ll be the one that I remember long after my son considers going anywhere with his mummy an ‘adventure!’.

22 January 2009

The Beer Chart

As Chickie and I sat at the dining room table, gluing together our latest craft project, he looked up at me like a dog about to go walkies.
“Daddy’s going to love this, isn’t he mummy?”
“Yes, he’s going to love it!”
Rather ungratefully, I thought, it turned out that daddy didn’t love it all that much. He mumbled something about reward charts being for children before wandering off to examine the inside of the fridge.
“But we made little beer glass stickers” I chimed, holding them up. “To motivate you.” He stayed in the fridge. “When you get 5 stickers, you get a real beer!”
Chickie and I looked at each other, wondering how long one man could survive inside a fridge freezer.
“All the jobs are listed down the side. Put the bins out. Don’t leave scissors in Chickie’s room. Wash the car etc.”
Still nothing. Chickie and I went to play in the other room. “He’ll come round to the idea” I told Chickie.

He didn’t. Apparently he had his own system and my thoughtful attempts to stimulate productivity were not required. I didn’t exactly agree as I considered my car wash request of five months ago but thought it best, at this point, to stay quiet. By the next morning however, I was ready to reveal my plans to excavate Accountants inner dynamo. He was less keen. As I began talking about prioritisation, multi-tasking and the perils of procrastination, he made his way back to the fridge, where he remained until he was quite sure I’d gone away.

It was like school assembly all over again. Left to do everything myself. Who turned the music on when everyone came in and went out? Who’d put the date and composer of the day up on the board? Who checked the rain fall and temperature and coloured in the weather graphs by the assembly entrance? Who tapped the barometer and stood outside in the rain with the anemoter collecting wind speed data? Who then compiled all this information into a thrilling report which she also presented each day to keep all informed of the latest weather conditions? Who sat at the front, facing the whole school, in her special chair, wearing her music monitor badge? And I played the recorder along to the hymns. And the clarinet. And all by 9am. Every day, aged 9 years old.

How annoying. Hand higher in the air than all the others, mouthing, “pick me, pick me” as my bum bounced up and down on my little chair. Thinking about it, even my teacher looked irritated by my enthusiasm asking if anyone else, preferably without a lisp, would like to read the weather report. Sadly for him, only Lispy Lizzie was available.

When Accountant returned home, I showered him with kisses, feeling sorry for the poor man that had been too kind to leave the hyperactive kid bouncing on her chair, picking her over a quieter life.

15 January 2009

Oh No!

Somewhere amidst 1976 and 2009, a big dent had snuck up on my face and wedged itself deeply between my eyes. I scowled at it, before realising that was why I had started to look like ‘Churchill the nodding dog’ in the first place. I stopped scowling at once, experimenting instead with pulling my eyebrows up and across my forehead.

Downstairs, Accountant cranked up his piercing ‘whistle while you laze’ routine and I watched my eyebrows ping back together as if joined by elastic. ‘Of course’, I whispered to myself, stroking my sagging jowls, as a decade’s din from Accountant’s internal wind instruments assembled in my head. “It’s all his fault”. Living with Accountant, the one man band, was like living with a human bagpipe that never runs out of air. Previous lodgers used to comment before they moved out. No wonder I was wrinkling around the edges.

Now Chickie had joined the Tinnitus Two supplementing Accountant’s bluebottle style ‘bzzzing’ with velocity and determination. Whilst Accountant would whistle ‘Go West’ in the upper register, clicking his tongue between key changes, Chickie would roar a la Godzilla in accompaniment. Then Accountant would spend forty minutes perfecting his ‘dripping water’ impression.

I don’t know if it was the water torture or acoustic shock that sent me flying down the stairs crying, “JUST BE QUIET!” but, it worked. For about twenty seconds. Then it began again with renewed impetus, now that a reactive audience waited in the wings.

Feeling sorry for myself, I went back to the mirror, to review my situation. The scowl was so big now, it had been joined by two smaller scowls that stood like a pair of bodyguards either side of it. I wished I wasn’t too scared to Botox them to hell, figuring the suspension of all facial expression at this age, could leave my face frozen in 2009 forever. I liked that idea but stopped myself from smiling. Nor would there be any more laughing, talking or raising of eyebrows.

The evening was spent online reviewing ‘Miracle Creams’. “Hope in a Jar” caught my eye. Add to basket. Next - “Treats for Tired and Puffy Eyes”. Two hours later, my basket overfloweth. I just needed an investor. I proposed a mutually beneficial deal with the root of my problem, reminding Accountant that Valentine’s Day was looming and I could take all the hassle and romance out of it for him with just one click. I closed by mentioning that if he didn’t comply, he would have to move out.

I now await delivery of my fresh new face. In the meantime, I’ve been using Sudocrem as it used to work wonders on Chickie’s nappy rash. It has dual benefits – not only is it so thick you can no longer see your face underneath it, it would seem that, smelling like a bottom is also an excellent Accountant deterrent.

08 January 2009

This Little Piggy Shouldn't Watch The Crime Channel

Despite knowing myself well enough to realise that watching endless hours of the Crime channel might not be the ‘healthiest’ outlet for someone with a colourful imagination and neurotic tendencies, I did it anyway. It left me altered.

I changed my walk, adopting a self-assured swagger that alluded to martial arts expertise and my ability to transform from housewife into ultimate fighting machine in just a jiffy. I scrutinised new acquaintances for signs of imbalance. Familiar people too - for if there’s one thing I’ve learnt it is that you’re more likely to get disembowelled by your local lollipop lady than a stranger. And that is my excuse for what happened next.

When our post arrived with the word “Pig” scrawled on the back of one of the envelopes, I thought it was something to do with Accountant. Whilst other husbands sweetly refer to their wives as ‘darling’, my husband has branded me ‘Pig’ by way of endearment. I did wonder fleetingly how Accountant could have intercepted a utility bill delivered by the postman, but, when the thinking all got too much, I concluded it was his fault, as all things were. Two days later, a Christmas card arrived with ‘Pig’ on the back. I put it with the other piggy post and waited for my husband who denied all involvement.

“But that means someone else is writing ‘Pig’ on my letters!” I whispered, sitting down as I contemplated what this could mean for my future. I looked out the window, into the darkness, wondering what might be looking back in. A flashback from a Ted Bundy documentary came to mind. The one with all the pre-murderous stalking.

“It could be the Postman” deduced Accountant. I gasped.
“We’ll have to move” I responded before considering the problem of redirecting the post when your stalker works for Royal Mail. I pictured myself setting up multiple PO Boxes all over the country and devising elaborate postal pick-ups using zipwires, body doubles and a spandex cat suit.

I spent a fretful night next to Accountant who masked his concern with instant unconsciousness whilst I contemplated my new life as Mrs Smith of no fixed address.

Long, jittery days crept past with no further ‘incidents’ but, now living with a simmering sense of foreboding, I decided to confront the problem - postman on.

As I stood on my drive clutching the ‘evidence’ and my personal attack alarm, listening to him politely explain how P19 was an abbreviation for ‘Packet 19’, I should have quietly skipped away. Instead, I said how I had misread it as ‘Pig’.
He shook his head.
I then told of how my husband called me ‘Pig’.
“Nice” he said.
In conclusion, I rambled about how nice it would be to live again.
“Right” he said, slowly backing away.

So now, whenever he sees me, the Postman looks scared, clearly unable to fathom how I ever got released into the community.