Wednesday, 28 December 2011

I Blame Mister Maker

Now that the big day has passed once more, I find that not only is my house bulging with even more than our fair share of brightly coloured plastic but there are also more dangerous weapons lurking everywhere...

The pen is indeed mightier that the sword, since it can ruin new furniture in a matter of seconds in the hands of an enthusiastic two-year-old; and this Christmas seemed to have 'crafts' as a major theme. Mister Maker has an awful lot to answer for as paint pots, felt-tip pens, gloopy glue, sand art, crayons, glitter, felt shapes and items generally associated with 'messy play' now lurk in every corner, despite my protestations that works of art may only be created in the kitchen.

So I really do need to have eyes in the back of my head if my house is not to resemble a New York subway in terms of graffiti levels. And with three children all activities must be undertaken with military precision. Mealtimes provide an excellent opportunity to get the baby into the bath first, since I can be fairly confident that the lure of food will be enough to keep the big ones in their seats and away from potentially lethal crafts.

So it was that yesterday, Eddie had already had his bath and lay kicking on his changing mat in the bathroom. I prised Gilby away from the remains of his cupcake and got him into the water, whilst Gertie carried on at the table. She is eminently sensible and can be trusted not to autograph the walls, so I wasn't too worried. But I took the opportunity of hanging out some washing in the hallway whilst listening to Gilby's monologue in the bath.

"Right, come on then, Eddie; time to get you into your pyjamas!" I said, folding the last of the laundry in the hallway.

"Mummy, why are you talking to Eddie? He can't talk back to you," observed his big brother whilst blowing bubbles with his bath-water and covering the bath sides in wild red and green circles. Who knew that you could get soap-pens?

"Well I know that he's only a baby, but it is important that he learns how to communicate, and he will understand lots of things we say even though he can't talk yet," I explained as simply as I could.

"No Mummy. Why are you talking to him when he is asleep?"

Poor old Eddie had obviously got bored with waiting for his mother to return and get him dressed and had, well, nodded off. So much for my multi-tasking. Still, at least no permanent scribbles on priceless objects occurred in the interim. Though the bath took a bit of scrubbing...

Saturday, 24 December 2011


What is the correct protocol when one's four-year-old has found the 'Father Christmas' presents stashed in the under-stairs-cupboard on Christmas Eve?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Starry Nights, Red Wine and Birdshot

Last night the two big kids got to stay with Grumps and Mumps, leaving Daddy and I in charge of one baby who sleeps from 7pm right through to at least 7am without a murmur.

The Saturday night excitement was palpable as we settled down with Thai take-away in front of 'Strictly'. Knowing that an easy morning and a lie-in of sorts awaited, I poured myself a generous glass of red wine whilst Daddy got a roaring fire going (one of life's true pleasures for this Hearth-mother).

The mountain of dirty washing resulting from Gertie's bout of sickness could momentarily be forgotten. I think it may have been caused by the overwhelming responsibility of playing the 'star' in her nativity:

Me: The Star? Why that's lovely darling, is it a speaking part?
Gertie: No, Mummy, but I have to lead the wise men!

So whilst the evening couldn't exactly be described as rock 'n roll, it was what counts as blissful these days.

Until Kempton, our still very puppy-ish golden retriever, knocked the red wine glass flying with an errant tail. Half a bottle of red wine (I told you it was a generous glass) over cream carpet doth not a happy husband make. Kempton was briefly banished and much swearing and scrubbing ensued. But I was cheered by the entry in 'IT MUST BE TRUE...I read it in the tabloids from Friday's The Week:

A man from Utah was rushed to hospital after being shot in the buttocks by his own dog. The unnamed 46-year-old was out duck hunting when the dog stepped on his 12-gauge shotgun, causing it to go off. Police said the man was hit from ten feet away with 27 pellets of birdshot.

It rather put Kempton's misdemeanour into perspective. The stain will always remind me that at least I wasn't shot in the buttocks.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Sack of Potatoes

Saturday was our village 'fest' where the car park and shopping precinct are given over to stalls selling everything from olive oil to handicrafts to sponsored bricks for African classrooms. There are tombolas and home-made cakes and even a fair-ride. So my little people were happy, especially when, around lunchtime there was a cheer-leading display. After a couple of routines I suggested that it might be time to go home, but Gilby was adamant that he wanted to stay and watch more of the 'dancing'.

In an effort to stave off the now-frequent-terrible-twos-tantrum I acquiesced. How silly. Because then he just kicked off with even more of a vengeance when they actually finished. He sobbed in the street and refused to walk back to the car, stepping out behind parked cars shouting, 'No, no, no...' continuously at the top of his voice.

I think he was lamenting the dancing being over, but by this time he had lost most of the power of meaningful communication and wouldn't listen to reason. I was pushing the pram and holding hands with a skipping 4-year-old, and just wanted to be home. So - I picked Gilby up under one arm, pushed the pram vigorously with the other and let Gertie fend for herself. It wasn't a good look, and it certainly wasn't my finest hour of parenting. But we got back to the car in one piece, eventually. What I didn't need was a total stranger to wind down the window of a passing car and scream, "Don't hold him like a sack of potatoes!" at the top of her voice.

Who did she think she was? How dare she interfere? Don't scream out of car windows at stressed families!