Friday, 11 April 2014

Easter Holidays: The half way point

Things I was going to do over the holidays:

1. Go to Legoland with husband and child.
2. Work on child's almost comically bad handwriting until the bugger can get at least 50% of his bloody letters the right way around.
3. Do obligatory easter craft with yellow cotton wool balls (to make baby chicks, you see) and crispy cake easter nests with Mini Eggs in and stuff.
4. Go on nature ramble with child.
5. Lose half a stone.
6. Take advantage of the lighter mornings by going out for lots of runs.

Lets take a look at how things have turned out.  Here's what I've actually done:

1. Went to Legoland with husband and child.  Was great.  Look at the happy little barnacle.

Pig in shit.

Unfortunately, going to Legoland means that we are now skint and have entered an enforced austerity drive for the rest of the month (AKA Keep Calm and Eat Mince).  Cannot afford to leave house.

2. Rory has not written so much as his name since school ended last week.

3. Nobody sells coloured cotton wool balls any more (who knew?), so easter chicks are out.  Bought bag of Mini Eggs and chocolate for making easter nest crispy cakes.  Ate all of it.  Made no cakes. Rory very interested in crafting Jesus-on-the-cross out of lolly sticks and pipecleaners after very explicit RE lesson at school.  This is not going to happen for him on my watch.

4. Child entirely uninterested in going on a nature ramble, as am I if I'm totally honest.

5. Have gained half a stone due to inability to exercise because of The Shoulder Injury That Refuses To Heal, and also because of the austerity measures, which mean that we are eating our way through every carb heavy piece of junk food left in the cupboards and freezer.  Now is not the time to start low carbing.  Have you seen the price of meat recently?  Also, keep eating Mini Eggs and chocolate (see above).

6. Have taken advantage of the lighter mornings by waking up at stupid o'clock because of the deafening dawn chorus outside my window.  Have not been for runs (see above - shoulder of doom).  Have had little naps in the afternoon due to husband being off work.  Productive.

To sum up: Rory watching lots of telly while I sit around feeling like an ever more dumpy haus frau.

So.  That's going well then.  What have you been up to?


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Conversations on Music Appreciation with a Small Child #2

"What is this band, then?"
"It's Aerosmith."
"What is a dude?"
"Well, it's a slang word for 'man'."
"WHAT?  Man looks like a lady? That's hilarious."
"I suppose it is."
"Has he got massive boobs?"
"Well, I don't know.  Maybe he has."
"And lipstick?"
"Possibly."
"And crazy, long hair?"
"I suppose so."
"Ha.  Dude looks like Mummy."
"Yeah, thanks for that, Rory.
"Listen, listen, I'm going to sing it now. Are you ready?  I'm going to do the voice of the band because they sound cool, ready: DUDE LOOKS LIKE A LAAAAAYDEH."
"Right, what you've done there is confuse an American accent with the voice of Chorlton out of Chorlton and the Wheelies."
"Chorlton and the...wait, are they like Pink Floyd?"
"Yep."




Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Conversations on Music Appreciation with a Small Child #1

"Can we have Smells Like Teenagers on, please?"
"Do you mean Smells Like Teen Spirit?"
"I do."
"Sure we can, sweetheart."
"Daddy says Piranhas are dead."
"Well my love, most of NIRVANA are still alive, but yes, their lead singer died."
"Why did he die?  Was he very old?"
"Well, no."
"Why then?"
"He had something wrong with his brain that made him feel very unhappy all the time and he was so unhappy that he wanted to die."
"Probably because he really wished he was the drummer."
"I think that was probably it."


Monday, 31 March 2014

The Enchanted Wood: Mother's Diary

Friday:
Roger says we have to move to the country in last ditch attempt to save our marriage.  He's sacked the nanny and says I have to home educate the kids.  Says I can pick apples and keep chickens.  So that will entirely make up for the complete lack of social interaction and mental stimulation. Also, he has hidden the vodka, the massive penis.

Saturday:
First day in country.  Cottage full of mouse shit.  Kids feral.

Sunday:
Nothing happened.

Monday:
Nothing happened.

Tuesday:
Roger back at work.  Sent kids into woods with sandwiches and bottle of milk.  Found vodka.  Village shop does not sell tonic.

Wednesday:
Children v keen to make toffee for someone up a tree called Moonface.  Found this to be completely within the realms of normality so made toffee.  Should really have made them write about it or something in spirit of home education, but instead told them to chuff off into the woods again as I had bonbons to eat.

Thursday:
Kids up tree.

Friday:
Kids still up tree. ON THE GIN.

Saturday:
Kids still up tree.  Roger and I both pretending not to notice.  At least, I think he's pretending not to notice. Am not speaking to him as still hacked off about moving to the country.

Sunday:
Kids back from tree, having been kidnapped by polar bears.  All seemed fine.  Made a plum cake.

Monday:
Argument with Roger about wanting another baby ( I do, he doesn't).  He says I'm still mentally unstable after my last bout of PND.  Also, has not forgiven me for calling the last one Fanny.  Thinking about it, that might have had something to do with the PND, but obviously cannot admit this.
"I'm bored, Roger," I shouted. "I'm a shell of a woman with a husband who pisses off to work all week, leaving me living in the middle of nowhere with three wild savage children who'd rather live up a tree than in this shit hole.  A baby could give me purpose."
"FINE," he hurled back. "WE'LL CALL THE NEXT ONE MINGE AND SEND IT UP THE TREE IN A BASKET TO LIVE WITH THE OTHER THREE, SHALL WE?"
He really is an insufferable bastard.

Tuesday:
Visited at home by short man with unfeasibly large head who wanted to say thank you for the toffee, and did I want to buy any kitchen goods from his mate who's deaf and entirely covered in saucepans?  Bit weird.

Wedneday:
Although, if he's got any cut price Le Creuset, I may be tempted.

Thursday:
Kids back from trip up tree with tales of being given toffees that grow bigger and bigger as you suck them and then explode in your mouth.  Roger says he has something similar to share with me.  He can jog on.

Friday:
Angry pixie in garden again.  FFS.

Saturday:
Kids cousin, Dick (see Roger? SEE? It's not just me with the penchant for genital themed baby names) coming to stay as his mother's on the coke again 'ill'.  Whatever.  Just throw another one into the mix for me.  It's not as if I've got anything to do apart from make buns and darn socks, is it?

Sunday:
Kids up tree all day, then arrived home late, on flying upside-down table, knocking down washing line in the process.  FML.

Monday:
Roger on day off. Threatening to phone the LEA and report me if I don't teach the kids something.  He also has concerns about them hanging around in the woods all the time and consorting with talking rabbits, pixies and a man who refuses to tell them his name and lives with his mother.  Reassured him that all is perfectly fine and just a product of their over fertile imaginations.  Interrupted by rabbit in a cardigan delivering a note saying that kids have been captured by Dame Slap and are being held hostage at her school in The Land of Slaps.  Bit worrying.  On plus side, at least kids getting an education now.

Tuesday:
Roger being vile.  Tells me he likes the sound of Dame Slap.  If he's of the impression that I'm going to get the handcuffs out again, he can think on.  That ship has sailed, Roger.  

Wednesday:
Kids home.  Don't seem to have learnt much at school, although now have a healthy respect for discipline.  Brought me a new saucepan and a lettuce to say sorry for worrying me.  So that's nice.  Had a gin.  Made a pie.  Onward.









Solid Chocolate Company Review (TL;DR...it's chocolate that's solid. What's not to like?)

Fashion bloggers get sent clothes to review.  Beauty bloggers get endless samples of the latest cosmetics to try and write about.  I don't give a crap about fashion and beauty, and my reward for this is free chocolate.  Who's winning here? (clue: it's me).

One of my reader's husbands has recently set up the Solid Chocolate Company; a company which sells solid chocolate eggs.  Remember when you were little and you'd wish that Easter eggs were solid chocolate all the way through (just me?).  This is your dream come true.  They're made of the finest Belgian chocolate and come in milk, dark and white varieties.  Each enormous egg is divided into 42 bite sized chunks, so you don't have to hold it on one hand and gnaw at it like a savage.

I was sent the milk chocolate one to try.  This coincided with my diet ending abruptly.  There was simply no other way.

Here's a picture:


YES.

There's not really much I can say about that, is there?  The chocolate was really good chocolate.  Seriously, chocolate lovers, this is the stuff you want.  It came nicely packaged but without too much waste.  It laughed in the face of conventional, hollow Easter eggs.  It lasted about five three days.  My only criticism is that although the pieces are supposed to be bite sized, some of them were huge and barely fitted in my mouth - and I've got a big mouth. I bravely soldiered on though.  It was true love - what else could I do?

Here's what it looked like before it was opened, if anyone is interested:


I strongly recommend that you buy one for the chocaholic in your life this Easter.  They cost £19.99 each and are available here: www.solidchocolateco.co.uk

You may also like to have a look at their Facebook page.  Just because.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Feeling bad about your parenting skills?

Don't.  Here's a by no means comprehensive list of my fails over the past 4.5 years:


1. When I shoved the pram containing newborn baby Rory into a thorny bush full of wasps in my quest to avoid one of said wasps myself.  Maternal instinct, you say?

2. The day he cracked an egg down the back of a hot radiator and I had to spend the afternoon poking scrambled eggs out of it with a coathanger.

3. The day he filled his shoes with mashed potato, neatly patting it down on top like a sandcastle.

4. When I forgot the wipes at baby clinic one day and had to wipe his bum with a sock.

5. This conversation at a playgroup when he was 2:

Play leader: "So where do you live Rory?"
Rory: "In squalor."

6. The time he ate and then excreted an entire Well Done sticker.  Well done indeed.

7. The day he saw a mop in a friend's house and giggled hysterically at it asking "WHAT IS THAT EVEN FOR?"  That sums up my attitude to housework nicely.

8. The time he ate the autumnal pot pourri and I had to Google whether it was poisonous.

9. The morning I tried to take him to Rhyme Time and instead of joining in like everyone else, he emptied all the musical instruments out of the box, sat in it, repeatedly smacked himself in the face with a cymbal and kept shouting "MAKE IT STOP."

10. The Great Toilet Paper Incident of 2010.

11. All the times he shouted "LOOK AT ALL THAT WINE FOR YOU, MUMMY" in Waitrose.  

12. This exchange when he was running into a road some years back:

Me: "STOP."
Rory: "HAMMERTIME."

13. A couple of weeks ago when, on a cultural trip to an art gallery in Manchester, he told me that the best thing in the whole gallery was "that massive painting with all the boobs."

14. When he was fannying about in the local shop and I wanted to get home.  He had a thing about getting home before my husband arrived back from work, so I spurred him on with "come on Rory, hurry up - if we're not quick Daddy will beat us again."  Obviously I wasn't referring to 'beat' in domestic abuse terms.  The shop assistants really over reacted.

15.  When I decided to make him laugh by making Les the Meerkat (his favourite cuddly toy) dance along to the song that I was idly singing.  Until I realised that I was singing this:




Now add yours and make feel feel better.  Please. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Roger Red Hat et al: a study of school book misery of the 80s.

Does anybody else out there want to do murderous things to Biff and Chip?  They were annoying enough when I was a teacher and had to listen to kids reading to me (most tedious part of the job apart from doing playground duty at break time), but now Rory's bringing home reading books from school my Biff and Chip based anger has gone up a level. Why has everyone got such stupid names?  What sort of sadist calls their child Kipper?  Who names their dog after erectile dysfunction, for that matter?

I moaned about it to my mum, who replied with "at least you don't have to listen to the adventures of Roger Red Hat these days."  True.  It was worse in the 80s.  Much worse.  Time for a trip down memory lane, then:

Lets start with this slightly psychedelic dude in a car.  It was my first reading book at Infant school and consisted of the word 'Look' on every page.  I was slightly baffled by this because I could already read by the time I went to school and was stealth reading chapters of The Hobbit under the duvet with a torch every night, but nobody bothered to ask and I was too shy to say "err, why have these books only got 3 words in them?"  This charade continued for 3 years.


Moving on, we have Roger Red Hat, the jazz handed little fuck.


And his mate, Billy Blue Hat, who seems to be falling into a large body of water here. This illustration would be much improved by someone drawing a few bricks strapped to his ankles.


And Jennifer Yellow Hat.  The author obviously didn't think the whole kids with primary coloured hats concept through when she started and only realised that there were no names beginning with Y when it was too late.  This one is called 'Jennifer Yellow Hat Went Out in the Dark'.  I'm choosing to mentally add ('and Got Eaten by a Bear' to the title, but that's up to you).


Not content with subjecting us to this colourful clutch of cockwombles, the author then went on to write a dull series of books about equally flamboyantly dressed pirates for older children.  


I hadn't realised until just now how hot the Blue Pirate was.  I would.  However, the Green Pirate looks like a mung bean eating hippy poet type that you'd half heartedly get off with at a party when desperate.  He'd then insist on sleeping on the floor so as to be closer to the elements or something and quoting poetry at you.

While we're on the subject of reading, lets take a closer look at Look and Read, widely remembered as the Best Thing Ever on telly at school.  It involved this flying hoover thing:


And various dramatised stories that seemed particularly gripping at the age of 7.  This one was quite good:


However, this one scared the shit out of everybody:


Because the boy from space (imaginatively named 'Peep Peep') looked like this:


Fuuuuuuuuck.


Why is he so shiny?  WHY?  Where did they get a child that freaky looking from to play him?  Is his skin actually plastic?  Cold, dead eyes.  COLD DEAD EYES.

But that's not the worst of it.  No wonder there was such an explosion in youth drug culture in the 90s.  It was all down to Look and Read hiding messages in their songs.  Literacy, my arse:




Extra points to you if your class used to sing "shit becomes shite with E".  My class did.  We were potty mouthed bad-asses even when we were 8.

Moving on to maths, I found these online.  I don't know if anyone else will remember them, but we definitely had these text books at my primary school, and they were so boring and difficult that they made me feel a bit tearful every time the teacher got them out:


They also remind me of when my friend Laura and I were moved to sit next to the two class Naughty Boys in the hopes that such sensible young ladies might make them focus on their work (the result being that all four of us mucked about all day instead of just the two of them).

Typical Maths Lesson on our table:

Naughty Boy Who Sat Next To Me (NBWSNTM): "Lisaaaa...."
Me: "What?"
NBWSNTM: "Look over here."
Me: "I'm completely not looking over there.  Last time you told me to look over there you had your willy out."
NBWSNTM: "I haven't, I promise, just look over here, please."
Me: "No."
NBWSNTM: "Oh Lise, pleeeeeease.  I'm really stuck on this maths and you're so clever.  Please help me, it's this bit - look."

*I look*
*NBWSNTM has his willy out.*


I'll finish with some high school misery:

Tricolore, a French text book which made me believe that a) all French people are called Francoise, b) All French people live in La Rochelle.  I don't even know if this is a real place. c) All French people regularly drink Orangina.  Would not be surprised if the Tricolore books turned out to be sponsored by Orangina, actually.


And Deutsch Heute, its German equivalent.  So little German learned, so much time spent graffiti-ing insulting comments about the gimpy looking 80s German kids who were unfortunate enough to have been immortalised in all their stonewashed jeans glory in the textbooks.


Do feel free to add to this list.  It's like therapy.