Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Riviera? Pah

Here I am, slinging up my kitten heels and trying out for the cyber-geek awards by posting from my phone while driving across France. I know I know, the scenery, the experience, the sheer unadulterated glamour of driving to the South of France in a Yaris stuffed to the brim with nappies and sick rags - what am I thinking? Well, I'm thinking that it's grey and rainy and French radio is rubbish and, frankly, the view from the motorway is such that we could be nipping up to Birminham on the M1. Or whatever.

The spud, blessedly, is sleeping in his back-seat throne and the frog and I have already had one squabble adult discussion about the use of the satnav and so all is silent but for the sound of tyres straining to push this thing 150km/hr at a respectable pace. Time, therefore to bury myelf in technology. If only it was a therapeutic mud-bath...

My phone, I note, is covered in something suspiciously resembling pureed pear. I left it within Spud-reach the other day and he rang his Dad so many times that the frog thought we were stalking him. Forget selling this handset on eBay, it's covered in teeth marks, cracks and suspicious smears. I've been known, in fact, to give him my phone while trying to shove his dinner into his mouth. On one occasion this rendered the thing inoperable for two days until the drool dried. This drives the frog bonkers. He's spent years training me up to this wonderfully tricksy piece of kit and I then chuck it about and feed it to the baby. He, the frog that is, gave me a rather objectionably prophylactic silicone case for the phone that made it look like a grey sex-toy and every time it rang and vibrated at the same time I felt terribly pornographic holding it to my mouth. Anyway, hence the state of the thing - I chucked out the porno-case and haven't bought another.

No room in this thing for more text and so with a riveting post about posting, I leave you to imagine me tomorrow, my bulging midriff in a swimsuit lying in the rain praying for the god of martini to bless me bounteously.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Money, keys, passport, tooth fairy

France again and time, I’m afraid, to recant any smug or otherwise unwise remark I may have made in the past about travelling with one’s baby. Oh, it’s just fine when they’re young enough to sleep all through the flight. It’s not even too bad when they start staying awake as long as they’re young, feeble and undeveloped enough to remain docile. Now, however that the spud is motile and possessed of no uncertain strength, I think we may have to remain in England for the foreseeable future. Make that London. Hell, make it the apartment.

Just to recap, the flight we take to visit the outlaws in France is under two hours long, we’ve done it three or four times with the spud already and therefore we were little expecting the twisting, arching, kicking drool-storm that accompanied us from point A to point Collapse. The spud is teething. Again. Not to be repetitive or anything but just as one is becoming all frolicsome about the notion of baby teeth and being patronisingly reassuring to those parents just embarking on this dental adventure, along comes another pair of teeth. Because they come in pairs – although I hasten to add that this does not mean that they necessarily come simultaneously, no, just close enough together to make one grind one’s own teeth into a powder in the intervening hurricane. Anyway, so along they come and the whole nightmare starts again, only worse because by now one has lost all the good teethers overboard into the wake of the buggy and the teething gel is on it’s last squeeze and besides which is packed in the hold and one is trapped, knowing one’s little darling is in pain, with nothing useful to offer other than a clean shirt to sick up onto.

So here we are, in France. We’ve been here scant hours and we’re already worn to the bone. The spud has refused anything solid except for a soothing gnaw on various anatomical teethers such as my chin and the frog’s toes and has had a procession of bottles and boobs which will surely equal a nasty nappy in the morning. He has had the gel and the Calpol and is sleeping in what passes for a drugged stupor in baby-land. We have killed half a bottle of wine and are too knackered to approach the other half. This is largely because after the flight, (which he spent standing up and shouting, being restrained in a wet, squirmy mass like a lap-full of eels and then just as we were landing and therefore unable to leave our seats, releasing an enormous putrid poo into the already close atmosphere of the crowded plane), he spent the afternoon alternately ripping the apartment to shreds and screaming that we were trying to poison him. In the end he had both boobs, a bottle, another boob, the Calpol, the gel, half a bottle, the other half, two more boobs (yes, I have five boobs) and then plopped to sleep with a loud fart and a vaguely ‘I’m going to throw up’ sort of ‘eh, eh, eh’ noise.

He hasn’t thrown up. I’m having a bath. Night all.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Menagerie a trois

This is my 100th post. Seeing as this blog is 15 months old, that’s not brilliant. Many of the bloggers I follow post every day or nearly every day and I am in a sort of wonder about this. Apart from the fact that some days all I could say would be a cross between ‘Ugh’ and ‘Wha?’, I think, as reflected by the fact that the only things I have to post about are the baby and the cat, that I just don’t have that interesting a life.

So, on that note the arrival of Maya the dog into our delicate household balance seems just as worthy of blurting out as anything new the spud may have done this week, such as, for example, working out how to climb into our bed from the floor using only his head for a safety net.

Maya is a lovely old grey muzzle with incipient arthritis who will attack any cat unfortunate enough to cross her path. It’s likely that she just wants to see what they’re about, unluckily this involves a certain amount of dog jaw / cat neck interaction which we’re keen to avoid. Sammy is a lovely, equally grey cat who is profoundly deaf and who would have to use his sense of smell to trap her sneaking up on him, if he still has one.

To put this in perspective, Sammy is 16 and Maya is older by as much as 2 years. They suffer cumulatively from arthritis, hip displasia, a heart murmur, ear fungus, deafness, incontinence, tumours, skin tags, vomiting and a persistent catnip habit. You would think that a tortoise could stop a fight between them however they are remarkably light on their claws and keen to have one last try for the title.

They've had one minimal confrontation and the ensuing bout of growling, hissing, back arching, leash lunging and tooth-baring mayhem had the Spud straining out of his buggy with much the same sense of glee which sees the frog straining out of his sofa whenever there's an F1 pile-up. Neither of them actually want blood, it's just the thought that counts.

The spud can't tell the difference between himself, the cat, the dog and his parents as yet beyond the fact that I doubt he will dive into Maya's chest and shake his head vigourously between her boobs the way he did to me at 'Sure Start' this morning. As far as he's concerned, we're all 'not spud' and equally open to abuse or adoration. He follows Maya around the flat literally squealing with delight and if he could keep up, he'd follow Sammy around in the same way. This means that should there ever be an actual confrontation involving 8 legs the spud would be right in the middle of it (10 legs then) and much as he can win in a battle between his ever-sharp nails and my bingo-wings, I would worry about his involvement in the war of the zimmer fur.

Thus, Maya and Sammy are being firmly kept apart and managing the feeding, sleeping and toilet arrangements for the three of them is giving the frog and I our own grey hairs.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Baby breath

Yesterday, the spud came back from the child-minder smelling... well... much more grown up than normal. I spent ages trying to work out what it was. BO? Someone’s perfume? Further advancement in the state of his poo? Nope, it turns out that the spud has garlic breath. Guess I went a little overboard with his pasta sauce...

It's been a busy couple of weeks and getting away from my little angel is proving to be quite an issue. This is largely due to having been under the weather recently (well, it's been raining a lot...) and er... um... feeling a bit Motherly all of a sudden, so I've been letting Charlie sleep in the bed with us more than is strictly necessary.

The truth is that I go to bed every night nice and toasty beside the frog but wake up most mornings a tad chilly next to the spud and with no memory at all as to how he got there. This poses a problem as it appears I am sneaking him in beneath my own radar, meaning that stopping myself is virtually impossible without a crack team of stealth bombers. The worst thing is that not only am I chilly due to Charlie having my share of the covers, I also have back-ache due to sleeping twisted so that my boobs are within snacking distance of his mouth - after all, do you really want to have to get out of bed and crawl to the refrigerator when you're that age? Besides, it's obvious that part of me is happy to be woken up by the sharp tug of tooth enamel. Why I am doing this to myself, I have no idea. Maybe I hated myself in a past life and this is my revenge.

It’s lovely (it must be... you'll have to ask my other self for more details), but let’s face it, it’s not good. He’s getting the idea that all he has to do is… well, whatever it is he does at 3am to get me out of bed without actually waking me up (I suspect Derren Brown is involved)… and I come running to dutifully implant him in the middle of our bed, whipping out my boobs in the process. And he’s right. So far. The main problem is that he is suddenly much more attached to us than he was a few weeks ago and he cannot be left alone for a minute without his entire world falling to pieces.

Unless, of course, there is something contraband in his general vicinity, like the cat's bowl, an electric cord, glassware or some vital piece of paper-based information which will later turn up as that soggy thing you tread on and go 'ugh!'

It's clear that all he wants is attention but it's less clear how to create a balance between him amusing himself, him being lonely and me going mad - although given the state of his breath, I'm surely most of the way there by now. Perhaps time to give up the midnight boobs - even they smelled of garlic this morning.

I'm sure this post was going somewhere but it's taken so many days to get this far that I think I should just stop now.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Things that go beep in the night

eBay is a wonderful thing, isn't it? It takes the sting out of the fact that the spud outgrew his lovely Gap trousers 4 months ahead of schedule by allowing me to sell them on to parents of non-Spud babies for whom the size '6-12 months' is not a total fantasy. We have purchased a lot of things from eBay. We would have purchased the Spud from eBay if we could have except I was too busy trading in my last motorbike for him down the local garage.

We sold on his small cloth nappies and purchased medium ones, we bought the door bouncer, a baby bean bag, clothes, a restraining device safety strap for the high-chair, replacement parts for the breast pump (too much information?)... oh, and toys. Toys toys toys.

We laboured, before the labour, under the impression that we would give our little blob the best of the world that raised us as well as the best of modern life. This meant things like: cooking up all sorts of organic goodness (which he is now sick unto death of); bedtime stories (which he unfailingly tries to eat); exposure to wonderful music (most of which makes him cry); no Television (except, obviously, CBeebies so I can cram his open mouth while Makka Pakka fondles his rocks) and, naturally, wooden toys.

Hah! Wooden toys! Hahahahahahah!!!!!

Well it all started promisingly. We were given a little wooden rattle with a bell in it which swiftly became Favourite Toy Number One. Excellent. I then proceeded to buy the lovely 'Squish' toy on eBay which became Favourite Toy Number Two. Fantastic. We then had a visit from friends who bought over a Demon Plastic Noise Box which, unfortunately, became Favourite Toy Number Three and the moment when everything went terribly, terribly downhill. Bollocks. First the wooden toys lost appeal and then, worse, the DPNB could only hold his imagination for a few moments before he tipped it over, chewed on the battery case and crawled over to disembowel our CDs. Clearly, we needed harder stuff.

One day, after a morning spent rescuing our music, putting the batteries back into our remote contols and re-constructing 'Time Out' page by page we were struggling to entertain him in the car when The Frog bought us screaming to a halt in front of a toy shop and in desperation purchased the V-tech baby laptop, here-to-fore to be referred to as The Most Favourite Toy Ever In The Whole Wide World. This bought us moments, nay HOURS of peace and quiet. Or rather, hours of peace and nail-chewingly relentless beeping noises and barely recognisable jazzy, electronic renditions of old nursery rhymes. And thus began a nasty noisy-plastic-toy abuse problem. Plastic toys. That say things. Just kill me.

What, I may ask, WAS I THINKING???? This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful life! Oh. My. God. These things, you know, they trick you into thinking that they've been turned off and then, just as a tired Spud is turning turtle and giving me that cute sleepy-baby-face one of them will go off and he lurches awake with a nipple-tearing jerk. 'Where's the Monkey?' 'Try MEEEEEE'. 'One, Two, Wheeeeee!' 'Boodly beedly bumbly boo boo be do'. It's like the House of The Living LED in here. And they breed. Once you see the effect on your offspring you HAVE TO buy more. And more!! They're so cheap on eBay!!!! Wooden toys? Pah!! I dutifully put the Spud in front of his wooden peg hammer board and just as he's getting interested in having a bash off goes another one 'boodlybeedlybee' and I think it's 'Old Macdonald ' but I really can't tell and he's off, pressing buttons and grasping at the lights.

The worst thing is that there is so much choice in this world of toys that go 'boo' that after three minutes, the Spud has information overload and has to leave the room. And all his toys, wooden or otherwise. In fact, he spent longer playing with a metal bowl full of water in the garden this weekend than he did with all his hell-toys combined.

Tomorrow, I throw them all in the cupboard and start cutting up a giant cardboard box. I bet we'll get days of fun out of that, provided I remember to soak them all in water to shut them up first.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Slummy Mummy

I admit, I am not the most glamorous thing to have ever graced the streets of London (or any other city for that matter), but I have had my moments, back before most of me headed south. I am, however, normally presentable. The last time I checked I owned a hairbrush, a case of reasonably pricey make-up and a few decent (and indecent) little dresses. I'm not being unrealistic here when I say that when I'm out in public I don't expect to attract much attention but when I do, I labour under the impression that it's normally of a reasonably positive variety. 'She looks like a nice person'. 'I like her shoes', 'Oh look, a mummy'. Worst case scenario here is that nobody notices me at all and they're just thinking 'Oh God, another baby'.

So. Out I went on Monday to pick the spud up from his child-minder. I'd been working inside all day (in my new cell office in the cellar) and since that morning I'd had to rush into the pit office right after changing a poopy nappy to make a conference call, worked straight through and then cut a telephone call short to dash off to meet him, I was pretty much the way God made me that morning. But with a pair of tracky bottoms on.

And lo it was sunny. And I smiled. And, as I was walking, I passed two gay young ladies dressed for summer prancing and dancing and showing off. And I smiled at them. And they laughed... AT me!! The little c...critters. In fact they didn't just laugh, firstly they did that thing where they looked me over, smirked at each other and then they laughed, as they danced away with their skinny legs and their cotton dresses and their poncy little dog.

I looked myself up and down. I was wearing a pair of pink suede winter boots (because I was late, they fell out of the cupboard when I opened it and they don't require laces or zips), grey tracksuit bottoms, a black t-shirt from the day before with puree on one shoulder, baby sick on the other and grey cat hairs all over it and I was carrying a woven shawl (for the spud's legs because it was cold). I looked like something winter had yakked up after an all-nighter with the abominable snowman.

Immediately I was depressed and only the sight of the spud grinning up at me all the way home made me feel good again.

The bad-mother part is that the spud, due to my stellar parenting skills, has had a runny tum for several days. This is because I introduced him to unsweetened, organic fruit juices. Which he loves. Which you dilute 10-1 with water apparently for babies his age. That, my dears is 10 parts WATER to one part JUICE. Not the other way around. Poor little bear. He's pooping out pearl barley that was in a stew I fed him two weeks ago. Organic pineapple juice - reaching the places other juices fear to go.

Anyway, so there we were, walking down the street, me in my gay apparel and the spud with poo leaking out of HIS tracky bottoms (because he's outgrown all his proper trousers and that's all that will fit him at the moment) and I felt as though someone should just issue us an ASBO and have done with it.

The worst part is that today we went to visit some neighbours who have been threatening to invite us around to meet Charlie since the day he was born and I showed up in the same t-shirt. The implication is clear. I have ceased to exist except as a mother. My best hope is to remain invisible, or at least to do enough to perk myself up so that my son doesn't cringe with embarrassment once he's old enough to notice.

Pass me those chocolate digestives... and wipe that look off your face while you're at it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Lazy Mum...

I am writing a new post however in the meantime, here's the spud doing his latest dance...