Monday, April 19, 2010

rest required

I can't blog. My son is doing nothing particularly amusing and I am knackered and stressed and tired of trying to be funny. I'd throw in the towel but every time I try I find myself a few weeks later back at the coal face squeezing out another post about trains or shoes or the cat's breath because I can't help myself. That and my Mum would worry.

There is, in short, no content on this blog. Not that that makes much of a difference to previous weeks, I suppose; I guess I'm just being slightly more honest. Our days pretty much steam into one another at the moment.

I'm finding the night time routine particularly wearing. From the moment I turn off my computer at around 5:30 and go and pick him up from nursery, the pattern of the day is pretty much set until 9 when the frog and I collapse with our dinner. Three and a half immovable, immutable hours are gone out of every waking day. It's like Groundhog Day in miniature; the alarm pops up on my desktop and off we go... I throw in variation because if I didn't it would be so easy for us to have 365 identical evenings.

I may have said this before, but a couple of summers ago I was standing in the park while Charlie amused himself crawling around and I heard a bunch of Mums talking; one of them confessed to the others that she started obsessing over dinner from the moment she woke up every day. At the time I didn't understand but I think I do now to some extent.

It gets relentless, this feeding and cleaning and playing trains and putting to bed business and it's worse because kids resist; they don't want to get on the bedtime travellator, they want to play. Take a kid away from his game and he might cry but within 5 minutes he'll have found something else to play with. Put a kid into an empty room and he will find a way to play. It's wonderful and fabulous and amazing and blah blah blah - and it's exhausting. Sometimes it's just so much easier to say 'fuck dinner and work this evening, let's just play' and on those days the frog comes home around 8 and Charlie and I are lounging around playing mario kart or hide and seek or we're in the garden with the hose. Some days, even, we'll play and play and play and then I'll run a huge bath and we'll both get in and then get into our jammies. Once in a blue moon we'll even get into the big bed with some books and fall asleep. It's kind of a primal thing, this play/sleep business and we are so far removed from it as adults that we pfaff around writing blogs when we should be sleeping and muck about working when we should be spending time playing and then moan inwardly about how exhausted and overworked we are.

Maybe this is what midlife crisis feels like; this urge to get back to play. Maybe that's what's going on. Maybe it's nothing to do with the blog.


OK. Sign me up for a red sports car. And a parking spot at the train museum.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Received pronounciation

So. I may have mentioned before that we have frequented the London Transport Museum. What I may not have mentioned, although for those who know my child it seems obvious, is that we are actually members. I feel the need to interject here, this is not a sponsored post; sadly we've done this all on our own without the benefit of PR agencies. Face it, it's a tenner to get in but only twenty to get free entry all year. And they subtract your first tenner, so if you've been once, effectively it's only another tenner. And, for those... er... two tenners, one has the priviledge of spending one's life being dragged around buses by a child who lacks only an anorak to blend completely into the display.

Anyway. So, membership grants benefits beyond the free entrance. Every three months an extremely spoddy publication arrives through the letterbox and while the writing may be full of eager gentlemen who have located rare bus photographs on a neighbour's wall, the pictures are enough to keep a small spud spod VERY happy for, well, for the three months until the next one comes.

The latest edtion slipped through our letterbox on Wednesday and in it they announced (sadly this tells you that I read the actual text) that they have put some old films on the website. Ah, I thought. Charlie will like that. And so he does. Endlessly.

There is one particular film which secretly I'm rather fond of. It's a film about the last tram, narrated by a chap (he can only be a chap) speaking perfect BBC received pronounciation, talking about the 'Cockeneys' and waxing lyrical about the trams. It was made in 1952 and there are some wonderful shots of London in it but what makes it both dreadful and sort of great is the mix of this terribly terribly precise British and the use of an old music hall song sung by a stock cockney. It's the sort of thing parodied endlessly by British comedians and here is the real thing in black and white.

The spud's own accent is something we are watching emerge with great interest given that I talk like some sort of mid-Atlantic troll and the frog talks like Inspector Clouseau. We do, however, live in South London and he is coming out with some extremely local pronounciation like 'I'm free yeahs old'; 'I don't want nuffin' and 'yo, gimme more chocolate, innit!' (ok I made that last one up). The killer was today when he was rumbled by his father while practicing saying "Scoo-ah... scooter... scoo-ah.... scooter...". Sadly, it appears he will talk which-ever way he pleases and all the media and colonial eurotrash in the world ain't going to stop him... It actually makes me kill myself laughing whenever he comes out with something really local but I do worry that he's going to be tainted by his accent.

I suppose I should be more worried that he will be tainted by his love of all things train related but anyone who owns a three-year-old boy will agree (I suspect) that anything that can occupy them for an hour without needing intervention is a Good Thing. So, if putting him in his room with the Brio track and the latest trainspotter's guide gets us an hour to ourselves well then hey, I'll watch the damn tram film another 100 times and like it.


Sunday, April 11, 2010


It's time. It's so gone time that it's unreal. It's time, finally, that I blogged about the spud's shoes. I'd like to add the word 'new' before the word 'shoes' however since he opened the box a month ago he has pretty much eschewed other shoes. Eshoed?

This all came about because 6 months ago Umi Shoes gave us a different pair of shoes which, apart from welly-boot days, have been married to the spud's feet like a pair of magic dancing slippers ever since. I tell you, these shoes have not only lived through the two worst seasons in the British Calendar - 'drizzle' and 'puddle' - but their substantial rubber toes have slowed down about a million scooter rides and yet they look practically new out of the box. In fact if your son is going to be a size 27 this summer I'll probably flog them to you on eBay.

Umi mentioned at the time they might talk to us again in the spring and, given how much we love shoes in this house, I didn't quite have the integrity to say 'no, really, you've done enough thanks' and so a month ago we received the latest addition to the spud's foot locker; a pair of Umi 'Action' shoes in denim; a colour which sadly doesn't appear on their website; although you can see a couple of other colours for this shoe on the site.

I genuinely like the Umi shoes - they're not just robust but they're styley and if your kid is going to be glued to a pair of shoes they should probably be a good pair. Umi have also expanded the number of shops in the UK that stock them, so what they have is easier to find.

I'm hoping these ones hold up as well as the last pair because Charlie won't take them off at the moment and it looks like they're going to have to get us through the summer.

Sunday morning ritual

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Easter Frog

A couple of mythical creatures visited our house yesterday; the Chocolate Dervish and the Croup Fairy.

Much like Christmas, the nursery has been winding up the kids for the arrival of the Easter Bunny all week. The Spud came home every day with some Easter-themed concoction - nests made out of cereal; an egg that dyed everything it touched and various other little spring-themed fantasies. The arrival of the Easter Bunny, it was clear, was something we could not ignore.

So, last thing on Saturday night we crop-dusted the flat with chocolate. There were eggs on his trainset. Eggs on his slippers. Eggs on his sofa. A trail of eggs lead to a chocolate Buzz Lightyear. Eggs lurked in nests on tables and chairs, a massive egg hid in the armchair, bright colour eggs sat at Spuddy-eye level on all bookshelves.

About 8am I lurched awake to find him solemnly shaking me. "The Easter Rabbit Did Not Come, Mummy, it DID NOT COME!!' he intoned with no small amount of panic. Clearly he's not much of a morning person.

By 9am he had eaten his weight in chocolate eggs and by 9:15 he had turned into the Tasmanian Devil. After a day of tearing the place apart, he was fast asleep by 8:30; however by midnight it was clear that Bunny may have left the building, but the garden frog had moved into my son's throat.

This is probably the 6th time he has had croup and normally it means 5 hours in hospital plus a dose of steroids. Having recently discovered that the Frog had croup as a child, we resolved this time to treat it the old-fashioned way with steam and night air.

This was a great idea until the kettle caught fire and filled the house with the smell of hot aluminum... after a few minutes we were all croaking. We swaddled him in jackets and blankets and traipsed grimly into the garden to honk up the neighbours and after an hour the entire street was awake, however he had stopped croaking and was demanding Charlie and Lola. Result!

It wasn't a bad day, even with the croup. There was something lovely about sitting in the garden together wrapped in blankets and looking at the stars. It ended well and everyone is fine. Except, that is, for Buzz Lightyear. I am sorry to say that he did not recover from injuries sustained to his head and arms and sadly was put to rest yesterday in Charlie's tum.