Come along for the ride!!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Horror of horrors

As a parent, you always try to shield your children from certain experiences although when this fails, the experience usually serves as a deterrent to it happening again. Just the thought of some of them make me literally shiver.

When Joseph was smaller, he wanted to help me do some cooking and so, with him stood on a dining chair, I asked him to stir the contents of a mixing bowl but on no account should he touch the ceramic hob, which was still cooling after being on high moments before.

“This hob Dad?” he asked as he pointed at the fading red circle, pushing his finger right down on it.

There was a loud ‘hiss’, he jerked back and the smell of burnt flesh immediately hit us both, followed by what can only be described as an incredible scream and lots of tears.

In fact, it was the loudest scream he had ever achieved.

Until yesterday that is when I managed to shut his hand in the car door.

Oh boy, one of my worst fears comes true. He screamed, I felt sick and we ran indoors to run his hand under cold water and liberally apply the wonderful Arnica gel.

When the flow of tears had slowed, I asked him to squeeze my hand with his to see if he could move his fingers ok. He tried but it was a feeble effort and I was really worried. I then asked him to try to squeeze my fingers as hard as “a Ninja Turtle” could.

He almost broke my fingers, leading me to believe that he may not have been trying too hard on the first attempt.

Still, another one of those tough lessons out of the way but I think that I/he/we/ were genuinely lucky.

Let’s hope Missy’s learning curve is as kind.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hippo bathday 2 ewe .....

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday dear MMMMmmmmmmmmm

Happy birthday to you

Another year, another grey hair.

For ME that is.

You wouldn’t know M had clocked up another year.

The four of us went to Kew Gardens which was a first for me. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend a trip there.

A Henry Moore exhibition was nearing completion so we were able to admire his sculptures before anyone else, we pretended to be badgers and crawled through a specially designed sett – or is it set? – saw the tallest greenhouse plant in the world (a Chilean wine palm), stood agog at the amazing structures built by the Victorians, walked for bloomin’ hours through beautiful parkland (all 300 acres of it) and never got bored once in 8 hours.

The children loved it too, with only one dodgy moment where the food bag ran dry. Apart from that single near miss (which could’ve gotten very ugly), all was well.

Another wonderful day thanks to ma famille.

Well, my love, with next year being a leap year, you can enjoy an extra day of being 38.

Monday, August 20, 2007

By the right, quick march …..

I spoke with Joseph at lunchtime. He spent the day at my mother in law’s house and, as usual, she took him to the shops to buy him the latest addition to his Cars collection.

“Which one did you get today?” I asked.

“The military one. I think he’s called Sarge” he replied excitedly.

Hang on. What’s that noise?

Is that the distant peal of alarm bells I hear?

Yes it is.

Last week, the toy giant Mattel recalled several million toys due to “manufacturing issues”. I remembered one of them was the Sarge character from Cars so onto Google I go, type in 'Mattel recall' and follow the instructions to find out whether or not his toy is affected.

To cut to the chase, I made a note of the serial number and called M‘s mother.

“Have you got his toy there? Have you got your glasses on? Does it have this serial number on the bottom?

I never thought in a million years she would say yes.

But she did.

“Take it off him and tell him to go and wash his hands straight away”.

I think a trip to Woolworths tomorrow might be in order.

To “have a quiet word”.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Boiled eggs and nuts!

I write here for two reasons.

One: to impart my vast knowledge (I'm kidding!) of all things parental unto thou; the good bits, the bad bits and the downright rotten bits.

Two: to serve as a reminder of some of the less interesting (but equally important) things that happen on a day-to-day basis.

Joseph spent much of Saturday afternoon eating. He has these days several times a month and it usually precedes a noticeable growth spurt.

Anyway, he literally did not stop eating and at 7pm when I picked him up to take him up for a bath, he moaned slightly and complained of tummy ache.

As we got to the top of the stairs, he said again, “I’ve got tummy ache. I wish I couldn’t eat so much!”

Not, wished I “didn’t” eat so much but he wished he “couldn’t” eat so much.

Maybe you had to be there.

The other funny moment was when I was fitting a bracket for our new fire extinguisher in the cupboard under the stairs.

I situated it fairly close to the light, and as I was placing the extinguisher in it’s new home, M walked past and, referring to its close proximity to the light – a heat source – asked, “if the extinguisher was flammable”!!


Maybe you had to be there for that too …………..

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Deal or no deal?

I clearly remember having several run-in’s with my supervisor and manager over recent years, regarding childcare or problems on that topic.

Request for flexible working, for example. Trips to the GP, running a little late, needing to leave a little early to name a few others.

I know what you’re thinking; “well, why should allowances be made for you for when the rest of us ….” blah blah blah.

The thing is, I always paid the time back – I never just thought, “ah, sod it, I’ll just stay in bed, amble down to the GP’s and then into work. Actually, I think I’ll stay at home today”.

If I got in late, I stayed late or took a short lunch – I paid it back. OK?

Anyway, I remember taking a perverse pleasure when my supervisor became a parent and the difficulties that came with it surrounding work related issues suddenly dawned on her.


Childish I know but hey, reap what you sow. What goes around comes around.

The thing is, you may know I changed my working hours for a better “work/life balance”.

And I’ve been loving it. Sometimes Joseph and I get to do something fun; other times I’ve had extra time to do essential “stuff”.

There’s only one problem; even though I sign for my reduced hours (which is reflected in my pay), I still think that my colleagues feel slightly miffed that I leave early.

I mean, at the end of the day it’s plain tough, but I can see their annoyance when I walk out of work at half past two.

It didn’t matter early on in the year when it was dark, cold and wet out, but it’s a little different when the sun is shining and the thermometer is steadily rising.

It’s the same when I’m in late or off if one of the children are sick.

Colleagues seem to think that taking a day off is terrific whichever way you look at it.

“Day off? Cor, wish I could take a day off just like that”.

They don’t get that it’s pretty awful taking care of your children when they’re sick. That it’s pretty rotten watching your child cry with ear ache and a burning temperature.

Believe me, I would rather never take a day off again if it meant my children were never sick again.

Now that’s a deal I would love to be able to make.

Count me in!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ear we go again!

When Joseph briefly mentioned that his ear was hurting last week, I have to admit to not taking too much notice (boo, hiss, bad parent). Similarly, my Mum said he’d complained of an itchy ear while they were out on Wednesday but again, I didn’t make too much of it.

By Thursday night however, with the oozing gunge starting to seep from his lug-hole, I finally thought, “hang on, that doesn’t look right”.

A short trip to the GP on Friday morning and he was the proud owner of a prescription for anti-biotics, which were administered with clinical precision by M; all 5mls of it.

The weather on Saturday morning screamed “garden day” and that is what we did. Some friends very kindly donated their surplus composter and so tidying the garden now has a purpose other than just making it look nice.

As well as being helpful in telling us what to compost, the instructions were very good for boosting our “eco warrior” attitude, pointing out that the more you compost, the less you bin, therefore reducing the amount of landfill space you use.

As if to validate this, Joseph and I took a trip to the council tip to get rid of our old shower, very helpfully dismantled by my Dad - thanks Dad - and when you see the amount of cars, throwing away the amount of rubbish that fills the huge number of enormous skips on a daily basis, it’s actually scary.

This is just one borough’s tip and the scale of things is amazing – and this is replicated up and down the country – where the hell do they put it all?

Anyway, if our new composting regime helps even a little, then that is something to feel good about.

Sunday unfortunately saw Joseph deteriorate somewhat, and our trip to my parents for a BBQ was cut short. Not before I’d eaten the first piece of fillet steak I’ve eaten in years and years though. It was delicious and cooked perfectly too – thanks Mum.

And so it was that we found ourselves at A+E again, swabs being taken, confirmation of prescriptions and so on and so forth.

It looks like, after his very busy week last week where he was doing something different every day and covering the sort of mileage you only read about it an Andy McNab novel, this week promises to be far more sedate.

We shall see how he is this evening.

Annabel on the other hand is on fine form and has taken to walking around, repeating an incident that took place a couple of weeks ago to anyone that will listen.

The children were drawing and colouring together and I was sat with them. My big job was sharpening their pencils; lucky me.

I was in the middle of talking to Joseph about his drawing when I became aware that something was digging into my arm. I looked to see Annabel holding ‘something’ behind my arm whilst absent mindedly looking over at Joseph. I then felt a shooting pain and I yelled out, scaring Annabel whose scream far out done my own.

It turns out she had walked into my arm with a pair of children’s serrated scissors and unknowingly caught a bit of flesh. Not looking at what she was doing, she then proceeded to squeeze the scissors shut until she’d snipped a hole in my arm.

Her first words to everyone now goes something along the lines of, “My Daddy, my scissors, an’, I squeeze it ……… it’s blood”, shrugging her shoulders.

“Poor Daddy”, M said. “Was it an accident Annabel?”

To which she replies very matter of factly, “no”, with just a hint of a smirk on her face.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

"We'll meet again, don't know where ... "

As always, Joseph and I shared a story about Christmas (don’t ask), before he went to sleep the other night. Somehow, our conversation ended up with him upset and me almost upset.

It went something like this.

J: Were you sad when the soldiers killed him?

Me: Who?

J: Jesus.

Me: Erm ... well, yes. But Jesus didn’t die until he was much older.

J: Are you going to speak to Jesus one day?

Me: Yep. Not in person though; not for a long time!

J: Can I talk to him one day?

Me: Of course. But not until you’re very old.

J: When you die, am I going to get another Mum and Dad?

Me: No, of course not.

J: What? Am I going to be on my own?

Me: No. By this time, you’ll be a Daddy, with a family of your own. You’ll never be on your own, ever.

This 'chat' took place over about 5 minutes and by now, big fat tears were welling in his eyes. He seemed genuinely concerned he might be ‘on his own’.

J: When you die, will you go to the place with the stones?

Me: The what? What stones?

J: You know – the gravestones.

Me: Oh, yes, one day. Not for a long time though.

J: Will I be able to see you still.

Me: No my love. You’ll be able to come and speak to me though. We’ll be able to speak to each other forever.

J: (crying) WHAT? But I won’t be able to see you??? I want to see you. Will I be able to see you again?

Me: (trying to rectify my mistake) Of course you will. One day, long after I’ve gone to live with Jesus, you’ll be able to come and live with us too. We’ll all be able to live with each other again in heaven.

J: How? Is heaven big? How will we all be able to live together?

Me: Heaven is very big. We’ll all see each other again, don’t you worry about that.

I hugged him really hard, kissing the top of his head, with him laughing and sucking his thumb, but with glistening eyes. I think I would have been ok had it not been for one fat tear that escaped and rolled down his cheek which choked me up.

I felt quite sad afterwards; sad that he would think along those lines, worrying about being alone.

The subject of being alone reminded me of one of my favourite films; Arthur, a millionaire drunk playboy played by Dudley Moore, and his butler Hobson, brilliantly portrayed by the excellent Sir John Gielgud. When Hobson dies, Arthur loses not just his valet but the father he never had.

In the scene following Hobson’s death, Arthur is sat at a bar, clearly plastered, explaining to the drunk next to him that he should seek out his family.

“Find your brother", he tells him. “No-one should be alone. It’s awful, to be alone”.

Don’t worry Poops – you won’t be alone.

I promise.

The Man with the Midas touch

Tuesday Number Two spent with Joseph and we decided to go on a Thomas (train) into town and some Underground Ernie’s (tube) in order to get to the Bank of England Museum, which was I thought was terrific and Joseph agreed.

Entrance was free, they are totally geared towards having young visitors and also dish out great little memento’s and prizes for some basic observations around the museum.

I would say the highlight was the real bar of gold which is housed in a sturdy Perspex box, with sensors either side of it and a rather surly looking gentleman watching over proceedings.

The box has a small, circular hole in the side to allow you to feel the gold as well as attempt to lift it.

All 13kgs of it!

An interactive safe which you have to “crack”, worksheets which are actually fun and, as mentioned, prizes for completing the above such as stick pins featuring bank notes and fridge magnets.

We saw St. Paul’s Cathedral, went for lunch in Soho and he had a haircut at my barber’s, making him look not only younger (than his nearly 5 years), but also even more handsome.

If that were possible!

Hurrah – day’s off ROCK!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

“Donuts – is there anything they can’t do?”

School summer holidays and the business of juggling childcare is in full swing. Yesterday, I was off and Joseph and I went to the cinema to see The Simpsons Movie – at Joseph’s request I hasten to add.

I don’t think we’d been to the cinema together since seeing Cars back in 2005 and wasn’t entirely sure his choice of film would be right for him – perfect for me though!

Thankfully however, he laughed his way through the entire film, as did I with Matt Groening and his team pulling out all the stops to get the Simpsons back on form for their feature length episode.

Go and see it.

Poor M called just as we had left the cinema to ask if we could collect her from work as she wasn’t feeling well (very unlike her) and promptly threw up on the way home (incredibly unlike her) and went straight to bed (almost unheard of!).

Joseph and I then packed an overnight bag for his “sleepover” at Nanna and Grandad’s house before driving over there and playing on his tree swing immediately.

He rang this morning to tell me he had woken early (no change there then), was having his “platter” (practically an identikit) and was watching the TV (yep, I guessed that) and was looking forward to his day out at the seaside.

He had been looking forward to the drive down in Grandad’s sports car but my Dad was having none of it. I could almost hear him scurrying off in the background as I prompted Joseph to ask him to get his flash car out of the garage!!

Next time Poops.