Come along for the ride!!

Friday, November 30, 2007


Brushing Joseph’s teeth last night, I saw him looking above my eyes and he asked about some veins on my forehead.

I explained that as people get older, their bodies change and there are visible differences.

“You know what else happens as men get older Poops? They sometimes lose their hair”.

“Yeah”, he says smiling. “Then they’re bald!”

“That’s right. I think I might be bald one day”, I say, watching for his reaction.

“That’s ok Dad – then you can wear a nice red wig”.

Heh heh heh ….

And there I was worrying!

Thanks son.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Forgot to mention Annabel yesterday.

As you might recall, she proudly stated that she would be watching the fireworks this year after being terrified the previous year.

And then bellowed when they lit the fuse!

In a similar vein, she had been looking forward to seeing Santa in his grotto at the school Christmas fair.


It was fairly obvious pretty quickly that she wasn’t about to sit on a stranger dressed all in red with an ill fitting white beard any time soon.

Cue much shrieking into my ear.

Took her away from the festivities before remembering to duck back and look at Joseph in “the chair”.

As always, he was sat there with the Man in Red, the man responsible for supposedly bringing all his presents this year and once again this week, my heart squeezed slightly at what I saw.

Joseph, avoiding eye contact and twiddling on his fingers and the decorations, biting his lip in a mix of embarrassment and uncertainty.

No sooner had I stooped to look in however, did Annabel let out another wail.

"Ok, ok, we’re going ……."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tally ho, pip pip, what!

Joseph’s report from his teacher was positively glowing for Thursday and Friday following his telling off on Wednesday.

Good lad Poops.

Today was his school’s Christmas 'bazaar' and it was a busy affair with lots to see and do. Joseph had emptied his piggy bank into his wallet, which contained just over £4 and he intended to spend, spend, spend.

One of the highlights for me was when he found this “flick football” game, which was actually pretty neat. We asked how much, were told it was 75p and we rummaged through his change.

We handed over a shiny £1 coin, Joseph looking at me closely, trusting me with his cash. He followed the transition of the coin from me to the young girl helping on the stall and, as she turned away to get his change, Joseph too turned to me, thinking the transaction was over.

“Don’t forget your change” said the girl, handing it down to him.

Well, his face lit up as he held out his hand for his 25p change.

“TWO coins?” he gasped, beaming all over his chops! “TWO coins Dad??”

I laughed out loud, not bothering to explain that the two silver coins were worth less than the single golden one he had parted with.

That little disappointment can wait for another day.

Another new one in our house is Annabel’s new favourite word.

“Oh gosh”, she announces at every opportunity, or just plain “gosh”.

This is funny whether she uses it appropriately or not, as well as the fact that she adopts a very posh accent to say it in.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

You don't wanna do it like that, you wanna do it like this.."

Joseph has been separated in class from one of his friends recently because they are too boisterous and excitable.

Or in plain English, they’re a royal pain in the butt when together.

I spoke to Joseph in front of his teachers this morning before he went into class and he (reluctantly) agreed to be good. I said I would be asking his teacher at the end of the day how he had behaved.

When I went to collect him, I could see him standing sheepishly at the back of the queue of children waiting to be collected and I knew something was amiss.

His teacher said to me, “he’s had a lovely day, behaved beautifully, right up until the very end of the day when he stuck his tongue out at me and spoilt things”.

Now I know that sticking your tongue out doesn’t exactly constitute grand theft auto but, at the age of 5, you need to be towing the line and knowing what to do and what not to do.

Or at least, what not to do when a teacher is looking straight at you!

I adopted my unimpressed face and asked him why he had done it, did he realise he had upset his teacher, had he said sorry and so on.

He tried to say sorry with his water bottle half in his mouth but his teacher was having none of it. She took it out of his mouth and asked again. He repeated the apology, adding her name on the end of the sentence, only this time his face cracked slightly and his lip quivered.

I could see he was genuinely sorry and my heart went out to him. We walked away holding hands, all the while Annabel was trying to give him a cuddle but he was upset and as I glanced down, I could see him wiping his eyes with his scarf.

I stopped and knelt down to him, telling him it was fine; he’d been naughty but he’d apologised and that was it, over.

Apart from the tears however, was the fact that he was clearly embarrassed and he freaked a little, turning his water bottle upside down, throwing it and pushing me away.

I mentioned the magic words “snack bag” and his hand relaxed in mine and a little laugh escaped his lips.

We talked in the car about the incident while they ate their cheese and crackers and he seemed fine.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, November 19, 2007

“If it’s a girl they’re calling her Sigourney, after an actress. If it's a boy, they're calling him Rodney".

I was searching through some old e-mails today and came across an exchange I had with a work colleague of my Dad’s.

Not long after Joseph was born, Dave (for ‘tis his name) and his wife Eve sent over a present. It turned out to be the most enormous pair of jeans with the note, “every bloke needs a pair of jeans to grow into”, attached.

This I found hilarious, thanked them both for their gift and put the jeans away until Joseph had grown.

I seem to remember that it was nearly 2 years to the day that we put Joseph in his new denim and I e-mailed Dave to inform him of this momentous occasion.

He wrote back some very lovely words and re-reading them today made me a bit choked. I’ve put them below for you to see for yourself.

“That’s great news.

I remember watching our kids grow and remember vividly some of their outfits, and somehow it marks stages in their (and your) lives.

As an 'old man' it is amazing how much pleasure it gives to watch children of friends growing up and having their families.

Working with your Dad over the years (often just the pair of in an office together) I have experienced almost first hand, yours and Paul's lives.

I know how proud your Mum and Dad are of you. Please give Joseph a hug from us and we both wish you all a happy and healthy life together.

Regards – Dave”

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Specialist subject; the bleeding obvious

Joseph and I left the house the other morning and as he was about to climb into the car, he leant on it and walked along, wiping all the rain off the bodywork with his coat.

I looked at his arm and he followed my gaze and we both (comically) stared at the soaking wet sleeve of his jacket.

“What did you do that for?” I asked. “Now look what you’ve done! Your arm is all wet now!”

Joseph continued to stare at his arm, looked up at me, completely puzzled and said, “But it’s a raincoat Dad”.

There is nothing like the crushing voice of reason to stop you in your tracks and the fact that I was moaning that he had gotten his waterproof coat wet hit me in the face like the proverbial wet fish.


I got in the car myself, laughing at his 5 year old grasp of things which (still) elude me! “Oh yeah, heh heh heh ..... waterproof”, I exclaimed, like I’d learnt it for the first time.

“Am I grumpy sometimes Poops”, I enquired, knowing full well what the answer would be.

“Sometimes you moan”, he grinned.

“You’re right, I do. Ok then, next time I moan, tell me that I’m moaning and I’ll stop”.

The twinkle in his eye told me he would enjoy this power. We’ll see how it goes.

In other news, Annabel shows her ability at mimicry by doing a spot on impersonation of Joseph, announcing he is “going to Teta’s” (or Grandmother in Arabic).

Her transition from unsteady toddler to little girl is pretty much complete, all undertaken with effortless ease which, as I make a habit of saying here all too often, is both heart warming and heart-breaking at the same time.

On an entirely different note, from my office window today, I saw an old gent walking along the pavement; he stopped, looked around and then bent down to pick up a roll of brown tape. Pretty unremarkable I know, but what is it about finding something that makes us feel a little guilty?

Or is it just me?

Whether it’s a coin, a book or indeed, a roll of brown tape, there's that little niggle that someone might be watching us take it, nonchalantly walking on, heart quickening just a little.


Just me then.

And on a different note from that different note, talking of my window, a chap from estates walked in and, without saying a word, opened the windows slightly, made a mark with chalk on the ‘opener’ (for want of a better word) and went to leave. I asked would he mind telling me what he was doing.

“Oh, I dunno, it’s some EU ‘fing. Sumfink to do wiv European standards of safety; you’re only gonna be allowed to open your office window this far”, he said, opening the window out to where his chalk mark was. “To stop people committing suicide I fink”.

Of all the cheek! Some faceless entity has decided that, should I wish to end it all, I am not allowed to chuck myself out of a window to do it!

What a liberty!

If, like me, you find the subject of the goings on of the European Union and the decisions made therein a total bore, then you really should read Mark Mardell’s splendid blog.

It makes what goes on in Brussels all worthwhile.

Read it here

Well, go on then!!!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thank you and good night.

Oh well, another year, another heating problem. Why do boilers always wait until the weather has turned freezing cold before packing up?

Yes, I know they’ve sat all year without “firing up” the heating but to wait until the coldest night of the year so far is …… annoying.

To say the least.

But that’s not what I want to tell you.

As you know, Annabel is chuffed to bits with her new bed. Loves the fact that she has a “big girl’s” bed, that she can climb in (and out of it) by herself. That she has such pretty bedclothes, not to mention her new pyjamas - “I not need a (sleeping) bag Daddy” – and so on.

It was climbing into bed last night that caused an upset.

Well, more the fact that she was carrying something really.

She has been wearing this pair of children’s bright yellow plastic glasses without any lenses in, more or less all the time, reminding me of that newsreader, what’s his name? Unfortunately, one of the stems keeps coming off but she seems to prefer this, carrying it around like an entirely separate entity.

Anyway, she was climbing into bed last night and she fell forward, as she does, onto her pillow. Unfortunately, she fell onto the broken stem and the sharp end pierced her skin about half an inch below her right eye!!!!

She looked round at me, I saw the blood immediately dripping from the cut and she let out a wail.

Now I know I always make a point of saying this is a family friendly blog so how can I put it?

She (or rather we), were bloody lucky!

Just like that, the seemingly innocent act of climbing into bed and she ends up narrowly avoiding a serious injury.

My parents still enjoy telling me that this never changes, that you never stop worrying about your children

That’s good.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It’s a conspiracy maan.

Any parent will tell you that sleep becomes very erratic in the first few years of your children’s lives. Then, after a couple of years it gets better and then it takes a turn for the worse again.

Unfortunately, we appear to be in the middle of the “worse again” period.

And why is it that children will sleep in late from Monday to Friday but at the weekend they come into your bedroom at 5am because they were either “dreaming about monsters” or they “want a cuddle”?

This has been the pattern for the past several weeks.

But, no sooner does Joseph start to sleep in, do other factors come into play.

This morning, foxes were yelping up and down the street, mooching about and play fighting with each other. This was just before 5 ‘o’ clock.

They move on, I start to drift back to sleep before I’m woken by the strangest sound. Did you ever run your fingers around the top of a wine glass to produce a strange humming noise? That’s exactly the noise which has been waking us up. After a quick bit of detective work, I found the source – the outlet for next door’s boiler.

At 5.30am!

What can I do about the foxes? Nothing.

What can I do about the neighbour’s boiler? Nothing.

It’s gonna be a long winter.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

“I gon’ see firewurks”…..

… is what Annabel has been saying all week long. She has been immensely proud of this fact and has mentioned it to anyone who would listen or who has stood still long enough for her to corner.

Somehwere in her young memory banks she must’ve logged the fact that she cried all the way through the display last year but she had obviously psyched herself up for 2007.

Our local borough had very stingily cancelled all free firework events and so we tip-toed across into Lambeth to take advantage of Streatham Common’s free display.

Annabel was excited, Joseph was excited, we were excited and suddenly the countdown began, Annabel squealing with delight.

A countdown from 10 got everyone ready but approximately 0.8 of a second after the first bang, Annabel jumped, turned her face into my shoulder and screamed the only way she knows how.


So loudly in fact that people on the other side of the common half a mile away, ducked, looking around in confusion as to where the ripple in the space time contiuum had occurred.

They needn’t have worried of course because thankfully, my left eardrum had taken most of the energy from my daughter’s yell.

Terrific display otherwise, all taken care of by the current world pyrotechnic champions – apparently.

Home late and both children straight to bed.

Ooh, talking of bed, Missy has made the jump from cot to bed with effortless ease. We were predicting trouble with her ditching the sleeping bags for pyjamas combined with a low bed that she can easily get out of but she doesn’t seem to have made this connection; yet.

Well done (as always) to M for choosing a very sweet little bed and beautiful bed clothes.

I admit the space looks a little dark and sparse but the difference in size between a cot and her new bed is enormous.

We’ll brighten up her walls, don’t you worry.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The return of Michael Myers

Well this year was Missy’s first trick or treat. Joseph of course, is an old hand at it now, so they both get dressed up in their spooky outfits ready for an evening's spooking.

Just one problem however; Annabel’s “scary witch” costume was anything but – she looked an absolute peach with her pointy hat tipped slightly too far back on her head to be menacing and her silky “rag” dress flowing too delicately to cause alarm.

She really did look like a little Princess ("leave it Grant”) and Joseph was a glow-in-the-dark skeleton.

Even the weather was kind; a very mild evening with clear skies allowing everyone involved to be out wearing only their costumes.

I love the area in which we live. Obviously, being in the catchment area for several schools, there are bound to be plenty of children and this is never more apparent than on an evening like Hallowe’en. 7pm on a dark autumn evening and our street is normally deserted but it looked like there was a football match on nearby.

Laughter, excited squealing, packs of scary looking “creatures of the night” lurking at every turn – it was good fun.

I was reading that Hallowe’en goes against everything we teach our children. Don’t accept sweets or treats from strangers; don’t demand anything from old ladies at their door and so on which is of course, all true.

Looking at Annabel and Joseph’s faces though, there’s nay chance of not doing this each year.

I think the only wobble was when Annabel initially encountered some of the scarier masks out on her street. The mask from the film Scream was a particular favourite but not with her. She has this sweet reaction of putting the back of her hand up to her mouth when she’s scared and she did this regularly.

Back home and the part of the evening which I think they enjoyed more – opening our own door to trick or treaters, from the one’s who had worked hard on their costumes to those who were just in it for the sweets.

I think next year we’ll hand out toothbrushes. Just to see the looks on their faces!