Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I don't really understand who you are, but I can tell something different is going on because my brother is even louder and bouncier than ever.

Mummy says that I should tell you what I want for Kissmass. Well, I do like chocolate buttons but I am also partial to sucking wet wipes too, so either of those things would be good.

I think my brother's toys look quite good fun so I would really like it if I could play with some of them for longer than three seconds without him pulling them away from me and making me cry.

Sometimes when I am on my own in bed I get worried and shout for mummy and daddy to come and give me a cuddle to make me feel better. I am always really happy to see them in the middle of the night but could you make them just as happy to see me as well. Sleeping is boring after all.

Most of all I wish people understood what I wanted when I told them. I know I can only say a few words, but I am trying very hard and I really think mummy should know by now the difference between the noise for 'these sleeves are annoying me' and 'I need another yoghurt'.

Lots of love,
Thea (1 year 5 months old).

Dear Father Christmas,

Last year I thought you were called Farmer Christmas and your reindeer pulled your tractor. This year I understand much more and talk about you all the time.

I would like everything in the Early Learning Centre catalogue, and the Great Little Trading Company catalogue and the Tickety Boo catalogue and the Argos catalogue. Even the things I already have. I like anything with Ben 10 or Spiderman on them because I am going to be a superhero when I grow up and go to big school and I would really like it if I could eat chocolate all day and if mummy would understand that I don't listen to her most of the time because she is not saying anything interesting like "Do you want to play this game with me?" or "Do you want ice cream for lunch?" or "Shall we colour the walls in with marker pens?".

I'm just going to leave this letter in my bedroom for you to read because I know you are watching me. Mummy and daddy have been telling me for a long, long time that you are watching me all the time to see if I am a good boy.

Lots of love,
Gabe (3 and 3/4)

Dear Santa,

I don't expect much at Christmas, really I don't. A nice pot of honey and some aftershave would do me fine, but as my wife thought it would be fun for us all to write you a letter I thought I may as well mention a couple of other things.

I'd really like it if someone could magically clean the car for me. It's not a new car, or a posh car, or a fast car but it would be nice if I could get out of the car at work without having sweet wrappers stuck to my clothing, or being booby trapped by a casually discarded spiderman toy as I sit down or my feet getting stuck in the primordial ooze which covers the floor.

I'd also really like it if my wife could find the diamond earrings I designed and bought for her after she told me it was the law that new mothers were given a diamond per offspring. They weren't under the chest of drawers when I moved them to look, so I'm hoping she is going to come up with another possible hiding place very soon.

Most of all Santa, I would be the happiest man alive if you could just give me some more sleep. It's such a little thing to ask for, but I really miss it.

Best wishes,
Mr Kerry

Dear Santa,

This year I would like to enjoy the Christmas holidays. Last year I decided that we should spend our first Christmas as a family of four on our own together, but it ended up feeling just like any other day. This year we are going to spend the day with friends and family and I am really looking forward to it.

I hope I enjoy the special times and not waste them by feeling stressed and frazzled. I hope I spend time playing with my children making mountains out of wrapping paper insetad of fussing about tidying it into a bin bag. I would like to appreciate the Christmas tree instead of secretly counting the days until we can take it down because it makes the living room really cluttered. I would like to have all my shopping done and wrapped before Christmas Eve, and to account for the time that has to be spent in removing all those stupid wires that are used to package the kids toys and which add hours to the process.

I would also really appreciate it if you could make sure that I keep to the right side of the fine line between vivaciously tipsy and a bleary, slurring drunkard at my work do's.

Finally, if it's not too much to ask, I would also really, really like to find my diamond earrings and for my daughter to start sleeping through the night. Oh and some snuggly slipper boots from the White Company (in the mink colour) would be lovely.

Yours sincerely,

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

My Movie Fantasy

Yesterday evening my three year old son was sat on the sofa eating his supper. Upon finishing he leaned back, rested his hands on his tummy and like a post-Christmas dinner flatulent elderly uncle, let out the most enormous, self-satisfied belch. There was a stunned silence as we took in its melodious resonance, and after prompting the requisite “Excuse me”, I could only admire my son’s precocious talent with an enthusiastic high five.

It got me to thinking about my own personal inadequacies as it is a quirk of mine that I can’t burp. This is surprisingly a recurring source of disappointment as there are many instances in life when a burp serves as appropriate punctuation or emphasis in the conversation – it can be appreciative, disgusted, contemptuous, insulting, entertaining, distracting….the list goes on. Burping is something you probably don’t give much thought to if you are adept at casually discarding your excess wind, but to belch-free me it is an ability I am actually quite jealous of.

The same goes for the other skills and talents I do not possess. For example I am bitterly disappointed that I can’t whistle, that I can’t play a musical instrument and that I can’t speak more than basic Del-boy French; “Mais oui, mon petit fromage frais” - see what I mean?

I’m sure at some point most of us have indulged in a few moments of idle daydreaming, casting ourselves as the star in the movie of our lives, sweeping in and amazing all around with beauty, wit and intellect. Possibly as an immaculately kooky Holly Golightly-type, hosting a debauched house party a la Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Or inspired by Mad Men, a Joan Holloway-type. Queen bee of the office in a sexy pencil skirt and mistress of the sassy riposte. Or possibly a kickass, wise cracking heroine such as the long lamented Buffy the Vampire Slayer (was there ever a better role model for teenage girldom?).

However my movie fantasy goes something like this;

In a Parisian back alley I stumble upon a dimly lit, smoke filled café. I wander in and am quickly dismissed by the uber-cool, black clad inhabitants who are all too busy smoking their gitanes, drinking rough red wine and discussing Sartre to pay me any attention. I go to the bar. In immaculate French I order my drink and casually enquire about the little piano hidden away in the corner. The barman shrugs his shoulder and motions to me to help myself. I sit down at the piano and proceed to stun the insouciant clientele with a perfect rendition of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumble-bee (yes, a scene stolen straight out of the movie Shine) whilst whistling along in perfect harmony. Upon finishing I graciously acknowledge the crowd's standing ovation and then respond with a perfect, full-bodied, 10 second burp……….the crowd goes wild…….and fade to credits.

It'll never happen of course, but it has happily filled a few daydreaming minutes.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Mungosaur, Lord of the Mould

The mouldy pan from Tuesday's blog is still an ongoing issue. However little did I realise that by embarking on this righteous crusade for the equal division of domestic labour I was also placing my family in genuine peril from the malevolent goo which was multiplying inside.

Matters came to a head today and I'm still shaking as I type this blog. I'm only grateful I managed to capture the events on camera, Blair Witch style, so as to share the experience.

There I was this morning, pootling away in the kitchen when suddenly the pan of horror started to make a funny noise. The plate covering the mouldy mess started to move as something seemed to be escaping from inside. I could barely utter a single profanity before out peeped the head of 'Mungosaur, Lord of the Mould'.

Well this is how he introduced himself. I didn't like to assume that his intentions were hostile, and offered him a cup of tea and a custard cream, however he soon made his agenda clear when he answered with a blood-curdling "Mwah Ha Ha!", which as we all know is the universally recognised laugh of a real bad 'un.

He immediately set about spreading his repugnant rot. Everything he touched seemed to die and decay before my eyes. The flowers...

Then the bananas.

But he then realised that pretty much everything else which was edible was already past its sell by date, which seemed to spoil his fun somewhat. So he decided to call on modern technology to assist in a quickly hatched plot to take over the world and then did the 'mwah ha ha' thing again, which to be honest was getting a bit old by now.

Still he had the household worried, so they just hid behind the cushions, whilst making sure that they could still watch Toy Story 2 though the gaps.

This left saving the world down to one plucky little chap known by the imaginative yet literal name of 'Fireman', who had been keeping a beady eye on the proceedings. He may have been short on stature but he had attended a few emergencies in his time and figured that a quick mind could outwit the pestilent fungus-spreader at his own game. Fireman decided to fight fire with fire. The only way to defeat Mungosaur was to find a substance more revolting than that which he was created from.

Fireman followed his nose and identified a strong contender in the form of the youngest householder's discarded nappy and delivered the same to the feet of the vile one.

Mungosaur laughed his evil laugh and sneered in the face of Fireman. "This nappy is no threat to me," he cackled inhaling it's odour appreciatively. Then added; "Mmmm I love the smell of used nappy in the morning. It smells of ....",

but Fireman had already driven away to discuss the matter with his three colleagues, Fireman, Fireman and Fireman.

What could they find that smelled worse than the nappy? They had to think of an object of even more distilled vileness to defeat this heinous creature. After some head-scratching inspiration came in a flash. Of course..........Dad's socks. Objects of such vinegary potency that Mum refused to pick them up in case they took her nail varnish off. Fireman (the original) bravely volunteered for the task. Gingerly he approached Mungosaur with the dreaded item......

Mungosaur's smirk turned to puzzlement....then to terror.......then with a shriek of; "I'm meltiiiiiiiiing........." Mungosaur turned back to the green goo which had spawned him in the first place, and Fireman, Fireman, Fireman and Fireman returned to the Fire Station for a well deserved cup of tea and rich tea biscuit, whilst I hurriedly poured a kettle of boiling water and half a bottle of bleach into the offending pan, then left it for my husband to finish off the job when he got home. After all one has to hold to one's principles.

The End.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

After the Wedding Comes the Mouldy Pan

Ahhhh! Don't they make a beautiful bright eyed, over-privileged pair?

Prince William and Kate Middleton Through The Years
Good luck to Wills and Kate as they embark on a new chapter in their lives and head towards the hysteria, pomp and ceremony that will no doubt mark their wedding day.

If you have ever been through the process of planning a wedding you may well have been tearing your hair out whilst trying to navigate the minefield of mother of the bride/mother-in-law competitive dressing, where to seat the bitterly divorcing relatives and how to keep your sleezy drunken uncle away from your bridesmaids all whilst ignoring the acerbic comments from a permanently wasp mouthed great-aunt. Imagine the minefield that the lovely Kate is going to have to navigate when she also factors in Heads of State and Church, the inbred aristocrats and courtiers on his side and the nouveau riche and gauche middle class on hers. Rather her than me, although I'm sure she will get a great dress out of it.

Anyone who has been through a wedding has also woken up the day after the main event realising that all that planning was just a way of avoiding the actual reality that you have voluntarily and legally bound yourself to the same person for the rest of your life (or at least for the next twelve months based on current UK divorce law).

I will have been married for five years this December and find marriage to be both as warm and cosy as a favourite pair of tartan flannel pyjamas in front of a log burning fire and at other times as frustrating and isolating as a 10 mile tailback on the M6 on a rainy February friday night.

However we have chosen to navigate life following a common path and despite the havoc that two small children are wreaking, we still seem to be crawling in the same direction. I love my man but this is not to say that hazards don't crop up on a regular basis.

Currently, for example, we are having a passive aggressive mouldy pan stand off.

He says that because I cooked the food - once baked beans but now some new variety of penicillin by the looks - then I should also wash the pan. Au contraire, say I. If I go to the trouble of cooking (or technically opening a tin and warming the contents) then I should not have to wash up as well. This is an argument which has frequently raised its head in our house without resolution, but marriage is a marathon not a sprint. I'm in it for the long haul and I am not washing that pan of horror as to be honest it's starting to frighten me a little.....

Friday, 12 November 2010

My Obsession

I've blogged before on my love of the catalogue. In reality this is just a mild crush compared to the passion I have for the loveliness of a shiny, crisp, glossy magazine.

My love of magazines was fostered and encouraged by my mum who was an avid reader. She wanted to instill the same love of reading in her daughter and figured that comics may be a good place to start honing my skills. It certainly worked, so much so that I can pretty much define my life by the comics and magazines I have loved.

I started with the Twinkle (pre-school), Bunty (infant school), Mandy (junior school), Jackie (early teenage years), Just Seventeen (mid - late teenage years), Cosmopolitan (early twenties), Marie Claire (late twenties/early thirties) and currently Red.

As well as the quality monthly mags I am also a sucker for the more low-brow gossip mags; Heat, OK, Hello, Now, Closer..... bring 'em on. There is no better way to numb and becalm my frantic head than to spend a lunch hour flicking through the ridiculous lives of z-list c'lebs.

As addictions go this is a pretty tame one but it does have a sinister downside. As a result of this constant ingestion of magazine frippery my brain is full to brimming with useless, random information but very little of anything which is, well, intelligent. Once you get to my advanced years when at best I'm pretty much half-way through my likely allotted span (ill health and catastrophe permitting) I think its fair to say that the brain is pretty much at capacity. For every piece of information that now goes in, another piece has to make room by simply fading away to leave the merest shadow of itself, occasionally grasped for but never to be recaptured.

How I wish that rather than following the antics of Katie Weissel and Cher in the X factor house, I instead understood why accelerating tiny particles into each other somewhere deep under Switzerland is actually important. Instead of marvelling at Courtney Cox's poise and dignity in the light of David Arquette's craziness, I understood how quantum physics meant that Schrodinger's Cat could be both theoretically alive and dead at the same time. Hell, to be honest I would settle for knowing how the television works.

However I think inner peace comes from accepting our limitations, so for now I will continue to while away the few minutes of spare time I have by catching up on the latest celebrity Botox overdose and the progress of Anne Widdecombe's Strictly Come Dancing training.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Just For A Laugh

It has rained all day, I have the first cold of the season and for the next five months will no longer see weekday daylight outside of working hours. In case anyone else has got the seasonal blues I thought I would share three blog posts which have actually made me laugh out loud when I have come across them during recent aimless blog wanderings.

George the Guilt Explorer at Goonerjamie

Picture Perfect at Scary Mommy

Right, am off to smear some more vaseline on the end of my red, flaking nose.

Yucky Blog

Today I experienced an early morning moral dilemma when seeing my husband drying his face with a towel after his shower. The dilemma was simple. Should I tell him that the same towel had been used the previous night to soak up the little wet puddle left by our nappyless daughter when I was running her bath? On balance I felt it kinder not to tell him, and a covert sniff of his face afterwards confirmed that no harm had been done.

I don't think anyone can have entered parenthood realising the degree to which they are going to be covered in human waste and secretions. New parents of baby boys probably get an earlier heads up on this issue than those with girls. Personally the idea of urine coming into contact with my face was far from appealing but when my tiny infant son first successfully hit his target at nappy changing time I did feel a slight surge of pride at the achievement of that sweet little appendage, although did quickly learn the appropriate precautionary steps to take from then on in.

Fast forward a few years and I don’t have to go into detail with fellow parents as to the decline in my hygiene standards. I recall the results of a study a while back which found that on average 25% of women’s handbags revealed traces of e coli and lots of other nasty bacteria and substances, including fecal matter, as a result of us ladies putting our handbags on the floor in public toilets, buses, pubs etc. I dread to think what a swab of my jeans would now find but if fecal matter were the worst of it I would be laughing.

I never knew that being a parent would include being regularly painted in sick, having clothes permanently dusted with white flaky patches of dried snot, having to plunge my arm elbow deep into a bath of diaorrhea, or constantly having to proffer a cupped hand to catch discarded partially chewed food. Experience has now taught me that this comes with the territory and to be honest as long as there is a wet wipe somewhere to hand to smear across any contaminated clothing, furniture or faces I’m surprisingly not that bothered.