Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Do you like Gammon 'Am?

Fridays are normally a day when I get a lift home from work by B, with N&S.  Last Friday was no exception.  The reason why I get a lift is that they have all been to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Which is great for them all, and comes with the added benefit of meaning they all get a proper lunch.  The issue with this is that it would look a bit odd if I took in a steaming plate of sausages to work on a Friday, especially as it would be cold by the time it actually got to lunchtime, and there isn’t really space on my desk to accommodate the brown sauce.

My lack of a proper lunch leads to a split tea on a Friday, with N and B usually having sandwiches whilst I have something more substantial.  This brings us to a couple of Fridays ago when I happened to ask, in my unsuspecting way, what I might have for tea.  I was informed by B that she had got some gammon out for me that morning. 

It is usually at this point that N interjects, and that Friday was no exception. 

“What am I having?”

“You’ll be having sandwiches,” came the terrible reply,

“Can I have gammon?”

“No, you had sausages for lunch.”

N knows that this is going to be the answer and in many ways this is just her making conversation.  Because it turns out little girls can talk, like really talk, but that’s for another day.  On this day though she decided to take it to another level. 

It was faint at first, just a little sound, but gradually it became louder until finally it was distinguishable.  N had begun to sing.  I would now like to present to you N’s first foray into song-writing.  I hope you enjoy it.  This is to the tune of “Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes.”

I don’t like gammon ‘am gammon ‘am

I don’t like gammon ‘am gammon ‘am

And eyes and ears and mouth and nose

I don’t like gammon ‘am gammon ‘am.

Clearly we have found our generation’s Noel Coward.  If anyone has any ideas on how we might get her set up with a record label they would be gratefully received.

What really puzzles me is why she suddenly started exploring the nether reaches of a cockney accent as she belted out ‘gammon ‘am?’  Perhaps B has been sending her to chimney sweep school whilst I wasn’t looking?  It was so pronounced every time she got to that lyric (which was a lot as we had to have the song over and over again because it made B and I laugh so much) as though she really had been born within ear shot of Bow bells.  Although I’m fairly sure I would have remembered that.
He looks like he probably likes Gammon 'am a lot.

In the end we got home, I ate my tea, N ate hers, my gammon was lovely, and not that Cockney inflected and that was that.  But every now and then N will decide it’s time to bust out the song again and we will all end up with a smile on our face, which I suppose is the point of music after all.  And for the record, N really does like gammon, ‘ammy or not.

Friday, 4 April 2014

My Mistake

One of the reasons that I ended up in Mothercare chortling over the name of a pushchair was because I needed new shoes, the shoe place was next to Mothercare and so, lo and behold there we were.  This, though, had stumped N for a little bit as we drove up the road.  Very early into the drive she had asked,

“Why are we going in the car to the meeting?”

Which was a perfectly reasonable question as the meeting is only a 3 minute walk from our house and it would be remarkably lazy if we were to drive.  However, on this occasion the meeting was not the destination and so it was explained to N that we were on our way to get daddy some new shoes.  This was accepted with a little shrug and the words

“My mistake”

It isn’t so much the words, but the nonchalant, “oh well, I suppose you win some you lose some” way in which she said it.  Now if only she would be that calm when we tell her she can’t just wear her swimming costume around the house.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A Question of Names

I am a terrible father.  Which for those of you who have read this blog before is probably not earth-shattering information but may be necessary for the novices amongst us, and if you are new please feel free to have a poke around, I don’t think the place is too cluttered so make yourself at home and enjoy reading about my many and various failures, this post will give you a nice flavour of what is in store for you. 

I really am a terrible father.  We went to Mothercare on Saturday.  Fabulous shop, N was in her element, B was determinedly scoping out high chairs for the little man, who is getting less little and more massive with every feed (and there are plenty of those), S was trucking along with B, presumably thinking about how long it was going to be before the opportunity came round for him to eat something.  Judging by how frantic he gets sometimes I’m fairly sure he has some form of atomic clock tucked away inside one of his many rolls of fat that he consults at regular intervals and which probably begins to vibrate more and more violently as the time comes round for feeding, unfortunately, as S is in control of the device the feeding times come around roughly every twenty minutes, which may be a bit too frequent, but I’m no expert.

So there we were, the three of them having a thoroughly enjoyable time whilst I, though of course I should have been playing with N and helping B in the great high-chair reconnaissance exercise of 2014, and explaining to S that it’s not fair if he keeps his cool atomic thingummy hidden away from the rest of us; I should have been doing all these things, but sadly, as soon as I step into a place like Mothercare my juvenile side takes over.  This has the effect of making me wonder what on earth I am doing there and why anyone in their right mind would let me have sole charge of children.  All the other parents in there seem terribly serious and competent and ready for whatever situation comes their way, I on the other hand find myself in the rather embarrassing position of chuckling away to myself at what appears to be the name of a pushchair.  You see, while I should have been concentrating on making sure that my daughter wasn’t doing a Godzilla through the wooden train track which was out in the middle of the shop (though curiously without any train at all, really Mothercare, you put it out to play with and then just leave all the children hanging, imagining the fun they could have been having if they had thought to bring two tiny wheels and an axle with them, I could almost have justified a small Godzilla rampage of my own, but I managed to hold myself back) I was actually beguiled by a large sign hanging over a pushchair which bore the name,

3D Monodot.”

Which seems to me to be a particularly strange name for anything.  Surely, unless you stumbled into Mothercare desperate to lay your hands on a Rembrandtesque picture of a pushchair (which is a bit more colourful and with fewer sharp edges than Picasso’s) then are you really going to expect anything you come out with to not be in 3D?  How disappointed would you be if you ordered a pushchair online only to find that you were able to roll it up and put into a cardboard tube?  I really don’t think that trumpeting itself as ‘3D’ is going to set it apart from the rest of the pushchair market.  Presumably someone in marketing thought parents are so addle-brained that they would need reassuring that something to which they are going to be entrusting the comfort and safety of their baby is more substantial than the air that they breathe, which maybe I am, but everyone else that I saw in Mothercare that day didn’t seem like they needed telling.

The item in question

What is perhaps even more perplexing is the matter of the second half of the name.  3D is bad enough, but then to couple that with the word ‘Monodot’ seems to completely muddy the message.  Which is it?  Sturdy and substantial, as implied by ‘3D’ or airy, ethereal, frankly incapable of carrying anything with a greater mass than a drop of ink, as ‘Monodot’ would suggest.  Can, indeed, Silver Cross, the manufacturers of the item in question, have forged the way to creating a new race of beings known as the Time Lords, with their ‘bigger on the inside’ pushchair?  If so I hope they never read this and I’m sorry I ever doubted them.  Somehow though I don’t think so. 

The point of all this though is that I stood for a good while thinking all this through.  Meanwhile my daughter was happily flying through the store on a little blue trolley contraption that was definitely 3D and substantially more hazardous than a monodot.

I am happy to report that no major damage was caused, the wooden train tracks remained in one piece, so to speak, most of the books remained on their shelves and the ones that didn’t were easily replaced, and I think, over all, I got away with it.  Next time though, when you see a guy just standing and chuckling to himself over the name of a pushchair, please just tap him on the shoulder and ask him if that is his daughter that is escaping out the door in a pushchair shaped suspiciously like the TARDIS.  He’ll almost certainly thank you for it.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A Matter of Trust

Babies can be funny.  And by funny I suppose what I really mean is infuriating and unfathomable.  S is now 5 months old and we have tried to get him into a routine of sorts when it comes to bed time.  Usually we put N to bed first, followed immediately by S.  He plays with his big sister a little and then is taken away to be stripped and prepared for the final feed of the day.  This often includes a good amount of play time as he lies on his changing table, naked, and able to waggle his legs around as much as he likes.  Which is a lot of leg waggling.  I mentioned Ian Woan in an earlier blog, and it is times like this that I am able to see the likeness, when he has the freedom to throw his legs around exactly as he likes there’s a definite shape to his left leg that suggests he is just lining up to rifle a free-kick into the top corner of the net.  Or perhaps it’s just me.

He loves this, the whole thing, the playing, the waggling.  We have a giraffe called Sophie, let me introduce you, here's Sophie

Cheerful isn't she?  Probably because she doesn't realise she's about to be chewed by my son.

Probably a common sight for many of you, Sophie is, after all, quite the popular toy.  But no matter how many other homes she has infiltrated, S loves her.  Chewing, pulling, he hasn’t mastered the art of making her squeak, but if it wasn’t for that B and I would be pretty much redundant.  As it is we are marginalised enough as he plays and chuckles and grins away.

Friday, 14 March 2014

A Drive on the Surreal Side

Driving can be dull, though it’s best not to ask B what she thinks.  Judging by how wild her eyes get and how white her knuckles are afterwards, car rides with me are more turbulent than tranquil, more joy-ride than joyful.  I of course think everything is going fine, until there is a little squeak from beside me and my wife’s hands shoot up from the thing they were crushing to cover her mouth.  It’s understandable really.  B learnt to drive at 18 and has therefore been driving for REDACTED years.  I learnt to drive when I was 28, which was a long time after B and so she looks upon my driving the way a mouse might think about a new neighbourhood cat, an unwelcome addition to its life that is likely to kill it one day.  

I've told you before.  I am not getting into a car with you.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A day not Wasted

We all like laughing.  The Best Medicine and all that.  In our house it is especially important, considering the number of ways that I am able to mess up a situation.  Just this evening I thought I would help and ended up destroying the fish fingers we were going to have for tea.  Just the other day B could be heard to wail, “How many times do you have to be told?”  Sadly it was at me rather than the three year old after I had managed to mess up a relatively simple shopping trip.  It has got to the point where one of B and I’s favourite sayings is, “One day we’ll laugh about this.”  Often uttered after I have managed to break something important, like the tea, or one of the children, or managed to pull a cupboard door off its hinges, or rendered something entirely useless just by walking in its general vicinity, also often uttered by me as I try to placate my distinctly unhappy wife.  The time that really engrained it in our lives though was nothing to do with me.  We were on our way down to stay with some friends in Cornwall and had made it about 4 hours into the journey.  At which point our car, which we had purchased 3 days before decided that enough was enough and just ground to a halt.  Nothing would persuade it to go (turns out the timing belt had snapped causing a lot of damage and an immobile car) and in the end we had to wait a good few hours for a tow truck to come and drag us all the way home.  At some point during that wait one of us uttered the words, “One day we’ll laugh about this,” at which we both burst out laughing and stayed that way for a good few minutes.  This may have been the result of the rising hysteria we both felt, but we were both much happier about life afterwards.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Gritted Teeth

There is only one person I have made angry enough for them to speak to me through gritted teeth.  Which is enough people for me to know that it is really not a pleasant thing at all, and that that person really had to be very angry.  It’s a funny thing, I can remember the time, I can remember being spoken to like that, and by whom, but I can’t remember what it was that I did.  This, unfortunately, rather suggests that there were multiple occasions when it could have happened, which:
     a) Is true


     b)   Might suggest that N’s current phase of pretty consistent misbehaviour may not be quite the hereditary anomaly that I have been trying to persuade B that it is.