My four-year-old dresses much better than I do. The Curly Girlie’s wardrobe is a dream: a perfect outfit for any occasion and the shoes to match.
It’s different for little girls. Fashion is a playground when you’re four. You can go to the supermarket wearing a prom dress in the colours of the Union Jack or a pair of trainers with flashing soles or a fuchsia-pink tutu paired with jeans, topped off with a purple vest top that says ‘Princess Catty dance the day’, and everyone still pinches your cheeks with delight.
(I feel the need to mention that if I’d noticed that slogan in the shop, I never would have bought the top: no child of mine will leave the house wearing bad grammar.)
The worst part of my daughter’s sartorial superiority, apart from my unseemly envy, is that it’s all gone to her head. This morning, she dressed me.
‘Mummy, I’m going to lay your clothes on the bed and then you can put them on,‘ she told me. ‘And don’t forget your knickers.’ Continue reading
Contrary to what modern parenting books would have you believe, toddlers are not that bright.
Alright, there are moments when their precocious smarts make an impression. Alpha Blondie has mastered the English language in two years, while after six summers in Switzerland I still speak German to about the level of a Dachshund. Four-year-old Curly Girlie has got around the problem of not being able to read by memorizing all her books off by heart, while just now I had to sit and stare at the back end of Wordpress for over six minutes until I remembered the word ‘precocious’.
But even cutting them some slack for being on something of a steep learning curve, this photo proves that toddlers may appear sophisticated when really they’re about as canny as a large flightless bird.
‘Coming, ready or not…’ Continue reading
This is a trick question. There is no right answer. It ranks alongside, “does my bottom look big in this?” and “Mummy, where do babies come from?” as queries that should be side-stepped at all costs.
Last time I got drawn into the ‘where was I before I was born?’ discussion – with Curly Girlie who was two at the time – my answer covered childbirth, God, the theory of evolution and, if memory serves me right, Islam. Now, whenever Curly mentions ‘that man who sees us all the time’, I have to reassure myself that she doesn’t mean some lurking perv, but the rather more benign presence of God.
Following the same conversation, she still – two years on – refers to the time ‘when I was a monkey’, and I don’t have the heart to inform her that evolution isn’t quite as simple as that.
In any case, the book Siblings Without Rivalry tells me that the ‘who do you love more?’ question should never be answered directly, as it only encourages competitive thinking between children. So when Curly Girlie dropped the big one today, I thought I was prepared.
‘Do you love me more than Alpha Blondie?’ she asked, while getting out of the car.
‘Curly, I love you more than you can possibly imagine. There’s no-one else in the world quite like my wonderful Curly.’ (See what I did there?) Continue reading
Alain de Botton, you are a bad man. Coming in here with all your philosophy and wisdom, upsetting innocent people like myself who are just standing about with their fingers in their ears going “la-la-la” and pretending it’s not happening:
“To a parent of small children,” he tweets, “(it is) astonishing they might as adults move abroad so one would see them only once a year – and survive”.
Indeed, as a mother of a two-year-old and a three-year-old, it does astonish me. In fact, I will go so far as saying it is patently not true: they may well go abroad (after all, I did) but I will not survive. Not if today is anything to go by…
Walking out of the gym’s on-site creche, I turn around to berate the younger one for doing something infantile, and when I turn back Curly Girlie is gone. Vanished. Like she was never there.
Behind me, a long, empty corridor runs back to the gym. She’s been bugging me to see where I go to “do running” – has she snuck back there?
To the left, stairs descend to the toilets and other mysterious basement rooms. She needed a wee – has she come over all independent and trotted off down there?
Outside the glass sliding doors – which parent-hating numbskull designed the building with a set of sliding doors right next to the creche, I ask you? – lurks: (on one side) a swimming pool filled with green winter water, (on the other side) an industrial estate, (straight ahead and up a bit) a railway line, and (straight ahead and down a bit) a dingy underpass leading to the car park.
My heart rate hits a level I could only dream of on the cross-trainer: a railway line; an unattended swimming pool; and, my mind helpfully chips in, gangs of mad child thieves. Continue reading
Apr 2: You know your kids are terribly middle-class when they put all their farm animals into the tractor and then make up a song entitled “we’re all going to a restaurant”.
Before I discovered that motherhood is like being permanently on Candid Camera, I honestly thought that bedtimes would be lovely. Well, what the Donald Duck did I know about anything back then, eh? Bedtime is not lovely: it is sent to try us.
Goodbye Sun, hello Moon, warbles the TV and I perk up: oh good, it’s nearly wine o’clock. “Come on you two, let’s get ready for bed and have a story”, is what I think I have said, but apprently my mouth has translated it to, “Come on you two, can you start a fight with each other and then pull down the curtains while trying to hide from me?”.
The curtains are rehung. The kids are in the bathroom, eating toothpaste and whooping like it’s Lord of the Flies. Irritation starts in my stomach: oh no, I’m getting hangry. Continue reading
Rather like a toddler who repeatedly pushes beads up its nose and wonders why they get stuck, we keep going on holiday with two small children and wondering why it’s not the relaxed experience of yesteryear. You may well recall that my lucky-mushroominess doesn’t extend to airports.
This time it was a mere six hours at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 (fog). Compared with our eleven hours at Alicante back in January, this was child’s play, although the crummy situation was greatly exacerbated by the fact that there was no… child’s play.
Which brings me to my point: where are the playgrounds in airports? Continue reading
Feb 21 – It’s some kind of bad timing when you’ve just slathered on a bright green face mask and then your two-year-old promptly wakes, screaming, from a bad dream. Five quid’s worth of Dead Sea scraped off onto a tea towel and I rush in to comfort him: apparently, it was a walrus. Terrifying … Continue reading
So my fresh hell is the cat, who has taken to climbing up the house and crying outside my bedroom window in the early hours of the morning to come in. My nightlife is a wheel of fire, my rest consumed by the flames. It started with firstborn Curly Girlie, actually a pretty good sleeper … Continue reading
Sometimes, the stars align and I am able to go for a run. Today was one of those blessed days: husband available to umpire the children (check); no-one beset by illness (check); calendar empty of birthdays / weddings / christenings / bar mitzvahs (check); Mummy awake, willing and adequately fed (check). So off I set, … Continue reading