Thursday, 18 December 2008

The forgotten prezzies of Christmas past...

If you're having a major stress-out about trying to buy your kids that "perfect" toy to make their face light up for Christmas, here's a thought.
Can you remember what you bought them last Christmas?
More to the point, can they remember?
Go on, I dare you. Ask them: "What did Santa leave you under the tree last year?"
I bet you all you'll get is a few blank looks and a possible: "Cadbury's Selection Box."
They won't recall the expensive Robo-raptor thing that only came out of its box the once on Christmas afternoon and then remained hidden under a bed until you found it while cleaning last week.
They won't remember the talking Iggle Piggle or the camera which stopped working after half an hour because the batteries packed in either.
And neither will you.
It makes you wonder why you bother buying them stuff at all.
And then there's your other half. Can you remember what you bought him/her?
I haven't a flipping clue, but I bet he took it back and exchanged it for the next brand up just like he always does.
I quite like doing a bit of Christmas shopping and wrapping up boxes and putting them under the tree on Christmas Eve.
But I refuse to get in a state of utter panic about it like some people.
The next time you feel yourself getting anxious because you haven't managed to afford one of those must-have life size talking dogs from John Lewis, take heart.
It would probably just have ended up as a handy place to fling clothes by about January 6.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Gifts for teachers? Eh?

There was a woman on the bus the other day stressing about what she was going to get her DD’s teacher for Christmas.
Would chocolates be all right or would the teacher be fed up if she received 30 boxes of Maltesers?
Should she suggest that the other parents club together to get one big thing?
Should she get vouchers for somewhere or was that a bit off?
I sat transfixed and listened to this enlightening conversation, which she was having with a slightly bored looking friend.
And it suddenly stuck me.
Are you supposed to get a Christmas present for your child’s teacher then?
Because in all the year’s my 12-year-old DD has been going to school, I’ve never once bought her teacher a gift for Xmas.
Indeed thinking about it, I haven’t so much as given a card in previous years.
Does this make me a terrible person?
To be fair, I’ve never bought anything for the woman at Tesco’s, the postman, the bin man or the chap at the petrol station either.
But you’re not really expected to buy anything for them.
Are you?
Why should teachers particularly expect a gift anyway?
They’re only doing their job.
Nobody buys me a gift just for doing my job.
I wonder has this lack of present-buying affected my DD’s marks at school?
Or maybe the teachers have all got together in the staff room to slag me off behind my back.
My point is, with two kids of my own, plus four sisters and two brothers who have about seven million kids between them, I think I have enough people to buy prezzies for at Christmas.
Besides, DD is at secondary school now which means she has lots and lots of teachers every day.
I couldn’t possibly be expected to buy gifts for all of them.
Could I.....?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Telly talk...

I’m one of those people that get a tune stuck in their head and go round singing it ALL day.
It really annoys work colleagues.
Usually it’s a song that I’ve heard on the radio.
But lately, there seems to have been a general change in style.
Here’s an idea of what I sing a lot these days:

Wash, wipe, scrub and clean
Make the kitchen sparkling and clean...
do do do do do...

Or sometimes it can be:

Come for a walk
Come for a ride
There’s so much to see
So come outside....

And perhaps worst of all:

The summer is over....
And winter’s on its way.....

Of course the keen-eyed among you will have noticed that all these ditties have one thing in common.
They can all be heard 20 or 30 times a day on the CBeebies channel.
Yes, I think you’re right.
My toddler does watch far too much telly.
Big Cook, Little Cook is a big favourite, as is Come Outside or as every child in the country knows it, Pippin.
Regulars Andy, Chris, Mr Tumble and the lovely Poi are as familiar and reassuring to DD2 (who is now 19 months) as me and her dad.
Is it terrible, do you think, that as soon as she gets up in the morning, she starts repeating the word “telly” until we give in?
Am I likely to be turning her into a future axe murderer?
Is she destined for a low grade career serving burgers in McDonalds because of her TV addiction?
The funny thing is, though, watching telly doesn’t seem to be doing her any harm at all.
Her vocabulary has increased tenfold over the last couple of months.
And I’m pretty sure she hasn’t learned the words “cook”, “car” and “wash up” from me.
We’re always reading about how dangerous it is to use the TV as a “babysitter” for our young kids.
But I’m not convinced it’s always such a bad thing.
Which is better:
Letting her watch the talented Justin from Something Special doing his brilliant sign language thing for half an hour while I cook the tea?
Or making her sit in the high chair and “interact” with me as I swear like a trooper because I’ve burned yet another perfectly good chicken nugget?
I’ll let you decide.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Hair raising...

I seem to have been born without a basic skill that most females possess as a matter of course.
The ability to do hair up into pony tails and bunches and stuff.
I always made a right hash of the process when I was a little girl and wanted to copy my mates with their cute plaits and funky ponies.
And now I'm a parent, I'm subjecting my two DDs to similar humiliating attempts.
When DD1 was little, I tried everything to force her hair to behave itself so that I could create a nice neat "do." Hairspray, mousse, gel, conditioning spray - nothing worked. It always looked like she'd been dragged backwards through Sherwood Forest in the height of a bad storm.
And now I've got the same problem with DD2, who is 18 months.
She hasn't got that much hair to be honest. But what she has makes her look like a cross between Bobby Charlton doing his famous comb-over and Limahl from Kagagoogoo during his classic "mullet" period.
DP wants us to get it all cut - but I'm having none of that.
She already gets mistaken for a boy all the time - I WANT HER TO HAVE GIRLY PIG TAILS DARN IT!
All the other girls at toddler group have fabulous locks with gorgeous little clips and pretty bobbles. They look so effortlessly neat and tidy.
I've tried doing it with DD2, but my creations are laughable.
And if I do by some mad chance get a little clip in her hair which actually looks quite nice, DD2 immediately grabs it and tries to eat it.
Where am I going wrong?
Are their courses for doing hair up going on somewhere that I just haven't been made aware of?
Is there a website that tells you how to do it?
Or are you just supposed to KNOW?
Somebody point me in the right direction otherwise I fear DD2 will end up being the butt of cruel jokes as she grows older.
As for DD1, who is 11 now, she's come up with her own solution.
She dyed hers all bright red the other day. Looks brilliant.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Are you a SMOG?

Heard a brand new acronym the other day and thought I’d share it here.
A woman I know got called a “SMOG” by a mate of hers and she couldn’t for the life of her work out what it stood for.
Silly Moo on Gin?
Sluts Make Odd Grandmothers?
Sensible Mums Own Guns?
But no - apparently it turns out this is a new term referring to Smug Mothers of Girls.
Obviously, it’s meant as some sort of insult. Are mothers of girls smug then? And if so, in what way?
Or are the people who came up with the term - mothers of boys, I’m guessing - just jealous?
Let’s face it, girls are much better than boys aren’t they?
I’m not just talking about better baby clothes and stuff, although obviously that is a pivotal consideration
They’re just so much more advanced at all the crucial developmental stages too - walking, talking, shopping…
And they aren’t as blardy naughty.
In fact, now I come to think of it, almost every small boy I know has at some point behaved like a proper little sod in front of me.
Kicking footballs at my head in my living room; breaking expensive furnishings; pulling my cat’s tail...
“Ooh, they just need to play fight sometimes - so much energy,” defend their parents.
Just need a good clip round the ear, more like.
Yet, apart from a few notable exceptions, all the little girls I know are lovely little pixies who sit quietly and do whatever they’re told without a fuss. Sigh.
Mothers of girls have every right to be smug in my humble opinion.
Until the girls reach the age of about 12.
Then you aren’t so much “smug” as just “relieved you’ve got through the entire day without committing murder.”

Thursday, 2 October 2008

I'm fighting mad about DD2

DD2 got involved in a bit of an “accident” at the toddler group we go to this week.
I say “accident.” What I mean is she got jumped on and physically assaulted by another little girl.
If it had happened at Gatecrasher or Oceana, a couple of burly bouncers would have pounced on the culprit and escorted her off the premises at the very least.
But because DD2 is only 18 months and her attacker about two, I’m supposed to just accept this. Grrrr.
DD2 had been on the little red rocking ride, merrily perfecting her balancing prowess.
The other little girl decided to squeeze on behind her.
But as there isn’t room for two tots, she decided to sit directly on top of DD2 as though she wasn’t there and carry on rocking the device until they both fell to the floor bawling their eyes out.
This all happened in the space of ten seconds and though I rushed over as soon as I was able (ie when I could safely dispose of me cuppa), I was too late to prevent the inevitable.
The other girl’s mother was, of course, not watching at all.
She only came over to see what all the fuss was about when a crowd gathered to comfort the two “victims.”
“Oh what happened? Did they run into each other?” she enquired casually.
“No, actually your daughter sat on top of mine and pulled the ride over on top of both of them,” I corrected her.
Funnily enough this seemed to go completely over her head.
And when some other concerned people came over to ask what had happened, she confidently informed them: “They just ran into each other.” Double grrrr.
I was quite close to making a formal “breaking news” announcement about what had really happened, complete with corroborating evidence from three or four other witnesses who saw it too.
But it’s just not the done thing to make a fuss about that kind of behaviour in a toddler group setting, is it? Even when it’s the same terrible tots causing the trouble every time.
Shame really.
It would be quite nice to involve the police and make the little monkeys appear in court and get a hefty fine or whatever for bad behaviour.
Forget naughty steps. Let’s have a bit of proper discipline, eh?

Friday, 19 September 2008

A difficult relationship

I’ve lived with him for four years now and our relationship has hit a desperately rocky phase.
Oh, he has his good points. He’s good looking, cool, suave and sophisticated - I’m the envy of many of my friends, in fact.
But sometimes his behaviour is so cruel and despicable towards me, the kids, our neighbours - I just can’t bear the torment any more.
I think the time has finally come to admit it.
I hate my cat.
Honestly, he’s a complete git and I’m starting to wonder what is the point of him living in the Bad Mutha household at all.
He never gives any of us any affection - slinking away if you so much as try to give him a friendly pat.
If he deigns to come and join us as we relax in the living room in the evening, he won’t sit on my knee like cats are supposed to. He’ll trot off on his own to some remote corner, then start randomly clawing at the furniture or carpet until he annoys us so much we have to chuck him outside.
We had to withdraw his cat flap privileges several months ago because he kept bringing mice into the house.
Live mice.
Who then escaped and set up home in various other parts of our ground floor. One managed to live quite happily inside the sub woofer speaker underneath the telly for quite some weeks. Which was odd.
So now the cat is only allowed free access to the conservatory.
And that’s where he mainly prefers to stay now, the antisocial little lowlife.
The thing is, DD2, who is 17 months absolutely adores him.
She screams with delight whenever he comes inside to eat his food and tries to give him a kiss.
One of the first words she uttered was: “Cat!”
He repaid her last night by scratching her face.
Evil little tosser.
So what do I do?
I couldn’t bring myself to drop him off at the RSPCA - the guilt would be too much for me.
And much as he deserves throwing in the local pond, animal cruelty just isn’t Bad Mutha’s style.
My only hope is that he wanders off and finds some little old lady to move in with.
Or maybe you know someone who’s looking for a cruel, annoying, unfriendly, unlovable, selfish, not very clever, fairly violent pet to take care of?
Thought not.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Get active - or else!

As I write this, DD1 is less than a week into her new life at secondary school.
And the moaning has already started.
The first couple of days she positively skipped down the road to join the big boys and girls at the local comp.
Then last night she came home with a face like a wet weekend in Warsop.
Apparently, she’s been told that she HAS to do six-weeks worth of “out of hours” exercise in her first year.
That is, she has no choice but to “give up” at least six lunch breaks or an hour after school to do something active - like basketball, football, rugby or, shudder, cheerleading.
DD1 thinks this is a gross imposition on her - and frankly, I can’t say I blame her.
Obviously it’s an attempt to encourage kids to do more exercise - which I haven’t got a problem with.
But telling her she “has to” do it seems ludicrously heavy handed.
Even if DD1 was fat, which she ain’t (quite the opposite actually) I really can’t see how giving her six weeks worth of compulsory extra exercise is going to particularly help.
Surely it’s better to provide a bit of motivational support so that kids WANT to do the activities - rather than forcing them into it like a bunch of resentful prisoners.
As it happens, the school have now succeeded in ruining what should have been a really memorable week for DD1 and her mates.
Yeah, I know, maybe she should count herself lucky she hasn’t got other things to worry about. Yadda yadda yadda.
It’s just... well... I could never stand PE either.
All those hideous cross country runs and hockey matches in the rain and dreary gym sessions.
Just the thought of it is enough to make me want to slit my wrists.
My solution was simple though.
Skive off after registration with my best mate and watch Monty Python videos at her house. Ah, Helen Wilkinson - where are you now?
So there you go. After just a few days at a new secondary school, I’m already seriously thinking of encouraging my daughter to skive off.
Isn’t modern education a wonderful thing?

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Boys' clothing is just baaaaad!

Why are clothes and accessories for little boys so utterly minging?
It’s not just the obsession with skulls and crossbones and military gubbins, although that’s worrying enough.
It’s all the horrible little slogans that seem oh-so-innocent, yet have such a negative impact.
The other day, I went into McKays in Ilkeston for a new bib for DD2.
At 17 months, she’s decided she is old enough to spoon her dinner into her mouth herself. This is a horribly messy affair, requiring industrial strength protection for her clothing (and my floors and walls, actually).
Anyway, I was delighted to find a suitably large and effective looking bib complete with sleeves in McKays.
It was all pink and lovely and had the slogan “Little Princess” emblazoned on the front.
Then I nipped round to the other side of the display and saw the exact same bib, only this was aimed at boys (obviously, because it was blue).
Only the slogan on the lads’ version was “Naughty Little Monkey.”
Now why does it automatically transpire that the boy will be “naughty” while the girl will be a “princess”?
If any of my offspring were boys, I would be writing a letter to my MP or the PM or Fern Britton or someone to protest about this blatant negative labelling.
And when you think about it, how many times have you seen similar scenes in other shops?
The girls’ clothes all have slogans about puppies and princesses and fairies and angels.
While the boys’ are all cheeky and naughty and monster and trouble.
It’s outrageous.
Call me unreasonable, but I don’t see why children’s clothing designers are so obsessed with having slogans of any sort.
What’s the matter with a nice plain frock or a simple blue tee-shirt anyway? Aren’t they “edgy” enough for modern tots?
So... what’s the worst slogan you’ve seen on a children’s tee-shirt…?

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Victory for Iggle Piggle and chums!

Bad Mutha has joyous news to impart this week for anyone with a child aged 0-4 years.

That means thousands of lickle babies will no longer be bawling their eyes out or refusing to sleep for lack of decent fodder to watch on telly while mum and dad eat their tea or go to the pub.
Readers may remember the Beeb’s controversial decision back in April to callously pull the greatest children’s television show ever produced (fact).
The shocking story was covered in this very blog and caused outrage in every corner of the globe as parents demanded to know why on earth Iggle Piggle, Upsy Daisy and The Pontypines had been replaced by some boring piffle about zoos.
But after shed loads of complaints - led in no small part by Bad Mutha herself - BBC bosses have now admitted that they were hopelessly wrong to move ITNG from its regular slot at 6.20pm.
Okay, actually, they’ve said no such thing.
Instead, they’ve quietly shoved it back in the Bedtime Hour assuming no-one will notice or make a fuss.
But Bad Mutha notices and makes a fuss about everything.
Oh, The Beeb will say it was always intended as just a “temporary move” and they have to “keep their schedules fresh.”
Would they suddenly drop EastEnders just to “keep their schedules fresh”?
Course they wouldn’t (although it might not be a bad idea the way that show is going).
Sometimes you’ve got to acknowledge the fact that viewers, especially me, know best.
So let’s all look forward to tomorrow night, when we can once again hear the blessed Sir Derek Jacobi uttering those strangely comforting words:
“There’s someone I know, who’s safe and warm and they’re drifting off to sleep...”
There. Doesn't that feel better?

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Left holding the baby - HELP!!!!

DD1 and DP are both off on holiday without me for a week from tonight.
Before you ask - no, they’re not going away together. They’d end up murdering each other or causing an international incident or something.
No, DD1 is off on holiday to Somerset with her best mate and family. And DP is going a bit “Ray Mears” - walking the Cornish Coastal Path. Well, you know, as long as it doesn’t rain or get too muddy or anything.
Ordinarily, I would be ecstatic about the thought of spending seven days in the house without those two cramping my style.
But, these days I have a slight irritation to contend with.
DD2 - aged 16 months.
Lordy, it’s hard keeping my psycho toddler entertained.
She can’t keep her mind on anything for more than two seconds. And if she doesn’t get her way immediately then boy is there hell to play.
Usually, I can shirk off and let her big sister or dad take over for a bit while I do something really important, like the dishes or the ironing or watching Coronation Street.
But this will be the longest stretch I’ve ever had to endure with her.... ALONE.
I know other mums seem to manage fine with kids, filling their days with lovely craft activities and book-reading and other fluffy gorgeous stuff.
I usually end up bunging her in the car seat and dragging her round Victoria Centre. Well, she does seem to like it in Monsoon for some reason. Must be all that weird colour.
I do wish I was one of those fabulous mums who is able to spend time with small children and be really brilliant at it.
But much as I love my little monkey, I won’t half be looking forward to those 7pm bedtimes next week so I can crack open the Pinot Grigio.
Anyone got any tips?

Friday, 15 August 2008

I name this baby..... Ethel????!!!

There was one of those classic “let’s point out the bleedin’ obvious” surveys in all the papers this week about baby names that are falling out of fashion.

Apparently, no-one these days wants to call their cute little baby girl Ethel, Norah or Ada.

And for ’ickle boys, names like Ernest, Clifford or Leonard are, amazingly, no longer popular.

Well, of course they’re falling out of fashion. They are all blardy horrible names.

Imagine the looks you’d get at toddler group if your little bundle of fun was doing something naughty.

“Ernest, Ernest... don’t do that dear!”

Cue huge guffaws from other mums for the next three hours.

Mind you, they’re not as bad as some of the slightly more modern names from the 60s and 70s - which sound even more stupid today.

Trevor, Gary, Nigel, Marie, Denise, Sharon - no baby would ever survive with such hideous monikers in 2008.

Naming your baby is a very personal decision, we’re always told.

No, it’s not.

You also have a public duty to ensure your offspring does not end up looking like a total pillock.

Not that I support going for the most "popular" name of the decade either.

If people were banned from calling their son Jack from now on, I wouldn’t be at all bothered.

It is a boring name and there are too many of them. Think of something else.

Similarly, there are quite enough Olivias and Megans, these days.

If you are thinking of calling your children any of these, you are obviously very dull and need to get out more.

Here’s some much better options from the world of showbiz to inspire you...

* Moon Unit (Frank Zappa)

* Jermajesty (Jermaine Jackson)

* Sage Moonblood (Sylvester Stallone)

* Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee)

* Camera (Arthur Ashe)

Go on, get to the register office quick...

Friday, 8 August 2008

She's a talking miracle...

It’s fair to say that most of the time kids in general and small ones in particular give you nothing but grief.

But okay, I will admit occasionally they do make you laugh.

DD2, who is now 16 months, is currently perfecting her linguistic skills.

I’m told some toddlers don’t talk at all until they’re about three - so I don’t know what’s gone wrong with my nipper.

She’s already got a vocabulary as extensive as most teenagers’.



Sit down

Get down




Kitty (fave toy)


Ninny (drink)









Olive (honest, she’s quite sophisticated)

Mummy (to daddy)

Daddy (to mummy)

Child genius isn’t she?

She also does a very passable rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle - perfectly in tune, of course.

One of my favourites, though, is when a total stranger sees her and gives a friendly smile.

She’ll respond with an evil look and a genuinely threatening: “Wot?”

Most amusing.

Then, there’s her brilliant impressions.

She’s taken to copying most of what the Bad Mutha household says - which means we’ve all had to severely curtail the swearing, abuse and blasphemy.

But we were so proud the other day when a group of students were admiring her as we waited to get on the Dublin to Holyhead ferry.

As they smiled down and said: “Hello!”, she grinned back and did a marvellous: “A-ha!” in the manner of Alan Partridge during his Knowing Me, Knowing You era.

They nearly wet themselves. DD2 was delighted.

So - is my kid a one-off or can your tot say anything supremely funny?

Post your examples here...

Friday, 25 July 2008

I'm sick of being ill...

The Bad Mutha household has had to go into quarantine for the last few days.

DD2 picked up a hideous projectile vomiting bug late last week and gave it to the rest of us one by one.

It’s been like a game of Russian Roulette trying to work out which one of us was going to get it next.

God sometimes it’s rubbish having small kids.

They pick up every single bug going and pass it on without a care in the world.

I don’t think I’ve had a month so far this year when I haven’t had some sort of cold/sickness/feeling generally crap scenario.

Of course, I blame DD2’s toddler group for everything.

She went there last Wednesday. Sure enough the next day she was boffing for Britain.

My suspicions were confirmed when I talked to another mum who goes there - and exactly the same symptoms had emerged at exactly the same time in her little girl.

And then all her family had come down with it too.

Coincidence maybe. I think not. As Arthur C Clarke used to say.

Anyway, the other mum and I both spent an enjoyable half hour bitching about which little toe-rag we thought it was who’d gone to the village hall harbouring all those nasty germs and deliberately passed them on to everyone else.

I suppose the only consolation is knowing his/her family all spent most of this week staring at the bottom of a bog bowl too.

Anyway, wonder who we’ve passed it on to....?


Friday, 18 July 2008

School's out - but not for everyone!

DD1 is proper hacked off today - again.
All the schools in Notts are celebrating the end of term this weekend - but we live up the A609 in leafy(ish) Derbyshire.
And she has to haul her ass into school on three more occasions next week thanks to good old Derbyshire County Council.
Breaking up next Wednesday instead of today might not seem like the end of the world to you and I.
But when, like DD1, you’re in the last year of primary and you’ve been doing nothing but farting about since about May, it does seem to be unnecessarily prolonging the agony
Course I did point out that Notts kids should officially be going in until Tuesday. They’re only finishing now because most schools decided to have the extra two days as inset days.
DD1’s school on the other hand made the really sensible decision to have inset days two weeks ago.
Logical or what?
Anyway, I’m secretly glad. I still don’t think I’m quite ready for the brand new parental status known as: “not having a child at primary school.”
No more school runs in the pouring rain? No more bitching at the gate with the other mums? No more driving round the streets for three hours looking for a parking space?
How will I ever cope?

Friday, 4 July 2008

To pierce or not to pierce - that is the question...

What age is it ok to let your DD get her ears pierced?

My eldest is 11 and has been nagging me morning, noon and night to let her have it done.

She reckons she is the only girl in Year Six not to have pierced ears.

And indeed I know this is probably quite close to the truth - especially as round where I live the average age for getting it done is about two.

But there was no way I was going to let my PFB (precious first born) anywhere near one of those ear butchers at such a young age.

I don’t know what it is about seeing a toddler with pierced ears that makes me feel so uneasy.

Is it just because it’s such a chavvy look? Or maybe because it seems like plain child cruelty to me?

How can a mum actually go ahead and take a small child to have a gun pierce a hole through her ears like that?

I feel bad enough about the prospect with a nice mature DD who is about to start secondary school - never mind a little tot who doesn’t have a clue about fashion trends and accessorizing an outfit.

I am fairly tempted to say I have no objection to my own kid’s wishes.

Mainly because she is so pathetic when it comes to pain and squeamish things that I suspect she will chicken out in the end.

Plus, she probably takes after me - allergic to virtually all forms of jewellery apart from solid platinum and gold.

And there’s no way, even on HER pocket money, she will ever be able to stretch to that...

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Kids - who needs 'em?

It’s been an odd week in the Bad Mutha household.

DD1 has been away for a five day long school trip to the Isle of Wight.

When we turned up to wave her and all her other Year Six pals off on Monday morning, DP and I couldn’t believe how wussy the other parents were being.

You’d think the kids were all World War Two evacuees being sent off Lord knows where for six or seven years the way some folk were bawling.

The kids themselves were much more mature about it. But that’s probably because all they were concerned about was who they were going to “get off” with at the disco on the Thursday night. Hmm.

DD1 has a chum whose mum couldn’t think what she was going to do all week without her precious child to look after.

“It’ll be like a morgue in our house,” she moaned.

Funny thing was when DP and I suggested she had our psycho toddler for a couple of days to quell the endless boredom, she wasn’t at all keen.

You see, if we’d found ourselves in a position where we had no kids to look after for nearly a week, you wouldn’t have seen us for dust.

It would have been Pimms O’Clock followed by a quick Google to book one of those “couples only” breaks at a snobby hotel before you could say: “Kids - who needs em?”

Some folk just have no idea how to have fun.

Anyway, don’t get me wrong, we are looking forward to seeing DD1 again when she arrives home tonight.

Mainly because we’re dying to know who she DID get off with...

Friday, 13 June 2008

Parenting - it's not rocket science, is it?

Blokes are useless when it comes to looking after small kids aren’t they?
Oh, don’t get me wrong, DP does more than his fair share and all that.
But, despite the fact that he’s run his own successful business for nearly 20 years, he can’t seem to manage DD2 properly at all.
Our child-minder has, at great inconvenience to us, been off on holiday for the last two weeks.
So DP has had two days in a row both this week and last with just him and the 14-month-old terror.
Talk about total chaos.
Food sprawled across the walls, toys everywhere, valuable paperwork ripped to shreds...
And then there’s the weird outfits he’s been dressing her in. He got some awful strange looks at toddler group, apparently.
But the worst thing is his haphazard attitude to sleep time. Which, as every Bad Mutha knows, is the most important part of the day. Mainly because it’s when you can watch the telly in peace, have 40 winks yourself or go online shopping.
I came home from work at about 5.30pm the other afternoon to find DD2 just getting up after her two hour “lunchtime” nap.
So when we tried to put her to bed at 7pm she was having none of that.
I pointed out to DP that maybe he should have considered putting the baby to bed a little earlier for her lunchtime sleep. Like, you know, at lunchtime.
He then went off in a huff for a walk with DD2 until 9.30pm.
Obviously, they ended up in the boozer. And came back making a racket right in the middle of the final of The Apprentice. Sacrilege.
The next evening, I came home at 5.30pm again to find DD2 doing her best impression of that girl from The Exorcist while DP looked like he was about to have a nervous breakdown.
"She could be tired," I ventured. "When did you put her down for a nap today?"
"Oh she's not had a nap at all. I thought you'd just get mad again if she did," he moaned.
Yep. Blardy useless.

Friday, 30 May 2008

I've got a toddler from hell!

DD2 has developed an impressive new skill this week.
She’s taken to kneeling down, banging her head on the floor and screaming like a constipated pterodactyl if she doesn’t get her own way.
I think this is what they call the “terrible twos.”
Which is odd, because she isn’t even 14 months old yet.
Trust me to get an early starter.
I don’t really think you’ve lived properly until you’ve experienced your child doing a “publicly executed toddler tantrum.”
Preferably in a quiet restaurant or the busy bacon aisle at Tesco.
Nothing can compare with the utter cheek flushing humiliation of trying to control a small person who suddenly develops the strength of about ten Arnold Schwarzeneggers because she’s dropped her cuddly Iggle Piggle.
You’re always aware of the disapproving stares of onlookers, or the folk who do a “comedy wince” and mutter something about “toddlers from hell.”
And then there are the people who seem to think they can “help.”
DD2 went into full tantrum mode at toddler group the other day because another kid had decided he wanted to play with the plastic sausage she’d been monopolising all morning.
Rolling on the floor, screaming, kicking, punching, swearing (well, the babbling equivalent) - we had it all.
Another mum tutted helpfully: “Ooh, she has got a temper on her - you better get that sorted.”
Well, you don’t say!
I resisted the urge to smack her one in the face and instead smiled pathetically: “Yeah.”
What exactly am I supposed to do then?
Naughty steps are out at this stage because she has no idea what naughty means and can’t sit on a step without falling off it.
It’s also a bit too soon for reward charts, distraction techniques and all those other Jo Frost specials.
So you know what I do?
Give her a biscuit. Works every time.
You don’t think I’m doing this parenting thing wrong do you...?

Friday, 23 May 2008

DD1 could be Nancy - or anyone - honest!

Like most mothers, I am convinced my children are the most talented, attractive and interesting kids on the planet.
And I am utterly amazed when other people don’t agree with me. How very dare they?
Take DD1, who having finished her boring SATS exams, has now got down to the much more important business of being in Year Six. The end of term play.
This year they’re doing one of those incredibly PC modern musicals about bullying or scratchcards or something. I don’t really know much about it to be honest.
Anyway the crucial point is, DD1 would have been ideal for the lead role.
Yet, amazingly, they’ve chosen one of the other girls.
What on earth are the teachers thinking?
The funny thing is, they’ve done this nearly every year since DD1 was in reception.
Failed to notice her amazing talent and beauty and gone for someone else instead, that is.
And every year, despite my better judgement, I am absolutely seething about it.
Because they always, always go for the same loud and in yer face girl.
Snow White? Oh give the role to XXX.
Robin Hood? Well, none of the lads are any good - but XXX could do it.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Hey, wouldn’t XXX be a good idea in the lead?
I tell you, I’m beginning to think that family have got incriminating photos of the head teacher or something.
The only time my daughter has had any success was in Year One when she did somehow land the lead role.
In a show called The Christmas Cactus. She played the cactus.
No lines, no singing required. Just a lot of standing around like a plant.
Still, it was a minor victory.
Until I found out who was playing the cactus owner, which involved singing about 50 songs and wearing a really nice dress...

Friday, 16 May 2008

Feeding your baby - it's war!

Why does the way you feed your newborn baby have to be such a mammoth battleground?
Breast or bottle?
The former is good, the other not quite so good - that’s the way I look at it. But, hey, it’s a free country, do what you like.
And I know I’ve probably already offended shed loads of people just by saying that.
Because whenever you talk about this issue - like the Evening Post has in our family page feature this week - you’re on difficult ground.
On the one side you have the "Pro Breastfeeders."
They usually have to put up with descriptions like “smug” or “unsympathetic” or even worse “Nazis.” The “Breastapo,” as mentioned in our feature, is a new one on me, LOL.
On the other side you have "Formula Feeders."
They’re usually seen as “lazy” “selfish” and “uneducated.” Failures, in fact.
Both of these stereotypes are a hilarious load of piffle, frankly.
Pro Breastfeeders are usually just well meaning types who simply want women to be given more help and support by health care professionals to feed their babies. Sounds okay.
Formula Feeders are usually perfectly decent women who have found breastfeeding a real struggle (or maybe they just didn't fancy it, so what?) and hit the bottle to make life easier. Good for them.
I’m in the latter camp, as it happens.
But I can still see that the folk on the other side of the “war” have a valid point to make without feeling offended if they dare to talk about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Just as long as they don’t think it’s the be all and end all of parenting.
It’s only flipping food for goodness sake. Not life or death, eh <>?

Friday, 9 May 2008

Would you get legless in front of your kids?

That story about the couple who got falling down drunk in front of their kids while on holiday - except it now turns out they probably didn’t - got me thinking.
Is it ever okay for parents to have a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio while in charge of their nippers?
Even an occasional shared bottle at home once the peskies are upstairs asleep in bed?
I’ve got a friend who never touches a drop at home just in case “anything happens” to her kids and she might have to drive them to hospital.
A bit over the top?
On the other hand, there are millions of parents - me included - who sit down at the end of a long day and could quite happily quaff for Britain with ne’ery a thought about it.
A bit irresponsible? Probably.
Anyway the key word there is “could.”
Because while I agree that drinking is simply a part of the adult world these days and we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about enjoying it, most parents do exercise a degree of self control.
Maybe at the back of my mind I’m thinking: “Crikey I don’t want DD1 waking up and seeing me legless.”
But mostly, I’m thinking: “Better not have any more tonight because DD2 will be waking up at stupid o’clock in the morning and I don’t want to be playing endless rounds of peek-a-boo with a massive hangover.”
See, I may be a big lush, but I’m an experienced one.
That’s what’ll save my kids.

Friday, 2 May 2008

I think I'm jealous of my child-minder

What do you do if you suspect your kid is starting to prefer the child-minder to you?
That’s the tricky dilemma we’re facing at the moment with DD2, who’s just turned one.
She goes to the child-minder three days a week and absolutely loves it there. And I mean really loves it.
I’m sure she knows the days when she’ll be going there rather than being stuck at home with boring old me, because she always wakes up in the most delightful mood.
Whereas on the days I’ve got her, she wakes up screaming and more or less continues in that vein until she goes to bed.
Course, I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve found a devoted child-minder who adores DD2 and in turn meets with DD2’s approval.
Especially when you read about all those psycho nannies and failing nurseries turning out future axe murderers and manic depressives here, there and everywhere.
But, there is a part of me that wishes DD2 was just a teeny bit more reluctant to be handed over.
As it is, she more or less leaps out of my arms into the child-minder’s.
And it would be nice to see just a few brief tears in her eyes as she waves me off. Rather than the insanely cheery: “Mamma ba-bye!” I get now.
Oh well. I suppose it is a rather chilled out place, my child-minder's house.
DP is always going on about how nice it is there.
In fact, I'm starting to think he prefers it too.

Friday, 25 April 2008

EVERYONE deserves a day off sometimes, eh teachers?

This week’s one-day teacher strike certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons in our house.
DD1, who is in Year 6, was most outraged that her class had to go in as usual because her teacher isn’t in the NUT.
Yet her best mate in the same year got the day off because her teacher was in the union.
I know it would have caused us nothing but hassle with child care if she had been off. But still, I didn’t half feel bad for DD1.
Okay, she’s only been back a matter of days following what seems like the longest Easter break in the history of Christianity.
But I believe every child is entitled to experience the untold joy of.... the unexpected day off school.
I’m old enough to remember a time when kids got at least three unexpected days off every winter because it was snowing so badly. It was brilliant.
At Christ the King in Arnold, they were particularly careful about not letting us in when it snowed, because they knew that all the hard lads (and lasses actually) from Arnold Hill would be waiting outside the school to ambush us with killer snowballs.
And then there was that other regular unexpected day off we could always look forward to in the old days - the school boiler blowing up.
The message would usually have to go out via an announcement on Radio Trent.
Oh, the dancing round the kitchen when we realised what Dale Winton or whoever it was that presented the Breakfast Show in those days had just said.
Boilers never really break down as much these days though do they?
As for teacher strikes, I remember one time in the early 1980s when there was industrial action every week for months.
It’s a wonder I can even manage to read and write the amount of unexpected days off I had.
So spare a thought for kids like DD1 , who never get to skive in quite the same way as we used to.
And next time there’s a strike, let’s hope she gets unexpectedly lucky...

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Holidays - They're Hard Work Aren't They?

Going on holiday with the family is all very nice and stuff. But you don’t half need a week or two off to recover afterwards.
I’ve just come back from a week in Wales and it was all lovely.
But it’s hard work being with your kids and partner 24 hours a day for seven whole days in a row isn’t it?
I’m not sure the arrangement really works for us.
DD1 was fine. She just took her Nintendo DS everywhere we went and it was instant entertainment on tap. We hardly had to talk to her at all. Brilliant.
But DD2 (aged one) was far more tricky.
No-one ever tells you when you decide to have children quite how many animal theme parks you’ll have to go when they reach toddler age.
We must have gone to at least 450 in the Cardigan Bay area alone last week.
And I tell you what, not one of them was as good as White Post Farm on our own doorstep.
The only other thing we could think of to do with the DDs was take them out to eat.
Trouble is, DD2 has an annoying tendency to shriek like a Banshee and throw food at other diners.
Plus you can’t really stay in the cosy pub down the road until 1am in the morning with kids these days. People start giving you funny looks.
So we had to go back to the cottage we’d rented and consume vast quantities of cheap wine or white rum and cola.
Crikey, I haven’t had so many bad hangovers since I was at University.
Still, it's nice to have a break isn't it?

Friday, 11 April 2008

Natural parenting... stuff that!

I always thought the worst type of mum you could meet at a toddler group was one who claimed their tot “slept through the night from two weeks.”Yes, yes. Course he did love.But recently, I’ve come across an even more annoying breed of bragging mother.One who claims their child STILL never sleeps the whole way through - even at age one, two... 15 years...And worse still, they seem to think that every mother should "enjoy" being woken up regularly during the night for several years as a “natural” part of parenthood.Stuff that.Soon as both my DDs reached about seven months, I put them on a strict training regime. It wasn’t rocket science. I just stopped feeding them at night. By this age, I knew they weren’t hungry if they cried, so they got nowt.Within about two nights, they both realised it wasn’t worth the effort, so they started sleeping through.End result? Happy baby. Happy parents. Happy home.But try and suggest this solution to some Martyr Mums and they think you’re worse than Hitler.“But little Tarquin NEEDS his nighttime feeds - all 12 of them,” they insist proudly.No he doesn’t.I don’t really NEED a cup of tea every time I wake up momentarily in the night. But if I knew someone would bring me one when I howled loud enough, I’d probably end up doing it quite often.And I’d be a right grump the next day because of not getting a proper night’s sleep.Or am I just being naive?

Friday, 4 April 2008

Bring Back Iggle Piggle!

Which twit at the BBC decided to choose this particular week to muck around with the CBeebies Bedtime Hour?
Everyone knows that zillions of parents happily use the insanely hypnotic TV hit In the Night Garden as part of their nightly bedtime routine.
And before you ask, yes I am quite happy for the telly to “babysit” DD2 if it gives me half an hour's peace. Get over it.
But the powers that be at the Beeb have this week decided to axe Iggle Piggle and Co from the bedtime schedule. And replace them with crappy Charlie and Lola and 64, 64, 64, 64 Zoo Lane. Yawn.
Did no one at the Beeb remember that the clocks went forward last weekend?
So tiny tots like mine are already really mixed up about why they’re being forced to go to bed when it’s fully light outside.
Losing ITNG from its regular slot at 6.20pm has made this problem about 50 times worse.
Screaming blue murder for three quarters of an hour in her cot, DD2 was that first night.
Why couldn’t they just leave the bedtime schedule alone?
The BBC website says ITNG is just being rested and will return.
What a load of balls.
You wouldn’t muck around with the time slot for Coronation Street or GMTV for no reason. It would seriously irritate viewers.
Why should pre-schoolers have to put up with inferior replacement programmes?
So, join the campaign to get ITNG reinstated now.
Make your views known at

Friday, 28 March 2008

Baby shoes - what a rip-off!

I've just forked out £20 for my 11-month-old’s (DD2's) first pair of pre-walking shoes. They measure less than four centimetres and have got a bit of material, a bit of plastic and a bit of rubber on them. So how does that equate to 20 blobbing quid?
And that's not the worst of it. It’s only through my sheer assertiveness that we actually got to purchase these precious items at all.
It’s all to do with those “Look at me, I’ve got a measuring machine and I’m very IMPORTANT” Professional Fitters you get in every kids’ shoe shop.
DD2 isn’t walking yet, so we don’t need anything fancy. Just something she can’t take off and sling into the gutter when we’re out.
I tried around half a dozens shops in Nottingham and saw several I thought were fine when I tried them on her. But then the Professional Fitters appeared: “Has she been measured?”
In each case, I tried to explain I wasn’t that worried about them being a bit big, I was just after a buckle fastening so the little monster couldn’t get them off herself.
But the Professional Fitters insisted on doing things properly. Unfortunately, she came out at size two. And most shops only sell size three up.
I tell you, we virtually begged them to sell us a larger size, but only after several hours when we got to the sixth outlet did the Professional Fitter give in - by which time DD2 had turned into the Spawn of Satan with hunger and boredom.
As I handed over my hard earned cash, the PF beamed: “Would you like to have a picture taken with your child’s first shoes and be entered into our prize draw?”
We declined.

Have you had a shoe buying nightmare in Notts? Leave your comments now