You can tell a lot about a man by how he treats his mother….

When they were both wee nippers, one of my brothers hit the other one around the head with a toy milk float.

It was probably the most dangerous use of a milk float until that episode of Father Ted where the evil milkman places a bomb on his milk float and Dougal gets stuck driving it.

Got to love Father Ted

Luckily, the damage was minimal, and since then the design of children’s toys has improved and been made safer.  For example, toys are now generally not made of steel, with sharp edges.  Indeed, Piglet’s toys are now mostly bright plastic, huge (so they cannot be swallowed) and with no little fiddly bits.  That is, except for the ones he has inherited from generations past.  Ones like the toy Volkswagen Beetle which he was bequeathed by my brother (the aggressor in the Act of Violence Perpetuated by Milk Float).  Well, I say “bequeathed” as though he was given it, wrapped up in tissue paper and hidden at the bottom of a drawer like a family heirloom.  Actually Piglet found it lying on a high shelf in the living room.  And by found it I mean that one day, when he was walking past in Granny’s arms, he spotted it, pointed at it and then shouted until lo, it was presented unto him.

I’m not sure what the obsession is with this toy, but it certainly seems to hold a hypnotic sway over Piglet and, apparently, its owner, Uncle Milk Float Attacker, as every time Piglet plays with it Granny reminds him not to “break it, as it’s your uncle’s and he’ll be very upset!”

Uncle Milk Float is 30.  I’m not sure he has much use for a toy Volkswagen Beetle.  Also, as it is made of metal, it is more likely to break Piglet than be broken by him *MORE ON THIS LATER.*

On an entirely different note, Piglet loves his Mummy.  Arguably, he loves his Mummy even more than he loves the Volkswagen Beetle, as he often cries when I leave the room.  Although to be fair he also cries when a bit of old tissue is taken away from him so that doesn’t necessarily prove much.  Yesterday, when Uncle Milk Float Attack Victim (as opposed to Attacker) came to live with us (he’s fully recovered now), Piglet spent about two hours crying and gripping on to Mummy’s hair at the fearful sight of there being a man in the house.

Piglet also likes to show affection by launching himself at my head, opening his mouth (“ooh Piglet!  Are you giving Mummy a lovely kiss?”) and then clamping his little jaws shut over whichever part of my face is nearest (“PIGLET!  YOU JUST BIT MUMMY’S NOSE OFF!”)

At least, I think this is a show of affection.  Either that or he actually hates me, the Horrible Mummy who denied him a father, spends far too much time on Twitter and won’t let him play with the oven when it’s on.

Today, for example, I ignored Granny’s cries of “careful mind!  He’s got that Beetle!” (he wouldn’t hit his Mummy, would he?  He loves his Mummy), lay on the floor and waited for my delightful baby to shower me with kisses.

And, in a chilling echo of the violent incident with the milk float, he hit me in the face with the Volkswagen Beetle.

So what does the future hold for little Piglet?  Is this a foretaste of things to come?  Will he be excluded from nursery for hitting another child with Thomas the Tank Engine or one of his Friends?  Will he end up in juvenile court for hitting someone with a REAL car?  Will he wind up in prison, serving a life sentence for……

I mean, they say you can tell a lot about a man by how he treats his mother, right?



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Mama Mim

Times My Mother Was Wrong, and I Was Vindicated

And so I find myself confined to the bedroom in case of baby awakenings, sitting in bed in complete darkness with a glass of wine, while Piglet sleeps blissfully in the bed next to me.  Well, complete darkness apart from the computer screen.  Can the light from computer screens wreak havoc upon sleeping children, I wonder?  This is my new Number One Fear, along with Piglet working out how to scale the stair gate, or walking into the path of an oncoming hot beverage (MORE ON THIS LATER).

Anyway, on an entirely different note, Granny has very kindly given up three of her working days to take on a new career late in life.  A career as Piglet’s childminder, no less.  The main reason that this is of interest is because she arrived home from her last day of full time work today, beaming from ear to ear.  Not because she would now get to spend three days a week in Piglet’s charming company, but because she had received several presents from her now-former colleagues, including a huge bunch of flowers.

Now, regular readers of this blog will know that just the other day I was admonished for allowing Piglet a little bit of harmless water play in Granny’s kitchen.

Today was the day that the universe took its vengeance upon Granny for being smug in her belief that she is the best caregiver for little Piglet and I, his mother, am a useless n’er do well who not only drinks wine and shops in American Apparel (heinous crimes for a Holy Mother, in Granny’s humble opinion) but allows her son to play with a whole takeaway container full of water in the kitchen, thus endangering life and limb and possibly causing him to grow up to be a juvenile delinquent with no boundaries.

Unfortunately an innocent Piglet may have been caught up in the universe’s judgement upon Granny and suffered (very slightly, do not fear) as a result.*

As Granny arrived home from work and I retired to Twitter for the evening, secure in the knowledge that Piglet would be well looked after; that games would be played, stories would be read and NO YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT TOUCH THAT CUPBOARD would be assured, Granny was so excited to unwrap the new flowers that she failed to realise that they were already ensconced in a container of water.

Which spilled directly onto Piglet as he raced into the kitchen to greet her, knowing that this evening there would be no more Horrible Mummy to endure.  Horrible Mummy who wouldn’t even lift him up to touch the lightbulb during dinner this evening even though a) he was in the middle of eating his dinner, b) the lightbulb was hot and c) Mummy is too short to reach the lightbulb anyway.

Luckily Piglet was unharmed and relatively unfazed by the sudden torrent of cold water that gushed down upon him, and after a quick change of clothes was happy to go and play some fun games with his Granny.

Who then spilled the remainder of a lukewarm cup of tea all over him, in his nice clean, dry sleepsuit.

Sorry Piglet.  I apologise that you got a bit wet on no less than two occasions and are now in your third sleepsuit of the evening, but it just goes to show, no one is perfect when it comes to parenting.  Which is unfortunate, as I had hoped I was.

*No children were harmed in the making of this blog post.  He was fine, I promise.  Social services do not need to be contacted.

Binky Linky
Domesticated Momster

Piglet Takes First Steps. Mummy Misses It.

As you may have guessed from the title, today was the momentous day that Piglet started walking.

I am henceforth to be found training for the one hundred metre sprint at the 2016 Olympics. After all, I am going to be running after him from now on and he is FAST.  Very fast, for somebody who has only been walking since this afternoon.

Look at him go! He’s all blurry and everything!

Anyway, it’s lucky that I finally managed to get a picture, albeit a blurry one, as I actually missed the first few steps.  Yes, missed them.  HIS VERY FIRST STEPS.  My firstborn child’s most exciting milestone, and where was I?  Oh yes, I had my back to him, and was buying a can of diet coke and some cheesy chips (for me, not Piglet.  Put down your phones people.  There will be no social services involvement regarding the nutrition.  Piglet’s sudden burst of energy was not caused by trans fats and aspartame.  No need to make like that bloke on the tube who accused me of feeding Piglet diet coke because I was HOLDING A CAN and was therefore complicit in the destruction of my innocent child’s milk teeth and start having a go, OK?)

We had taken a trip to this exciting destination

No we weren’t in the water. Piglet didn’t walk on water. That would have been an event of biblical significance indeed

And before you ask, no it wasn’t Wales.  Piglet did not take his first steps in the Land of My Fathers (great-grandmothers, more accurately, in his case.  The Land of Piglet’s Fathers is *technically* America), nor did he take his first steps on the M4 (put down your phones people).  He took his first steps in a place called Severn Beach.  See? There’s a beach.

OK there’s no beach, but there is a River Severn, and there is also a cafe called Shirley’s Cafe, although it is the sort of place that is more likely to be pronounced “caff” than “cafe,” which probably explains quite a bit about the sort of place it is.  The sort of place that, in the words of my companion, probably “hasn’t changed since 1992.  Or 1942.”  The sort of place where the most appealing morsels on offer are a Diet Coke and a plate of cheesy chips, and where one can purchase a second hand plastic windmill for £2, or a Jane Fonda workout video from 1986 for £3.  I didn’t think the prices were terribly competitive, which was probably why we were the only customers.

Anyway, my companion (my brother’s girlfriend) was looking after Piglet while I purchased our nutritious lunch, and I suddenly heard words to the effect of “ooh he’s walking!”  I turned around and Piglet had literally taken his first steps, walking towards me, and I HAD MISSED IT.  ALL FOR THE SAKE OF SOME CHIPS AND CHEESE.

I have to admit, I did doubt at the time that he had actually walked, just like I doubted when he shouted “AJ!” at the dog in the local cafe the other week that he had actually understood that the dog’s name was AJ (why do all Piglet’s significant milestones take place in cafes?  Oh yes, because we are always in them), until we were waiting at the bus stop the other day and another dog walked past and Piglet stopped what he was doing, pointed at the dog and yelled “AJ!” at it repeatedly.

And so it was that later this afternoon, I heard those very same words “He’s walking!” again, this time from my mother.  And what was I doing?  Oh yes, I had my back to him again.  I missed it YET AGAIN.  However, this time I rushed into the living room, and Piglet did it again.  He WALKED, ladies and gentlemen, he WALKED.  It was a bit like that scene in the Bible when Jesus heals the paralysed man *I IMAGINE.*  He literally got up, and walked.  And suddenly he was brilliant at it!  It was as if he had been walking his entire life.  It was if he had got up out of the womb and WALKED, and said “hello Mum, I’m your son. Shall I WALK to the boob or should I wait for them to stitch you up first, yeah?”

With bated breath, I now await the destruction of Granny’s entire house, and possibly the world, by a marauding toddler.

Modern Dad Pages
Best of Worst

The Wrongness of Most Nursery Rhymes

One of the things that has surprised me most since I became a parent is that nursery rhymes still exist.

Not only exist, but they are EVERYWHERE.  And kids actually LIKE THEM.

When I myself was a wee nipper I had a book of nursery rhymes, which disturbingly included one about a child being whipped for sitting too close to the fire, or something along those lines.  It was illustrated by a sad-looking red-headed girl, and even at the tender age of four, or however old I was when I used to read that book (I was a precocious reader.  I can actually still remember starting school and being really annoyed that there were some other kids who were on higher reading levels than me, just because they were older and had started school before me, and not because they were, like, more intelligent or better at reading or anything.  I WAS THE BEST I WAS THE BEST I WAS THE BEST) I realised that that was no way to treat a child.  It certainly wasn’t the way I was treated, thank goodness for that.

Anyway, times must have moved on a bit as that nursery rhyme appears to have been consigned to the dustbin of history.

Get thee to the Dustbin of History, thee nursery rhyme of horror
Get thee to the Dustbin of History, thee nursery rhyme of horror

However, that does not mean that all nursery rhymes are now sanitised, politically correct, right-on Poems of Virtuousness worthy of a weekly column in the Guardian reporting from the frontline of Austerity Britain.  Oh no.  In fact, there are quite a few that I still have a fair amount of beef with.

Let’s start where it always starts, with that old chestnut Baa Baa Black Sheep.

Now I know, you knew I would start with this one.  You thought I would have a rant about how singling out a black sheep to produce wool for its colonial masters, the “Master” and the “Dame” is racism in the first degree, and just like the Daily Mail you were about to throw your arms up in indignation at the thought that this innocent children’s classic could be brutalised by being renamed Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep in an attempt to mollify all those angry, lentil-weaving Guardian readers and before you know it they’ll be banning Christmas as well!

Well, reader, I will disappoint you.

I have no issue with the sheep being black.  On the contrary, why not have a character in a nursery rhyme who is something other than lily-white.  It would make a nice change.  The ones who really make me uncomfortable are the “Master” and the “Dame.”  It’s just so MEDIEVAL.  Who calls themselves a “master” or a “dame” anyway?  Who is this sheep giving wool to?  Dame Kelly Holmes?  Dame Judi Dench?  Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson?  A pantomime dame?  And more importantly, who is the “master?”  This smacks of patriarchy to me.  Master, indeed!  WHY ARE THE MEN ALWAYS ASSUMED TO BE IN CHARGE?  It’s like when I got a phone call from a call centre in India trying to get me to claim money for the car accident I had that wasn’t my fault (when?  In 1981?  BECAUSE THAT WAS THE LAST TIME I WAS IN A CAR ACCIDENT) and they asked to speak to the “Master of the House.”  Which would be who, exactly?  Piglet?  He pretty much does rule the roost round here, if truth be told.

And while I’m on the subject, who is this “little boy who lives down the lane?”  Why is it always a boy?

I must admit, strides are being made in this area, and by strides, I mean the librarian at Wembley Library who does the Saturday morning sing-a-long sessions changes the words to a monstrous tune known as “Three Little Men in Their Flying Saucer” to “Three Little Girls in Their Flying Saucer,” and gives a subversive grin whilst doing it.  Go her, I say.  That’s progress.

And so that brings me to another potentially racist little ditty.  I must admit that I thought I had heard the last of that one that goes “with a a knick-knack paddy-whack, give a dog a bone.  This old man came rolling home,” but when I heard it at the children’s centre I realised that I was sadly mistaken.  Let’s look at this in a bit more detail.

“Knick-knack paddy-whack.”  What is this about?  Because it sounds a lot to me like a racist term for an Irish person.  Who is being hit.  So this is a song about hitting Irish people.  A children’s song about beating up the Irish.  Great.  And it gets worse.

“This old man came rolling home.”  Why was he rolling home then?  Oh, I see, he was DRUNK.  So what you are saying here is that all Irish people are drunk, and get into fights, amirite?  And this is a song for children, people.  CHILDREN.

Next I come to the other one everyone knows about: Ring O Ring O Roses.  This is about the plague. THE PLAGUE, ladies and gentlemen.  You know that thing that killed, like a THIRD OF EUROPE in the Middle Ages.  JOKES.

Another one I have an issue with (I know!  Another one!  Are there any left that we are allowed to sing?) is Rock-a-Bye Baby.

Rock-a-Bye baby on a tree top (what is a baby doing in a tree?  CHILD ABUSE!)

When the wind blows the cradle will rock

When the bough breaks to cradle will fall(!!!!!!!!)

Down will come baby, cradle and all.

Utterly terrifying.  Need I say more.

My mother also sings one that starts with “Oh dear what can the matter be.”  The matter, according to this little ditty, is that “three old ladies” are “stuck in the lavatory,” where they then remain for A WHOLE WEEK.  This is at best a very unfortunate turn of events, or worse, elder abuse.

So there we have it, all nursery rhymes appear to be invented with the express purpose of either initiating young children into the more unfortunate aspects of the current status quo, or teaching them to be utterly terrified as the world is a very scary place full of violence, pestilence, extreme weather and frankly unpleasant people.  Even London Bridge is falling down.  You can’t even trust architecture.

Or perhaps children need to learn the unfortunate facts of life.  It’s not all one big Night Garden out there after all, and we can’t wrap them in cotton wool forever.  What do you think?


My Random Musings
And then the fun began...
Modern Dad Pages

Times My Mother Was Right, and I Was Wrong

Obviously this is going to be a short list (haha, SORRY MUM).

My mother and I do not always see eye to eye on all things parenting.  For example, she once exclaimed to me in a horrified tone, “You’re not planning on breastfeeding him past six months, are you?” as though I had just told her that I fully planned to still be exclusively breastfeeding Piglet when he went off to university, and that even then I might have to visit him at weekends to dispense “Milky Pops” as and when required.

She also seems to be utterly convinced that my siblings and I slept through the night on cue, never needed feeding at night and were toilet trained by the time we turned one, all of which may be the result of a bit of artistic licence over the past thirty-odd years.

However there are, inevitably, times when I have to bow to her greater experience, and one of these was the other day.

The thing is, Piglet seems to have a bit of an obsession with the washing up.  I can only assume that he has inherited this from the sperm donor’s side of the family, as there is no chore that I detest more vehemently than washing up.  When I lived in Japan, I actually had flies living in my sink, such was my neglect of this particular household burden, and the thought of ever not having a dishwasher again fills me with dread.  Needless to say, in my current living arrangement with my mother, we have an unspoken agreement that I do all the cooking, and she does all the washing up.  However, as you can imagine both of these activities are somewhat more challenging with Piglet in attendance, and while cooking often seems to have the effect of making him want to crawl as quickly as possible towards the hot oven in order to inspect its contents, or into all the cupboards to see if there is anything-preferably made of glass or containing things that will make an unholy mess-that he can remove and start throwing about, attempting a bit of washing up makes him take up residence on the floor next to the sink, lifting his arms and screaming until he is picked up and allowed to dangle his little hands in the bubbly water.

Hmm, is this where you keep the washing up liquid?


I might add here that having a dishwasher is no saviour.  We have one in our flat, and Piglet was never more alert than when Mummy was loading and unloading, at which point he would come scurrying across the room like a herd of ants carrying a leaf, and jump inside it at the first opportunity.

Piglet, with his favourite toy

Anyway, keeping in mind the fact that Piglet is clearly a future homemaker and all-round Domestic God, the other day when he was having an episode of particular crankiness, I decided that I knew exactly what was going to calm him down and cheer him up.  Was it a quick feed?  A distraction toy? In The Night Garden?

No, it was the rare treat that is MUMMY DOING THE WASHING UP.

I cannot actually remember the last time I did the washing up.  Lo!  I thought, I shall be a kind, loving daughter who does the washing up while her mother is out at work.  What a wonderful, thoughtful thing to do!  Especially as it was me who got all the plates dirty anyway, and I haven’t done the washing up since 1992!  My mother will be so pleased, and Piglet will be happy playing with his lovely bubbles.

The effect was exactly as planned.  Piglet was thrilled.  He took up residence on the kitchen floor, lifted his arms and commenced squealing.

He literally would.  Not.  Stop.  Squealing.  I had to lift him up repeatedly and allow him to cover himself in bubbles, and every time I put him down he wanted to be picked up again.  He literally wanted to be in the washing up bowl with the plates and cups.  It was a NIGHTMARE.

Realising that I was not going to get anything done, I decided he would need to have his own little mini washing up bowl, purely for his enjoyment and pleasure.  You know, like babies have their own toy TV remotes, toy mobile phones and toy ride-on cars.  That was what Piglet needed, a plastic toy version of the real thing, preferably in garish colours and singing a song at the touch of a button.  What he needed was an old takeaway container filled with washing up water.  Actual washing up water.  The genuine article.

I filled up the container and set it down in front of him on the floor.  He picked it up, and immediately emptied the water everywhere.  It was of course at that moment that my mother decided to arrive home from work, picked a sodden Piglet up off the floor and berated me for making a mess of her kitchen floor and generally being a terrible mother.  She then harangued me for making Piglet all wet, while he crawled off back into the kitchen and promptly slipped over on the wet floor, landing on his face and howling.  The look of pure self-satisfied glee on my mother’s face as she grabbed a screaming Piglet off me and proceeded to give me a dressing down was indescribable.  She had won, and she knew it.  Mummy was an idiot, and a failure of a mother.  Mummy nil, Granny one.



Piglet is now showing some interest in other children and babies.

Not, however, as much interest as other children are showing in him.

Today for example, we were on a train to Bath.  This is the same train, I might add, that Piglet demanded to be walked up and down repeatedly last week, prompting me to say in an attempt at being strict at the beginning of this particular journey, “we’re only going to be on here ten minutes today, you know.  No walking on the train!”  The usual exhortation is of course “NO CRAWLING!” which is now pretty much my catchphrase.  No crawling in the restaurant, no crawling in the train station, no crawling on the bus.  I am completely unreasonable when it comes to the Rules of Crawling.  Luckily, on this occasion, Piglet was content to amuse himself by poking a tiny hand through the gap between the seats behind, and stealing another passenger’s bracelet.

Then another child suddenly popped up next to us, with her mother, having walked from another carriage just to take a look at “the baby.”

This is not an uncommon occurrence in Piglet’s life, and he is usually nonplussed.  I, however, am sometimes not, such as the time a toddler actually clung onto the front of Piglet’s pram in our local library when he was asleep, and I practically had to prise him off and use my best Stern Teacher Voice while his mother sat looking on and ignoring the situation, and even more alarmingly, the time a little boy with chicken pox (THE ACTUAL POX) stroked Piglet’s face-encouraged by his mother, no less-in Kings Cross Station.  Given that Piglet wasn’t even three months old at the time, I wasn’t quite ready for a chicken pox party.

Also today, in the park, Piglet had an interesting introduction to some of the apparatus when pretty much everyone in the park under the age of five came running over to him to all pile onto the same piece of equipment that he was tentatively grasping (holding on for dear life) at the same time, rapidly trailed by various mothers shouting “GIDEON!  PLAY NICELY PLEASE!  THAT BABY’S ONLY LITTLE!” Unfortunately, I was unable to capture a picture of his bewildered face in time, but here he is recuperating on the giant swing.


At the moment all Piglet is able to do is gaze at other children with a mixture of awe and terror, which means that the most fun he has had all day was playing a game which involved crawling backwards and forwards through Mummy’s legs for ten minutes.  It evidently didn’t tire him out, as he was up until 10.45pm dancing to the tunes that the baby walker plays.

I need to take him to the park more often.

How I Am Now Piglet’s Dadda

Piglet, as we all know, does not have a dadda.

He does, however, like to say “dadda” a lot, thus proving that the word is nothing more than a meaningless piece of baby babble.  A small victory for all mothers across the nation who are fretting that their children are obsessed with their fathers and do not care a jot for them.  When you think about it, perhaps this is why patriarchy exists; because the role of mothers has been devalued by puffed-up fathers thinking they are the more important parent because, despite the fact that it is the mothers who carry and birth the children, those children still appear to grow up to prefer their fathers, as supposedly proven since time immemorial by the fact that “dadda” is invariably the first word (unless of course the wee ones prefer dogs, which may be the case with Piglet, as I wrote about here).

Despite the lack of male parentage, since I have been living with my mother we seem to have fallen into particular roles in the house, and I am pretty sure that my role is the one that would be traditionally associated with Dadda.  For a start, I am reliably informed by those whose children do have fathers that they like to take on the role of the “fun” (i.e. letting the wee one do whatsoever they please) parent.

And this is definitely me.

It is sadly the case that I, who was previously sole carer and provider, attached to Piglet 24 hours a day without a break, now spend large chunks of time sitting on the sofa browsing the Internets while my mother runs around frantically stopping Piglet from knocking over the television or emptying the entire contents of the DVD cabinet onto his head.

When we lived in my flat, I might add, neither of these things were necessary as he was allowed to bash the television to his little heart’s content, as long as it was with plastic implements rather than metal, and preferably no bigger than the size of a pen (one has to have some standards), and knocking DVDs off the shelf, opening the cases, taking the CDs out and chewing them, was a particular beloved game.  Which he was also allowed to play.

Consequently, my mother thinks Piglet has got to the age of one without grasping the concept of boundaries, and must be re-educated in such matters as not staying up until 11pm crawling around the living room, not picking up bits of wood chip from the garden, and definitely not throwing food on the floor.  I, on the other hand, am largely if not in complete favour of all of these things, then at least prepared to tolerate them until the time comes when Piglet has a vague grasp of language and can be reasoned with.

I think this officially makes me Good Cop.  Does this mean Piglet thinks I am Dadda?

Come On Eileen

Yes I have a new website.

That is not the most exciting thing to have happened today, however, as today was also the day that I bought my first pair of dungarees.

Well, the first that were for me as opposed to Piglet.  At least since the brief flourishing of a random children’s clothes shop that opened up the road from my parents’ house in 1989 (where I tragically once again live, in 2015, at the age of 35), which stocked nothing but endless pairs of short dungarees for children in attractive floral patterns.

My new pair of dungarees are mercifully not floral patterned.  They are plain denim, Dexy’s Midnight Runners Alexa Chung style.

I hadn’t planned on going out and buying a pair of dungarees but, well, we were out and Piglet was asleep, so I seized the opportunity to pop into a shop.  Not just any old shop, but BS8, a shop I remember from years gone by, when I last lived in Bristol, when it was so achingly cool that I didn’t even dare set foot in there for fear of being drummed out by marauding hipsters.

Now, however, shopping in places that consider themselves hip (hip? Ha!  What is it, like, 1970?) holds no fear for me.  Me, who has walked the hallowed halls of Dover Street Market on no less than two occasions and who once brought Victoria Beckham’s new London store to a standstill by walking in with a pushchair and getting the staff to carry it up the stairs (cheers Vicky).

In I popped.

Piglet, however, constantly vigilant and able to sense entry to shops despite being in the throes of deep sleep, immediately woke up and started howling.  People started leaping out of the way.  Perhaps it was Piglet’s squeals, or perhaps it was the fact that I had the rain cover draped over the pushchair and it was dripping rain over all the vintage clothes as I steered expertly through the store, trying not to barge into anyone.

My attention was immediately drawn to the denim dresses, but I sensibly steered away, remembering that I have already owned two denim dresses in my life.  One which I bought for £1.50 in a charity shop in Birmingham, wore once to a “bad taste” party and then promptly got rid of, and one which I bought in Primark, probably for less than £1.50, which was even more hideous than the first.  I then noticed something even more enticing than the dresses.  Yes, they had actual DUNGAREES.  Loads and loads of them!

This is brilliant, I thought.  I will be like Felicity Kendal in The Good Life, petite and pert in my practical dungarees, doing my gardening and raising my child in self-sufficient suburbia whilst being lusted after by the entire nation.

Or I will be Alexa Chung: low-maintenance, just showing up at New York Fashion Week looking effortlessly amazing, with no-fuss hair and perfect flicky eyeliner.

Or I will be like pregnant friends of my mother’s in the 1980s, with Deirdre Barlow glasses, looking like a humungous painter and decorator in maternity denim.

Or I will be one of Dexy’s Midnight Runners.  Need I say more.

“Hmm.”  I said brightly to the shop assistant, who looked like an ironic hipster version of one of the Thompson Twins,  “I’m not sure if this look is going to be more Alexa Chung or Dexy’s Midnight Runners on me.”

I could tell that Thompson Twin was thinking definitely not Alexa from the fact that I was wearing a pair of Joules wellies and a bright orange hiking jacket from the children’s section of Jack Wolfskin.

“I don’t always dress like this!” I wanted to wail.  “Back in the day-before the baby-I used to wear vintage all the time, you know!  And my shirt is vintage, I promise!  It’s just….well, this rain.  And motherhood makes you so….practical.”

I knew that it was folly indeed to buy something as patently ridiculous as a pair of dungarees without even trying them on, so I rushed into the changing room while Thompson Twin kept an eye on Piglet, who was sobbing by this point.  He hated this shop even more than he hates Wilko in Wembley High Road, and we’ve never been able to leave there without a full on meltdown in the checkout queue.

Or maybe he just hated the sight of Mummy squeezing herself into a too-small version of something he might wear.

“It isn’t meant to be like this.”  He must have been thinking.  “You’re my mother.  You should be dressing the part, not trying to look like mutton dressed as baby.  It’s like when you bought me those skintight houndstooth girls’ trousers in H&M just because they were exactly the same as a pair of yours.  Parents and children were not meant to dress the same!  Look at what you and your parents looked like in 1990 when you all wore those matching counterfeit England ’90 shell suits from Eastville Market!”

Alas, anyway, the dungarees were too small.  I sadly headed towards the exit-and picked up an infinitely superior pair in the next size up which I promptly took to the till without trying on.  “Well, they are practical!” I exclaimed as Thompson Twin swiped my card.

“Yes they are,” she agreed.  “I mean, look at all these pockets for storing your paintbrushes.  And there’s a bit here that would be really useful for a hammer, should you ever want to carry one around.”

I had been thinking practical for breastfeeding, 1980s maternity-wear style, but who knows when you might need a hammer?

Brilliant blog posts on

I am a moustachioed, hessian-wearing librarian, and proud of it

My response to this.

Let’s consider another example of what he might have said, to see how ridiculous this is.

“I don’t know what it is with all these mothers these days, feeding their children bananas in public.  Don’t they understand that I-and probably some other fellas for that matter-don’t like to look at bananas?  They make me feel uncomfortable.  Don’t they realise that bananas are quite phallic in appearance, and therefore they remind me of sex.  How inappropriate to be feeding your child-yes, a child-a banana in public!  It gives me associations in my head that I really do not want.  It’s practically peodophilia.  And besides, bananas don’t grow in this country so it’s totally unnatural.

“Of course, it was different in the Stone Age, when people didn’t have their own teeth.  Back then they had to eat bananas as they couldn’t eat anything harder, what with the lack of teeth and everything.

“It seems to me that it’s only these right-on, free-thinking librarian women that feed their children bananas anyway.  What’s wrong with a bag of crisps?  They have some really nice flavours these days.

“However, if it’s an attractive woman eating a banana, then of course that’s fine.  I bet all the other fellas would agree too.” 

A Cornish Mum

O Sleep How You Taunt Me

Piglet went to sleep at 7.15pm today.  ***KLAXON***

I am braced for a rough night when he inevitably wakes up in an hour or so, having regarded his current period of sleep as nothing but a later-than-normal nap, and sits bolt upright in bed, before launching himself at me head first and emitting a high pitched scream into my ear, headbutting me and biting my face.

This sort of physical attack is, I believe, what passes for a sign of affection with Piglet.

Either that or he actually detests me.

He is, of course, sleeping in the bed.  I would hardly be so bold as to put him in his cot.  For a start, there is no sheet on the mattress as the combined intellects of myself and my mother couldn’t work out how to fit one on without the ends of the mattress curling up, and secondly, he will not sleep in a cot anyway.

An old photo, but one which I feel sums up roughly how Piglet feels about being in a cot.

I had long suspected this to be the case, but I had spent so many months gathering him up into my arms and taking him into the bed with me at the first sign of a whimper that he had barely spent any time in the cot and so I couldn’t be sure.  Then, last week, when we were on holiday in Cornwall, came the acid test.

The travel cot we had ordered had been placed into what I can only assume was supposed to be the children’s room in the caravan, judging by the size of the single bed in there, which was slightly narrower than the average shelf.  O the folly of these holiday caravan people who have never met Piglet and I, and who must have assumed that he has something known as a “routine,” and sleeps at a time of his parents’ (they must have assumed there were two, sleeping in the double bedroom) choosing, in a room which is designated for the exclusive use of a child or children plural.  O what folly (*shakes fist at the idea of a nuclear family with a routine*)

And so I bravely steeled myself for a night on the shelf (metaphorically, surely the story of my life), and laid Piglet down into the travel cot for his slumbers.

After feeding him to sleep of course (*guffaws heartily at the idea of him doing any of that “settling himself to sleep” that the parenting books are always talking about*).

It lasted about an hour.

I duly fed him to sleep again, and popped him back in the cot.

Another hour.

Now this, I told myself, was normal.  Piglet always wakes up at least every few hours and I then feed him to sleep again.  The only difference was that it would normally involve simply rolling over and proffering a boob rather than lifting him out of the cot, but still.  I even started to think that Piglet was getting the hang of this sleeping in a cot lark.  Who knows, perhaps in a few years time he’ll even progress to settling himself to sleep like the parenting books say all babies should by the age of three months.

Again he went to sleep, and again he woke up an hour or so later.

Only this time, he was sitting bolt upright in the cot and surveying the room with interest.  Not a good sign.

The next two hours included the following:

Breastfeeding repeatedly in a desperate attempt to get him to go back to sleep
Leaving the room to find a fresh nappy only to wake up the entire caravan (damn you thin paper caravan walls!)
Piglet greeting the rest of the caravan’s occupants with squeals and giggles
More breastfeeding

And finally:

Lying down on the very edge of the shelf with Piglet on there next to me, crammed against the thin caravan wall and intermittently banging on it, keeping my brother and his partner (in the “parents” room next door) awake.

I should probably add here that since I started writing this post I have had to put the laptop aside twice to feed Piglet back to sleep.

One day, he will learn to settle himself to sleep.  One day.