Friday, September 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Sisters and The Lady Boy Singer

"Daddy sometimes you sound like a lady."

That's what I get for jokingly singing a Doors song. How can anyone impersonating Jim Morrison (and I thought pretty well too0 sound like a lady? I was singing The Changeling. So I ran through a few other songs to check. My daughter told me I sound like a foot, a bear and some poop. If I'm honest I'm quite proud of all that.

As it's Friday it obviously involved Fruitloops and thrift sores. At the thrift store my daughter got this -:

My son got himself some plastic tools. All for a dollar. Not bad. I promised my daughter we'd play her game today but not while her brother was as lively as he was this morning. It wasn't the smartest move on my part to arm him with two plastic hammers and let him loose. So when she gets out of school I will set that up somewhere where her brother won't try and kill it.

I did catch my daughter, "practicing" letting the dog lick the inside of her mouth earlier as well. This annoyed me in particular because this blog has somehow become a flytrap for all kinds of weirdos who have Googled about licking peanut butter out of things or off someone. So this won't help. Apparently Google is clairvoyant. Still when I protested the whole affair with my daughter she behaved like I was way out of line. I could tell by how annoyed she was. Also she wasn't doing anything wrong apparently because he was cleaning peanut butter off her teeth. Oh well excuse me then. I told her that she shouldn't let anyone - pets included - in her mouth until at least college. Then for some reason I remembered a time years ago when two girls who lived on my street taught me how to kiss behind the shed of my house. They were sisters. I was maybe thirteen. They were a little older I think. I have no idea why we went behind the shed because there was nobody home, but apparently it was sordid and naughty enough to warrant that. At the time I had no idea how wrong that was. Not a clue. Even at thirteen I really hadn't rocketed into teenage lust for anything yet, so making out with sisters in my back garden was a bit like putting together one of those free toys in a Kinder egg. It's kind of fun and interesting. While I continued to think about that my daughter closed her mouth, gurned and let the dog lick the jelly off her face. He did a pretty decent job so I let him finish before weakly protesting.

She's at school now. She didn't really want to go today. She preferred the idea of staying home and doing crafts. But her mother had picked out a Hippy outfit for her to wear so she had to go. My son and I are at home trying to fix things. Rear signal light blew in my car. I replaced it (and found out the guy at NAPA is originally from Essex) but still nothing. Probably a fuse - I hope. Also the dishwasher stopped working. I'm half annoyed but I not-very-secretly hate dishwashers. It's just a place to store half-rinsed stuff you can't be bothered to clean. I unclogged it best I could with the boy there but he insists on climbing in it so I have to wait until later when the wife gets home. I believe she's scooping them both off to the pool right out of work. She's off to Ohio for a few days so wants to soak up some quality time. My son though isn't napping today. He's quiet enough, but mostly he's seeing what happens when he hits various things with his plastic hammers. The dog is a huge fan.

I guess I'll chance my arm with the dishwasher again.

Daily Dump Sep 30, 2011: Hippy

It's Brown Day. Which thankfully has nothing to do with UPS or resin of any kind.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Daughter The Chip Pan Fire

Yesterday the teacher at school told me that my daughter is (in her words), "the best colorer in the class." Quite an accolade considering it involves an actual professional teacher inventing a word to describe what someone can do. I was then told that some of the kids hadn't ever - at the age of four - been allowed to color in anything. Mostly for fear that they'd go rabid-nuts all over their respective houses and start drawing on the walls and stabbing people in the eyes. The teacher then whispered in my ear that my daughter is shockingly good at listening to instructions and is one of a tiny few who hadn't been in Time Out.

I felt it was my civic duty at that point to tell the teacher that my daughter is a Grower. If she gets agitated at any point near the beginning of the school day then it is possible that she may erupt like a volcano by the time I get there to pick her up. The teacher looked at me like I was making it up. So I told her that she's usually amazing in public, but once she spirals it usually ends poorly. I mentioned that she's like an oil-fire then and you need to not try and mollycoddle her in the way you think you should. I tried to make it jokey at first but then became more serious and adult to illustrate that I really am making a proper serious point. Because if she does start to lose it she is like a bottle rocket. The teacher looked at me funny. I think she gave me the same look that people give women who have just told the bank manager/doctor/gas station clerk that their partner beats them. That look where they aren't sure how to behave, know they probably should do something important with this new information but don't really want to act on it without knowing for sure it's not just bollocks. So I went back to talking about how we do lot of crafts and stuff like that.

For Grey Day my daughter got a grey cookie with grey frosting. I have no idea what that is. It sounds like some sort of Soviet era monstrosity made during 1920s Russia to help push through the last stage of capitalism into pure socialism. I didn;t dare ask what they drank that was grey. There is a slight possibility it could have been Earl Grey if they weren't all four years old. But outside of that what's grey and wet? The tears of a depressed grandmother with Alzheimer's eating stale out-of-date muesli is about all I can figure out. They did all make a fantastic headband though. It's basically a looped piece of paper with an elephants face stapled to it. Nice work there.

Other than that I didn't hear much abotu school except that the name that's the same as a German car went into Time Out again because she simply would not shut up. She sounds like a lot of work. Not in a mean way either. Just that if you don't have that relationship with someone so that you know how to manage together then everything seems like it's going wrong. We used to think we'd have a "high maintenance" child because my daughter was off the frikking walls at times. And look how that turned out - she colors in the lines and does what she's told by grown ups. Which, oddly enough, meant that we had to have a conversation with her that if an adult tells her to do something that she knows is wrong then she doesn't have to do it. Now I'm wondering how that will manifest.

Also at the school recently I've noticed someone who parks like a twat. You know at teh grocery store someone parks their truck or very-mundane coupe over two spaces so no one will bump it? Someone does that in the school parking lot. That just seems totally wrong. Especially as there are limited spaces. I really hope it's a parent and not some teacher being a total knob. So I'm thinking of putting up flyers with a free key on each of them asking all the kids to go out and key it. Not out of spite - but just because I loathe people who believe that rules don't apply to them because they're magic.

Right now my son is asleep with the cat asleep on top of him. Seems nice and comfy actually. I'm not doing all the cleaning jobs I'm supposed to be doing. Maybe I should. Saves me from running around like an idiot later.

Or I could eat chocolate....

Princess Bounce Has Cheese Nips

When I was younger my family used to own a German Shepherd. One of it's favorite things that it used to like doing was removing your socks and licking between your toes. I'm reminded of this because I can no longer walk around the house with socks on without being attacked by my son. He simply has to remove them. As of yet he has been using his hands and not his teeth. And he certainly hasn't indicated any kind of licking. It's early doors though.

Quite frankly I felt like "Pulling a Tevez" today. Which, if you didn't know, now means that even though you are well compensated, well loved and have everything you could need you still refuse to actually do what you are supposed to do. But unlike Tevez I will actually do my job because I'm not a selfish idiot blind to any sense of grown up responsibility. I am feeling lethargic about this though. I tried to count all the numerous things I say I would like to do for motivation and there are many of them. But today is a wet, windy grey day and I just don't feel up for it. And that doesn't mean I'm lazy because what sounds pretty nice today would be going to a job and doing something else. My wife talked often about how bored she could get at home. Not because she lay on the carpet all day and did nothing - she was always very busy. But you don't use your brain in the same way at all. Today I'm in the mood to get office work done.

Instead we've been pottering about this morning making jigsaws, building a train track and playing a game called Princess Bounce Wants Cheese Nips. Which on the one hand sounds completely inappropriate to non-Americans who have no idea that refers to a cheese-cracker snack, and on the other sounds like the episode of Princess Bounce where she whored herself out for corporate sponsorship. So I reflexively didn't play enthusiastically and tried to change the game to something else.

However when that failed I tried to get the kids to sit down, stop whelping and tried to clean them up. My son had cream cheese in his hair and his fingernails were kind of manky. We're going out in twenty minutes and I don't want the locals to think we're that family that smells of milk and always has weird gravy-like stains on the crotch of their clothes. No thanks. My daughter is clean - although very eccentrically dressed today - so she's good to go. My son looked a bit scuzzy. So I cleaned him up and then went for the nails. This is going to sound like I'm making it up but I swear I am not. After I got most of the nails I hacked his thumb nail off and it hit me in the eye. I spent a good five minutes trying to fish it out from behind the back of my eye ball. It hurt like a bastard and I was quite aware that the reason he needed those nails clipped was because they were filthy. No luck - it's still in there somewhere. Presumably it will go soft and disintegrate behind my eye. Or it'll show up one day like that time my eye itched and I found an old contact lens sticking out the corner of my eye. Whichever way you look at it this past week I've been assaulted with two different issues with nails. If things come in threes presumably I'm going to come across another one. Maybe I should just go to Dunkin Donuts and buy some of their foul coffee - I'll probably find one floating in it.

Right - I'm off to the plumbing supplies store and then I promised the kids some kind of fun.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Daily Dump Sep 28, 2011: The Unruly Pony

After it destroyed the room my son insisted on taming the the wild beast and riding it.

Born To Hunt Pigs

"Did you know that Princess Bounce and I exercise differently?"

That was one of the first things my daughter said this morning. Then she showed the different ways the she and Princess Bounce do stretches. Then on the way to the bank this morning she told Sophie the Onion Sniffer how Princess Bounce and Power Lady do special exercises. Can you even imagine the DVD sales for that story?

After school yesterday I let my wife try and get some info out of the girl. Apparently the loud brash girl with the tacky name was put in Time Out. Again. Whoever was supposed to share something forgot it. I rally hope that isn't true every day - it seems somewhat sad that parent's just don't care to join in all the fun. My daughter showed off the numbers she'd cut out and colored in that were already proudly stuck to the fridge. Then my wife asked what games they played. My daughter quickly yelled, "Challenger." Unfortunately my mind got away from me and all I could picture was a game revolving around the Challenger Shuttle disaster from 1986. Which would be a pretty grim game wouldn't it? I've seen the craft-ability of the one teacher so I imagine some of the kids would have been dressed in some disturbingly vivid costumes. Suddenly my mind raced into Auto Correct, but it still only offered up fencing as the only possibility for what my daughter meant. Which she would totally rock at by the way. Anyway - turns out she said, "calendar" so it was a timely reminder that my brain needs a reboot at some point.

Outside of that yesterday was pretty much marked by my son trying to bite everything. Before you say, "oh he's probably teething" I would just like to point out that he doesn't appear to be. He just seems mental. All day long for giggles he kept biting me, his sister, the dog, the furniture - anything. Even right before bed he was trying to bite the bathroom sink after we brushed his teeth.

I don't highlight this behavior above anything else annoying from yesterday. Such as my son somehow causing my laptop to black-screen until it shut off and then would not reboot for a good half an hour. Or my daughter overcome with amusement at the idea that she was naked in the living room and pretending to pee on things - only to accidentally pee on things. No - I highlight this because I attempted to implement Operation Silent But Deadly yesterday. Which, despite your best guess, did not involve me secretly farting noxious evil throughout the house until my kids collapsed unconscious while attempting to locate whatever creature had shit itself whilst burning to death. Nope - I had decided that I would no longer raise my voice. I'd be one of those dads who's kids would know that if Dad did raise his voice then it really was a problem. It would also help me to channel any annoyance or white-hot rage that I may be experiencing at a specific moment into a calm, deliberate request. So, for example, when my son was trying to stab out the dogs eyes with his thumbs yesterday I could calmly but firmly tell him otherwise. Instead of yelling, 'Stop!!" to startle him from committing the fiftieth crime of the day.

However that lasted about two hours. The aforementioned accidental peeing on things, my son's compulsive biting, his decision to drag garbage into the living room and fling it around, and lastly his successful attempt to stuff my MP3 player into the hole in my guitar (easily in - not easy out) led me to instead launch Operation I Can't Fucking Take It Any More. Yesterday afternoon became quite touchy in the end. I fought very hard not to loose my cool but did end up shouting once for everyone to just quit being naughty. Really - that's what I said to. Which for a grown man to yell with genuine frustration, "PLEASE STOP BEING NAUGHTY!!" is absurd. My daughter was fine really though. My son continued his Hannibal Lecter impersonation though. Today he's been fine. Which just proves he was being mental.

Lastly someone I used to work for passed away yesterday. He was in his eighties when I started working for him. He wast he man who invented the first successfully implanted pacemaker. Six million people since then have had one. That's quite an impact. He, my wife, me and six other people worked in an abandoned post office in Clarence, NY. His immediate goal was to make prototypes of implantable medical devices that you could use in an MRI machine. His long term goal - and I'm not kidding - was to mine Helium 3 from the surface of the Moon before flying on to Mars to mine even more of it in order to solve the power-supply issues of the entire Earth. Seriously. Not only had he managed to get his hands on an actual nuclear fusion reactor (which he called The Monster). But he also had a giant easel in the office with designs for space shuttles powered by one with people's names half-jokingly written next to seats on it. It was seriously out-there stuff. And instead of keeping it under wraps and not making us all seem kind of Star Trek level nutso we would hold presentations and visit colleges to tell them all about it.

I worked in this guy's office three feet from him for eighteen months before he paid for me to back to school and get my MA. As in he told me I should go to school and he would pay for it. So I did. He was a nuanced complex guy. On the one hand he was well aware of what his initial invention had done and how important that was. On the other hand he would tell everyone he met the story about how he came up with completely accidentally. In short, he was making a simple electronic circuit and just did it incorrectly so instead of working it pulsed. Voila - an artificial heartbeat.

So I tried to tell my daughter about it this morning and that I worked with a perfectly ordinary man who genuinely changed the world. She didn't seem to understand. Then she asked me how I had changed the world. Which is a very humbling thing to ask someone. Outside of my own special dance moves, my amazing profligacy to come up with euphemisms and my accuracy at throwing walnuts I couldn't think of anything. I thought about telling her I had come up with Princess Bounce and Dr. Bonk. But she would have pointed out that she did, and that nobody else knew about them. So I told her I was changing the world by having tow kids, then staying home to raise her and her brother so that they could go on and do amazing things too. Which sounds pretty wankish and presumptuous of me, but I do kind of believe it. Actually now I think about it that does sound a bit like I think my kids are like Christopher Lambert in Highlander. Thankfully my daughter burst any element of pomposity by asking, "so I can teach other people how to hunt pigs?"

Yes. Why not.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

When Walnuts, Goose and Bees Attack

I think my daughter has turned into Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.

Not that she's in the Mob or a cokehead or anything. But all the way home from swimming today she was extremely interested in there being things in the sky right above us. . Not that there were cops in helicopters chasing us. No - she was on the lookout for walnuts and geese. It really is Fall now - everything is throwing itself to the ground in our yard. The walnut trees are so bad that we can't really play out there - too many walnuts fall out. I've been nailed a good few times. My son has too. I think my daughter has been spared so far. But we hide in her toy house outside and you can hear them bonce off it. The other day I filled an entire wheelbarrow twice in one day. It's insane.

Alongside the actual "fall" of leaves and walnuts the Canada Goose (yes, that is correct) are flying over us all day long getting read to fly south. They make quite a noise. Add that I put away a lot of the Summer yard toys into the garage. Amusingly the day I did that was really nice and warm so the wasps were all jazzed up and I managed to piss some of them off. Sadly I was two hundred yards away from the house - and therefore from the Mexican Death Spray - so I got stung.

So, needless to say my daughter has applied the laws of probability and assumes that if bees and walnuts have been successful, then it is only a matter of time until Canada's finest dive bomb us in our own yard. I might take her out the back property line and show her them all flapping about in the big pond. But then I don't want her to know about the big pond, or that you can actually go through the bushes there.Anyway the point is she's been saying, "quick Daddy, hide under this tree in case the walnuts, goose and bees attack."

Also today and yesterday have been pretty warm so all the bugs in Central NY have come to my yard. It's awful. While waiting for the bus we all got eaten. I chucked some bug-spray on it was so bad but my daughter was convinced it secretly attracted them. In an ill-thought out retort I told her it actually attracts moose. Hopefully she isn't looking over her shoulder all day in fear of a one tonne moose charging at her. Anyway, lots of bugs also meant lots of other critters. There were toads all over the place, and I even caught a small Garter snake. When I realized this meant she might try and grab one if she saw one I let it go a little so it could have a go at me. It worked almost too perfectly as it bounced open-mouthed of my collar bone and I dropped it. Point made I think. She told me it looked like the snake attack in a book she has with pop-up lethal animals in it. Which either makes her think I'm heroic or as stupid as the man in the story who played with a snake and died.

But she's in school now and her brother is trying to do things he shouldn't. I've pulled bowls out of the garbage can and found two wet pieces of train track in the bathroom sink. I've played lots with him but he tells me quite clearly to bugger off and leave him build things. But now I think it means that he wants to be left alone so he can break things and get stuff wet. My daughter is at school with Power Man. That's what she calls a boy in her class. Except when I got there yesterday to pick her up she kept calling him Power Lady. Probably all that pink was confusing. I will guarantee that boy's entire life will take an entirely different course if every time we see him somewhere in our small town we call him Power Lady. Amusingly later on in the day we were playing when a bunch of teens (maybe 13 or 14) went passed the house and she kept yelling, "that's Power Ladies Dad!!!" at one of them. Which seems to me a richer vein of repressed crippling psychological torture to toy with.

Time to get ready for the hard part of the day. Which should mean me referring to cleaning up, cooking and picking up my daughter - but actually refers to figuring out how to watch the Man City versus Bayern Munich game with all that going on. I'm sure I'll manage.

The Toenail Chicarone

I know you are all wondering - what did my daughter eat for Pink Day at school? Was it really Jello again? No - it wasn't. She had these -:

Which isn't really food. But it is pink. I was surprised to see so many of the kids in the room say they can't/don't eat them. Also the teacher tries to teach counting by adding up how many kids wore the color. In a class of 16 the teacher only counted to four. Why don't parents join in with this goofy stuff? It doesn't require much effort.Or am I being incredibly uncool by not only having her conform, but for joining in as well? I don't know why I'm asking because I really don't care - we think it's a laugh so balls to everyone else.

My daughter had asked me to show up early so I could join in at the end and learn all the stuff she'd actually been up to. She had made a flamingo hat (which was actually pretty nice) and cut out pictures. And read a book called Pinkalicious. Then at the end of the day the teacher asked them all to think of what they could eat as a snack for Wednesday's Grey Day. One kid suggested gravel. Then the teacher apologized to the girls in the room for Grey Day because, "grey is a boy's color." She assumed that none of the girls in the room would own anything grey. I can't believe she had the temerity to say that to a room full of kids who not only don't associate colors to a specific gender, but were also only a few feet away from a man (technically) wearing a bright pink Oxford shirt.The rudeness.

We went through the usual ritual when we got home where I'd poke and pry at her to find out something - anything - that she'd done that day. She told me they'd read another book about pumpkins. And that they'd been to the playground. And that a boy in the room had banged his knee. She started to actually just tell me different things. It was nice. And then, without any build-up in any way she just blurted out that her teacher had cut her toenails. What? I asked her if she had hurt herself and needed it done. No - she just cut her toenails. So I asked if everyone had that done. No - just her. What the hell? Was it because they were just so hideous that someone had to do something? I checked her feet and I really couldn't tell. Which I guess means it didn't actually happen. Except I know that I'd made a mental note to check her nails and see if they need trimming. And no - they don't. At all. Which I think means the teacher may have actually trimmed her toenails. My wife managed to get my daughter to say that she was just joking. Which is very reassuring but it doesn't explain why her toenails aren't long enough to need trimming. That's wrong isn't it? It's like cutting a child's hair without their parent's knowledge. I am of two minds to put a note in for the teacher just flat-out asking if she cut my daughter's toenails. It can only go a few ways. Either she thought her toenails were so gross that she couldn't bear to be around them any longer. She may have simply forgotten her lunch and scoured the class for something that would last a long time and settled on my daughter's toenails. Maybe they were making a collage and needed something to represent sea shells. Actually no - this isn't a time to be silly. She either thought it was gross or has a compelling desire to cut other people's toenails. I get the feeling asking may open a huge can of worms.

In an attempt to get over this strange situation I watched one of my favorite episodes of Sid The Science Kid with my daughter. It's supposed to be about eating healthy. So the main character asks his parents if he can just eat cake exclusively and then all the other character employ the worst logic in the world for a child. So Sid's parent's tell him that if he ate cake all the time it wouldn't be as exciting. Then his friends at school all tell him they either don't even like cake, or that their favorite food is actually cauliflower. And cod liver oil with prunes. The sentiment was good I guess but the delivery was poor. Bear in mind that not only had my daughter been talking constantly about doughnuts for the entire 24 hour period before this. And half way through the show she asked me if she could have some cake.

But then the show got interesting. Because the teacher at the school took it to an all new level. I implore you to actually spend 90 seconds of your life watching this. Everything about this song is wrong.

I really hope you watched that. That is either refreshingly racist (as in brazenly openly apologetically racist) or it is just plain hilarious. First off they compare two things that aren't the same by mixing countries and cities from around the world. So they start off with an "oranges from the USA!" and then jump straight into "Brussels sprouts from Brussels!" Which would be fine somewhat, except secondly they name some foods as indicative of a country that clearly aren't. For example the food they use to represent England is fish. Who is playing a concertina. Not a clue. Now granted, fifteen minutes in Bradford and you'll be scratching your head trying to figure out why everyone reeks of fish, but that's absurd. But thirdly, and best of all, this song idea gives the voice actress free license to use as many stereotypical ridiculous accents as she can. The Wisconsin accent is classic, it has to be said. The Hungarian and French ones are dodgy. But then she goes mental and just starts making sounds and pretending they are dialects. Except for some reason she doesn't use an accent for Asian countries - presumably because that would be racist. I genuinely laugh like an idiot at the Chinese one because it follows the worst Italian accent you've ever heard.

While we were still laughing at that my son was engaging in his new favorite pastime. Which is sneaking into the dining room and squirting himself in the face repeatedly with an Air Wick air freshener. He gets right up onto the table where it is and scoots right up close to it and presses the big fat button on it. It then shoots a cloud of scented spray right into his giddy wide-open mouth and eyes. He laughs, coughs, complains about his eyes stinging, coughs some more and then yells a random word. Then he presses the button again. On the one hand he's brain damaged from the quantity of this stuff that he has imbibed through his eye balls alone. On the other hand though he smells just like a waterfall in Spring, so I'm going to just let him do it. He really brightens up a room when he enters it now.

Well, got to get the swimming bag ready. This week I will remember my daughter's hair-tie. Next week I might learn how to put one on. Hopefully by Winter I'll be able to apply it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

We Do What We're Told

I've come to realize why some people home school their kids.

Now, I'm not saying I agree with the two main understood types of home school families. The first one seems to revolve around a fear that everyone at the school is a Communist. And the second seems to be a worldview where Satan lives at the school and leeches his dirty little ways into your innocent little child via English Literature class. Those people are loopy. And actually according to Wikipedia a really big reason some people like homeschooling is because then they can molest their kids without the outside world catching wind of it. Which sounds like someone who works for an educational authority wrote it, to be honest. But after two weeks and an almost constant deluge of Jello I'm starting to see why perfectly reasonable people go that route as well.

I'm not doing it though. Balls to that. I read a blog by a woman who does and she is/was an actual teacher too. She basically looks at the simple statistical analysis of it all and points out that in no area does classroom learning out perform good homeschooling. Add that schools tend to teach at a level below the capability of more than half the class. And plenty of studies show that habitually carrying out exercises below your own level makes you stupider.

But those are all reasonable reasons for why my wife entertains the idea. She'd be good at it. My reasons consist of other things. The aforementioned Jello obviously. And the fact that I don't like other people yelling at my kids. I've stood in the hallway and overheard teachers using their voices to intimidate the little bastards in their classroom into doing something. And every time I do hear that I think that if that teacher talks like that to my daughter I will break a chair across their back. I'm sure it's fine really, but I just get that pang of protectionism. So they better not make her cry without good reason.

Also there's the illnesses. This was cold number one of the school year. It was horrible. This week the weather is dicking around with us enough to ensure we get more. It's gone way up to 80 degrees today. By Saturday it might not even get into the 50s. That's a smoker's-style cough and a nose filled with green tapioca just waiting to happen. And kids get stomach bugs all the time. My wife went to a handful of Mom's Club events last year and brought home the most horrifying puking and shitting diseases with her. One of them leveled our entire family - including in-laws - one by one. Just evil stuff. Multiply the odds of that ten fold. And I've seen some of these kids. Some of them look sickly. A couple of them clearly look like they make bad decisions. The one boy looks like he deliberately puts his hands in random sticky stuff he finds and then tastes it. The difference now is that after he gives himself trichinosis and contact dermatitis he now spreads his wretchedness to my daughter.

Also, we went to the school for open day last week. After milling around a little, meeting all the parents and touring the school one thing stood out to my wife and I quite strongly. And that would be the World War II era style poster system employed there. They have motivational posters everywhere. But not just for knowledge learning. They have weird ones about littering and inappropriate talking. I swear one of them said, "If your lips are loose you deserve the noose." For the purposes of demonizing an invisible Bogeyman here lets all pretend that poster had a picture of an actual noose on it. I remember years ago going into a US high school to take one of those all-day classes to get money off car insurance. They had a TV in the classroom that was ready and available to broadcast any and all messages the President may have. That would be POTUS. The President has no business talking to your kids. None. Would you leave your child alone in a room with Bill Clinton and George W. Bush? No, you wouldn't.

So that started to chip away at my excitement that my kids are going to school. If my wife chucks it all in and stays home again I can see her bringing up this home school thing again. And even with the weird posters, Jello and puke-filled kids wombling about the place there'd still have to be a pretty big thing to occur to make me think that home schooling isn't intrinsically mental.

And like I said - my wife would be good at it. She really would. But there's always the possibility that my wife's weird fads would leak into the homeschooling and I'd come home to find them doing something clearly silly. For example, my wife and I use two different browsers to use the Internets. This is mostly so that when I type the letter R into the URL bar it doesn't bring up a load of stuff that has nothing to with me and that I am very much not interested in. Such as "Raising Your Own Meat Rabbits. Which is a genuine thing that will come up on my wife;s browser. Because she spent at least a week investigating it. She learned the breeds, how to fence them, what inoculations they would need, methods for removing their pelts and gutting them humanely. Then she presented this all to me in a way that strongly suggested that not owning our own colony of meat rabbits was a sure sign we were stupid.

So I genuinely would expect to come home to find my kids learning brilliantly. But also I would genuinely expect to come home to find she'd established the first local squirrel-milking facility which was in it's first day of operation.

The Return Of The Zoloft Smile

Me: Right son, we need to talk. Why have you forgotten how to sleep?

Son: Forgotten! Ha! That makes it sound like an accident.

Me: Okay, so why are you insisting on getting up at 3am then?

Son: The funny thing is I don't even want to get up that early. You can tell by the fact that when I get downstairs I wander around in a drunken haze and complain the whole time. It's just the look on your face when you think you're getting up for some alone time only to have me come with you is hysterical.

Me: Well it's going to stop. Last night was ridiculous. You bit your mother and then tried to gnaw on your sister's head.

Son: I thought the gnawing was a nice touch.

Daughter: Can I have another doughnut Daddy?

Me: No honey - they are your mother's.

Daughter: And why exactly does she need twelve doughnuts? I mean - don't you find it suspicious that someone as thin and healthy as her bought a dozen doughnuts? There's no way she can eat them all herself. She must be eating them with her boyfriends.

Me: I can assure you she doesn't have boyfriends. She ate three in one sitting last night. And at least one this morning. More than likely two. It's really quite scary. She's like an anteater when she gets going. And you've already shared one with your brother this morning, against my better judgment.

Daughter: Well how about I just whine and complain this morning about how mean and horrible you are until you give me another one?

Me: No.

Daughter: I've never liked you.

Me: That's lovely honey.

Daughter: And that shirt is hideous. You know real men don't wear pink. Real Men wear camouflage spattered with the blood of animals they are currently hunting.

Me: I'm wearing this shirt for you. It's Pink Day at school! You should appreciate the effort.

Daughter: Yeah keep telling yourself that you bought a salmon-pink Oxford shirt in 2009 in anticipation of Pink Day at my school nearly three years later. That's totally believable. But at least you shaved that ridiculous thing off your face. Your girly clothes and feminine walk didn't match the beard at all. Now, let's get back to this doughnut you are going to give me.

Me: Wait what? What's wrong with my walk?

Daughter: For goodness sake let's try and focus on the doughnut. You're all over the place.

Son: Quick!! Fat Man look! I had no idea cranberry juice looked this purple on a wooden floor. It's really quite majestic. Oh my God!! When I sit in it my underpants slurp some of it up!!

Me: Owen come on! You are clearly doing this on purpose. You can drink perfectly fine for two weeks straight and then suddenly you start pouring it everywhere. This time I am making you clean this up.

Son: Oh God it's in my eyes!! I'm blinded! I couldn't possibly be expected to perform any menial cleaning tasks in my condition.

Me: Stop being silly.

Son: Please guide my hand for me while I fill out this Workers Comp form.

Me: Where did you even get that from? I'm not filling anything out. You and I are going to clean up this purple puddle.

Son: Your utter lack of sympathy has been noted on the form right next to an observation about your stoutness. I could have lost my sight today and all I get from you is forcible slave labor.

Me: Fine, go huff in the corner. I've cleaned this all up by myself anyway.

Son: Don't act like I haven't played my part here. Look - I've removed my pants and instructed the dog to lick my elephant trunk clean. Isn't he doing a smashing job?

Me: Owen no! I've talked to you about this before.

Daughter: Oh that's great. You give the dog juice but I'm not allowed one measly doughnut. Fine, be that way. If you wish to annoy me any further I will be right over here building the world's most awesome train track. Be forewarned that if you come within five feet of it I will completely overreact and scream at you. Especially when I deliberately try and lay track right underneath your feet.

Me: Okay good - I've been wanting to talk to you about this Evelyn. Not only is the screaming-while-building thing getting very old, but I'm concerned about something else. I've told you before that things like language and symbols are important. Well, I've noticed that you've been making certain shapes with the track.

Daughter: I'm quite sure I don't know what you mean.

Me: Yes you do. Because I told you yesterday as well. Please stop starting every train track layout by using a Nazi Swastika.

Daughter: I'm going to pretend that I don't know what that is.

Son: Look how hard I can hit the TV with this toy stethoscope! I think if I get the angle right I can break the glass!

Me: Owen stop hitting things. And Evelyn you can't just go casually throwing around things like a swastika. It's insulting to a huge degree to some people.

Daughter: Like who?

Me: Well, the Jews for a start.

Daughter: Well in that case I'm Jewish. So it can't be insulting. And your prior mention of Jews offhand tells me you are harboring anti-Semitic feelings.

Me: You don't even know what that means.

Son: Oh my God I seem to be trapped under this toy elephant! I'm losing sensation in my arms.

Daughter: My people won't stand for this. Now move your legs. I am trying to build the new mainline to Tel Aviv but your fat foot is in the way. I need to build the track so we can bring doughnuts back here.

Me: This isn't working - you are not getting a doughnut. And I've told you not to build the train track all the way over here. Nobody can move around the room without you hysterically yelping that we are going to destroy it when you lay it everywhere.

Daughter: I can build wherever I want. And the track has to come over here otherwise there's no room to put the coffee cans down that I pretend are skyscrapers.

Me: No - you can't build wherever you want. It takes up all the room and causes problems. And you can't put those there. What are they anyway?

Daughter: Settlements.

Me: Okay stop it. You have no idea what you are talking about.

Daughter: Don't you dare disparage the sacrifices of 1967. We earned the right to put the bendy plastic train track here. Now, why don't you run along and grab me a Hebrew National hotdog and a doughnut. All this building is making me hungry.

Son: I suppose I should have mentioned before sitting in the train box that I may have released something sinister.

Me: Did you poo?

Son: Good heavens you chubby madman, if you'd paid attention to me instead of your constant obsession with doughnuts then I would have made it to the toilet and none of this would have happened. And yet here you are judging me with your rotund ways.

(Five minutes later my son is clean and sporting a bright new pair of underpants)

Me: That's a shame Owen. You haven't had an accident in a very long time. Now - do you want to put your pants on?

Son: Actually Big Guy, this is the perfect time to bring this up. There's waaay too much wearing of pants lately. You know how I enjoy striding about the place in just knickers. But now you insist I wear pants because she has to catch the school bus. And then you insist on it again when we pick her up. Every day we do this now. And I'm not buying that you suddenly care about appearances. Not when you have strapped that ridiculous pink shirt over your gargantuan torso.

Me: Okay - what is with this constant Fatty nonsense?

Son: Don't play silly buggers with me Porky.

Me: Seriously - you are always going on about it. It's absurd. I am in wonderful shape. Especially considering I do very little actual exercise.

Son: Are you out of your portly mind? Haven't you noticed that I am happiest when you are either in pain or sad? Every time you fall over or get jumped on by my sister and squeal in pain it's comedy gold. My whole day is brightened by a degree each time you suffer an injury. Which you seem to do every fifteen minutes. So the look of suspicion on your face when we both call you Daddy Faddy Daddy and pretend we didn't use the word Fatty is hilarious.

Me: Calling me fat when I'm not isn't nice.

Son: No but it is funny. Ever since Mommy chided Evelyn for calling you Fatty I think it's hilarious. Now I know it's wrong I feel compelled to do it all the time. Like going in the garbage can or thumping the keyboard. That's why I laugh when you catch me doing it.

Me: Well stop the name calling. And get your pants on, we're going out.

Son: Thirty pounds! Nobody loses thirty pounds accidentally. That's more than I weigh! And the doctor said I was the perfect size, which makes you five times too big by my calculations.

Daughter: I would just like to mention that while you two were pooing in your own pants that I took the opportunity to eat the coconut doughnut. It was delicious. As was the chocolate fried dough one.

Me: Evelyn you know you are never allowed to just take food off the counter.

Son: I had no idea you could drop money into these heating vents. It's like a whole new world has opened up for me!

Dog: Would there be any possibility that either of you are going to be dipping your willy in cranberry juice again this morning? I'm incredibly thirsty.

Me: Alright - everyone in the car. We're going out.

Daughter: Remember to bring some doughnuts in case I get hungry.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Daily Dump Sep 24, 2011

The wife came through with the good stuff. I, on the other hand leaked all day long.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lets Hunt And Kill Barney The Dinosaur

It's purple day at my daughter's school. So everything they do will be purple. I asked my daughter to guess what they'll eat and she offered purple Jello. I suggested maybe they would get to eat Barney. I said this with an element of hope, obviously. I would happily volunteer to hunt him down and butcher him myself. I wonder if the kids would be surprised and filled with joy if I just showed up with his annoying lifeless cadaver and we all got to beat him with a pinata bat until all the irritating joy spilled out if him? Obviously I'd make the bat purple as well. We shall see. Anyhoo - to get into the spirit of things obviously I've slapped on some purple clothes.

I've noticed this morning that my daughter says the word, "awesome" quite a lot. I feel like I'm in an Eddie Izzard bit. This just highlights to me that my kids are missing out on all kinds of wonderful words that exist solely in the UK. So, in a strange twist of fate I have to actually teach them all the words they would pick up from friends and at school. Don't you think it would be lovely for my daughter to comment to a friend of hers, "don't be such a daft wazzack" one afternoon at school? Can anyone else see the beauty in the idea of her suggesting that the kind of person who waits for someone else to build a block tower and then knock it over is a, "northern pillock?" Sadly without the English accent it might not seem so cheeky and playful. Of course my daughter is unlikely to cheekily utter that someone is a, "wanker" or that the new episode of Sesame Street is, "the dog's bollocks." My wife certainly does have a very valid point that some words are just not fit for a child to be hear, let alone to say. But my own native language is awash with phrases, expressions and words that the American language is much the worse for not using. And my daughter may be the one to popularize the notion that someone is, "the school spanner."

My wife of ten years (that's the time length, not her age by the way) goes out of town for a few days soon on a business trip. So I'm going to have to deal with both kids alone for two and a half days but just the two nights. I know I can get them to sleep because when she worked late I would get them to bed. On the occasions where they flat out wouldn't sleep I'd chuck them in the car and drive down the street an back - instant sleep. But keeping my son asleep might no be fun. He roots around and cries for his mother still. So I might just pile us all in the one bed and close the door. At least that way if I don't wake up and someone else does no-one is going to wandering off looking for their mother. My wife is sad already at missing the kids. We did nearly go with her but it would have been a drive to Columbus, OH and how much fun can that possibly be? In the Winter she's off to Vegas so I'm definitely going on that one. Not for the casinos or nightlife - I coudln't care less about that - but because it'll be a laugh and a respite from the blizzards we'll get at home.

This morning my wife asked me the likelihood that my son speaks Chinese. Which sounds like a segment on Fox & Friends where the strangely-simple black haired guy asks one of the chesty blonde women if their day-care Nanny is spreading socialism to impressionable young kids? Not accusing obviously - that would be lies - but just asking. "Is your baby being taught communist Chinese without your knowledge?" But then my wife couldn't watch Fox without simultaneously laughing and gasping so I know that wasn't her angle here. Being in an English mood I suppose I would wonder if he was a secret Frenchman. Or worse - German. No doubt he's been babbling in front of me this week, "Achtung! Mein nose is kaput." Wow - I think I've just found out that I'm fluent in German.

I had no idea.

Try Not To Weep In Amazement

I didn't sleep much last night.

My son was fine apparently. I heard him cough once or twice. And he did that really loud snot-inhalation thing that the gross kids at my school would do before hacking a greenie on to the floor. Actually for some inexplicable reason a "trend" went around my school where kids would spit-up a nasty green blob of evil into their own hand and then flick it onto other kids/teachers passing by without their knowledge. I have no idea why this happened. But consider that school is also a place where some kids filled the toilets with all the toilet paper they could find and their draw their name on the mirror in poo (one of my favorite assemblies involved the headmaster angrily yelling, "Faeces!! On the mirror!!!"). At my school a girl was found - not rumored - but found to have been inappropriately entering herself with a Milky Way chocolate bar. So yes - kids are disgusting and vile beasts.

But really I don't know if he slept well or not. I'm assuming he did because he didn't end up downstairs with me and I'd told my wife to just do that if he wasn't sleeping. Me though - I sauntered downstairs around 1.45am feeling lousy. My nose was sore, my throat red raw, my stomach felt dodgy and my entire jaw hurt for some odd reason. So I just had to sit in quiet contemplation for awhile and let gravity do what it does best. Needless to say I'm not really in the mood for using my brain. So whereas I could recount the events of last night and this morning, it would just be a bullet-list. And while I could offer my opinions on parenting methods or wonder out-loud about some philosophical aspect of child-rearing, I'd rather just sit around and mope.

But you know what - I can't. I have a responsibility, you see. Genuinely I do this for you. I should be spending my morning rolling around in bed with the one I love, impressing her with my gymnastic sex-conniptions. But due to mother nature - the heartless bitch - punishing me with this awful cold I've told my good woman to steer clear. Frankly the spluttering, involuntary leaking and scratchy-bush of untamed patchy facial hair had convinced her before I sneezed on her. So instead I should be tucked up in bed with a hot water bottle, warmed inside by a recently imbibed Irish coffee with extra whipped cream.

But instead I bear my soul here - allowing you all to peer through tiny door-crack of my life. Judging me - quietly tutting to yourself and wondering whether to actually place a bet on whether one of my kids will be eaten by feral badgers or drowned in custard. But this isn't just a blog about bed wetting, fishy knickers and my wife doing strange German accents whilst reading Roald Dahl's The Witches out loud - all of which have been Googled by suspicious perverts before being directed here. So I will bravely plow on. I know some of you already do so, but please try and think of me as a brave word-ninja warrior. Nothing can stop the un-stemmable flow of verbal diarrhea transcribed by me for your pleasure. Not even this stinking cold.

Hold on - my son has just knocked over an entire box of Fruit Loops onto the kitchen floor. I'll see you later. I have a mess to clean up and children to physically educate.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wet Cheese Flicker

My son has a new hobby. I say hobby - it might be a symptom. Basically if I go to the toilet at all he runs in all giddy and starts playing in the sink. Then once his hands are wet enough he'll flick the water at me - defenselessly using the toilet. Yesterday and today he made it a little more quirky by taking whatever he was eating and soaking it, and then chucking that at me. I can't tell you how shameful it feels to have an 18 month old boy throw wet cheese at you while you are sat pathetically on the toilet.

Oddly too he refuses to nap today. No way is he going to make it until bed time. Instead he's been begging me to go outside all day. We've been out already twice, but he wants to go out again. I just can't - I'm weak and feeble and trying to fight off this cold by eating as much jerky as I can. So instead I'm just giving him things to goof around with while his sister is out. He's played with all sorts but has started just sneaking off into the kitchen and putting stuff in the bin. I caught him chucking one of my shoes in there, the little bugger. I also don't want to go out because it's warmer than it should be. I've almost convinced myself that I'm just clammy and overly-warm from being sick and that it isn't humid. But I know it is. I can tell by how excitable the mosquitoes are today. Piss off warmth and take the bloody bugs with you.

While I remember I should mention that my daughter was completely wrong about what her blue food was going to be for Blue Day. She guessed blueberries. Instead it was Jello. Because Jello comes in every color. And I imagine some kids won't eat blueberries because they've never seen them before. But every kid will eat Jello. Especially when it's been drenched in spray-on Miracle Whip. I got to the school to pick her up and all the kids were still munching away. As was the teacher. the teacher's aide and another teacher who had clearly wandered in explicitly to get free Jello. I was greeted by the other kids as found some comfort in the fact that they appear to be as bad at remembering names as my daughter is. I asked my daughter who the girl next to her was and said, "this is my best friend Foot." Foot then asked me, "are you that girl's Daddy?" There's actually something rather lovely that they can be best friends but have no interest in remembering each other's names.

When we got home we played outside. It was good weather yesterday - cool enough to run about and to make you think it was fresh and breezy. Sadly we couldn't go in some parts of the yard due to the Walnut Blitz. It was insane. Last year all the trees that hung-over the driveway and near-part of the yard dumped hundreds of walnuts on us. This year it's the far part of the main yard - but that's where I'd put the swings, slide and play house. So we played hideout in the house and listened to the walnuts bounce off the roof. IT sounded like we were being shot at. So I braved it and picked them up. I managed to count to over fifty before my daughter found Franky The Frog and started playing Squash! with him. Which basically involved putting him on the roof of the playhouse and seeing if he could hang on when the walnuts ricocheted off it. In the end I had to go take the frog over to Woodchip Mountain so the kids would just move away from the blitz.

My daughter wants to put gravel on the driveway when she gets out of school. She loves helping do manual labor. I intend to do it just to sweat out some of this bloody cold. I don't have much to do but some patches need doing. Knowing my luck my son will fall asleep in the car though and then we'll have to come in. Then tonight the school has some sort of Open House thing where we can go and see what the kids get up to. I imagine it will involve looking at a massive shelf filled with different colored cake frosting.

In the meantime I'm going to wobble this boy to sleep. I won't be happy if he gives up napping the same time that his sister starts going to school.

Satan's Snot and Nosferatu's Nostrils

Let's see.


No. It's more like, "Ckqukczkuczkq." That's the sounds my son makes when he coughs right now.

Around midnight I woke up to hear my son almost choking on his own snot-coughs. My wife had obviously not fallen asleep yet. Don't feel bad for her though - she hasn't slept properly in five years so why start now? My son and I are sick with a nasty little cold right now. You might recall a few entries ago I boasted of our blaze heroic, "get out of my damn way you simple little bitch" attitude to colds. That would still hold water had we not got up at 12.30 and just remained upright until most of the really wet tap-like snot had just poured right out of us. I stayed up walking around with him on my shoulder - snot just pouring down my shoulder blade. At least I got to listen to some music while I wandered around and not doing anything else. Just listening.

Eventually his snot-gush seemed to slow enough and his coughing ceased enough for me to plop him back in bed next to his mother. I stayed up another hour due to spasmodic sneezing and my own white-water (well - green really) snot-river. I also figured he might just wake up right away s why get comfortable. I tried to go back to bed but just rolled around until about six and then conked out until my wife came in twenty minutes later. I think my son slept - he was much quieter anyway.

After we got up we rushed off to the store to buy citrus lozenges, orange juice and fruit. I don't have any family remedies that I rely on. I have never actually done that steaming-bowl of water with a towel over the head thing. And I don't regularly drink citrus drinks which a friend of mine swears by. I suppose I could try stuff. My Nan put her feet in a dish-bowl and put drops of stuff in it. But then she did that every night and watched Bergerac or Taggart or whatever, so it wasn't all that different. Add that she tended to have a scotch and blow through a pack of Superkings.

Amusingly when I'm sick is the only time I want to smoke. I smoked 20-30 a day for a very long time. A smokers cough pretty much keeps a mild cold at bay. And a cigarette is a great way to clear your nose out. Of course, when you get a good cold a cigarette is the last thing I'd want. This is a mild cold. Maybe I'll get some Lucky Strikes, a bottle of Black Label and the boy and I will blaze a few up on the back steps and drink this bugger away.

Okay maybe not.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dr. Bonk And The Chilly Bum Cheek

Today I took the little buggers to the playground near our house. Everything had a veneer of yesterday's damp. Whatever - we were going to play and get soggy bottoms. Which everyone did right away. We jumped around in the puddles, ran around the tennis courts (or "dance cage" as my daughter calls it) and even found a pencil. Great day out in other words. I had a nice chat with my daughter about how she's feeling with school and me staying home. Much better than yesterday. I've decided boosterism about school will help improve her mood so I raved about the fact she gets to learn cool new songs at school. At which point she sang a few lines of song called The Snakes At The Zoo Go Hiss Hiss Hiss. Which was cute. But then she told me her favorite new song at school is called, "There's a Chinky In My Winky" which I dearly hope isn't true, even if it does turn out to be Jet Li. And if I'm honest I am looking forward to the release of Chinky In My Winky as the first hit single from Pavlovian Shit Trigger's debut album, If You Think My Attitude Stinks You Should Smell My Fingers.

So to keep everyone in good spirits despite the damp my daughter and I decided to play a game. She insisted on being Princess Bounce today so we immersed ourselves in The Amazing Adventures of Princess Bounce. She was very very happy about this. So I went the whole hog and came up with today's story, which I called Dr. Bonk And The Chilly Bum Cheek. The premise of which is that due to my son's now clearly wet posterior Dr. Bonk had a problem that he wanted to solve. That being how what could he do to warm up his tiny little arse?

So I ran around the playground being ridiculous and asking questions like, "Should I dip it in soup?" My daughter, the little genius, chimed in response with, "No. I'm trying to eat." We went through a nice long list of ridiculous things that would definitely not make your bum cheeks warmer. Ice cream, a glass of water, a polar bear's mouth and a puddle all were hypothesized about. All failed to warm the tiny cheeks of Dr. Bonk. In the end Princess Bounce made some super-duper underpants out of a dragon's tongue and some Mommy cuddles and his arse was warm once again. I think it's a decent silly premise - if I could draw then that one would be done by the end of today.

Since coming home the little lunatic has been hurtling around the house in just her knickers wearing an alligator mask and screaming like a mentalist. That would be terrifying to anyone. My son - brazenly aware that his sister is what some people call "special" - seemed to genuinely be alarmed. It's like when you plop a kid into the fake Santa's lap (as opposed to the real Santa, obviously) at your local Christmas thingy and they start wailing. He just started whimpering. I came to his rescue though. He's been asleep for a good twenty minutes already since the traumatic event. I'm hoping he makes good use of this early nap and gets in some make-up sleep. He's woefully short this week.

My daughter has spent this time in her room trying on clothes. Just for herself too - she has only shown me twice what she was wearing. With this quality time I haven't cleaned or made myself useful. No, instead I've been stomaching the new Facebook updates like a whiny baby. "Oh my God this free service is changing without consulting me!!" seems to be my attitude. I usually keep a window open on my computer to keep track of all the other people I know that don't do anything either. Mostly just to make sure none of them turn up at my house in surprise. It's a useful product (in one way) but if it went away I think we'd all be better off. For example, I really don't understand why I would want to know that someone I don't really know has made a comment about a friend of theirs that I don't know. I'm guessing Facebook just thinks everyone is as blaze about other people's privacy as they seem to be.

I'm also a little perturbed about some of the other things on Facebook that really point out that I need to change how I think. For example, I don't think Facebook has thought through how scary the phrase, "Valerie has shared a link" actually is. To me, it just makes it sound like someone's pooed in the living room. And knowing Valerie she will have tagged friends in the photo of it that she's taken.

Anyhoo - less FAcebook today and more reading. I want to actually do some analog reading. Look at me being all retro.

Dolloping Doubloons Seaman Stains!

I got up at 3.30am and made muffins. Obviously I'm not thinking clearly. Only farmers and Martha Stewart get up at stupid o'clock to make muffins that they can't even eat. I decided to make ones my daughter would like so went with chocolate chip. My wife would eat those but she'd prefer other stuff going on. But I did put some of that streusel-crap (I'm told that "streusel crap" isn't the strict German name) topping on them so my wife would like them enough with butter.

It's Blue Day at my daughter's school. She thinks she's getting blueberries as a snack. She also guessed they'd get, "blue milk." I'm more inclined to think blue frosting is going to be the snack of the day. Maybe on those horrifyingly dry Walmart cookies that people seem to think are tasty that have blue frosting. And by frosting I obviously mean Crisco. They aren't edible in any manner but I know a surprising number of people who think they are amazing. Give them a home-made cookie and you can see their brain explode at the realization that what they thought were cookies were in fact pumice stones in comparison. My daughter has her blue outfit picked out (I have mine on already, obviously) and is curious as to what blue craft they are going to get up to. I imagine Smurfs might be involved.

My son is quickly becoming enthralled by Thomas The Tank Engine. His sister has pretty much avoided every major marketing trick dressed up as fun. She knows who Elmo is but I don't imagine she'd rescue him from an arson attack or anything (plans are being drafted). She wears a Dora the Explorer shirt but has never seen it on TV. She just grew into a Tom and Jerry shirt too but she has no idea who they are. She isn't Disney-fied at all. Months go I bought a copy of Horton Hears A Who and she still refuses to watch it. She just isn't interested. I know other kids that eat, sleep and crap Barbie (I'm not kidding....) or whatever. We seem to have avoided that. My daughter likes some TV shows a lot but once the show is off the characters don't exist. We have our own magical world of monsters, Princesses and Doctors without provable certificates of study (I'm obviously referring to Dr. Bonk here and not Michele Bachmann - although it can cover both) to entertain us.

But at my son's age she did have a weird fascination with Thomas. And John Deere tractors. And techno. My son seems more jazzed by heavy metal and Thomas. He particularly likes James for some reason. Anyhoo, right now he and his sister are making another colossally massive track around the living room. She's just realized she can lay the track underneath things. Like a trampoline. And then jump on the trampoline and yell, "I'm bouncing up and down on Gordon!!" Cue awkward awful thoughts of Gordon Brown.

Actually thinking about it I wish my kids were more influenced by British kids TV. Outside of PBS here it's death-manga and shite to sell toys. Obviously I'm glorifying what was on British kids TV way beyond what it really was and is. Still, a small part of me wishes she watched the Wombles, a little Bagpuss and then tried to figure out what the hell is going on in Stoppit and Tidyup. Maybe some Grange Hill. There's something eminently pleasing in the notion that she would enjoy Blue Peter and Captain Scarlet. I want to explain to my daughter that Sooty did apparently get Soo up the duff. And that Rainbow, The Clangers and Rentaghost are perfect examples that children's television was made exclusively by people trapped in an LSD nightmare. Or introduce her to the magic that was Captain Pugwash. Which I think is more condemnable not for the false stories about supposed double entendre's, but more-so because one of the main heroes (Willy) of the show kept boasting that he was from Wigan. I'd even tolerate that stupid frikking show where the badger ate mashed potato. For goodness sake - she is going to grow up without knowing who Keith Chegwin or Jimmy Savile are. People need to be warned about them.

But instead we live in the US where all kids TV involves girls who are vacuous brain dead Paris Hilton arseholes and boys who are always on teh verge of being at the center of inter-planetary death. Whatever happened to simple? Pingu was awesome even though it was propaganda to make penguins not seem like the genocidal work-shy kid-sniffers (you know there's a Daily Mail article about this in the works) they clearly are.

Today I might take the kids to the playground. Mind you they seem very happy (judging by the giggles) trying to figure out ways to hurt themselves by climbing in and out of a play tube. They don't quite understand physics yet so they balance the two ends of it between two very high surfaces and then try to cross it inside the tube. The repeated sudden crash to the floor is still making them laugh at the moment rather than cry. so I'll let them do that until something snaps.

I need some coffee and some Jeff Tweedy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

That's All

Today has completely and utterly sucked.

No blood or death or anything. I didn't have a bad day personally either. But after I got up early I walked around the living room in circle trying to get my son to sleep. The entire time he cried out for his mother. Most of the morning either side of my daughter's swimming lesson can be described as her lobbying to have her mother stay home instead of me. Then after she went to school I took a trip to the bank. My son - way over tired at this point - did not want to be there. So he wriggled and wiggled a lot and pretty much made what should have been a quick ten minute sit down into one of those weird wrestling matches. If I had put him down he would have run off. In fact he did at one point. He ran around under the lollipop table grumbling, "Momma" over and over. Making me look like I was at the bank to clear out a joint account before stealing the child and heading for Canada.

The first thing my daughter said when I picked her up from school was, "do I have to go to school all the time?" Kind of, yeah. Then she just blurted out in a flurry of tears that she wanted to stay home. With her mother. Fair enough. It's not like she's not allowed to want that. And I have to be the grown up here. No moping or letting on at all that it seems an indictment of the whole time we've had together so far that she's despondent about everything. Lots of big changes going on can do that to people.

So she cried in the car on the way home. We got home and went upstairs to check the laundry. Then she thought of some great news. "Don't worry Daddy - you can still stay home with me for a few more days." A few more days? So I asked her what she was talking about and she told me that she had decided that at the end of the week we'd go back to how it used to be. Her mother would be staying home now. I asked her why she thought that was going to happen. "Well, because I love Mommy." Then I asked the stupidest question possible. "But you love me too right?" Which she responded with the soul-crushing, "Sure. I love you both. I just love Mommy more, that's all."

The, "that's all" thing is what she says when she is trying to emphasize that what just happened or was said is no big deal. Yeah. While I sat in the laundry pile trying to figure out what to say about that (while simultaneously trying to figure out what's for dinner) my son walked into view with my wife's knickers on his head. He's never worn my underpants like that....

So I left the laundry to do whatever it does when it's alone and came downstairs. I've given up good parenting and the kids are watching PBS. I'm doing this to blow off steam. I guess I'll make soup.

I'm making that boy wear my pants on his head before he goes to bed by the way.

I Do Not Have Nice Boobs

I don't know what time your day started but mine kicked off in style at 3.20am. My son - clearly reading yesterday's blog entry about dealing with colds - was calling for his Mommy all night. So after she had very little sleep for the first half of the night I got up and tried to give her three hours while me and the snot-muffin got up. Man was he grouchy. Since he actually got up though he's been good as gold. I actually took him back upstairs around 6.15 because he really just wanted to be with his mother. Then I lay in bed with my daughter so she wouldn't get up. Shortly after my wife got up my daughter woke me up by licking my armpit. To ram the point home she said in a very breezy morning manner, "I licked your armpit Daddy!"

My daughter is still aware of her cold too so it was honey-tea again for her. I thought about dodging today's swimming lesson but in the end figured no-one is going to catch a cold (or even see it) underneath all that chlorine. She had a great time again. My son did too. Although the waiting room has some sort of Pavlovian Shit Trigger (a fantastic name for a rock band by the way). We were barely in there for two minutes before he sheepishly backed up behind the fire extinguisher and called my attention to the fact that he may be curling one out at that very moment. This time I was prepared though - plenty of spare clothes and wipes on hand.

Luckily I made it back in time to once again be schooled in the ways of awesomeness by the woman who's kid apparently chose to be vegetarian in the womb. This time she was explaining her families amazingly liberal attitude to gender recognition based solely on the fact that her four year old boy has long hair. She told the room (in that way that she's really supposed to be talking to one person but was gesturing and making eye contact with everyone so therefore making it some kind of social broadcast) that in her house she doesn't believe in reinforcing fake social stereotypes for gender. There is no "girl hair or boy hair" or anything like that. The person next to her asked her which one in the pool actually was her son. So she pointed him out. He'd be the one wearing the blue t-shirt with the word, "Daddy's Boy" on it.

While my son spent the entire lesson tying too pull my shirt off so he could poke a skin tag I have we were subjected to this Mom explaining how her son was dumbing himself down so as not to embarrass the other children swimming. Apparently he was holding back his language superiority and not showing off with his Olympic level diving skills so as not to shame us all. And he was doing a cracking job too - after climbing down the steps he got straight out again. Then he didn't actually get in the pool again. He looked like he was afraid. Which is perfectly understandable. I thought maybe like me he is just frightened of water. The instructor was excellent about the whole thing and the life guard tried to make him laugh and didn't make a special case out of him or anything like that. I asked my daughter later what was up and she told me he just said he was scared to get in. And why not - he's four and can't swim.

So he sat in the corner while his mother stood on the other side of the plexi-glass narrating to everyone how he was doing a stellar job of bumping up all the other kid's self esteem. Then, right before all the other kids walked out, the life guard brought him to the waiting room door to tell his mother that he had pooed himself. Poor kid. I hope his mother just puts the show on for us and doesn't try and convince him of any of this nonsense. Although I suspect that if I'd hung around for another five minutes she'd be bragging about the superior buoyancy and bran-content of his meatless turds.

Since swimming my daughter has pretty much been telling me solidly she doesn't want me to stay home anymore. She wants her mother instead. According to her, "Mommy has nice cupcakes." Today I think that might be a euphemism. She was careful to point out she doesn't dislike me staying home. But that while I am fun and I let her do crafts whenever she wants to, Mommy takes her to the zoo. And they eat cranberries. And once they went on a field trip to the outer space. And sometimes Mommy wears a bikini outside (not a clue) and they go canoeing. So apparently I have to compete with a fictional view of what she and her mother get up to. I'm fairly certain they haven't been to the zoo without me. Outer space though - I've never asked about that so it might be true. And frankly I look pretty good in a swim suit.

So after feeding her some bribery popcorn I sat her down for a chat. Didn't get anywhere with it though because she told me I smell like a rotten foot. She noticed when she licked my armpit earlier. So, to recount, I don't have a space ship, don't have nice boobs and I smell. Which, correct me if I'm wrong, just makes me a Dad doesn't it?

Here's hoping she has a good school day around all those diseased kids.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thick Green Toothpaste Snot

I cannot believe I have been so naive. Of course my family have the sniffles. In fact, we will never not have the sniffles now. Because now my daughter is constantly around other people's evil. I can expect thick brackish mushy-peas scudge to be pouring out of all of our noses for ever now. How did I not recognize this obviousness until now? Ah well - it will make us all stronger. As long as the kids don't bring home Nits, skin diseases and things you can only catch by shoving things that shouldn't into places that you shouldn't I'm okay with it. I'll just have to embarrass myself by constantly wiping my nose with a handkerchief and then explaining to Americans that it isn't actually a sock.

My daughter breezily called me this morning to tell me she fell in the toilet. Which is gross. But she did it with such a smile and chuckliness that I think she might have nearly done it but didn't, thought about how funny it would be, then pushed herself and wailed, "Daddy!! Ha ha. I fell in the toilet!!" If she does that again tomorrow I will be having words. No one needs to be sheep-dipping their arse in a toilet. Even people with strangely hairy bottoms that can't wipe well.

Also thoday my daughter moved off her honey-fixation and became apple obsessed. She had an apple to eat taht she grabbed herself. Then she asked me to cut up apple chunks and have that with cinnamon. She ended up having two. I went upstairs to get a sweater and when I came down she was spooning apple sauce (that looked an awful lot like the snot-description above if I'm honest) right out of the jar into her mouth. If I had to guesstimate I'd say she had about five apples. So school today should get pretty exciting. Actually it's "green day" (as in the color, not the god-awful pop band that dress like thirteen year old Goth girls) at school too so there is a possibility she'll get an apple there. Although with the track record from last week she'll probably get a green-apple Twizzler dipped in green frosting. If the teacher does have apples she'll get mugged though so maybe candy is good. I'm pretty sure my daughter would eat Steve Jobs today if given the chance.

While the girl is away (and she's taking the bus home today because she really really really wanted to) the boy and I are playing with toy cars and then he's napping. He's clearly tired and needs a nap. But because I went to the bank he knew there were lollipops so refused to conk out. Now that's done with he needs to pass out. He's just sitting on my leg staring at the floor so it's moments away I feel.

And no - I haven't baked anything yet. Too much snot and playing to get around to it. Bah.

Honey With Everything

"Daddy can you play the song with the mouse in it again."

I had inadvertently played a Rage Against The Machine song (Clear The Lane if you are interested) while I was washing dishes this morning and my daughter thinks that Tom Morello's guitar style is a mouse. I'm sure he'd be thrilled with that. Knowing the likelihood for exposing her to swearing and socialism before 8am in the morning I put on her MP3 player. After hearing the delightful Ragnheiður Gröndal ( here -Teenagers go enjoy yourself ) one of her favorite songs came on. Which is the singalong B I N G O Was His Name-o. Proving once again that I really need to watch what I'm singing she sang it normally and then launched into my version for the second chorus. There's something somewhat beautiful about hearing a four year old shouting, "F L A P S!" over and over without any idea what she's actually singing.

Both my kids have sore throats and runny noses. Time of the year. My son is of that age where being sick makes no dent in his daily life. My daughter is starting to notice now that something isn't right and she was very down about it for thirty minutes this morning. So her mother made her some honey-tea this morning and she likes it very much. I think she liked more that her mother made her something special. Since breakfast her and her brother have been sat on the floor making elaborate train tracks for Thomas and all his friends to go around. I stuck a battery in one of the old trains of hers and it doesn't work properly any more. It makes a noise but the wheels don't move. Amusingly the kids like it more that way it seems.

Some things in life are guaranteed. For example in a few days you are going to try and plug in a USB cable and it won't go in. Then you'll flip it over and it still won't go in. So you'll turn it back to the original way and it will pop straight in. Also you'll more than likely find yourself today in that absurd situation of loading up the dishwasher but reminding yourself that you best sort of wash the dishes first before putting them in or they won't get clean. It's just something that happens. Well - that's how we feel about colds in this house. You just accept the silly irritation of it all and get on with it. There's no "man-flu" or sitting around moping. My wife doesn't even get sick so it's left to me to set the example usually.

So it was a bit of a surprise to see my daughter upset about it. So I did what any parent would do and went through the rituals of stuff parents offer when their child is sick. She'd already had honey-tea. And cereal with honey on it. When I was younger we always had a boiled egg. Sometimes I'd have some Robinson's Lemon Barley Water. Maybe even some Lockets. My wife thinks that is hilarious. Bear in mind that once when I was sick she gave me a spoonful of horseradish-mustard to "clear me out." It blew my head off. My wife is more of a homemade soup kind of remedy person. My daughter isn't stuffed up though so she asked me for something else my wife made for her once. That would be a piece of toast covered in peanut-butter and honey. Which sounds awful. I made if for her anyway though. She tried to eat in the living room. Peanut butter and honey and the living room do not mix. If it hangs around or gets worse I'll move away from that onto soup. I won't make her a boiled egg though. Because it is clearly ridiculous.

Today I'm going to do some baking too (disclaimer - if you are my wife and are reading this and there are no baked items then please just skip to another paragraph that doesn't include lies and unkept promises). When I was charged with being the stay-at-home parent I knew in my heart that I would bake loads of bread, make cakes, pickle things and even make my own cottage cheese. I think I've done some of these a handful of times. I certainly haven't pickled anything which annoys me. Partly because pickled things are delicious. But also because I once had a dream that I owned a store called The Pickle Trickle that sold pickles and chutneys to people.

So I should move in that direction. Especially as my daughter lamented yesterday that her mother isn't home to bake things with her anymore. She said it with a quivering lip too. So I will. Because some things in life are just wonderful. Fresh bread is a wonderful thing. Even the chick-pea stuff I eat (yes you did read that correctly) is nice. And I used to work somewhere that seemed to run on cakes and it was a fantastic thing. I miss all that cake. I fondly remember Sue Hart's muffins. Big beautiful round warm things, they are. And in case anyone thinks I'm employing a lazy euphemism here I would point out Sue's muffins were especially amazing drenched in lemon drizzle.

So I'm motivated to go back to our homestead dreams. I've hit a mental reset pretty much. Weather is better for doing constructive things outside now too. It helps that my daughter is wearing farmer dungarees today as well. I always wanted us to make our own cheese, treat our own meat so that we could cure it in weird ways and grow most of our own stuff. Our vegetable garden did exceptionally well this year. The kids enjoy helping so I'll force them into small-farm labor for the winter. Take that tiny slaves. To start I spent some time on a few homestead forums this morning and poked around the canning, curing meat and whatnot threads. In typical form even a thread about pickled onions was filled with mentalists certain the apocalypse was coming. Or that the government was deliberately over-salting food with special mind-control salt. Basically any homestead forum you go anywhere near involves conspiracies and pledges to stockpile as much weaponry and dried-beans as is humanly possible for the inevitable Mad Max world we will soon inhabit. I'm all for the beans but I'm less comfortable with auto-mechanics so I'm not sure how I could make an El Camino with a mounted Gatling gun on it. Although I suspect my neighbor would love to help build one.

I think I'll just start with a loaf of bread and move on to a defense-cannon tomorrow.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Daily Dump Sep 18, 2011

The Blackberry Leopard.

I have no idea why she posed by sniffing her own finger.

The Clepto That Cried Wolf

My daughter asked me yesterday morning if I was a Ninja. Rats - I think my cover might be blown. To be fair she did then ask me what a ninja was. I told her to just take a look at me by way of definition and then she started to call the dog a ninja. The dog is a hairy effeminate annoying whiner. Point taken. She then went back to trying to get her brother to say things for her. Her chosen one for the morning was, "Hey Owen!! Say German Giant!!" He had a go too.

Later while playing carpet football (in which she still insisted on calling me Clumsy Sausage, by the way) I asked if she wanted a drink. "I want some Daddy milk!" she yelled. Like we lived in Norfolk or something like that. If I'm totally honest with myself I think my milk would taste a little sour.

Yesterday we did some good Fall stuff. We went way out the back and collected our backyard pumpkins. We got four more - three orange ones - but the plants had died so we had to pluck them already. They are displayed on the front steps now. We will have to get some corn stalks and stuff to decorate more. But let's admit the truth - it isn't Fall yet. YEs people on my street already have 10 foot giant inflatable Halloween witches up already. And yes we turned the heating on yesterday and bloody well needed it. But the leaves aren't on the ground yet. And more tellingly the new season of House hasn't started yet. Once that does it's all go.

After the pumpkin plucking my wife picked some wild grapes to munch on with the kids. I think we have a good few more days of doing that before they've gone. My wife is also tried to make something useful out of Concord grapes. Which are horrible. A grape that you have to not eat all of seems ridiculous to me. She made jelly which she and the kids love so I'm glad that went well. I don;t like jam or jelly. Chutney I'll fight you for but the marmalade/jam species is too sickly sweet for me.

Yesterday was mostly noticeable for my daughter's massive moral decline. First off was the attempted stealing. We were at a yard sale and she tried to stuff a toy into her coat pocket. I busted her and my wife lectured her. She cried hard and easy because she knew that was wrong. No idea why she tried to do that. She's a little angel when it comes to rules so that was surprising.

She managed to top it later on by telling my wife that I hit her. I was watching a Norwegian cooking show (yes that really exists and is awesome) and she wanted to watch a different show. She kept asking and asking so I told her no. So she went upstairs and told her mother I had hit her. Not even an elaborate story but that I had touched her hand. She then told her mother straight away that she had made it up. And that she was really really sorry for lying. And then cried. Lots and lots and lots of sorry and tears after we explained over and over that you cannot make that kind of thing up. We told her that adults take it very very seriously so that if any child tells a teacher/relative/anyone that someone hit them that something is done about it immediately. Meaning if she wasn't being honest she'd suddenly have no Dad. And that it would be a very good thing if it as actually happening.

After a very long big crying (and not just her) talk about lies my wife tried to spark up a conversation about something else to break the mood. My daughter and I had been to the grocery store while my wife took a nap. She denied that we had been at all. Adamantly. Not a clue as to what the lying is about but today she's been as good as gold.

Yesterday we also went to a Fall Festival in town. It's the first one so we had to go support it and mingle with the locals. Basically the kids got to touch a goat and swap canned goods for ice cream. Oh - and we're getting a local Mexican restaurant right within walking distance. Complete with an actual Mexican. My mouth is already excited. We also re-met the family of the Bee Keeper who took all our bees away. Later on in the evening we stayed out late with the kids to watch fireworks. Which was actually rather pleasant. The ambience was heightened particularly by a local bar-band playing 70s/80s Southern Rock interjected with loads of Pink Floyd covers. No one seemed to mind that for some unknown reason the air stank of dog food and orange juice. Best fireworks I've seen in years too. As in they were controlled and not just 20 minutes of the loudest banging possible. And they were over by 8.30. Good job.

My daughter is also madly excited about a possible Guy Fawkes Party. My wife told her about it and she got excited and wanted to invite all her new friends at school. I think I'm going to have a hard sell telling people to come over because I want to sacrifice a Catholic in my back yard. Maybe if I said it was Martin MCGuinness? Actually no that wouldn't work - I remember living in Western NY and Gerry Adams was supposed to come (he was detained by INS hilariously) and all the local Catholic churches and groups were behaving like The Beatles were coming. Very odd. I thought about toning the story down but still - it would still involve kids making an effigy and then sacrificing it on a bonfire. Maybe we'll just have a Halloween Party instead.

Lastly we have crossed a time threshold. We put all out Summer clothes away today. All the shorts and whatnot are away, and all the boxes of sweaters, scarfs and wool socks are out. I even have socks you can put batteries in. Add with the heating on we might as well go for it. My wife screamed down stairs this morning to crank it up because the house was only 63 degrees. As she put it - once the hymen has been burst then all comers are welcome. Okay I actually said that. She looked at me with despair when I did though so I'm changing the story to say she said hymen and then looked at me in a sexy way.

And because it is now Fall in m house - Let the fattening begin! Bring on the butter covered foods, desserts drenched in custard and untold amounts of sugary chocolate guff! And gravy. Buckets of the stuff. I think I'll keep it less mental than last Winter when I creaked up to 188 pounds. Right now I'm 159 so I think I'll hover around the 169 mark. I may even try a winter beard this year. The soccer Mom's I'll be rubbing shoulders with will love a fat hairy English bloke hanging around their kids.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Clumsy Sausage and Fonda's Honda

Out of the blue this afternoon my daughter started calling me a "Woofter." I have to be honest I wasn't expecting these sorts of cheap unpleasant Eighties gay sitcom-slurs to be thrown my way. But then later she told her mother that Woofter was the name of a dog on a TV show. I have to admit I did feel some element of relief.

Also today I accidentally dyed some of my underpants and undershirts pink. I do not think this is related to the above paragraph at all. Besides - I already own pink clothes which I can wear with a confident aura of what I'm calling Retrosexual style. Which doesn't suggest that I'm at the forefront of anything really but rather accounts for the fact that a large quantity of my clothing is purchased from Thrift Shops and Consignment stores. So it's not really a retro-look but actually a farmer's shirt. I'm thinking the second hand pink Oxford's are more middle-class prep-boy than farmers though. Mind you I bought those in England and Toffs are far more likely to wander about in wax jackets and shoot animals wearing pink shirts than farmers over here are.

In what is most definitely related to the first paragraph of this blog entry my daughter kept calling me "clumsy sausage" during a game of carpet football. I allowed her to hurl these uncomfortable taunts because it meant I got to call her names like, "the mistaken taco" and (more callously) "fish knickers." After denying that she was "steak taco" she then dared her brother - now apparently named "Fire Fudge Fairy" - to join in what she was now calling a "kick celebration." Quite honestly I think the three of us need a damn good sitting down with my old Gender Psychology and Sexuality History text books and see what underlying concerns we may have, if any.

Still, my son was having none of it. Apparently he cares barely a whit if he is given a name that involves both the words Fudge and Fairy in it. He wore that name proudly and somehow made it prominently Man-like. By sticking his arse in the air. He wanted his mother to play Wheelbarrow. Which should be her holding his legs while he walked on his hands. But really was just her holding his legs in the air and him laughing while he guppy-mouthed the carpet.

Later when I was trying to unwind my wife told me that my daughter had had an accident. And that I should check. Which I did. For reasons that aren't clear my wife had been hiding plastic toy food in her underpants. Leading my daughter to reassure me with a strangely powerful grin, "Its not a poop Daddy! Its a taco!" Oh good.

But no - that wasn't the end of the horror for the evening. Because on our way upstairs to bed my wife started singing - as she is often want to do - Baby Got Back. This two days after I was chided for swearing I remind you all. She seems to think that not only is it okay for her to very passionately sing, "My anaconda don't want none. Unless you've got buns, hun," but to also have my daughter enthusiastically reply with, "I do have buns Mommy I do!!"

Oh for God's sake.

Daily Dump Sep 16, 2011

Covered in frosting. So much in fact that the very first thing she said when I picked her up today was, "Daddy, can I have a bath."


The Squirrels On The Bus Go Noise Noise Noise

First off lets do the quick Friday stuff. Fruitloops were consumed early before my wife even left for work. And at the Thrift Shop I got two brand new (still in the packaging) winter shirts and my son wouldn't let go of a toy bus. Two dollars for the lot. The woman there also let me rummage through the stuff they hadn't opened yet but I'll keep that for next week when we inevitably can't find anything worth bringing home.

I have been winding my daughter up all morning by singing the song, "The squirrels on the bus go grrrr grrrr grrrr." She quickly and sharply corrects me that it should be about wheels or some such and then tells me to sing again. At which point I do it again. They've made donkey noises and even yelled, "G-G-G-G-G-G Granville!!!" at one point. Last time I didn't even make an effort and sang, "the squirrels on the bus go noise noise noise." She's not happy. This is because she brought home an achievement letter yesterday that said the kids in the class can now sing that song and use a glue stick. Amazing stuff.

Actually it's a good thing that they can use glue because the girl yesterday who's turn it was to share something brought in a trophy, "with a bird on it" (I have no idea but I'm guessing the bird was slain in some manner) which was dropped and broke into two pieces. The girl involved was okay though. When I went to pick up my daughter she was getting picked up and was all breezy and fine about it. She told the office receptionist that the guy who was picking her up was her uncle. I'd over-heard him tell them that he was the "soon-to-be-step dad." So they asked him for his ID and he made some remark that he would have been offended if they hadn't ID'd him. At which point I interrupted, signed my name on the pick-up list and waltzed right through unchecked. I really wanted to say, "biological Dad coming through - make way." But I didn't.

Oh - and yesterday's snack was apparently Cheetos. Or "Cheesy Wheezys" or whatever they are. My daughter was covered in orange-guilt when I picked her up. I hope they start toning down the crap for snack time or I might have to be one of those parents.

I followed the bus yesterday. Not in a creepy way. No that was Monday. Yesterday I was going to the bank and it's the same route as the bus. In no way changing my mind about how poorly school systems appear to be run my daughter's empty bus drove right past a kid waiting to go to the same school. Bear in mind that it's a class of fifteen and is the only class that starts in the afternoon. Instead a completely different bus pulled up and picked this kid up. This kid lives so close to my child that if I went out on the road out the front of my house and let the wind carry a ball down the street I would probably be half way to this other kid's house when I recovered it. That's just ridiculous. The child that lives four doors away from us takes a different bus to school while the empty bus my child travels on goes right on by. Madness.

Speaking of which I asked my daughter if she knew the bus driver's name. I did this because when I gave her my opinion on how silly it was that she wouldn't get to ride the bus with someone most likely to be her lifetime growing-up friend she told me that girl's name was Walnut Cheese. Maybe she's native American but I'm guessing that isn't her real name. So I told her it was important that she learned people's actual real names and asked if she knew the bus driver's name. She said it is Mr. Flipover. I dearly hope that isn't a nickname he's earned during his career.

Also I've discovered a great game my son loves to play. When he wants stuff he tends to just say, "More!" even if he hasn't had any yet. So I've been asking him to use the actual words more. And he's been doing great. Then I started playing Beep Beep with him. Which basically consists of me saying, "hey Owen - say Beep Beep." Which he does and then bursts out laughing. At which point my daughter will then play the same game with him for 45 minutes. She'll ask him to say it, he will and they'll both piss themselves (sometimes literally) laughing. I managed to sit alone on the couch yesterday completely unfocused on them for a good twenty minutes while they kept that up.

Speaking of urine apparently there was some dog-whistle level sound trigger that made both my kids leak all over the place at exactly 5.03pm. My daughter was stood in the bathroom telling me she needed to go. I was picking food out of my teeth with tweezers at the time. Always important to look good for the wife. At which point my daughter just gushed it all over the floor. I went off to get some cloth diapers we use to wipe things up and my son was stood in a puddle of his own shame in the kitchen. His seemed a tad more accidental though because he'd pulled the garbage can down onto himself and in the shock of it all had pissed himself. He's going to make an excellent homeless man one day.

Right now she's at school (it's Yellow Day and I've committed to dressing in the color theme for the day along with my daughter) and he's asleep on the couch. It was oddly quiet for awhile until I stuck on some stand up comedy. That's what I listen to when she's out. That or Radio 4 panel shows. I try to keep it relatively clean so the boy doesn't learn the unique turns of phrase that Patton Oswalt and Dylan Moran employ. Today I've breezed through some short Daniel Kitson shows from Montreal, a Rhod Gilbert Barrel Of Laughs show and am moving onto some old Richard Herring shows from the late nineties which I'll turn off when he wakes up.

I'm supposed to be doing dishes right now but balls to that - I'm going to play online rugby instead.