Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Wait

Daughter: Daddy, my back hurts.
(Ten minutes later - after not being able to find anything wrong and assuring her she may have just slept all wonky)
Daughter: My back feels better now Daddy. It was just a poo pushing on my spine.

The last two places I worked lots of my coworkers would arrive n work on a Friday and say, "I've already checked out." It was an open, honest confession that they will not be trying very hard to get anything done. Monday to Thursday you can't get away with behaving like that without animosity from others. But oddly on a Friday people stopped pretending to work and openly warned everyone that they were just going to go right ahead and do nothing. Take that. That's sort of what my daughter did this morning (I know - you thought I was going to say I'd checked out). After lying down in various places in the house she went back upstairs and called me up to lie down. "I don't want to get up today Daddy. My back hurts."

To be fair she does feel like she's waiting again. Anyone who has kids can attest to the irritating mistake you can make by telling them that you'll be doing something exciting - but not right now. Because then every three minutes they will urgently beg to do it. And if they are rebuffed (which they will be) they will behave as if waiting until 2pm (or whenever) is completely unreasonable. That's sort of how this is. Except - like her mother often feels - my daughter feels like she is in limbo. Waiting for things to correct themselves and change - so that you can be happier again. She doesn't want to wait a week to go back to school. That's driving her mental. The summer break was the exact opposite of what she wanted out of life this summer. We had lots of fun - but she wanted lessons and more independence. I should have understood that better simply from the fact that whenever her school has a Friday off (seemingly every other week) for training she is abject with disappointment. She also doesn't want to wait until tomorrow to go to the State Fair. She wants to milk a wooden goat, get her rabies fridge magnets, eat some freshly-squeezed honey and see the repelling police team jump of a tower. Her brother is also oddly enthusiastic about touching sheep. I've made a mental note about that in case I'm asked by police in future, "were there any warning signs that he would break into a farm that you know of?" Add my daughter knows that Labor Day marks the End of Summer. Things close arbitrarily. Ice cream stands close their doors. The library changes to different hours. People talk endlessly about putting the pool away. We all change the clothes in our cupboards and get out the garden rakes to make leaf piles. Summer ends sharply.

All of which marks the official start of manically waiting for Halloween, Fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the cold and all that goes with that. Finally her mother has been working very hard lately. Gone at 5am and back at bedtime is the norm - and we know it will be for a month or two. There's a lot of waiting all day for her to get home - hoping that she'll make it back before pajamas are put on. So she's been doing that thing where she's frantically doing things to help pass the time, but then being disappointed because the day isn't going quickly enough. And then hoping it last a little longer so there's enough time for her mother to make it. Which she has been. So she ends up just waiting. All of which reminds me of my favorite Dr. Seuss book - Oh The Places You'll Go. A lot of Seuss books are nonsensical and silly - so not actually all that fun to read. But this one has a fundamental point and a message (that isn't even anti-Semitic or clearly about Japanese people) for people anticipating something and going through change. My favorite part is a page about The Waiting Place. It's got the usual Seuss sense of felling good to verbalize, but it also feels better than the gibberish pish of Green Eggs, and Ham.

While I thought about that she went back to bed. She didn't even demand breakfast right away. A sure sign of something awry. Fortunately it may have been a false alarm (fingers crossed). Turns out her lackadaisical attitude and morning discomfort was just a trapped poo. I had wandered downstairs to read books to her brother (that very book, in fact) and told her I'd be back up soon. But she came down a little cheerier a few minutes later to tell me her back only hurt because her poo was pushing on her spine. But that she'd "taken it out" (shudder.....) so is much happier and lighter. And that also now she's churned that out she has more room for, "breakfast cookies." We'd made those together yesterday (your run-of-the-mill Tollhouse cookie). Which gave me a chance to demonstrate my own mental failure to the kids again. I've been having a lot of clumsy or scattered moments lately. Basically doing things completely wrong. Two fine examples being putting the car in Reverse instead of Drive in the grocery store parking lot (no damage or anything - but onlookers surely thought I was mental or drunk). And then making a big pot of soup, walking into the kitchen when it was done and inexplicably pouring it all down the sink. Obviously I was thinking of something because I got a colander before I poured it - but what that was I don't know. Add there are the umpteen moments of dropping drinks, walking into door frames and finding myself upstairs and having no idea what I went up there for. Probably looking for a Scotch Egg. Hopefully I can shake that quickly.

This cookie thing was in line with that. We put the flour/baking soda/salt part of the cookie mix in one bowl, and then the butter/sugar/eggs in another. Then - EVEN THOUGH IT WAS OBVIOUSLY WRONG - I put the creamed butter-lumps on a cookie tray. I even made a comment that they looked all wrong and too wet. Four or five minutes later I remembered that I hadn't mixed the flour in at all. At which point I pulled out a sliding wet brown puddle from the oven and tried to salvage the mess. The fact that the kids and their mother ate the entire thing proves nothing. They'll eat almost anything that claims to be a cookie.

With that in mind I've been deliberately changing the daily routine. I often let the kids watch TV from 4pm until 5.30pm while I get stuff done and get dinner on the table. But as soon as 5.30pm hits they go insane. They cannot calm down, behave or find compromise with one another. Arguments and accidents aplenty. So to avoid that I've kept the TV off and gone for a walk with them instead. Sometimes across the street. Sometimes down by the river. Yesterday we did this.

There's probably something a bit odd about going for a wander about in a local graveyard, but they like it so I'm not that bothered. I'll only look back on it as a mistake if they end up with grave stomping on their criminal record. To counter the Waiting I've been doing the opposite of things that I'd normally do at that point of the day too. Around 4pm - and after having been outside and doing something for hours already - my daughter will always ask for food and if we can go somewhere odd. Like a playground or bike path. Usually I'll tell her no - it's too late now and I have stuff to do before her mother gets home. This week though I threw that all out and we've been going out instead (although to be fair the football ha been light this week...). The bike path being the most common visit. They only zoom about around it for about 25 minutes anyway so it doesn't really make much difference on time. Add simply doing that makes them feel like they've done something extra special. It also reinforces the notion in my mind that my daughter has picked up the argumentative skills of her mother and the talking-bollocks skills of her father. For example on the way into the parking lot for the bike path there is a speed bump. My daughter suggested that I might be frightened of it. I laughed that off. Only for her to immediately reply with, "You would be afraid if it was on fire. Or if it squirted alligators at you." You can't ever win with responses like that.

After that the time seems not to be so painfully slow in the early evenings. When their mother doesn't come home the two hours after 5pm can feel like eons. We usually factor in a bath or something that takes up time and calms them down. But doing something different has allowed us to eat up some of that time and not make it feel like we're just waiting to see if their mother makes it home in time for bed. Yesterday I was smart enough to make a big dinner in the creuset, chuck it in the oven and then bugger off to the cemetery. I had to make use of the buckets of tomatoes we grew. And I wanted garlic and beans for some reason. Simple solution - I browned some chicken, deglazed the pot, chucked in a bucket load of tomatoes, beans, and Vermouth, a hard of garlic, bunged the chicken back in and baked the whole thing for an hour. The kids go bonkers for spaghetti and "shaky cheese" (that would be Parmesan) - and will pick the beans and chicken out of the sauce. So they were happy. Mostly because they got to make slurping noises.

Right - I promised I'd make some train tunnels out of old shoe boxes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Straight, No Chaser

Yes. For just the right money I could do this at your family event./store opening/funeral.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

View From A Mentalist: August 28, 2012

Well it's been awhile! But me constantly taking my daughter's red camera everywhere has motivated her to want to take photos every now and again.  She ended up wandering around the house yesterday after realizing she has loads of things lying around (really - the place is a hole that needs proper cleaning) that she's never taken a photo of. She did take a ton of photos of some pajamas and a sticker book she has - but none of those came out. But mostly if it was something unfamiliar to her then she was taking a photo. A prime example being trying to take a photo of the computer screen when I was entering my new credit card log in information. Thanks honey. Anyway - 95 photos and 3 videos were on the camera. And here's the best of that.

This was the first picture on the camera that was in focus. Worst. Flight. Evar. It's a Little People airplane, a Furby and an alligator. My daughter says the alligator is the actual pilot and that this isn't a photo of it having already eaten the pilot.

Never before and never again will I see a Teddy Bear express annoyance at being woken up so clearly as in this photo. My daughter thinks this is very funny because her conversation with her Teddy Bear is to call him a lazy so-and-so whenever she seems him because he's always just lying about in bed. Clearly he's starting to get sick of hearing that.

I know I'm going to regret writing this but here's a blurry photo of my daughter's finger near a horse hole.It's my son's version of that Teddy above. The stitching around his leg started opening up. It did though give me a chance to make some silly point about how Americans seem to think eating horses is a morally bankrupt idea - even though it's blatantly delicious. But now my son thinks I want to eat his cuddly toy.

My daughter recently watched me crawl through the attic door to chase squirrels. She's now much more interested in going up there than I'd like her to be.

This is the picture on the dog food bag. Really it is. My daughter has alluded to an idea that it's a drawing of our dog's mother - and that's why he likes the taste of it so much. I don't know what she really meant by that and she's now behaving like she has never uttered that idea ever. Which makes me think she really meant something quite unpleasant and is now ashamed of it.

Speaking of dog food this is a fuzzy photo of the dog's current snacks. Yep - pizza flavor. Which is silly to me because my dog is so dainty and feeble that if he actually ate pizza crust or pizza sauce he would vomit it everywhere.

And speaking of vomit - we took the dog out today to the grocery store early - therefore it was cool enough for him to sit in the car and wait. He used that opportunity to vomit between the seats. Luckily I'd left a canvas camping chair there which caught the burnt of it all. It didn't do anything about the rancid odor though - which we all got to enjoy on the drive home. I imagine that at some point in the future some genius will allow you to scratch the photo of that right on your screen and you'll be able to smell the vomit. For the time being though just hold a piece of Hershey's chocolate up to your nostrils and you'll get a very similar effect.

Continuing the theme of deeply sexy things that probably taste amazing - here's a photograph of my big toe covered in chunder. Don't panic though - it isn't what you think (now there's a test to see how vile and depraved you really are). It's insulation foam - I had inadvertently squirted some on my foot after filling a gap in the roof lining between the siding and the roof tile. We'd filled it with steel wool and nails and hoped that would deter the gangs of marauding squirrels that had been sneaking into our house in the evenings. But they ripped that all out and were in there again within an hour. So I filled the hole with detritus (more steel wool and nails) before squirting this stuff in there to bind it all together into an annoying glob. Honest...

This is my daughter's pogo stick. She did try to take a photo of herself on it but that didn't work out. This is a decent shot though. She's surprisingly balanced on it. Which is odd because in one of her books a throwaway comment made is that a kid isn't allowed on a pogo stick because they're only 9.

Speaking of grating concepts in books - we borrowed one from the library. It's supposed to be a list of things a baby can and cannot do according to her 6 year old sister. It made me wince that almost everything described was not at all how we (or for that matter how most people we know) chose to feed, diaper, sleep, clothe, bathe or do anything with their baby. But more so is that there is the suggestion that the attitudes are applicable to all kids. As in all kids are afraid of a potty. Not only did we not use one - but I have no idea why a child would be frightened of a toilet. The pictures are a little naff but here's a few to get the message across. Even my daughter remarked that none of this was applicable to how it really is. 

This isn't a bad photo! It's the end of our driveway this morning. As you can see there are leaves all over the place. It's too warm to really convince you that it is Fall - but it sure looks like it when you consider the trees are either reddening or have shed a ton of their leaves already. And it's still August! I'm telling you - it's gonna snow like a bastard this Winter.

And here's another in a very long series of my daughter getting "evidence" of her brother waltzing in absolutely mashed off his tits at 8am.

Ick. This is one of those shameful photos that make me do things. In this example I'm well aware that the two large plants we've plonked in the dining room (which is completely unused, by the way) need to be chucked out. I just keep not doing it. But now she's taken a photo of them in this decayed a state I no longer can tolerate being so disgusting.

And to finish this fun off - here's two quick videos from this morning. They aren't good or particularly interesting in isolation. But whenever I see videos she's taken I dread that she's the world in such an angular, jerky manner. Add there are two videos - the ending of the first and the start of the second was the period that I thought the camera was on. During which time the dog was covered in a blanket as a ghost and my daughter decided to stab me me right in the head with a pencil. Insted you get this.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Playground Conspiratorialist

They want to watch it again.

My kids are now officially obsessed with that Thomas DVD. From the moment my daughter got up she started asking to watch it. I managed to fob her off with breakfast and talk of going to a playground later. But that only lasted twenty minutes until her brother got up and he's acted like her reinforcement. Now I've capitulated and they're staring brainlessly at it while I try and figure out which playground to go to.

Speaking of which, yesterday I met a woman at a playground who went from pleasant to unusual in record time. Before explaining that though I should mention that when I told this story to my wife my son interrupted and alluded to the fact that I went home with this woman. He even said that he and his sister played while I and, "the grandmother" did whatever we did. Then he made a grunting noise. Obviously I didn't do that. But she did flirt a little and I did mention that to my wife. I also noted that the two people recently who have openly flirted with me have been this woman and a very young cashier at the grocery store who chanced her arm even though she knew I had two kids with me. You should be flattered about these sorts of things. But considering the woman yesterday started talking all mental and the cashier asked me, "are they your kids?" I have some reservations. Actually in hindsight I really wish I'd said to the cashier, ".....No. I found them over in the cereal aisle. But you know what they say - finders keepers..."  Actually my wife made a woe-is-me comment about how people don't randomly flirt with her like that. But considering she spends 99% of her time at work that's hardly surprising. But I should remind myself to tell her that I've sold loads of those old naked photos of her at various stages of pregnancy (those ones that all women take and NEVER EVER look at again) on Craigslist - so she should feel pretty good about herself.

Anyhoo - back to the playground Grandma. After some small talk and whatnot she asked me about the differences between "the England" (she actually used that phrase) and the USA. I went with "there's a vague undercurrent of violence and terror in the US. And by that I mean during the morning weather there are commercials on for television shows that are basically 30 seconds of explosions, people being murdered and constant, gruesome violence as titillation. All delivered over breakfast. Whereas in the UK we swear a lot, have hundreds of words for willy and there are nipples EVERYWHERE on television." Then I made her laugh by saying that I think the swings they have for very young kids look like medieval chastity underpants.

 After some comments about how she thinks the US is collapsing into a pit of apocalyptic despair she changed track entirely. I had just made a reference to my wife finding hiring very good people a challenge when the lady leaned forward and whispered, (as if what she was saying was dangerous) "I don't think anyone is unemployed...."She only slightly expanded on that by saying she thinks the whole recession and economic crisis is entirely made up by the government so they can do all the nasty little things to us that they want with a good excuse. As is usually the case in these situations I desperately want to get to the point of that so ask the very important, "Why?" I've never once had a good reason given. I've heard variations of , "...he wants to bring this country to it's knees.." (and to be fair - I heard mentalness like this 5 years ago too) and, "he's trying to make people completely dependent on the government.." But never have I heard the Why part of that. Which to my mind is incredibly important and necessary before you can have the paranoid, David Koresh-style "he wants to turn us into Soylent Green!" gibberish. But alas - as is always the case she rushed off to help her grandson down from a slide and the conversation moved on. But not before she strongly hinted that if I'm ever around she lives right over there and I'm welcome any time.

Instead the kids and I went home and played in our own backyard - free from conspiracy theories and pensioner passion. Although the neighbor did pop over to advise that I don't dig somewhere because it's probably riddled with poison ivy (it isn't). My kids spent almost three hours rumbling toy trains around outside. They were in heaven and actually allowed me to do a few things that needed doing. At the end of the afternoon and around the time their mother might call to say if she'll be late (it's that time of year where there's no such thing as a day off work) they both ran inside to put Band Aids on. Nothing wrong with them but that's the takeway from visiting the doctor last week - Band Aids fix everything.

They've carried their medicinal behavior this morning too. Right now my son wants to give me a physical. But considering he's modified his doctor's kit slightly to look like this I'm nervous about letting him.

What exactly is he planning to cut off with that saw? And where is that blue ant going to be put? If I make it through I'll let you know later....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Babies Everywhere

Before we go any further I have some news...

It's always important to wait a little while before making an important announcement publicly like this. You have to get through the early stages of it all before being confident that all signs point to the same thing and you get over the difficult humps first. Add it's always good to allow a little time for things to gestate. But I feel that now is a good an appropraite time to let you all know about it now. Yes that's right - I'm pregnant. At least that seems to be a common charge leveled at me over the last few days. Three different people have asked if I/my wife and I are pregnant. Two of those people did so purely because I mentioned that I want a cheese and onion pastie. But with the added information that, a) I don't eat gluten (so the pastry is a No No) and b) I don't actually like cheese and onion pasties. Mostly the feeling comes from wanting what I cannot have. Also earlier this week someone asked me joking if my wife was pregnant after I posted a not-very-funny photo on Facebook of me holding a pre-natal workout DVD case and looking at it lustfully - as if it were a cheese and onion pastie.

Of course nobody would be asking this question if I wasn't as thin as I am. Or my wife for that matter - she doesn't even look like she's ever given birth to anyone (if I hadn't been there to watch it all I may be suspicious myself). For myself the weight loss thing had come to a head. First up my wife told me that I started to feel too thin. Whatever that means. I mean I look pretty good. But all that running I've been doing has pretty much erased any fat on my body. Leading to my wife referring to me offhand as, "spindly" - and I don't think she meant that in a sexy way. But I feel sexy....

Secondly I had to go out again and buy new trousers. Which crosses my threshold for cheapness because I'd already hit a point where nothing I own fitted me any more. So having to do it again before the Summer is up irritates the amount of pride I have in how cheap I am. And lastly the final problem that emerged was that the principle source of all my nutritional content - coffee and apples (ie - Arsehole Fuel) - was starting to not work out so well. Most of the apples I've bought lately aren't very good. And I had the combined counter-intuitive factor of drinking more coffee than had been usual lately and thinking it didn't taste very good. Didn't matter which brand of coffee either - it all tasted kind of meh. Oh - and 8 cups of coffee by 2pm can have some effects on mood....

I'd already made a mental agreement with myself to cut out the coffee. I lived blissfully without it before. And I'd pretty much cut out drinking tea simply because there was always coffee on my desk. Then I heard from an online friend that they'd cut out caffeine and were feeling very content for having done so. So I decided yesterday to skip coffee. My wife heard about this a few hours into my day this and smugly warned everyone out loud, "Oh man! Everybody look out! You are going to be AWFUL today!!" Just after lunch my day had gone well. I'd been on a 6 mile run, dug a trench in the back yard, been out to the grocery store, been out to buy a pair of pants, made lunch and played outside with my son for a whole. My wife - as of 1.30pm went to bed barely able to remain conscious. Her day had consisted of 45 minutes of work, some pizza for breakfast, going out to buy leggings and then eating at Applebees. Upon arriving home she feebly announced she was dying from exhaustion. Then she slunk off to bed - right after asking the cracking question, " you think we should have another baby?" Nice work there Trophy Wife.

Even my kids have been talking about babies. For almost a year my daughter has done this thing where - once we arrive home in the car - she would run into the house ahead of us so she could answer the door and pretend that we were visiting her house. Disturbingly she would normally phrase the whole visit around the notion that her real parents had been violently killed (either by smoking or killed off in a story that sounded like an episode of Bosnian ethnic cleansing). And now she and her sidekick lived alone in the house as Superheroes. It was all quite a bit like the why-Bruce-Wayne-became-Batman-story. Which is odd because she would have no idea who that is. 

This past week though my daughter has twisted this game and decided that her and her brother now live in the backyard (by the swings). So when we are playing outside and I inevitably am sent inside to get a snack/water/something I'll return and she'll introduce herself with, "...Oh do you live in that big house? My sidekick/brother and I live here in the backyard. Would you like to sit with us and have a picnic?" So she's gone from being a Bosnian refugee to a gypsy. She went through this storyline yesterday over dinner. She noted that she and her brother would stay with us for awhile, and that we shouldn't become alarmed if they crawl into our bed at night to snuggle up. When her mother protested that it seemed a little odd for strange backyard Superheroes to sleep in her bed my daughter let the mask slip and yelled, "We're your babies really Mommy!" And to prove it she pointed out that she, "came out of your belly." 

I tried to fish for my daughter to say something very amusing about where babies come from. This is because she's been pretty good with silly statements lately. I didn't get her to bite. Which is a shame because these past few days she's managed -:

- Informing me with the utmost urgency this week that whatever happens I must promise not to pee on an elephant.

- Getting it wrong all day long on Friday by declaring that her brother has to, "learn to stand, peeing up." Which she also helpfully told the librarian.

- Asking various people, "do you want to see my shot holes?" any time we were out in public at the end of this last week. She was innocently referring to getting immunizations and being giddily proud of the colorful BandAids she had on the outside of each thigh. Except what would happen is she'd mention her "shot holes" to the grocery store cashier/librarian/town clerk/anyone and then drop her pants around her ankles. The disturbed onlookers often had no idea what on earth was going on. Especially when they saw her father imploring her to please stop doing that, and for her to reply irritated, "I'm just showing that lady my holes Daddy. That's all."

- Teaching her brother the nursery rhyme Ring Around The Rosie. Except with the opening line of, "Round and round your whoopsie..." Which he thinks is fantastic and has repeated often. 

Lastly I'm struggling with a common problem. That being that my kids think something is amazing - whereas I know it's awful. That being the Thomas and The Magic Railroad DVD we borrowed from the library. It is obviously a terrible movie that seems tenuously linked to the actual Thomas franchise. And yet my daughter (n particular) thinks it is wonderful. Not an unfilled moment has passed these past few days without her enthusiastically recounting her favorite parts of it to either her mother or I. That is when she isn't asking if she can't please please please watch it again. Now I am aware of that phenomenon of movie critics outright panning any movie that comes out in the Romance Comedy genre aimed at women as brainless, useless pish (guff like Maid In Manhattan comes to mind). And that this doesn't jive with the fact that millions of women adore many of those same movies all the same. Which only seems to annoy critics even more as they point out that popularity doesn't have anything to do with quality and that just because people like it doesn't mean it is actually a good movie. And that if the movie is actually good (say Four Weddings or Love Actually) then it - by definition - isn't a Rom-Com at all.

With that in mind I tried to accept that maybe it is a good movie and that I (and anyone over the age of 12) just think it's cack. But that's an absurd view of the world. Because of course that movie is shit. And what do my kids know anyway? They think Tootsie Rolls are tasty. And the diabetic candy the lady at the thrift store gives them is good (imagine licking an aspartame-dipped cotton-bud and you're getting close). My daughter thinks half the outfits she puts on are astoundingly pretty. Even when they patently don't even fit her and involve color and pattern clashes so jarring that they cause epileptic seizures in others. Both of my kids think the food at Friendly's is good. Despite having eaten at Dunkin' Donuts and McDonalds they still want to go back there. My son thinks it's sensible to wear a wool hat when it's 90 degrees out. And both of them have expressed a desire - at one point or another - to watch the show Barney, even though that is clearly one of the worst children's shows ever committed to tape. They haven't even mentioned that Barney sounds both dangerously simple and borderline psychotic.

So their opinion on whether that Thomas movie is good or not isn't really the point I guess. In fact it doesn't even have to be good - they just like watching it. It has already shown me that me openly deriding it as appalling has led my daughter to even more firmly declare it to be the best thing she's ever seen ever ever. So she may be five years old but she's got the teenager-rebellion down pat already. All of which means I shall have to start declaring other things that are clearly ace as awful, just so she'll automatically cling to them in opposition. I think I'll start by saying how having babies when you're a teenager is great because then you're both closer in age and have more things in common. That should drive her to do the opposite.

Nothing could possibly go wrong!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Morning Giggler


Scientists and child psychologists can provide whatever study data they want to show if a kid's behavior is affected by sleep, sugar content, too much sun or whatever.Go nuts. All I know is that there is no jollier thing on earth than my kids after they wake up.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Afternoon Play

The kids and I tried to hit a playground again today.

As has been the case for about a month now - the entire thing was swarming with wasps. It's endlessly annoying. For part of Summer - maybe three to four weeks - you have to get to the playground at 8am because it's too hot to actually touch after that. Then there's a good solid month of the demon wasp thing. But we keep trying different places in the hope that the wasps are on vacation. Today my daughter wanted to go to the playground nearest to our house. Nothing fancy at all but it does have lots of places to walk around at. Inveitably the actual playground had been commandeered by yellow jackets. So instead we farted about on the nearby baseball fields and went for a walk. Here's my son and daughter, "playing baseball." Ironically the version they play is much more exciting than the real thing.

The playground we went to near the house does have new parts to it. The old parts are completely puzzling. For example - what is this? I mean I can imagine whta parts of it are for. But the unreachable massive bars? Not a clue. You can tell it's a real thing because it's too old. If it was built now it would probably win the Turner Prize mind.

I hope the other old part of the playground was more fun than it seems to be now originally. Because this really does seem like an art installation.

So we buggered off down to the river for a look-see. As expected the waterfall part of it was brimming with people. So we walked off down the river bank a little until the bugs got too annoying. My son really wanted to go river walking but I wasn't dressed for it (on purpose) so we just headed back to drier land.

After that my daughter asked if she coudl take a video. So we thought we'd try and make a run for it. 

I suppose at some point I should go back and get her...

I Didn't Get Where I Am Today By Spanking

When my daughter is much older I want to give her this blog as a present.

This morning I had to explain spanking to my daughter as a concept. Mostly I was explaining that I personally can't jive the idea that you can teach a child to not hit other people by hitting them as a deterrent. Initially I tried to be fair and explain that people have different parenting beliefs and that - in their view - spanking is not the same as twatting your brother with a toy horse. Then I felt like I was being all post-modernist and refusing to acknowledge that there are some things that are just better/worse than others so made it pretty clear that I think it's wrong. She asked if our (my and her mother's) parents spanked us. I told her yes and that back then spanking was just how it was. Being me I started fishing for other examples of things that were cultural common wisdom in the Seventies. All I managed were allusions that mustaches were considered sexy, men wore Y-fronts with confidence, Feminism emerged as a thing, people still openly were prejudicial against non-whites or non-heterosexuals without fear of correction, everybody had a coal fire and was blissfully uninterested in environmental issues (Paul Ehrlich and Earth Day aside), there was an oil crisis and a lot of social movement for minorities. Actually the coal fire, taches and whatnot seems a bit like now in this area - so I showed her a few minutes of Reginald Perrin, Rising Damp and Terry and June (I'm desperately hoping to get my son to bellow "Juuuuuuuuuuune!" at some point today.)

A few moments later I was aware I was talking simultaneously about working class pride and sideburns. Then I overheard myself saying, "....but then people thought Roxy Music were cool back then as well, and that is patently untrue.." and stopped talking immediately. Obviously my daughter gave me the blank expression, thought about all the guff I'd just spewed out and asked if I wanted a banana. So I said meekly, ".....are you glad we don't spank you?" To which she said yes she really did. But then helpfully added, "You should only spank boys if you're a Daddy anyway." Which actually sounds oddly Seventies for some reason - but warped somehow. A fine example being this (you are definitely going to want to read this by the way) -:

After settling down and reading a book about Manta Rays to my daughter I found myself being asked to read an old book about Louis Pasteur to my son. Which was bizarre - but he smiled along with it. Then he plonked down one about Charles Darwin and I read a bit through that before ironically (from a Richard Dawkins "religion is child abuse" perspective) thinking talking about things he cannot understand could be damaging. So I decide to bore him into something else instead by energetically talking about how his mother and I have abandoned our dalliance with christian faith, and that I feel silly about the whole thing but feel better educated about the whole thing in retrospect (far too convoluted and detailed to get into here). I didn't get into most of that because I ended up on a tangent about a radio discussion I heard once about Darwin and he buggered off during it. I told him about how a man (non-Christian and I cannot remember who it was for the life of me) spoke to a large group of people of faith at an American university and asks what century they think Charles Darwin was born in. Almost all of them put him hundreds of years prior to when he actually lived. Weirder still though was when told that Darwin was born the very same day as Abraham Lincoln a common response amongst the group was that (other than faith) a reason they had discounted his "theory" was that it just seemed so medieval and old fashioned.So ironically they had rejected evolution and chosen faith because it wasn't modern and enlightened enough. By the time I started into Darwin trying to figure out why - if God intended all animals to be for us - loads of them were hidden in places people can't reach without severe fear of death he'd buggered off to ride the toy horse his sister poked him with earlier.

 Since then his sister has been painstakingly waiting for me to finish writing this so that she can watch more videos of Reginald Perrin quotes (good girl). But she now seems to understand that writing this - when it does interfere with being with them - isn't just me arseing about. I feel a bit like it's work and have explained that in the end it's intended to be a gift for her when she's older as a book. Ideally I'd like it to be a big, thick hard-bound book with all the content in it so far. But then that would be massive. It also seems somewhat narcissistic to spend all that time, money and effort on making a book out of all the inane drivel that I've written out. But on reflection if I think it's worthwhile to write this shit down I'm assuming it would be worthwhile to do that as well. I imagine that after this length of time it would fit in several books. The front cover of the first one will have that horrible face I made from a 19th century Victorian criminal mugshot. I'm hoping to get some good photos of the Captain Cheesestick outfit my wife is going to make for Halloween for another book as well. I think I may use this method of creation to actualyl start off with - and perhaps gift/sell further copies to anyone else who wants one.

Actually when I started this thing off I had some sliver of a hope that I'd somehow get into professionally-paid writing. But that takes such effort and time that I haven't really gone down that road. A simple example of which is that all the typo's, grammatical errors and slips used to be remedied after the fact. So most people would read this with the errors in. Then the last third of people reading a specific entry would get the final polished version. Many of which have new content in them. My wife used to read through about 24 hours later with the original open in a new window editing as she went along. She doesn't do that any more and I haven't picked up the slack. I did find a burst of ambition a little while back to start "promoting" this on various parenting websites, forums and whatnot. But I quickly grew tired of answering the same questions about where I am, why anyone cares and how dare I say those things - as if this blog had anything remotely daring in it. 

After a little while I capitulated and joined Twitter to mingle a bit with actual writers. That is very interesting and I love reading the constant updates from some of them. I've never really been the voyeur/lurker on forums or social media, but with Twitter that's mostly how it works for me. I'd much rather read linked content than try to rifle off something witty in under 140 characters. Richard Herring talks on his podcast/interview with Stewart Lee about how Twitter really highlights the common tangents of a joke or idea - so it helps him develop his own ideas more. I can understand that I suppose. But the problem with Twitter is that it has a character limit of 140, and I like to ramble on endlessly. I did have an idea how that character limit could be used in a vaguely amusing way - that being though to write something about how your husband has just beaten you and run out of room. Then everyone following will panic, worrisome, become indignant and furious. Then they'll likely miss the follow up entry where you finish the original point that your husband has just beaten you at Scrabble.Nevertheless as much as I like reading the constant drip of what other people write I can't join in the same way and still suspicious of Twitter. And considering that Twitter has just recommended in it's Similar To You section that I follow Peter Sutcliffe, I might be right.
 Right - Thriftshop Friday here we come!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Show Me Your Papers

Today I and two nurses held my daughter down on a table while one of them injected her with a virus.

Luckily it was at the doctor's office. Again - following on from the last post about perspective - there's no way in Hell that would be condoned in any other situation. Anyway - she starts school in two weeks. And here in this fine country a child cannot attend school until they've been to the doctor, had an annual physical, been administered the relevant vaccinations and received a form proving all this has happened. So as I did last year I am now in possession of a signed form from the doctor to give my daughter's school declaring she is, "free from contagions and physically qualified for all physical education, sports, work and school activities. I would like to remind people that No - I do not live in North Korea.

First off the visit itself was unpleasant. My daughter loves the physical part of the whole thing. She has her own doctor's kit so enjoys getting her blood pressure done, having a light shone into her ear and her reflexes tested. She also enjoys impressing the doctor at how tall she is (something she thinks she's "achieved" by being tall) and how well her eyesight and reading ability is to get all the letters on the chart correct. And she was aware that she needed a shot. Which she was being very brave about. She obviously fears and hates them intensely. But her last doctor's visit to get that matchstick-sized sliver out from under her big toe had taught her that some things are just necessary. Which is an impressive concept to grasp. She could have walked away from that (well - "been carried away from that" is more appropriate) terrified of the doctor. But instead she managed to understand that some things are required to stave off more horrible things. So even after she learned for sure last night that a shot was happening she smiled through ti all.

And I was aware she needed an MMR shot. But when the doctor finished up and fled - to remove himself from ever being involved with shots and therefore a "good guy" always - the nurse walked in with three needles. My daughter saw that. And she didn't like it. But she let the nurse remove her shirt and position her facing my chest while I held her elbow - primed for the shot. Then after she plunged it in everything turned to shit. She screamed incomprehensible slurs at the nurse. I'm not fully proficient in Rabies but I'm pretty sure she called the nurse an F'ing C who - if she dares come near her again - will have a needle firmly rammed right up her A. My son gripped me and cried confused by the whole thing. Which is sad because his conscious experience of doctors is watching his sister scream. After this my daughter got up and stood behind a chair growling ferociously, not even allowing me to comfort her. Which was when the nurse - fully experienced at this sort of thing - left to get another nurse. A few minutes later I had picked my daughter up, laid her on the examination table and firmly lay over her while one nurse pinned her legs down and the other did the injections. Good Lord that girl can scream. But again - as soon as it was over she stopped screaming and calmly asked if she could have some of the awesome colorful Band Aids the nurses had promised. Then she giddily ran off to the front desk to pick out stickers and - I presume - prove to the people in the Waiting Room that this is a doctor's office and not a strip called the Titty Twister that is filled with Mexican vampires, and I am not an abducted pastor with an RV and an adopted Asian son. Although I was sort of hoping to find a biker named Sex Machine was stood in the waiting room proudly displaying his crotch weapon.

Anyhoo - the form the school requires evokes the same thing in me as when I read about Stakhanovite Soviet ideals in the 1920/30s Soviet Union, or Neitzsche's Übermensch. I feel like that quite often over here mind you. That is not a Godwin's Law situation either. I'm not trying to evoke exclusively negative connotations by mentioning that all together. I'm just saying it's very strange to be within a very militarized society that elevates sports above intellectual pursuits - yet it lumps Communism and Nazism in together as an exclusively foreign and more-or-less identical phenomenon that weirdo foreigners did a while back until liberated almost single-handedly by Freedom and Liberty (more appealing than the names "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" I imagine).

The part of the form that confirms my daughter's physical qualifications to attend school seems almost solely focused around sports. Which says an enormous amount about how many US schools view the strata of education and money from sports. In fact if the doctor doesn't sign off on that part they get to authorize between, "limited contact" or, "non-contact" activities. Oddly the first one listed is, "cheerlead." I also thought it was strange that in a society seemingly paranoid (depending on the ideological circles of course) that a person's medical information may get into the wrong hands that this form includes an entire immunization record, all the specifics from a physical, medications with dosages and general notes from a doctor on any "abnormalities" the doctor has observed. My daughter really is like a Stakhanovite though. As this photo of her in a "super hero dance outfit" proves.

Right now though she and her brother are attempting to watch the start of a very poor movie we borrowed from the library called Thomas The Tank Engine and The Magic Railroad. It's appalling and has absolutely nowt to do with the actual Thomas stuff save the fact that some of the trains are in it. Instead it's about magic gold dust, magical transportation and Alec Baldwin's floppy hair. I like how some of the mistakes are left in - like when they forget their lines about where they are though. How bad is it? First off my son - obsessed with Thomas - is actually angry that it's on. Secondly, considering Thomas is supposed to be set on an island right next to the Isle of Man (which some parts of this were apparently filmed on) it was a bit odd that one of the first people to get on a train was a Native American. Add that Peter Fonda is in this but appears to have had a soul-crushing mental breakdown that has rendered him incapable of emitting any kind of hope or positivity. I just checked IMDB and the second review for this movie ends with the lovely summary of, "absolute shite." Actually according to Wiki the movie was so naff that Britt Allcroft (who is the reason Thomas exists in the US) was forced to quit.

Balls. We're going outside instead. I don't care if the kids don't want to. 


 "We never washed you. Not till you were twelve. And look how you turned out."

Some friends of mine are going to be having a child soon. I've talked before about how I have offered limited advice to people in the past that centers mostly around the idea that as long as you do whatever you think is right with conviction then you'll be fine. And the reason for that advice is the simple fact that there are so many bloody opinions on how to do absolutely anything related to parenting that you cannot avoid hearing a better way to do whatever it is that you are doing. All of which are told to you with a suggestion that doing it your way might be the core reason why your child grows up to be mentally unstable/stunted/gay/a Blackburn Rovers supporter.

What's great about quite a lot of those things are that some are period-specific as far as advice goes. And it's unshakeable, no matter what current modern science (specifically for the country you're in of course) says about it because once upon a time it was common wisdom that their way was one of the absolute right ways. So the whole Truby King style of parenting which dictates a strictly enforced routine, rules forbidding, "unnecessary contact" between the parents and child (especially if the kid wakes up) and separate sleeping rooms from the kid's birth make perfect sense in this context. Not to modern parents though who can't wrap their head around the idea that because the kid is crying but not scheduled to eat that it's been put in a different room to "learn" that it should be quiet. Actually I know a person who admits to being attracted to this method of parenting solely because they read King's 1907 book Feeding and Care of Babies and the manner in which it was written seemed so much more professional than the way parenting is talked about on Supernanny. So in other words they nearly chose a method of parenting because - compared to a reality TV show that deliberately shows difficult cases - they read a book that was written in posh.

Then there is the Benjamin Spock method of instinctive parenting - which enrages other parents who think you're letting the child get away with telling you what to do, and that they'll grow up soft. Especially galling to them is that - when they offer their own sage wisdom as to why the child will likely grow up unruly and wimpish - the response is that you are just meeting the child's specific needs. "What the child needs is a good hiding" is pretty much what they want to tell you at the point. They see reasoning as gifting authority to a kid that didn't earn it - which is clearly harmful in their worldview. Here in the US the very mention of Spock can perturb some parents to a level of apoplectic rage solely based on the fact that Spock was an open anti-Vietnam leftist. They draw a straight-line logic from parenting with affection to a specific individuals needs to explain why liberals like recycling, NPR jazz and Volvo's. Because there can't be a logical reason for that - it can only have been instilled in someone through abuse.

And most enraging of all to some parents is the attachment style of parenting (based mostly on the Continuum concept) that promotes almost constant skin-to-skin contact, advocates co-sleeping and really only works with prolonged breast-feeding. My family went for that last one - with our first child permanently strapped to one of us in a sling like a monkey. So we endured other people pointing out (they're being helpful you see....) that your child is being suffocated "in there" and that everyone knows that co-sleeping definitely means you will kill the child - which is probably your aim anyway because co-sleepers secretly hate children. Or something.

I like the culutural differences more though because it truly clarifies how the whole thing is a crap-shoot. So a prime example being in France nobody burps their babies. But if you followed that logic in the UK then people will actually intervene physically to do it to your child because they know not doing it is abusive in some way. Those cultural differences are easier to identify though and are passed off as quirks of the other country. But when your own grandparents point out that what you're doing is well known to be wrong it's harder to just firmly state that you know what you're doing and it's all okay. I do recall responding to a much older person at a bus stop who helpfully asked if I was going to break my child's neck by having it in a sling that at one point in their life the healthiest things known to humankind were lard and corporal punishment at school. It's that sort of thinking anyway that always brings out the bizarre points from parents/relatives that they never put up with that shit with you. Oh no - you weren't allowed to misbehave like that and you went to sleep when you were damn well told. Because they did it the right way. This is usually followed up quite quickly by a snarky comment about how you can't be irritated or surprised by your own child having a colossal tantrum/hitting/not sleeping because that's exactly what you were like as well. Then that's followed by a throwaway comment like, "...we never washed you. Not till you were twelve. And look how you turned out." There is no doubt that parents and relatives will confidently tell you that the way you are holding/putting the baby to sleep/comforting it will be harmful and that it didn't do you any harm. At which point you have to  resist the urge to point out that yes - it did do harm. It's why you are emotionally detached from them, have night terrors and can't chew turnips without getting flashbacks.

Mostly what I tell people interested in what I would advise is to remember that being a parent is unique in the sense that there's an assumption from anyone with children that they automatically know best and are free to comment/criticize they way you parent. It's possibly the only arena in life where the actual ability or quality of what you did is tossed out the window. If you were a shit contractor or a mediocre accountant then that would have some baring on the value of any points on those subjects. But not with parenting - it's a given that because you got pregnant/ejaculated in someone and a baby appeared nine months later that what you say is wisdom. The only way to protect yourself against this fact is to say ridiculous things to point out that being a parent yourself still allows you to be an idiot. Which is why I have said (at an old church, no less) that "I will get that child all the axes a child could want..."

I call this idea that all parents are experts the Alan Hansen phenomenon. He will sit pompously on Match Of The Day pointing out why any aspect of what a football club/player has done is not as good as how he did it. He's paid to do that so fine. And the fact that he's won everything in club football many times over gives him some weight to do that. But that doesn't stop me from thinking a lot of what he says is nonsense (because it is). Add often sat with him on MOTD are Mark Lawrenson (the emo-depressive on the panel), Alan Shearer (wide legged wanker with zero ability to convey anything enlightening), Les Ferdinand ("I destroyed the Blue Peter garden once") and Garth Crooks (thinks what he says have as much weight in the world as the head of the UN Council On Human Rights). All pompously pointing out where everyone else went wrong from an ivory tower that suggests they are the finest experts to grace the earth. Didn't matter what they won, or how. They are the Voice of Football. But consider that Lawrenson has now predicted 39 times in a row that Liverpool will not lose (during which time they've almost perfected that art). It's almost as if he has no idea what he's talking about. And yet his opinion is considered sage. Much like that of any parent who has - 39 times in a row - declared that hugging their male child is poncey and will make the kid respect them more.

But the reason for all the above wasn't just a friend telling me the time is nigh. It's that I have been thinking about social perspective a lot lately. As in parenting by letting a child cry it out makes sense to some, but to others can really appear abusive. A good way to see this is that most parents can spot the subtle differences between a type of crying in a child under 5. There are lots of reasons for crying - and almost none of them indicate actual, genuine pain. But if your kid does an "it's not fair" cry, or cries because something was alarming rather than painful then it warrants a different type of response. Non parents see that and instantly judge you as harsh, distant and unloving. And I've seen column after newspaper column from parents who insist that the best thing you can do when a child cries at night is to close the door and let them run out of steam. To me that instinctively seems unloving. But I'm also aware that that's just my opinion on how to parent. But that the point there is that I'm going to do it my way and with conviction. And that your perspective is what makes my behavior look a certain way that it really isn't. And vice versa.

But it's wholly innocent and entirely about perspective. Recently I suffered a flashback to an uncomfortable innocent moment I had as a teenager. My behavior was completely innocent and normal. And yet to some people around me I was likely nefarious and scum. Basically I was dating a girl who was taking a college course that required her to wok at a small parochial primary school a few times a week. Being the nice guy that I am I would walk well out of my way up to that school to meet her after work. Now for some reason there was a requirement that she leave either right before the kids came out or just after - never at the same time. And for the sheer practicality of it I think she only ever made it out before once or twice for the entire time she worked there. So for a prolonged period I would arrive and stand in the middle of a cloud of parents. All of whom would watch as I - a ridiculous looking idiot of a man with scruffy fluorescent green hair (for a period of the time), my eyebrow and lip piercings visible (and the idea that I had others surely suggested) - would arrive and seemingly watch an entire school of children leave. I would never be seen to be picking up a younger sibling. And I wouldn't be meeting a relative or anything of that sort that would explain why on earth I was there. It would actually seem that I just showed up in the village one day to stand outside a school. And I quickly became aware of the nervous glances and questioning looks. Now - I didn't dress like a twat the entire time. In fact one of the odd things about me at the time is that one day I'd look like I'd been molested by a craft store, but the following one I'd look like a Next catalog.. And although I did smoke at the time I wouldn't do that outside that school (although many of the parents there did). I also made the conscious decision not to stand about with my headphones in - blaring whatever atrocity I listened to at the time and demarcating my generation's whinge that we are so bloody unique in how completely different we are to everyone else (yawn....). So truth - a nice young man waiting for his girlfriend to get out of work. Other people's perspective - a bizarre looking deviant who spent parts of his day watching kids in an attempt to pick the right one for the well he's dug under his house.

I suppose it's just irony that now I have my own kids that I also genuinely have a well under my house now. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Purple Balls (Not Barney's)

Daughter: I've got balls Mommy.
Wife: Really!? And what color are your balls?
Daughter: Purple.
Son: Mine are outside!

I think I am fast approaching a pointwhere being naked around my own children will no longer be the breezy, innocent thing that it clearly is. First off, my son thinks being naked is the most fantastic thing on earth. He's a generally happy boy - although the last month or so have seen him introduce feral-rage into his behavior and the constantly cheery demeanor he had has been chipped away somewhat. He still has large periods when he's just refreshingly cheery. But that can evaporate in an instant - leading to a demonic little shit who seems to have carefully read Donald Rumsfeld's Book Of Sadistic Torture and is maniacally attempting to try it out on everyone around him. But if he's naked for any reason (and he often will invent any reason) he beams a smile more joyous than at any other moment. Which is perfectly understandable. From a purely sensory position being naked is quite nice indeed. While I'm not about to sign up to any nearby naturist clubs or groups that insist on organizing outdoor activities that are strangely to be carried out naked (I once saw a sign for naked abseiling - the semantics of which make me wince) I'm certainly prepared to point out the delightful virtues of mother nature glowing and blowing across the naked flesh. For example, recently on the family camping trip I took advantage of the myriad opportunities for getting dressed outside. Either entirely outside in the buses, or with a strategically placed car door to protect passersby from getting an eyeful of my personal-parsnip. Or more frequently within our very good tent with carefully selected flaps raised and lowered to obscure view inside, but to allow air to flow through. In fact in the dark I greatly enjoyed getting undressed in the tent safe and sound in the knowledge that, even though I could feel the soft caress of the Thousand Island breeze on my skin, that none of the surrounding campers could see anything. I also enjoyed the, "just so you know" conversation my father in-law gave to me the following morning pointing out that, once the headlamp light was switched on that night, the tent walls were basically invisible.

But secondly and more importantly, my children are beginning to think me being naked is far more hilarious than it need to be. Some evenings I escape upstairs secretly to snatch a sneaky shower without telling anyone - naively hopeful that I'll get to take one by myself. My daughter though is genetically fitted with a proximity alarm that goes if if I am not within five feet of her. So she always ends up checking to see what I'm up to. Add she always does so after telling her mother and brother to come with her to check as well - thereby roping the whole family in on the deal. At which point I'll be striding about the upstairs in the buff - possibly squatting over or straddling things in a way I wouldn't do if being observed by people I might see again. In times gone by my kids would find me and just crack a slight knowing smile that it was time to join in the shower or bath. Recently that has given way to full out laughter and a cheeky Carry On film-style "oo-er Missus!" response. It's almost as if my daughter is smarmily pointing out that she has discovered me doing something that I shouldn't be doing that would get me in trouble with decent folk. But not just showering without letting her know. More that I've just been discovered filling a hot tub with melted Nutella and then Nigella Lawson walks in wrapped in a towel asking if I'm ready. 

This is pretty much how I felt this morning getting dressed. My daughter had a school introduction thing for kindergarten this morning (please read the rest of this paragraph before just assuming that I exposed myself to a teacher and that I've just now realized that it's not on) - so her mother didn't get up early to bugger off to work. Once it was clear that the wife had finished lazing about in bed I was eager to get dressed and get on with the day. At which point the three of them all lay about in bed and watched me get dressed. And there followed an odd back and forth that began with a reference to my love-eggs and spiraled into a bizarre confession from my son that he keeps his testicles in the cemetery across the street. All of which means I might have to buy one of those Victorian folding curtain-things that look like three doors hinged together to get dressed behind.

In completely unrelated news (one would hope) I found myself having to explain Mennonites to my daughter. Which I swore I'd done before already. Nevertheless yesterday she asked me why a bunch of people stood nearby were dressed strangely in old-fashioned gingham dresses and slightly-odd looking suits with a big round hat on. I rejected the, "they're like the Amish - but they like electricity, shopping and sports cars" angle. Mostly because it's useless when you don't know what the Amish are, rather than the fact that is a terrible description. Although I did note that a decade ago the wife and I worked for a semi-retired inventor alongside a Mennonite guy (and with frequent contact with a Mennonite company down the road) who's biggest interests in life were the Mennonite way of life, ice cream and flying airplanes. In the end I started wittering on about how some people believe core, fundamental principles about how people should conduct themselves that aren't the same as how modern-day capitalist America has developed. All of which was somewhat stupid considering there were six of them all trying to cram the massive quantities of toilet paper and Goya beans (I couldn't see anything else past the mountains of that they had) into a Subaru Forester outside the local Walmart. We're bound to encounter them again soon as they're right down the road - so I shall have to come up with a neater description for next time. 

Yesterday at the Salvation Army I landed some pants for my son and a couple of long sleeve shirt for my daughter. The pants are irritating because they are still constructed with the idea in mind that a three year old is wearing a massive diaper. So one pair of cargo pants will never ever fit because they'll be too short before they'd get anywhere close to being tight enough around his arse. But the Sally Army here is ace because it's massive and seems to be catered to by huge numbers of people who buy all their stuff from LL Bean, J Crew or some other high-end stores. The kids stuff is hit and miss - but if you're an adult bloke you would be laughing. The stuff is so good, new or barely warn and well-priced that I honestly cannot stomach buying most stuff new now. My daughter though needed some shirts after managing to grow massively without me really noticing - so no longer fits anything from last year. And I mean she's much lankier and longer (as evidenced by looking at videos and photos of my kids from this week from last year and finding it vey odd that they appear to be completely different children) so needed new shirts. She got a few - but became feverish and extremely excitable about wanting to buy a camouflage sweater (99 cents so who cares). Which I did - then when we got home she inststed I put mine on and her brother got one he has. He wouldn't join in - but I did remember a jacket I have so here's a nice photo of what makes us look nothing like either of our demeanor's actually is.

Lastly, speaking of clothes, right before we left for the school appointment this morning my wife thought it best to ask her daughter if s=what she was wearing (dress slacks and a neat shirt for work) was suitable enough to meet the teacher in. At which point my daughter remarked, "mommy you should wear a skirt." Which she's never asked for before. But then she's never felt the need to also add the warning of, "and try to keep your legs crossed Mommy..." as if it were a constant struggle to remind her mother to keep her legs closed whenever she's around others.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Bunny Tadger

Two things.

1. My daughter and I often deliberately say things incorrectly to be funny. Famously there's Scream Cheese and pretending the house is haunted by a goat. Which is why I swelled with pride when the show Wild Kratts had a honey badger on as it's animal of the day - and yet my daughetr yelled into the kitchen, "Daddy! There's a Bunny Tadger on TV!" If only...

2. This.

I Am The Queen Of Knowledge

You probably don't know this - but I am the Queen of Knowledge.

This morning before work my wife made piña coladas for her and the kids before work. Without the rum, obviously. Although to be honest I wasn't in the room when they were made so who knows. Add the kids were oddly pleasant all morning long so I'd hate to think that rum was the reason for that. I was present right before the piña coladas were made when my son was asked if he wanted a smoothie. He was quickly warned by his sister that his mother was not going to be making a movie. He then told me that his mother had left the room to make a, "poop movie."

Luckily for her I don't believe him. Although she does express unbelievable pride at some of the things she creates (calling through the house for people to come marvel at it) it should be noted that my son is in that developmental stage where he just says, "poop" all the bloody time. So much in fact that even his sister is telling him that it' inappropriate. Whatever he's eating he coyly suggests is poop. If he starts ranting about a story he wishes to convey to other people it inevitably meanders into a story about how there was poop somewhere. It's permeated every moment of his life. Every morning he goes through the same amusing ritual of watching his mother leave for work, then turning around and asking where she's gone. I say, "to work" and he says, "No!" as if that was such a ridiculous suggestion. Not now though - now after I say she's gone to work he says that isn't true and that she's actually gone for a poo. Hopefully not on a movie set.

I did have plans today. Mostly cleaning and Getting Things Done. I haven't done that. On the other hand today I did draw a picture of a school bus filled with bum cheeks. And then later I dressed up as a heavy metal wizard and pretended to go into anaphylaxis due to a lake spiked with Wiggle Powder. Which while completely silly does actually feel worthwhile. My wife always talked about being brain-dead-bored for the four years she stayed out of work to be a stay at home mother. I don't get the bored thing at all - I can pass the time without feeling that. Instead I get the creeping feeling that I might not be doing something worthwhile. So I'll see social media updates from friends who are always at the zoo, or Mom's clubs or some such amazing adventures. Then I'll think that because all I've done that day is play in the back yard for 40 minutes, not been allowed to get any housework done because my son just wants me to sit down near him while he shouts at his trains and just made up stories about how I'm a superhero with a suspicious penchant for cheesesticks that maybe this is all a waste. But that's just as worthwhile. I have been avoiding a lot of things like the zoo mostly because my son is in that difficult age=phase where he can be a massive arsehole for no good reason. But I have also noticed that if I cna get them very, VERY busy then they are both completely wonderful. But it requires a lot of attention. More than I'm giving them right this instance - but then I gave them loads all day long and they wanted me to go away while they built things with blocks upstairs. Add I'll hear from other friends who's entire relationship with their child is 20 minutes a day after day care. Which sounds awful. But the fact that I'm not getting adult stuff done - like sorting out the basement or hanging a door - still nags at me. But the girl goes to school in three weeks and then I'll have insane amounts of time because having one kid is such a huge difference to having two. 

My daughter did assert the other day though that her mother is the Queen of Knowledge. She denied that and said I was. My daughter quickly reminded everyone that I can't be and that I have to be the King of Knowledge. So just to be a twat whenever we are playing games now I'll bring it up. So the last two days she's put on a jester's hat, wears a plastic ring and waves a cheap, water-and-glitter filled wand and claimed to be able to do magic. She'll fire off a few spells - complete with the lines, "A la Ka Zee! A la Ka Zam! Daddy will turn into Mischief Man!" (that's a real one). Which I might play along with. But to be honest half the time I'll emerge and claim to be the Queen of Knowledge, much to her chagrin. She didn't like it when I yelled, "The Queen Of Knowledge declares that Only Fools and Horses was never, ever funny. Ever!" And then she'll get grumpy. Hopefully because she believes I'm really the King and not because she naively believes that Delboy falling through a bar is even remotely amusing.

In future news you'll all be glad to know that my children have decided what they want to be for Halloween. My daughter had initially wanted to be a naff ghost - as in a just a sheet. She genuinely thought that was a good costume. And although I'm happy to do whatever she feels like that did seem like we'd be judged as parents as clearly not have bothering to get her a costume come Trick or Treat time, and just chucking a sheet on her. But then a few days ago when I asked her I asked her what she wanted to be and she said, "a bumbrella." Which would be a phenomenal costume. But then a few days ago she realized that she wants to be Super Kitten. Which is basically her wearing her pajamas with a cat on them, but also having a cape on. She also wanted her brother to be her, "sidecake" Little Kitten. Then she decided I should be Captain Cheesestick. Which I hadn't thought about - but am now amazingly excited about. My wife is going to make me a massive Cheesestick jumpsuit quite a lot like Bananaman's outfit. Then I thought it would be cool if my son could be Dr. Bonk. But after suggesting that to him he said that he'd rather be something else that sounded an awful lot like, "I want to be a Bandaid." My wife is hilariously been asked to be Super Lady. Which is going to be the worst costume ever. It would basically just be any outfit a woman might wear, but with a cape and her underpants on the outside.

This morning at the Salvation Army we were flicking through the books and there was a Noddy book there. Which is very, very strange to see in the US. Nobody I know has ever heard of Noddy. I thought about offering it as a book my kids might be interested in but it was a coloring book that had been completely filled in (quite why it was there I don't know). But again it triggered a latent thing where - even though I find nationalism to be a strange thing to exhibit (especially as I live in a country obsessed with it) I felt like I needed to but it to represent something historic about my own countries culture. Instead I just Googled it at home and showed the kids. And perfectly someone had made these fake ones that are much ruder and inappropriate - which actually is even more suitable to show how in the UK there is nothing that you can't take the piss out of.

Marvelous stuff.