Thursday, 31 July 2014

How to be a terrible mum - July

With it being August tomorrow, I thought it was worth outlining some of the examples of bad parenting I've managed to achieve in the last 6 months. And by 6 months, I mean in the last seven days. There can be no accusations that I am unproductive.

1. Took the McBaby swimming and forgot our towels, meaning I had to initiate a game of 'tag' to get him dry before giving him a patdown with a tablecloth that I found in the car.

2. Took the McBaby swimming (a different occasion - we've been almost every night since the outdoor pool opened in mid July. Yes, mid July.) I got so carried away with teaching him to kick his legs, and had experienced several meltdowns when trying to get him out of the pool that I might have let him go a teensy bit blue. Cue hurried dash to Cafe Rouge for a cup of hot tea. Which he then refused to drink.

3. Led the poor little guy to believe that his grandad was meeting him in Aldi. The Mcbaby spied the exact same make, model and colour (and year, actually) of McGrandad's car in the car park, and shouted "Grandad's car". I gave him a patronising, "yes, clever boy" before realising what he was saying. To be fair, they may have made more than one model of car in the factory.

4. Went to bite into an apple at work only to discover that I'd picked up the McBaby's tennis ball. Presumably, he and his friends at nursery must have been playing catch with my Granny Smith?

5. Had to let the McBaby "burn out" two back-to-back tantrums in a garage (and drowning out the sobbing by putting my car stereo on) while visiting someone's house. Who would have thought that a two-year-old could be capable of such emotion, noise and pantone-chart worthy purpleness. They were caused by my telling him that he had to finish one piece of toast and apple, respectively, before picking up another. Why must a toddler need to hold one in each hand and then finish neither?

6. Not parenting as such, but just meanness on my part when I laughed rather too heartily when someone who kindly sent me the following emails at work, all within one minute:

"The sandwich man is here - thanks!"

"The sandwich man is NOT here!‏ Please ignore previous message"

"He's here now. Apologies for that last message"

6. More shabiness on my part. There was an interview with someone from our allotment on BBC Radio Berkshire. Quite unnecessarily to my mind, they broadcasted the fact that they had to write to one of their allotment holders to remind them to do something about the weeds. Hmm, I wonder who that could have been. Embarrassed.

I have made it one of my monthly goals (yes, I do have these, although you wouldn't think so by looking at my disastrous life) to improve my parenting and reduce the number of McTantums by 30%.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A day at Chartwell

Quite a few friends are back home in Blighty from Oz at the moment. We met one friend, now with a wife and three children in tow last week; this week it was the turn of my former colleague, now with wife and child.

FC and I used to work together and initially couldn't stand each other. However, we quickly bonded, probably because the dislike was down to us being very similar. We had a great laugh at work and used to go out drinking and partying a lot around Ealing. I found it hilarious that for our recent meet, we should both propose meeting at a National Trust property.

We met at Chartwell; home of Churchill. We met at the café where FC and his family were exceptionally behaved whereas the McBaby just wanted to run around and in some cases, push his chair around. I can't imagine members of the Churchill family would have done this.

The new Landemare café (named after Georgina Landemare, the Churchill family cook for more than 20 years) was lovely and clean with large black and white pictures of Churchill all around and there were some interesting menu choices such as mackerel and orange salad, and colourful sandwiches and cakes.

Then into the immaculate rose gardens (Built by Churchill for his wife) and woodland estate in the knowledge that it doesn't seem to have changed much. There are expansive grounds, beautifully kept lawns, lakes and koi ponds. Apparently one of the walls was built by the young Churchill himself.

We had a timed ticket for the house, but the McBaby wasn't having any of it. To be fair, it was incredibly hot and crowded in there but at least we had a glance at the drawing room. While FC and his family looked around the house, the McBaby and I headed to the studio where many of Churchill's paintings can be seen and we blew bubbles in the kitchen garden.

Sadly we didn't spy the Chartwell cat in residence but we'll be back to visit Chartwell properly.

Sunday, 13 July 2014


I’ve decided to stop participating in these “awareness” weeks. Who cares that I ate an éclair on National Eat an Éclair day? It’s extra pressure I just don’t have time for. Instead of doing silly things such as Fight the Filthy Fly week, national accordion awareness week, national aquarium month and national adopt a cat day (these are all real ones), we’ve made the most of the sunshine and taken the McBaby to the beach, to London and on a long, long walk around our town.

The National History Museum means that he now thinks he’s a dinosaur; he roars at will and shouts “dinosaur” with glee. MrM kindly didn’t make too much of the fact that while we were ambling around the dinosaur exhibit at the Natural History Museum, I made a trademark stupid comment and remarked upon how strange it was that the McBaby was interested in dinosaurs. “I mean, he hasn’t actually seen one in real life”.

We also went to the Science Museum – you could actually spend days in here, there’s so much to do. The McBaby was most interested in throwing bits of a puzzle onto a floor and lying down on benches saying: “night night”, meaning that anyone that wanted a good look at an actual space rocket had to step over him.

Other adventures included a long walk around our town, over the common and along the canal path. While we walked back up to our house past the church, the McBaby spied a couple of people heading across the churchyard and into a door. He lets go of my hand and follows them. I chase him up a spiral staircase and into the room at the top where people are ringing bells.

I apologise, but they welcome the strange intrusion and allow the McBaby to touch the rope and to watch bell practice. (I seem to think the word is ‘campanology’ – it rings a bell anyway).