Girlbot in a coma

Things I never imagined spending my money on…

In the Microbe’s words, this hyena is “deadly cute!” and he can barely wait until his birthday to get his mitts on it.  (That and a weird menagerie of Minecraft-related cuddly toys that I will probably end up hoovering up from his wish list nearer the time.)

In other hyena news, I made him cry the other day by reading him a story from African Folk Tales by Alexander McCall Smith, in which a hyena is unjustly killed by a lion. Suffice to say African Folk Tales do not always have happy endings …I had to do some speedy damage limitation.

In girl news, she had a momentous week as I took her to her very first theatre show.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories, in Kingston.


Boy and I went along as chaperones but it was really a late birthday treat for Hubble as she adores the book.

Having wasted most of the morning on fruitless attempts to get her to have a nap, I gave up and lugged the two of them to the theatre and they both seemed pretty excited as the stage lit up…


When the first story started, the entire theatre was filled with delighted shrieks  as a series of brightly coloured puppet animals came on stage. This was followed by a tale of flashing fireflies…

But, alas, they saved the best show for last and, despite my best efforts with a cattle prod and the screaming decibels of 300 delighted 2 year olds, Matilda’s head started to flop and she was utterly unwakeable by the time the caterpillar story came on stage.  So she missed the whole thing.  Bah!

At least the boy enjoyed it.

In other news, the boybot is still very taken with his baby cousin, who is indeed “deadly!” and seems to be the happiest and most chilled out baby I have ever met!

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Sugar and Spice

The joys of Chattenborough #5678:

“Mummy I feel bad”
“Because today I found a slug…”
“…and I caught it and put it in my book bag”
“In your book bag? With your books? The bag I am carrying right now?”
“So there is a live slug inside this book bag?”
“Yes, mummy.”
“Oh, jolly good.”
“I think I should take it to the park and let it out”
*sigh* “Yes. Let’s do that now.”

In other news, I think I might have eaten a funny mushroom yesterday because I am fairly sure I witnessed the inexplicable sight of one of my children dribbling a football across a park with some degree of skill. I’m sure this was a freak incident and normal service will be resumed immediately.

Suffice to say it was not the boy.  His only aspiration towards the world of premiership footballing relates to the milking of minor injuries.  E.g. here he is ‘riding his bike’…

Whereas the girl…

Bless her tiny, gung-ho socks.  She also has moves…


Hmm.  Rather a lot has been going on since my last confession but most of it is lost in a bleary fug that will never be recalled.  First of all the manbeast ran away to Hawaii for 2 weeks, which I took as my cue to wander around in a state of bewildered autopilot, bellowing “BE QUIET!” on repeat and eating nothing but easter eggs and cheese toasties.

Miraculously, though, both kids slept like logs while G was away so I had the whole bed to myself, with neither man nor childbeast to disturb my slumber.  About halfway through the week I found myself skipping out of bed at 6am, with birds and fawns frolicking around me. Is this what life used to be like, before I encumbered myself?  I truly cannot remember.

Once again I was thankful to my lovely boss who was happy for me to do extra-flexible working hours for the duration of G’s trip, so as to fit in all of the school and nursery runs.  Yet another reason to sympathise with single parents who must somehow find impossible ways to make this work on a long term basis.

Post-Hawaii there were birthdays.  A big, fat 50-shaped birthday… followed by a teeny weeny 2-shaped one. Boy decorated a Minecraft geekcake for geekdad and mummy pretended to decorate a cake for Hubble, by sticking bought decorations all over a bought cake.

For Daddy’s birthday we escaped to a posh restaurant and ate 18 courses of tasting menu, until I had to be rolled back outside to the taxi. While we were out, the boy dressed up as Uncle Andrew in order to trick Auntie Jane into thinking that he had shrunk.

For Hubble’s birthday we had a mini-party at the local toy shop, which has a soft play bit downstairs.  There be pics.  There were only 6 children but it was still enough to make me want to lie down in a darkened room and say “ommm” for a long time.  The following day I gnashed and wailed at the horrifying realisation that I had to take her to another party.

Oh, god – will there ever be a weekend again in which neither child needs to be chaperoned to a party?

Boybot has worked out that the next birthday will be his and has duly started asking on a 4-hourly basis how many days until his birthday. Joy.

In craft news, I managed to spend an unlikely few hours the other weekend with my neglected sewing machine. I am working on a quilt top for Hubble, which is intended as a sort-of-but-not-quite copy of the one that Sophie has in the BFG film. I’m having to make it up as I go along, based on low-resolution screenshots from the film (supplied by ladies on the internet who are even madder and craftier and more obsessed than me).

I was spurred on by the fact that we’re getting a new bed for the boy soon, meaning that Hubbs will move into his bed and will require splendid quilty goodness…  assuming I ever finish the damn thing.

Speaking of girlbot, I shall leave with a few of my favourite Hubbleisms du jour.

Too noi, Mummy!  Too noi!!”  = “too noisy!”
(uttered whenever I use the hoover or sewing machine)

Toktik Take” = chocolate cake.
(uttered whenever someone asks Attila the Hungry what she’d like to eat)

Tortie Mummy! Tortie Jay!” = “Naughty Mummy! Naughty James!”
(uttered at bath time, for some reason)

Nother chapcha, mummy?” = “another chapter, mummy?”
(uttered whenever I look like I am about to leave the bedroom)

JJJRRRR!!” = “Grrr!”
(uttered whenever someone mentions bears)

“Jay Chacha-boh” = “James is a chatterbox”
(learned from Peppa Pig. Oh so wise.)



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Why we can’t have nice things #843

The other night I nodded off within seconds of putting on an episode of ‘Legion‘ (I seriously cannot stay awake for that trippy nonsense) so G ended up spending 8 hours on his iPad instead, building an extravagant Minecraft residence to show off to James in their shared world the next day.

The following morning… *

“James, are you logged in?”
“Come and see this house…”
“Just a minute…”
“Why? What are you doing?”
“I’m just making an iron pickaxe”
“What? Why? Why do you need a pickaxe?”
“So I can mine in the house!”
“What? No! Stop it. Do not mine in my house!”


“James… why is there a hole in this wall?  What has happened to my swimming pool? Why are there blocks of gravel all over the place?”
“I’m just blocking off the water”
“What? No! Stop it. I need the water! That’s the source that’s feeding my swimming pool”
“I”m just getting rid of it, Daddy”


“James, don’t use my redstone.  I’ve hardly found any redstone in this world and I’m saving it and don’t want it wasted”


“James, what has happened to my redstone???”
“I made some torches from it, Daddy”

Reader, I lolled.

In other news, it is Easter and we have returned from a fabby holiday in our Hobbit pods in Cornwall and the children are full of chocolate and Matilda has a new black sheep that she ADORES.

…and she has just stolen the hot cross bun out of my hand as I type, because Mummy can’t have nice things, either.


For anyone who has seen the Lego movie, G is playing the role of Will Ferrell.



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Another block in the wall

Erk. I’m afraid I might have ruined the boy for ever by breaking the seal and letting him have a go on the PS4. My pasty-faced little stripling is now well on the path to Morlock Land.

It all started fairly innocently when I let him have a little run-around on Minecraft (which is, frankly, rubbish on the iPad and 100 times better on a proper gaming device). The side effect of this was daddy joining in (by spending 48 solid hours in a horizontal state, building cuboid residences “for the boy”).  Now they’ve set up a shared world on our computers…  and the last time I took the boy to the allotment he came home with what he believed to be pockets full of “genuine redstone”.

Then, on Sunday night, I let him have a go on a PS4 demo of Lego Jurassic Park.  Love at first bite!  I’ve promised him that he can play the game properly over the Easter hols and now only the tortured souls in Dante’s 8th circle of Hell know the agony that the boy is going through, having to wait 5 WHOLE school days to unwrap the game of delights.

Pleeeeeeeaaaassssee, can I just play for five minutes, Mummy!

Poor Microbe. But there’s really no time for that sort of thing during the school week. As far as I’m concerned, if he wants to spend half of his school hols sitting in his PJs solving dinosaur lego problems on the PS4, he can be my guest.  I’ll just have to try and remember to air the Morlock once a week.

I started compiling a list of Things To Do In The School Holidays but then I remembered about Other People and promptly crossed out half of my ideas.  If Hell is other people, Hell With Bells On is other people’s children.

The following is my list of tolerable remaining options for sunny days out.  (Er, there may be a slight “gardens” theme going on here):

  • Ham House & gardens (includes an Easter egg hunt)
  • Osterley House & Gardens (currently has dinosaurs)
  • Kew Gardens (currently has Moomins)
  • Richmond Park, Twick riverside, etc. (I make these sound more exciting for the Microbe by calling them “nature walks’)
  • Hampton Court (via boat)
  • Battersea Children’s Zoo
  • London Wetland Centre (including walk through Barnes Common)
  • Mummy’s allotment (yes this counts as a “day out”)
  • Auntie Jane’s back garden (while mummy and auntie Jane drink wine)

Meanwhile my bad weather list includes:

  • NHM (as always)
  • London Aquarium
  • Shrek Adventure Thingy (undecided as we’ve not done this one yet and it may be hell)
  • Pets at Home (which runs animal-bothering workshops in the school hols)
  • Horniman Museum (if I can face the schlep to Forest Hill)
  • Duvet days (Hell, yes!)

Boy and I are firm believers in the value of a good duvet day. May they be long and plentiful.

We also have an exciting mini-break planned in Cornwall for three nights, for a family birthday party.  This is where we’re staying… our very first Glamp in a little hobbit house, and Hubble will get to have a proper bed instead of a cot! I’m praying that the weather will be dry enough for a bit of rowing on the lake and an evening around the fire pit, cooking marshmallows. That alone will tick off one of the microbe’s all-time camping ambitions. Fingers crossed…

I’ve told the boy to think of the journeys as “days out in the car”. Worth a try, yes? I’m also stocking up on charger cables and iPad headrest mounts, in the hope that I can lull both children into a 7-hour screen-stupor each way via the power of Peppa Pig and The Lion King on repeat.

Last, but not least, here is a little video that I took of the kidbots yesterday on what turned out to be a deliciously sunny spring day. I swear I could eat Hubble up in one sitting, with or without cream.


PS: Hubble’s new favourite words are “Wow!” and “My!! My!! My!!”

PPS: Ooh – breaking news.  Tooth number two has just flown out amid a tissue load of blood!  Hope our resident fairy has a £2 coin handy…

PPPS: Hmm. I appear to have used the word ‘Hell’ rather a lot in this post.  Has anyone done research into how often the word ‘hell’ correlates with the words ‘school holidays’?

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Highway to the…

*PMT zone*

Sometimes I wonder whether there are any people on earth more annoying than middle class, middle aged parents.  (Obv if you are reading this, I don’t mean you).

I realise I am not saying anything new or surprising here. I’m sure if the OED were illustrated, the word ‘annoying’ would feature, by general consensus, a colour spread of a pair of 45 year old hipster parents from SW London showing off little Mungo’s reading band.

But I was nevertheless quite taken aback by some of the humourless nightmares that exist in our school the last time I volunteered on a stall. If I’d been given a penny for every mum that felt the need to lecture me, personally, about the sugar content of a Fruit Shoot, I’d have had enough money to buy a fruit shoot and hand it, gleefully, to their offspring. #stabby

I shudder to imagine what it must be like for teachers and nursery staff to be on the receiving end of us lot.  Unfortunately I cannot put down in print what my teacher friend has to say on this matter without introducing a level of swearing previously unseen by blogkind.

And don’t get me started on Messiah Dads who volunteer to “help” with something once a year and then want a medal for swaggering in and sitting with their legs a mile apart and talking over all of the women (about themselves) and generally hindering all progress. #doublestabby

I did warn you it was a PMT zone.

Meanwhile G gets into a frothing rage on a daily basis over:

a) nursery parents who push to the front at collection time for little Tarquin and shove the big heavy door splat into Hubble’s face as she’s running to meet her daddy.

b) the 300 lycra-clad mums who are, paradoxically, unable to move at a pace speedier than 1 metre per hour when he’s trying to escape the school grounds and get to work.

Clearly things could be a lot worse.  I mean – I might be the oldest mum in the class but, if we lived anywhere else, I’d be the oldest by about 20 years and G and I would be mistaken for the grandparents. (G kindly reminded me last night that this might still happen when Hubble is old enough to start school. Bless his cottons).

In other news, it is one week until the start of the Easter hols – gargh!  Kindly send alcohol and valium.

*end of PMT zone*

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Diary of a wimpy kid

It is bonnet season!

“Hooray!” I hear you all cry.

The utter despair expressed by one of my fellow mums at this announcement made me laugh… because it was pretty much word-for-word the reaction everyone in my family has to the mention of Sports Day.  I swear, if I ever trace my family tree back to the middle ages, all I’ll find is a kid with ricketts, skulking at the edge of a field and feigning an arrow to the knee. Our genes are screwed. My kids have, literally, no hope.

On the other hand, being the sort of unhinged person who owns 4 different types of double sided sticky tape, the idea of supervising microbe crafts doesn’t usually send me running for the hills.  But it really gets in the way of weekend life. Weekdays are a non-starter for this sort of thing because they’re already fully occupied by jobs and FFS.

And the two days a week in which we have to cram everything else are getting more crowded by the minute.  Today we must find time for three school reading books, spelling homework and bonnet-making…  plus the usual 8 hours or so reserved for undoing whatever evil deeds Attila has committed. (NB: she did this >>> all by herself.  And, no, I shall not be correcting the door.)

My poor allotment has once again been promised “mummy will spend time with you next week”  because right now I have to supervise a boy in the task of drawing, cutting and sticking five “easter platypuses” onto a paper hat.

That and bellowing “GET OFF MINECRAFT!” and “PUT SOME PANTS ON!” and removing 8 million shreds of cut paper from the floor and preventing Atilla from destroying the paper hat.

In other news, I got both kids’ feet measured yesterday and discovered that the boy’s current school shoes are TWO sizes smaller than his feet.  Oops.

Kids’ shoes must allow an awful lot of leeway, because there’s no way I could fit my feet into shoes that were two sizes too small.  As usual the boy’s super-narrow feet meant that they have nothing in stock in his size, so auntie internet is having to step in. I did get some splendid rainbow wellies for Attila though, and a yellow rain coat. I almost want it to rain just so she can wear them.

Or I could just have a nap and let her carry on doing this…  (she has no idea her handset is not connected to anything)




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Hang the DJ

I wish I’d had a recording device handy this morning as I wandered in on the microbe dancing around the kitchen and singing

Hey, I just met you
And this is craaaaaazy!
But here’s my number
Call me, maybe!

Thanks to ‘Sing‘, Carly Rae Jepsen has been added to Echo’s repertoire, alongside Katy Perry, Shakira and the Good Queen Gaga.  I also overheard him on the loo the other day, singing “You mah butterflah, sugar baby” in his best R&B voice.


Because our speakers are hooked up to everything in the kitchen, the boy has worked out that he only has to issue a voice command to Echo and the sound track to CBeebies is instantly replaced by banging choons of his choice.  Hence this morning G walked into the kitchen to find Mrs Goggins from Postman Pat holding a teapot and apparently singing “Rah Rah Ro-Ma-Maaaa!” ….after which the entire cast of the Furchester Hotel belted out Rammstein’s Amerika.

(Hubble didn’t seem to mind.)

The girlbot has reached that stage of toddler mumbo jumbo that’s so full of verbal tics, only her parents have the faintest idea what she’s on about. James is still “Jay“, dress is “Jreh“, bowl is “bo“, all drinks are  “Jew“, except for “mil“, and please is “preeeeee“.   For reasons unknown to me, spoon is “for” and elephant is “achoo” and nothing will convince her otherwise.

Sentences are usually along the lines of  “Mummy, Peppa on, preeeee?”  or the angelic cry of “Bye bye, Bo!“, as she waves at the half-full bowl of cornflakes she just hurled at a nearby wall.  (Why, yes, I do drink,)

My favourite is when I’m in a cafe and my little Aryan baby starts waving at the world and calling “bye bye Jew!”  It’s on a par with Jimmy at a similar age, running around a food hall in York shouting “FORK! FORK!” at old ladies. (You can’t get away with that in Yorkshire).

Luckily the boy’s conversation starters  have improved a bit since then, though he likes to save the most interesting ones for the most inconvenient times. E.g.

“It’s time for sleep now. Night night, lovely“. (tiptoes to door)
“If you went back in time, would everything happen the same way as it did before?
“Er…  well, that’s a very good question”  (returns for long haul discussion)


“Right, I’m off to work. Bye bye, be good!”
“I was wondering…”
“Be quick! I’ll miss my train”
“What would the world be like if nothing ever died?”
“Er, very crowded! Bye bye!!”
“No, mummy.  I mean if nothing died and no animals were carnivores”
“Er… can we talk about this later?”

Groan.  I still haven’t found a convenient chance to bring that one back up.  The trouble with waking hours is that there is Minecraft to be played (aka Microbe New Obsession #101).  I have no idea whether this is just flavour of the week or whether he’s in it for the long haul.  I suppose only time will tell but I am not ruling out making him one of these at some point. We all have habits to feed, after all.

Now excuse me while I slip into a near-coma caused by my horrible offspring, one of whom woke me at 5am to ask if he could have his iPad while the other one sat beside my head for 30 mins before my alarm was due to go off, opening my eyelids forcibly with her finger and saying:

“Mummy?” “Mummy?”
“Mummy?” “Mummy?” “Mummy?” “Mummy?”
“Mummy?” “Mummy?” “Mummy?” “Mummy?” “Mummy?” “Mummy?” “Mummy?” “Mummy?” 

…until I responded with more than a grunt. At which point she said “MUMMY!!”


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