Daddy Finger

Where, in the name of Hell, did this song come from? I swear it didn’t exist when I was little. So how can it be that the Microbe has managed to find a playlist containing approximately 200,000 versions of it on Youtube? I wouldn’t mind so much if so many of them weren’t hideous ‘vocoder’ monstrosities.

And if it’s not Daddy Finger then it’s eternal playlists of Bollywood-style nursery rhymes, where all of the tunes are all slightly off-key and a whole lot groovier than the versions we learned at school. If you type the name of any nursery rhyme into Youtube, I can guarantee that the top ten search hits will be 30-hour Playlists of this nature.

I happened to mention this in passing to my NCT friends the other day and it turns out that ALL of their children are also hooked on these, including another totally made-up one about Jonny Jonny eating sugar. What is this madness?

But – hey – whatever keeps them happy.

On that note, I’ve just taken delivery of the latest crime against interiors for our tiny residence…


Believe it or not, this is the ‘space-saving’ jumperoo. (You don’t want to know what the regular one looks like.)  But bless her little face, eh?  I think she likes it.  Or at least she did for the first 15 minutes.

When I had James I swore I wouldn’t be wasting money on monstrous items of plastic tat for my home. A few months later I swore that I’d sell a kidney for something I could plonk him into where he could amuse himself without a) wanting to be held or b) accidentally dying. Suffice to say – nothing has changed.

Anyway this is just for posterity, to show how it looked before it became caked in dried vomit.

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My act hasn’t changed much…

Millybags had her first outing today wearing a hat that I made from the leftover yarn from one I knitted for the Microbe at the same age. It’s almost the same hat – except his had stripes + tassels and hers has fair isle + pom-poms.

Anyway I couldn’t resist another round of sibling mugshots. It’s fascinating to see how they share some features but differ in others…




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There was a little girl…

I think Mildred Hubble might be the best baby ever. We had a lovely lie-in this morning until almost 11am!  Admittedly I’d fed her at 4-ish and 8-ish but that long morning doze was sweet.


She’s three months old now and I must say she gives me no trouble at all. However much I like to pronounce “Mildred Hubble you’re NOTHING but trouble” I can’t back it up with many facts. Her worst crime is a built-in siren that activates the nano-second my dinner is ready. Instant Waaah O’Clock every dinnertime. On the dot. But, other than that, she’s an angel, really.

I’ve not had her weighed for a while but she still appears to be a thriving little Tillytubby. Alas, the poor love is currently going through that unfortunate hair phase in which they develop a circular bald patch at the back from lying down so much. This, as pointed out to me the other day, makes her look like Mel Smith. Poor Mildred. There’s nothing I can do with it other than hide it under hats.

Oh but she’s so cute though…

That vid was her first go in the tippie-toes doorway dangler and she looks hilariously tiny when she’s standing upright.

The boybot, meanwhile, has commenced his last week of nursery – yikes! Once he starts school he’ll be doing a much shorter day and I’m going to have to find ways to tire him out for an additional 3 hours each day. God only knows…

At least conker season is coming up. He seems to have developed conker fever about 6 weeks too early this year, thanks to the profusion of early windfalls in the park at the end of our road. He’s already filled a little box with soft, underripe ones that he makes me open for him with a penknife and I can’t do a load of washing any more without having to check all of his pockets for a daily haul of conkers and pebbles and other random finds.

G and I have decided not to book him onto any karate classes just yet. Instead we’ve signed him up for a Saturday morning drama and music class that starts in late September. They’ll be doing a winter show loosely based on The Nutcracker, which sounds like fun.

He’s been having a ball with his daddy lately, thanks to a concerted effort by G to organise James and Daddy activities – such as weekend swimming – while I’m busy with the baby. I get a bit jealous sometimes when I plan fun things for them to do without me and Millybags… e.g. here are some pics of them in the WestEnd the other week, as part of a boys’ theatre trip…

Next week we’re all off on a little holiday to Grandma’s before school starts and planning a day out at Longleat en route. Hooray! The microbe has been anticipating this safari for so long, I can’t imagine how it can live up to his expectations. He’s probably convinced himself by now that he’s going to see an endless succession of obscure things like sloths and pangolins and platypuses. I guess we’ll wait and see…


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There’s no J in Team

Dear Blog, I am in a state of dither regarding the microbe.

Let’s start by stating the obvious: my son is not sporty.

Neither has he ever been a team player, the contrary little bugger. Even at Gymboree classes, all those years ago, I used to find myself sitting in a circle of mums, singing and puppet-miming to an empty space, while my baby crawled away by himself and investigated the contents of the cleaning cupboard.

Anyway last weekend he went for an informal kick-around game of football in the park with a group of nursery pals, organised by the strapping sort of dad who owns a whistle and is not afraid to use it. The microbe skipped off happily enough to the park, clutching a tiny football – but reported afterwards that he didn’t enjoy it very much because another boy kept taking his football off him. *

Which brings me onto the second point: my son is not terribly robust.

He doesn’t get into fights. He is the sort of boy who cries if a gnat looks at him the wrong way. Suffice to say I long ago discarded any notion of enrolling him onto one of the many rugby or football classes round our way.

But – here lies my dither – I am pondering whether he might benefit from karate lessons. G suspects he won’t last 5 minutes and he may well be right. My brain can’t decide whether it would be a life enriching experience or a form of advanced child abuse. There is a local class for 4-6 year olds that has spaces…  I suppose I could take him for a trial session and see how it goes.

On a far less dithery note, we are agreed that he would definitely enjoy a music & drama class – so we aim to find a weekend class for him when the school term begins. Who needs sport when you can be fabulous, eh?


* G told me that the boybot was not alone in failing to enjoy the football – apparently several of the other boys had strops and/or wandered off and refused to play as a team. I reckon Captain Whistle might need a stiff brandy before kicking off this weekend’s shenanigans…  

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I would not, could not, with a goat!

I think this baby wins at sibling schadenfreude. The other day I was ranting on at James about something or other and happened to glance down at her face, mid-bellow, and saw a look of pure, unadulterated glee.

She’s exactly the same if I bellow at one of the cats. Purest glee.

And she’s not fussy about who’s being raved at. I noticed last night that she couldn’t keep the grin off her face when I was reading Green Eggs and Ham to the microbe. (In your face, Sam I Am!)

Alas, when it’s her turn to be raved at, the poor love has to put up with being the last name that comes to mind, even behind the cats. G and I find ourselves bellowing “Oh DO give it a rest James Harriet Matilda!”  (Generally she’s very good but we get treated to histrionics every now and then for no discernible reason – hence I suspect latent diva-ish tendencies.)

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Put on your black shoes and stomp the blues

Good evening all. The manbeast is in the pub and both microbes are asleep so I’m popping in for a brief ramble before I nod off in my chair.

After our recent spate of sad family news, I’m glad that life is uneventful right now. My major achievement of the week is that I’ve finally sorted out James’s school uniform. It’s been on my to-do list for a while. G and I sniggered when we saw the instruction to book an appointment at Stevenson’s, the school outfitters. How very 1950s! We half expected to be met by a dapper little man with a tape measure round his neck and be sent away with a parcel of brown paper and string.

As it turns out the reality was a scene of chaos and a shop staffed entirely by emergency teenage temps dealing with half of SW London descending on them the month before school starts. (The one who served me was having girlfriend problems – apparently it was important that I know this). Anyway the Microbe tried on a couple of things but, as most of the garments come in very broad size categories, it seemed a bit pointless and I just went with the obvious sizes.

I have no idea how many of everything it is normal to buy. I’m used to him coming home from nursery every day caked in paint and grime and dinner and general child-filth so I have no illusions that he’ll be anything other than a foul grubling at school. In the end I decided to get three of everything and we’ll just have to see how heroic our washing machine is feeling on an average week.

As usual the trousers are gaping on his skinny waist, despite being elasticated. I’m also going to have to shorten them a bit before he starts and I’m dithering about whether to sew a hem or use Wundaweb.  Ideally I want to be able to let them down again when he grows without leaving a visible crease. (I may have to canvas mum-opinions on this matter).

Then I got his feet measured for school shoes and discovered, as ever, that he has weird narrow feet in a size that nobody ever stocks. Luckily there was one pair of tank-like, reinforced clod-hoppers that fit him, so we bought those and I was aghast at the price – and then I remembered that I’m probably also supposed to buy some sort of gym shoes. (I’ll have to check the school paperwork again and take out a second mortgage).

In less bank-breaking news, I also found the time to mooch about in Waterstones and a few charity shops and scored a brilliant stash of bargainacious and seemingly brand new children’s books. I’m more than a little obsessed with children’s books and can easily lose half a day reading blogs about them or surfing Goodreads and Amazon or watching video demos of astonishing pop-up books on Youtube. Having James gave me an excuse to indulge my habit – but now that I’ve got two to buy for it might just send me over the edge.

Anyway… today’s score included some lovely illustrated hardbacks, a pristine Seuss, several animal-related story books involving sloths, emus, narwhals, tapirs and other microbe-bait and a fabulous untouched copy of The Gruffalo’s Child where every other page is a jigsaw. I also picked up some batteries that fit my pop-up Aladdin book that I’ve had for years but Microbe is just about old enough for – so now, as well as the splendid pop-ups, it plays music and makes atmospheric sounds when you turn the pages.

One of the charity shops had a cache of brand new beanie-baby animal toys in the window, all with tags still on and I managed to pick up an anteater, a platypus, a musk ox, a robin and a snake. The Microbe saw them as I was buying them and almost fainted with desire but I’ve told him that he’s going to have to earn them as rewards. G and I haven’t decided what his new goals will be but his current reward chart for keeping nighttime pull-ups dry has had its day so it may be time to move onto some behaviour- or chore-focused goals. (He wants that anteater so badly I reckon we might be able to get him to do our tax returns and knock a few tasks off our DIY list).

As for the girlbot, she’s as rotund as ever and is a cute and cheerful little monkey when she’s not bawling for milk. She’s gradually sleeping for longer between feeds at night and I’ve had some very cuddly, idle days with her this week. Lately she keeps looking up at me and smiling while I’m feeding her, which is adorable but causes her to get sprayed in the eye.

Nicknames are accumulating at the expected rate. For some reason Tilly has not taken off at all and most of her monikers begin with M…  Milly Monster, Milly MonkeyMatilda Munchpants, Milly Moo, Moaning Matilda (sung to the obvious tune –  also Whingeing Matilda). On Friday someone came up with the portentous Fatty Matty on account of her comedic girth. (Oh Child – how did I not predict this one? You’d better brace yourself for school).

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The Graduate

Yesterday G and I attended what might be, in equal measure, the cutest and daftest event ever. This was James’s graduation ceremony from nursery…  with mortar boards and scrolls and everything.


Apparently this sort of thing is all the rage at nurseries these days and the boybot had been ridiculously excited about it, counting the sleeps in the week running up to it. Hence on the day G and I had near-meltdown levels of excitement to contend with.

As might be expected, the event consisted of a sea of grinning parents holding up iPhones and SLR cameras. The kids did a song and dance show and the nursery had prepared some really sweet things, such as a photo slideshow of them throughout their years at nursery and a video compilation of them answering questions about their parents in an amusing fashion.

My favourite part was when each child stood up in turn and showed a drawing they’d done to illustrate what they want to be when they grow up. I think at least five of the boys must have been in cahoots – apparently they all wanted to be builders “because I like building things“.

True to form, our micro Chris Packham stood up and announced “When I grow up I want to be a Safari Keeper because I love sloths!


Rather alarmingly, every single girl, bar one, announced that she wanted to be “a mummy” when she grows up. Hmmm. I have no idea whether this is nature or nurture in action. The other girl – a particularly bright and confident child whose mother radiates an air of educated feminism – announced that she wants to be “a fairy princess“. Lord alive… what can you do?

Still – it was a fun day and the kids all looked like they were having a ball. I am really very sad that James is going to be saying goodbye soon to all of these friends that he’s known for years, not to mention the teachers that genuinely love them. I was keen to capture some pics for James to remember them all by.


Plus this cute little iPhone video…

Later on we took Captain Meltdown to a birthday BBQ with friends and captured this piece of silliness on video too…

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