Makes me wonder how I keep from going under

Apparently it’s February already…  and I appear to have failed to blog since before Christmas. Oh well, lets just sweep Xmas under the carpet and move on, eh? I have far too many rambles stored up as it is. But they’ll all have to wait.

For now, I just want to pop in and wail, briefly, about the Microbe’s crafty outputs.

I mean… I love that he is crafty. It is precisely what I wished for in a child. Before he was born I remember having vague dreads that I might accidentally get a sporty one and have to spend my Saturday mornings doing ghastly pursuits, like standing in a field watching him play football.

As it is, I got off very lightly on that score. But… dear god. The crafts. I am drowning in them. Does he have to produce quite so much of it all?

He seems to come home from school several times a week wielding abominable constructions made from cartons and old bottles.

E.g. this  (apparently it is a t-rex).

abominable

And, on our coffee table right now is a pile of 30-odd air-drying clay dinosaurs and jungle animals that he wants to paint and turn into some sort of diorama.

Where, in the name of god, am I supposed to put it all?

At least the drawings are 2-dimensional. After we took down our Xmas cards, I came up with the genius idea of leaving the strings up so that I can peg his artworks up on a string high up on the wall.  Which is fine… except that he is currently banging out pictures faster than I can peg them.

So we end up with eternal, breeding piles of coloured paper all over the living room and kitchen, each sheet containing something that might be a throwaway doodle but is, more often than not, a priceless heirloom that is “NOT Rubbish, Mummy!!! I drew that especially for you!!” (Note to self: never let the boy rummage in the recycling.)

So then I had an idea of making a scrapbook. I sat him down and said that, from now on, I would keep a few of his best artworks each week and put them in a scrapbook.  At which point he immediately quadrupled his output, in a bid to fill up the scrapbook in record time.

Sigh.

Hence I am now turning to the great space-saving solution that is the interwebs. Here. for online posterity, is a selection of stuff found in today’s piles that has not yet been relegated to the recycling bin….  you may notice a ‘theme’ (suffice to say, his obsessions do not change).

Solid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frameSolid Picture Frame: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/mat-picture-frame

 

And, in the spirit of fairness, here are two gratuitously cute pics of Little Miss Crazy-Hair. Unfortunately her artistic output seems to involve painting any available surface with orange vomit…  (I shall just thank god that our soft furnishings are machine-washable).

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Mulled whine

Oh god. Christmas is almost here.

Why am I not feeling festive?

Why does my house still look like an Amazon warehouse?

Why is my cake not decorated?

Why have we failed to do any of our food shopping for Xmas dinner?

Why have I still got 10 rolls worth of wrapping up to do?

How will I find space for another metric ton of toys?

Can’t I just crawl into a nice, snug hole for 3 weeks and drink wine and play Fallout 4 and watch back-to-back Xmas special episodes of University Challenge? Oh, those were the days.

Hmm. I’m sure tomorrow is the day that the festive spirit will kick in. In the meantime I am feigning it splendidly. Here is a post in which I pass myself off as some sort of uber-festive domestic lunatic craftatron, in 100% control of everything…

First of all, this cheesy thing happened. We were ‘trying on’ the kids’ Xmas torture outfits before Xmas eve and got a bit carried away…

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It seems to be widely agreed that Mildred has turned into a mini-me. The poor little, blonde, dumpling.

As usual, no sooner blogged than proven wrong – she chose the very day after my last post to become highly mobile. No longer can I plonk her down and find her where I left her… she flips straight onto her tummy and does a sort of roll/shuffle hybrid until she is as far away as possible from the safe place I left her in. Mostly I keep finding her army shuffling under the Christmas tree with her gums clamped around an electrical flex. I suppose we’ll have to get the stair gates out…. feh!

In crafty news, I have – at the 11th hour – finally made Milly-Hubble’s Christmas stocking, to match the one that I made for Microbe. I do love the lining…

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Well that’s all for now.  These 800 cardboard boxes won’t deconstruct themselves…

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Hair brushed and parted

Someone pointed out to me the other day that Mildred looks like a cross between Boris Johnson and Donald Trump.

I’d like to feign outrage, but…  well…

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Poor little Microgirl.  There’s nothing I can do with it.

In other news – for anyone on our card list, I do solemnly swear that I am going to write the Xmas cards tonight and post them tomorrow. (Apologies, Loretta, yours might arrive some time next April). I think this is the latest we’ve ever done it, despite the fact that the Microbe has been busy making them for a while.

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This Christmas has involved more crafting than is humanly feasible. We have Microbe crafts in every square inch of the flat – and he is threatening to make a 3D nativity installation this week while he’s off school. (What, in the name of Ox and Ass, am I going to do with that?)

As an observation, I’ve noted that the boybot’s crafting sessions typically involve an entire Picaasso lifecycle in a day.

For example, he usually starts out fairly classical…

before evolving into the modernist/experimental…
(these two are subtitled ‘Death by Lasers’ and ‘Burlesque’)

and, eventually, the inexplicable…

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Good luck to whoever is getting those.

Well this was really just a fly-by so I am off now. But Facebook has been nagging me all day to share this picture of Harriet from 5 years ago. I suppose it would be rude not to.

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Ho Ho NO!

If I had one Christmas wish this year,  it would be for Father Christmas to kindly absent himself from my neighbourhood and give us all a nice, long break (maybe a few years) before coming back.

It’s not that I object to the annual Microbe conflab on Santa’s knee – it’s all part of the festive fun and so on. But, I swear, from November onwards, we have to evade 30-odd of the grotto-ensconced buggers on every single trip out of the house. They’re in every shop, garden centre, street fayre, school fete, market and place of interest. You’re not even safe at home. They turn up in a blinged-up motor-sleigh and knock on your door. I reckon James must have had 4 or 5 unavoidable face-offs with the jolly old duffer so far – and it has not escaped his notice that every single one of them had a different beard.

As usual he’s been confounding this year’s lot with requests for obscure animals.

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And, furthermore, this business of writing him letters can bog off, too.

Just when ‘Father C’ has compiled more than enough gifts to fill a certain Micro-stocking (including such miraculously obscure items as a stuffed okapi and a stuffed tapir) I discover that a letter to Santa has been penned at school in which Mr ‘Crobe’s number one desire is, apparently, a stuffed camel. A what?? Where did that come from? For the love of god, how is an elderly bearded person supposed to keep on top of this nonsense?

Moving on…

I would like it on record that Mildred Hubble is the most delicious little pudding on the face of the earth. Just look at the little squidgeface…

I think Satan must be storing up a Hellbeast of a teenager for me because, right now, she’s wearing her angel pants most days and gives me very little trouble. (I may well eat my words once crawling and teething kick in, but she’s not showing signs of either yet so I’ll enjoy it while it lasts).

Mostly she just beams at everyone, like the world’s waggiest puppy in baby form. When I walk around with her strapped to my chest I witness an unusual phenomenon in which every passing face softens and breaks into a grin. I think it must take a will of steel to maintain a hard-core grump-face when a baby is gazing at you with such open delight.

Developmentally, she doesn’t seem to be in a mad hurry for anything. I have a feeling the boybot was sitting up more strongly and army shuffling by this point – but I’m afraid I may have been a bit remiss on this score. Second Child Syndrome and all that.  (What is this ‘tummy time’ of which you speak?)

However she’s way ahead of the Microbe on food-related matters. A few few weeks ago we started to make some progress in getting her to take an occasional bottle of formula and she seemed to be taking to solid foods with gusto – but then our household was struck by a 3-week-long lurg-fest and she regressed back to exclusive boobage. Hopefully we can pick up where we left off…

IMG_4032In the meantime, her new hobby is finger-sucking. Not her thumb, but her index finger. Apparently this runs in G’s family and it seems to enable her to self settle in a way that the Microbe never could. Hooray!

One of my mum-fiends thinks I ought to train her onto a dummy instead or she might still be sucking her finger when she’s 35…  (but, then again, I’m not sure it’s any of my business what she does with her index finger when she’s 35).

Right now we’re focused on limiting her screen time because she likes it just a bit too much. I’ve been playing lots of music for her instead but, such is her square-eyed zeal, she still sometimes swivels her head about, hoping to spot an accompanying screen. We save the big guns (aka Youtube nursery rhymes) for those times in the evening when it’s grizzle o’clock and we need to put her down for a few mins to cook/eat/read a bedtime story.

On the topic of stories, I think the boybot’s reading has improved quite a bit since he started school. Amazing really, when you consider the ungodly dullness of the books he’s exposed to – to call them basic would be an understatement, but I assume there is method in it. He’s still an untrustworthy devil as he’s really good at memorising books word-for-word and then appearing to read them at breakneck speed – or just guessing, based on the pictures. However some of his more recent school books have a page at the end where they have to re-read all of the words in random order, which tests whether they’re really reading or not, and he seems to be breezing through these.

I’ll be interested to see how he gets on in the school hols if I give him an unfamiliar book to read each day. I think the ones we’ve got at home are a bit more challenging, too. Lately G and I have started leaving him with a book to ‘read to himself’ after his bedtime stories. Often he chooses a picture book that he already knows by heart, but occasionally he chooses an early reader book and actually seems to read. He has no idea that he is standing on the precipice of a lifetime of joy.

Well I might leave it at that for now – but I expect further rambles will ensue… I have a veritable stockpile of wittering to catch up on.

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Acceptable in the 80s

My favourite sound of the morning was G’s guffaw when the microbe went pitter-pattering down the corridor yelling: “Daddy, will you show me pictures of New Romantics wearing make-up?

This arose from his mild fascination with watching me put on slap. (The boy is now well-enough attuned that I can send him to the bathroom to get a specific make-up brush for me and he actually gets the right one).

Anyway this morning’s convo went like this…

“Mummy, can men wear make-up?”
“Yes, if they want to, though it’s more common these days for women to wear it.”
“I’d like to wear makeup when I am grown up”
“With your lashes, you will be insanely pretty. When I was a little girl lots of men used to wear makeup. Most of my favourite singers were men who wore lots of makeup and had big, flooofed-up hair”
“That’s funny, mummy!”
“Yes – they were called New Romantics”
“Can I see pictures?”
“Go and ask daddy…”

*pitter-patter* etc.  

So G did a Google image search for him, and the first hit was Boy George, at which point the Microbe bellowed

“Nooo, Daddy – I wanted to see MEN!”

Hee!

For reasons best known to himself, the Microbe got up at 5am this morning. I know this because I heard him singing and playing his stir drum in his bedroom. Apparently this is how he deals with insomnia. By the time I got up, several hours later, he had turned on all of the lights and, among other things, had drawn a very detailed picture of a warthog. I would bet money that he also took the opportunity to sneak a look in every single drawer of his advent calendar, which he’s been trying to do for days.  In any case, I anticipate picking up an unhinged, sleep-deprived gremlin by 3:15 today.

So – I have been very remiss with blogging lately. I’ve had all manner of updates and funny anecdotes whirling in my head, but none of them have managed to find their way to WordPress, and have ended up lost in time.

Must do better. So I am planning a big old ramblathon later…

 

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Delayed grabification

Never one to waste a decent pun (thank you, G) I thought I’d mention that we’ve finally got around to providing Mildred with a grab-station (aka one of those baby playmats with lots of dangly things over it).

I thought I could get away without one of these in my house… but then I took her to a friend’s house the other week and she practically exploded from grabby glee when I put her on the other baby’s playmat. Poor deprived Mildred.

Between that and my constant sheathing of her talons inside mitts, I’ve probably delayed her grab-reflex by at least a month. Suffice to say she’s making up for lost time.

In Microbe news, I’d like it known that this boy DOES NOT KNOW HE’S BORN when it comes to glue-related products.

Like most of my generation, I grew up in an era when double-sided stickytape was a mythical TV product, known only to the presenters of Blue Peter. Hence it was nigh impossible to replicate TV crafts at home. I don’t think we even had anything as sophisticated as Pritt Stick.  As far as  I can recall, my childhood exposure to glue was limited entirely to a yellowish liquid called Gloy which came in a squeezy bottle and made lots of mess but somehow failed to glue anything to anything.

None of that for today’s microbes. Thanks to the wonders of Poundland, my crafty little protege currently has access to several varieties of glue and is well versed in the joys of double-sided tape. Left to his own devices I’ll invariably find him engrossed at the coffee table engaged in some project or other with a roll of double-sided tape and my embroidery scissors. He even used it to fix a broken stick the other day…

On top of that, our local Poundland has recently started selling magnetic tape. This wondrous product turns any drawing or lightweight object into a fridge magnet. Like I say… he doesn’t know he’s born.

In other news, we had Halloween…

Of course, I did the decent thing and dressed Mildred as a pumpkin. I am only human.

The boybot dressed up as a bat. And I have discovered that there are no bat costumes in existence that do not include purple flourishes and/or bow ties.

Jimmy and I also made a sort of Halloween nativity pic and two pumpkin lanterns, for which he designed the faces and I cut them out.

Batty enjoyed his annual role as chief door-opener to trick-or-treaters. So far I’ve not had to fend off any pleas for him to go out door-knocking himself – I don’t think the idea has occurred to him yet. (I am currently eating my way through the bucket of remaining sweets.)

In other crafty news, I’ve discovered Crayola Model Magic, which is a strange sort of air-drying clay for microbes which dries as light as polystyrene. Since our local pottery cafe has closed down – I decided to give it a try to see if I could make a baby handprint for Matilda.

As it turned out, there was enough in a 4oz packet to make handprints for both microbes, so I’m planning to frame them together in a box frame.

And, with what was left, James and I made a witch…

We painted her when she was dry on Halloween, which worked out ok except for the fact that the black paint still rubs off onto fingers when she’s played with. If we ever use this stuff again, we’ll need to invest in some sort of sealant or varnish.

In TV news, Mildred remains the most square-eyed baby ever born. I mean – ok – she’d have to be a bit square eyed if she wants to fit in around here but I swear she’s worse than the rest of us. She certainly gets grizzly if she doesn’t get her late afternoon quota of YouTube baby videos.

The boybot’s current Netflix obsession is Go, Diego Go!  (Dora the Explorer‘s even shoutier cousin). Diego travels the world with his pet baby jaguar looking for animals to rescue. As you might expect, Dora no longer gets a look in. Now the boy’s future career aspirations have been upgraded to safari keeper/artist/animal rescuer.  (He is also planning to recruit Matilda into this life plan.)

Well that’s all I have to ramble about for now. So I shall say adieu with a couple of cute pics…

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Why don’t you

Mildred is 5 months old today and has decided that, from now on, water noises will no longer suffice as a magic off-switch. These days, if we desire 10 minutes of hands-free peace, she’ll settle for nothing less than music with accompanying pictures.

Hence she has come into the YouTube fold and appears to be embracing Bollywood’s finest nursery rhymes with the same square-eyed gusto that her brother did. What on earth did we do before smart phones?

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(She’s nowhere near as blonde as she looks in this pic – it must just be the light)

In Mildred’s case, the videos mostly come in useful during The Grizzle Hours (aka 5pm – 8pm) when she undergoes a full gremlin metamorphosis to coincide with us having to feed, bathe, storify & bed the microbe. Not to mention cooking and eating our own dinner.

It makes me wonder whether the organisations who place ads on Youtube realise what depths of venomous hatred they instil in weary parents when their effing ads pop up in the middle of baby playlists? I swear to god – the nanosecond one of Mildred’s nursery rhymes gets interrupted by an advert she goes into a squalling meltdown. (Yes, I am talking about YOU, arthritis charity! A pox on you and all of your sufferers! You shall never have a penny from me. And I might even firebomb your headquarters.)

Anyhoo…

I am pleased to say that, since the boybot started school, we’ve brought his bedtime forward to 7:30, which seems to be working out very well. I can usually get Mildred into bed shortly afterwards, which gives G and me a good few hours each evening to fall asleep in front of the TV. (Rock & roll, etc.)

Alas the girlbot still doesn’t sleep through the night. Far from it. I don’t know where you get these genetically modified babies who sleep through at 3 months. I think the microbe managed it by around 3 years, so I’m not holding my breath…

IMG_2940As for the boy, he seems to have settled in at school with a circle of new friends. Today he has his first after-school playdate with one of them and is very excited about it. He has left me with strict instructions to bring this inexplicable pile of naff toys with me when I pick him up from school, so that he can take them with him to his friend’s house.

I’m very glad that he’s bedding in but (oh god) I will have to reciprocate the playdate, won’t I? This means that I will have to tidy up… (oh god, oh god).

But, then again, someone has to provide the service of lowering the acceptable standard – yes?  Otherwise we’ll all be trapped forever in a horrible labour-intensive pretence of immaculate houses.  I think I have sufficient nobility of character to take one for the team.

We had our first parents’ evening a couple of weeks ago and all seemed to be going well. His teacher gave us a load of bumf about phonics that we can do with him at home …and I have failed to do any of it so far (bad mummy). Why do they have to make kids’ early reading books so achingly dull? Did the UK learn nothing from Dr Seuss? Feh!

In any case, most days the boy’s bookbag comes home full of sticks, leaves and other random stuff that he has found in the school garden. (He is nothing like his mummy whatsoever *cough cough*). I dread to think what state his school books are going to end up in if they have to coexist with that lot.

As for me…  in the 20-minute slots when I’m not required to do something baby- or school-related, I am attempting to satisfy my creative urges with sporadic quilt-making and another knitted baby hat that is experimental but will be cute if it works. God, what would I give for the old days when I could spend long, uninterrupted hours on some crafty pursuit or other?

Next week is half term – which means days and days of Microbe activity to dream up. Hopefully we’ll be filling up some of it with a visit to Grandma’s. And we have a pair of pumpkins and some skeleton gingerbread man cutters and a load of pretty leaves being dried and pressed under a pile of books. Other than that, Bollywood nursery rhymes might have to be on double duty…

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