Good evening WordPress! Long time no blog, etc…
I’ve been on single parent duty for the last week or so, and it has all gone surprisingly smoothly, notwithstanding the occasional moment of justifiable parent rage. My only major failing in G’s absence is forgetting to put the milk bottles out every single day. Clearly this is man’s work. The milkman’s in for a bit of a shock when G gets back and deposits 36 empty bottles on the doorstep.
We get the manbeast back tomorrow for a 24-hour laundry interlude between trips. Boy and I will have to pause our diet of unrelenting showtunes and allow dadmusic back on Spotify.
I’m pleased to say that I’ve thoroughly indoctrinated Thing 1, to the extent that he forced his last two playdates to listen to the soundtracks of ‘Matilda’ and ‘Oliver!’ on loop. I suspect the next poor soul will be subjected to ‘The Greatest Showman’. Thing 2 is also in the early stages of showtune indoctrination, though this is not aided by boy and me singing “How do you solve a problem like Matilda?” at her for days on end.
Answers to that on a postcard, please.
Last bank hol weekend it was baking hot and I decided to take them both to Kew Gardens for the day. After the eternity spent preparing a picnic and making sure everyone was fed, dressed, sun-blocked and devoid of wee-wee, we finally left the house… only to discover a mountain of toys and bric-a-brac lying on our front pathway and in our downstairs neighbours’ garden. (Thank god The Complainers moved out – our current neighbours are delightfully conflict-averse, no matter how much abuse we subject them to.)
It turned out that Hubble had used 20 mins of “quiet time” to throw miscellaneous things out of the living room window. I had to send the boy back upstairs to poke socks and books off the porch roof with an umbrella, in order to retrieve them and get it all back indoors before heading to Kew. I swear if it weren’t for the daily sight of her edible little legs in ankle socks, I’d have sold her by now – for a lot less than seven guineas.
But at least there are moments like this…
And Kew was glorious! Behold another photo of my fake Instagram life…
In book news, the boy has suddenly – overnight – discovered the joy of reading fiction. It’s all thanks to Julian Clary.
Getting him to read his school books every week is like pulling teeth. And, no matter how gripped he is by the cliffhanger in whatever bedtime story we’re reading aloud, he rarely feels the urge to carry on and read another chapter by himself after I’ve left. The books that he reads for genuine pleasure are usually animal fact books and joke books and I take the *thunk* of an encyclopaedic tome hitting the ground as my cue to go up and turn off the reading light.
But, last week, we won a copy of the latest ‘Bolds‘ book by Julian Clary and I’ve never seen such fevered enthusiasm. I read the first couple of chapters aloud, after which he rocketed through the remaining 24 chapters by himself in about 2 days. He’s now gone back to the earlier books in the series to re-read these to himself (and to shout Mr Bold’s jokes endlessly downstairs from bed). He even turned his back on the telly during Eurovision’s finest to read more Bolds. I am delighted!
Meanwhile I’ve started reading ‘My Naughty Little Sister‘ to Hubble and I can tell that she’s feeling extremely conflicted about it. Every story is a litany of Hubble-like disobedience and mischief, interspersed with commentary like “Wasn’t she a naughty little girl? ” and “You would never do something like that, would you?” and she stares up into my face with intense suspicion, radiating an air of She sounds like my kind of girl! and I *know* what you’re up to!
As she has no idea of dates we’ve decide to postpone her birthday by a week so that G can be home for it. Her wish list this year has included rather a lot of dolls and ballerina-related things. I swear this isn’t nurture… though I must confess it has been a secret lifelong ambition of mine to buy a pair of ballet slippers for my imaginary daughter, so I was delighted when the real one actually asked for some.
Meanwhile she’s accumulating an ever-growing army of sinister plastic “babies” with mad hair, whose sole purpose is to lie around naked and to stare at me from unexpected places, late at night.
G is also away for his own birthday so we’re postponing that one too. We shall celebrate double fake birthdays next bank hol weekend. As usual, I have no idea what to recommend when people ask me what he wants, but booze in general seems to be a splendid choice.
Last year I bought him a Heywood Hill book subscription which, if I’m honest, is not the most economical way to buy books, but it’s very nice to get a gift-wrapped book sent to you every month, each of which has been carefully selected by a bookish human based on your specified tastes. I think think they did really well in choosing for G. Once or twice he was sent a book that he’d already read (a risk) but they surprised him quite often with something apt that he’d not thought of. And, on several occasions, he had to rapidly remove a book from his Amazon wish list after it turned up in the post from Heywood Hill.
I wonder if there is a Heywood Hill equivalent for beer or dadmusic… or identical black t-shirts.
Well that’s probably enough rambling for now. I need to go and post the children into bed as rapidly as possible, so that I can cram in 2 eps of Line of Duty before falling asleep in my chair…