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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Ah, the joys of World Book Day.

No matter how much you admire it in principle and wallow in the whimsy of children’s books, nothing quite prepares you for the morning itself, in which you have to get ready for work, whilst also getting two children into fancy dress and making packed lunches and badgering your older child to fill in the world book day homework sheet that you forgot about, despite 87 reminders.

img_2258The best part is when you suddenly remember that you are still in your pyjamas and you have to deliver one of them to school in 10 mins.

And all to a soundtrack in which one of them is screaming and the other is saying “MUMMY, DO MY FACE PAINT!” on loop (since 6am, when he first prised your eyes open to remind you).

I also like the part in which one of them runs away from you every time you try to get the obligatory money-shot for Facebook…

Oimg_3797r has a teary tantrum at the snapshot moment and tears off their cape and throws their basket across the room (because you ill-advisedly put scones in it to take to nursery, in an attempt to be really good at WBD and the world’s twee-est mum, but you forgot that your daughter is The Cookie Monster and naturally wants to EAT ALL THE SCONES and will fly into a rage at the denial of scone-munching).

Ahhh….  dreamy days.

But nevertheless here are some photos that make everything look perfect.  Taken on the stairs for the sole reason that every other room in the flat is a DISGUSTING TIP, courtesy of these horrible children.  (Why yes, I am The Trunchbull – lets pretend it’s just for WBD.)

img_3789 img_3815



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Schroedinger’s Dressing Up Day

So… next Thursday is Schroedinger’s Dressing Up Day (aka World Book Day).

How long does one wait to find out whether or not school requires the kids to dress up? I could ask, except the very act of asking makes it so.  (I’m so sorry, nursery parents, it’s all my fault!)

So, er, yes. Thanks to my enquiring nature, Hubble’s nursery is indeed dressing up. She will be going as Little Red Riding Hood, on the basis that we have a basket and I can easily adapt her clothes.  Should school be doing something similar, the boy will be going as The Cat in the Hat, courtesy of Uncle Amazon.

In Hubble news, I say it often but she has definitely reached some sort of cuteness apogee. It totally compensates for her being an evil destructobot.

img_2188She’s so very diddy that I am afraid cannot be held responsible for putting enormous oversized flower bobbles that look like pom-poms in her hair. Also she’s become much more cuddly and demonstrative recently. She likes to hurl herself at our legs and wrap her arms around them. What with that and the way she calls for another “chapcha” at bedtime and the sweet utterances of  “Night night, Mummy! Night night Daddy” wafting down the stairs from her bedroom, we are ded of cute on a daily basis.

This week she’s discovered the Echo dots that we’ve got squirrelled all over our tiny residence. Apparently “Echo!” is worth a try when nobody else is doing her bidding. (This morning I heard her telling Echo that she wanted to be let down from her high chair. Bless).

I tried to get a video of her with Echo the other day but this proved impossible without her emaciated, topless brother getting in on the act. (Um, kindly ignore the clutter pile-ups)

Meanwhile the boy has discovered pop music. He is especially keen on Shakira (Waca Waca) and Katy Perry (Roar) and likes to sing these at high volume whilst walking around St Margarets. Imagine my delight.  I’ve been trying to introduce him to the oeuvre of Lady Gaga, but so far he’s only been receptive to Bad Romance, because he recognises it from Sing (which he loved).

Apparently getting everyone up on the coffee table to dance is now A Thing.


In less cheery news the boy has been scared of the dark ever since I foolhardily read him the opening chapter of a book without checking it first. I’d assumed it would be ok because the book (Mabel Jones) is intended to be riotously funny and features animal pirates …and in truth it made me chuckle quite a bit, but it turned out to be way too scary for a 5 year old as Mabel gets kidnapped from her bedroom in the middle of the night by a silent and evil pirate loris, Oops. I have shelved that one for a few years.

In compensation I’ve resurrected an enormous stack of safe and cosy picture books that we’d temporarily stashed in a crate in the spare room. This has improved things considerably, as he now likes to sit up in bed reading these to himself after story time. I can usually tell when he falls asleep as I hear the THUNK of 17 books falling off his bed.

Matilda (of the much cuteness) has also developed a habit of looking at books while lying in her cot. I have to rescue those after she falls asleep. Otherwise there will be a cry of “HEAD!!!” when she rolls over and a fat board book topples over and lands 0n her sleeping head.

img_1753I’m tempted to move her into James’s bed soon and get a new one ordered for him. She loves James’s bed and we frequently wander upstairs and find her sitting in it all tucked up drawing or reading a book. Adorabubble. The down side is that she will become mobile, but you have to suck that up at some point. Also I’m not sure it’s any worse than the current situation in which she stands up in her cot at 3am bellowing “MUMMY!! DADDY!! JAY!! ECHO!!”  until some weary soul lugs themselves up the stairs to get her.

Last, but not least, I hung a few more pictures and an arched window mirror on the loft stairway…  (as you can see, I’m a ‘more is more’ sort of girl).

Hooray for Command Picture Hanging kits. A life saver on walls that conceal a hideous concoction of network cables, electrics and plumbing pipes.

I expect I will change the pictures every now and then as the kids’ interests change. For now I’ve chosen a selection of favourites from their most well loved books, along with a few drawings of my own and by a local artist.

For the top landing I’m undecided but I am considering one or two of Chris Riddell’s Hubble-a-like illustrations from  ‘A Great Big Cuddle‘….


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