I spot a gap in the market ….

I’ve been meaning to blog this for ages! Yes, it is what you think it is. I found it on the very amusing and insightful blog of I’m Somebody’s Mother?

In the context in which it was sent to her, it was actually rather sweet, and clearly some powerful juju. But I’ve also seen it suggested as a gift for women who have just had hysterectomies! Hmmm.
So that got me thinking – why stop at uteri? Why not gall bladders, appendices, kidney stones. They could sell them in hopsital shops. I could make a fortune! I could sell the idea to the venture capitalists on Dragons Den. The possibilities are endless …

And this particular organ, of course, has an innate advantage in that, with just a slight adjustment, it could be used as a handy evening bag. Maybe a zip (now wouldn’t that make a Caesarean easier), tie the tubes (ouch) to make the carrying strap. You’d have to worry about stuff falling out through the birth canal, of course…

Be honest with me – this isn’t going to work, is it? And how would you feel if it started to come unravelled? Oh well, back to the drawing board …


Food fights – a war of nutrition

There was a very interesting¬†programme on tv tonight – with which I was completely unconnected. It was all about food. What a rich seam of lunacy the producers uncovered.¬†I’d love to do a post about it, I really would. But since I didn’t have the correct brand of pesto available, i’m having to make an emergency toastie for the one that won’t eat bolognese, so I’ll get back to you tomorrow.

Until then – feast your eyes on this sinister character. Would you eat him? No, I didn’t think so.

Broccoli is scary.


So we went here …

…and I reckon it has the highest concentration of these …

… in the UK outside of here …

And while pretending to read this (which is actually very good) …

I listened in (quite unintentionally, of course) on a conversation between three nannies who came to sit at the same table as me. And I can tell you, it was pretty interesting.

So, if anyone out there is in the habit of leaving instructions for their nanny next to the computer, and has asked her to sort out getting the microwave and the fridge fixed, can I just tell you, she’s feeling a bit out of her depth.

May I also suggest that anyone who uses Ocado should check over their order once in a while. Just an idea, that’s all.

A good half-term, spoiled …

It being half term, and all, I’m taking the kids to London for a few days. ‘What fun!’, I hear you trill. Well, I’m sure it will be, but it would be marginally more fun if we didn’t have a project on architecture to do. Basically, because the twins have the terms of reference you would expect from twelve year olds, this means me telling them which buildings and which architects are significant, taking them to see said buildings, telling them what to point the camera at, reminding them not to put their fingers over the lens, then helping them google for the extra info they need. (I do know this one’s Norman Foster – I’m not totally ignorant – duuuh!)

Oh well, I’m sure I’ll – I mean they’ll be greatly edified at the end of it all.

While I’m at it, I’ll just link back to last half term, ‘cos with any luck, we’ll be back at the Tate Modern. Er – anyone know who the architect was, by any chance?

Glove box gourmet

As you screech from school pick-up to intermediate capoeira, drop one child at water polo and the other at pottery, then swing back again to pick both of them up in time for young masters’ chess, you’ll want to be keeping up your children’s flagging energy levels.

This is why air-conditioned glove boxes now come as standard, and can be the only possible excuse for the development of cheese string. It may also help to explain the increase in 4×4 ownership – basically these cars have become mobile homes, so they have to be enormous.

Anyway, whatever the reason, feeding your kids in the car has now become as much a tradtion as the Sunday roast, but it does present its own challenges.
Creating a balanced, nutritionally sound menu is vitally important, so here are a few pointers to help you provide meals where each and every food group is represented (and can be sucked up with a Dustbuster).

Fruit: Sunmaid sultanas, Fruit Winders, Jaffa cakes
Dairy: Frubes, Cheese Strings, Cheddars, Creme eggs
Carbohydrates: Pringles
Protein: Pepperami, Dairylea Lunchables, Cashew nuts
Fibre: The cardboard it all came in

Serve in a traffic jam, with a warm Fruit Shoot, wet wipes and French verbs.

Absurd, isn’t it? But actually, it’s quite hard not to get sucked into the whole after-school activity vortex. There’s always that fear that someone, somewhere will have found the very class that your precious would have absolutely aced – the skill that would, eventually, have added the crucial extra lustre to their CV, and landed them a job in the City. And in primary school when they have next to no homework anyway, doing a few classes seems a far more constructive use of time than watching endless re-runs of Tracy Beaker – especially when you daren’t let your children play out anymore. Yep, we’ve all been there. I think my darkest hour was the term when my kids did cross-country on Tuesday after school, followed by their swimming lessons, then on to the athletics club we’d waited eight months to join.

We didn’t last long. As the weeks wore on, my feverish scrawl on the family calendar on the kitchen wall thinned out, until we were left with blissful blank space. And time to just be.

Phew! I feel better for having shared that, and I’m slightly consoled in all this by this fantastic post by 8-Centimetres Deluded

That’s way madder than me … isn’t it?

…I can do better!

It’s not until you become pregnant and have children, really, that you realise how very many ways there are of being wrong. And also how very many people there are out there see it as their mission in life to tell you so. Sometimes they’re quite upfront about it – although I’ve never actually seen anyone with the t-shirt – and they’ll tell you right to your face. More often it’s just a little comment, a pause, a raised eyebrow, a tone of voice. Nothing you could really put your finger on, much less call your tormentor on. Passive aggression is the lingua franca of competitive parenting.

I’ve yet to work out what the motivation really is behind someone blithely telling you, just when you’ve let it all hang out in the changing room at the swimming pool that they have no stretchmarks at all, or that their child is sleeping through the night when you’ve just snorted yourself awake moments before your head hits the desk at work, or that their child simply never has tantrums when you’re exiting, red-faced and sweating from a party, with a screeching, scratching, spitting demon slung over your shoulder. What is it all about? It is extreme insecurity that can only be assuaged by making everyone around them feel like shit? Or do they genuinely think they can do anything better than you?

Well, no point tormenting myself with questions that have no answers. I will say one thing, though.
When you witness a really skilled demolition operative at work, it’s quite impressive, in a nasty kind of way. Here, for your future information is a list of phrases that mean rather more than they say, along with their translations:

‘Isn’t it exhausting, running them from pillar to post?’
(But when they’re as talented as my children, it would be crime not to.)

‘It’s so hard to find trousers to fit Seamus. If they’re long enough, they’re far too big round the waist.’
(Because he’s so slim and athletic, unlike your porker.)

‘Lucky you, not having to freeze on the touchline!’
(Cos she wasn’t picked for the team – nyah!)

‘You’re so sensible not to buy a new buggy for each child’
(But I did, because I can afford to.)

‘I love the way you encourage them to express themselves.’
(Don’t they ever shut up?)

‘You are breastfeeding, aren’t you?’
(Because there’s no other explanation for those tits!)

‘You really are a devoted mother!’
(You’ve completely let yourself go!)

See what I mean? This is a competition where everyone is a loser. Personally, I reckon all you can do is rise above it. Take all such comments completely at face value, smile nicely, and move on.

(Unless you’ve got a killer put-down you’d care to share?)