Monday, 29 June 2009

"Monday Bloody Monday..."

London is hot.  Not hot as is 'hot' (ie. happening...) but hot as in boiling hot. Apparently this grand old city is in the clutches of a killer heat wave this week.  Now don't get me wrong - it makes a refreshing change from wet, overcast pseudo summer skies - but try getting wide awake, fidgety monsters to bed when it's super bright outside and swelteringly humid.  Not fun.

At any rate, today started off in a shambles.  I'm hoping I've already hit the low point for the day.  It started with Eggie getting dressed in his school uniform and discovering that ALL his short-sleeved shirts are filthy but yet had been folded and put away with all his clean clothes!! (Ummm....Dada....Auntie...Eggie? Who is to blame for this catastrophe?!)

So a frantic wash cycle thirty minutes before school meant that my darling left with a damp shirt which I half-heartedly tried to convince him would probably dry on his scooter ride to school...not.  The poor boy was also sporting the latest in a series of uneven fringes - thanks to a frantic, last-minute kitchen haircut which became immediately necessary when my diary showed that today is school picture day.  

I couldn't have him looking like a muppet (albeit an adorable one) so I tried to trim his hair with Dumpie pulling my arm and trying to snatch the scissors and of course Eggie jerked at the completely wrong moment and now he looks like he's once again gotten a crazy drunk uncle to interpret a 'Hoxton hairdo' but with little success.  He's lucky that he's got such a cute face or he'd be in for a lifetime of bullying at school given his plethora of hair disasters...

The only positive spin I can put on my day is the fact that I am NOT currently where my husband is.  I am not trying to pack up a long weekend's worth of mayhem into a heavy, muddy, overcrowded rucksack, then painstakingly trampling through muddy grounds to a miles away car park to get inside a hot vehicle crammed up against several of some very great, but oh-so-smelly mates (who also haven't had the benefit of a shower for the past 5 or 6 days), and trying to negotiate killer traffic jams for hours before even making it onto the motorway.

You costs.  And since I haven't had any....well here's where i don't have to start paying. Result.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

"Me Like Lady Ga-Ga"

So I've nearly made it.  The husband is due back tomorrow night... assuming he can be scraped out of his tent and piled back into the car for the trip back down to London.  I haven't heard much from him this weekend which means that he is either a) having such a brilliant time that he has momentarily forgotten his status as a father of two and husband of one  OR  b) he's lost his mobile phone again - somewhere in the vicinity of the Dance Tent (which was where I last heard from him yesterday afternoon).

At any rate, it is with some trepidation that I anticipate his arrival tomorrow.  Having taken advantage of a bizarre burst of domestic energy this weekend, I have 'Spic n' Spanned' my way through this place and now it's positively bursting with lemon-freshness.  What my pristine home will make of the arrival of a smelly, exhausted, muddy, sloppy, homecoming hubbie, I don't quite know.

For his part, Egg is most excited about his Dada's return.  He's had no one to play 'Noughts and Crosses' with, or veto his 24/7 playing of the Nintendo DS Lite.  Moreover he's still smarting that he wasn't allowed to go along.

Dumpie on the other hand has developed a rather worrying crush on 'Lady Ga-Ga'; the knicker baring, blond-wigged, rather promiscuously thrusting pop star he has watched on BBC playbacks clearly too many times, and now has absolutely no qualms about feeling up on the telly.  I have caught him twice with sticky fingers on the screen, mesmerised by her gyrating form and declaring, "Me like Lady Ga-Ga".  Oh dear.  The husband is going to kill me.

Actually it might be the bright pink 'Strawberry Shortcake' training pants currently adorning our two and a half year olds bottom that gets me a spousal telling off.  It's partly because they were 'buy-one-get-one-free' and there was just one pair of boys packs left...and partly because I'm mildly annoyed that Dumps has regressed in his potty endeavors and now appears to absolutely delight in his 'legs in the air and being wiped within an inch of his life' pose, which we resolutely reenact several times a day.   So let the boy wear bright pink for his sins!

Maybe it's a good thing the husband is coming home tomorrow after all.  

Friday, 26 June 2009

"Billie Jean Is Not My Lover..."

So Michael Jackson is gone.  G.O.N.E.

Found this out last night as I was stumbling into bed and was still digesting the news of former Charlies Angel 'Farrah Faucet' dying as well.  Very surreal.  Feels like a right of passage somehow....childhood stars drifting up up and away, reminding you of your own mortality and far-flung youth.

Of course to Egg, Michael Jackson doesn't really mean anything.  The only problem he has with the whole situation is that MJ was only 50 years old.  In Egg's brain this simply does not compute.  As far as he understands (and due in part to what I now realise was a very misjudged conversation he and I had some time ago) people live until they are 100 and then they die. Simple as that.

For a child already so sensitive to the nuances of life, it doesn't bear getting further into the whole mortality and afterlife idea as I know Egg will just run with it for weeks and weeks and not let up on the questions until he feels he is satisfied (which if his STILL current obsession with countries traveled to is any indication - could be a painfully loooooong time).

The last thing I want him doing is bluntly asking people who look middle-aged and beyond, whether they are going to die soon or not.  After all it wasn't that long ago that he cornered a kindly old lady in our dentist's waiting room and solemnly told her that she was supposed to be dead - simply because she had jokingly told Egg that she was 'One hundred years old' (sigh).  One of the many incidents I was pleased not to be witness to.

Dumpie came up to my bedroom last night in the wee hours, ascertained that his father was in absentia, and therefore took it upon himself as his God given right to take over the other side of the bed (and part of mine as well) by sprawling vertically across and jamming his fat little toes into my ribs all night. 

At some point he went down four flights of stairs in the pitch dark and poured himself some apple juice in three plastic cups, and brought them back upstairs again, positioning them on the bedside table so as to partake at various points throughout the night and morning when he so desired.

I of course was the conduit through which he satisfied his thirst, and was constantly prodded awake to grunts of, "Me want Appa juice Mama."  I felt like a glorified manservant.  At around 7am he decided that we had both had enough sleep and he peered up close to my face as he does and said, "Wakey-Wakey!" 

I wish I felt 'Wakey-Wakey'.  In fact I am decidedly feeling worn out, stressed and tired.  With a 'to-do list' longer than the illustrious Michael Jackson's string of hits, I simply don't know where to begin.

Hmmm...I wonder what the husband's doing right now?  Beer for breakfast?.....laying in a field somewhere in fancy dress?....Joining the hordes at Glastonbury in breaking out in spontaneous 'Billie Jean's'?  (as was conveyed in a late night text last night)...or perhaps holed up in his tent depressed because he misses his wife and family.

Uhhhh...yeah right :)

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Hi-Ho-Hi-Ho It's Off To Glasto I (DON'T) Go...

In the wee hours of this morning, the husband kissed my cheek and bid me a tentative farewell. This may have been because he was aware I had been up all night with a feverish Dumpie, or it may have been because he was feeling mild (and i do stress mild) guilty pangs for going off and leaving me for five days of frolicking with his mates at the UK's grand-daddy of festivals...."GLASTONBURY".

At any rate, I'd like to point out that I am neither bitter nor pissed off.  I could be of course, and leaving me when I'm already feeling stressed and with a sick baby isn't exactly tatamount to a public display of utter devotion to one's wife....but still.  

I am a big girl and I will handle this like I handle everything else that sucks in my life...I will try and soldier on and get through it.  To be honest, I'm probably a little jealous.  There was a time in my life (actually lots of time) when we had all our adventures together:  riding motorcycles across the Indian subcontinent, working on a Kibbutz, hopping the Greek Islands, chilling out in Thailand, selling encyclopaedia's to an uninterested public (and humiliating ourselves in the process), driving a bright yellow VW camper van all around Europe....I could go on.

Once upon a time we met a most merry Welshman by the name of Dan, in Egypt of all places.  He told us of this amazing festival called 'Glastonbury' which we just HAD to go to, or we might die.  So we high-tailed it over to the UK from Turkey (bringing loads of cheap ciggies and ridiculous hats to sell at the festival) and the three of us jumped the fence and had the weekend of our lives.

Ever since then it has been a firm date in the calendar.  Five days of fields, mayhem, the biggest bands in the world, cider, organic delights, crazy name it.  177,000 people shrug off the worries of their lives and get dressed up and be idiots for a weekend.  You've got to envy them, you really do.

The only time the husband missed one was the year little Egg was born.  I had given birth a few days previously, and if he thought he was going to leave me and our beloved newborn to go and party with the masses, well...he may as well have packed his bags and not bothered coming home.  (I do recall however, he did ever so slightly try the idea on back then, but luckily he was clever enough not to pursue it.)

However for me, ever since the monsters have arrived, I haven't had the pleasure of revisiting my youthful, carefree days in this way.  Maybe it's because I am the mother and I feel more responsible...or maybe it's because if I go back there I want proper backstage tickets and don't necessarily want to plod about like a punter...or maybe it's because when I started making music seriously several years ago I made a vow to myself that the next time I went to Glastonbury I would be playing it, not sitting in a field watching someone else live out my fantasy.

So you see, for all these reasons (and because I am a COOL, LAID BACK, UNDERSTANDING wife - you hear that husband?!) I have allowed my man to go off for a bit, let off some steam, hopefully behave himself and have ridiculous amounts of fun at what he solemnly decrees is his favourite event of the year.

NOTE:  Of course I say this and he's only been gone a mere four hours...i may have ever so slightly a different take on the whole matter in 48 hours...or four days from now...

Saturday, 20 June 2009

We Owe You Auntie Mo

Hurrah!  The party is over...we survived!

Jake's 5th birthday party was a resounding success.  The skies darkened at one point but amazingly never poured down.  Deciding to fork out for an entertainer turned out to be the best brainwave we've had in years, and reaped dividends in terms of overall success.

I must give a big shout out to the glorious Auntie Mo who took frenzied matters in hand throughout several points and led marching bands of little people on loo runs, resided over the most ridiculous game of Pin the Tail on the Dinosaur in which the blindfold was not placed properly leading all but three of the children to cheat, and managed to shepherd 15 children into various activities with good humour despite one child suffering a bloody toe, and another escaping into our bed on the top floor and rolling around under the covers with muddy sandals on....but I digress

There were really only two incidents worth noting:  

One was when I stupidly decided to award presents to the LOSERS of musical chairs in each round.  So of course the music would stop and half the children would race to find a seat and the other half would stand hovering, reluctant to take a seat because they preferred the loser's consolation prize of a sweetie.  Doh!

The other little hiccup was during the last five minutes of the party when I realised to my dismay that all the marshmallows and sweets and other treats lay untouched in the kitchen because I'd forgotten to put them out!  So I frantically raced to the tables, in sight of at least two mum's, who watched with horror as the children dove into the bowls, transferring handfuls to greedy mouths and ensuring a crazy sugar high guaranteed to strike minutes after they left he party.  Whoops.

And of course there are the two dozen giant handmade dinosaur cookies I forgot to hand out, which I painstakingly baked and decorated over three hours yesterday (ever tried to get fragile biscuits in shapes of dinosaurs onto the baking tray in one piece??)

Oh well, they are delicious and go down nicely with the bottle of Prosecco which was immediately popped in celebration as the last five year old left the party today.

We did it...we officially popped our party cherry and now we're going to chill out, drink more wine (should I have confessed that?) and watch a movie.

Whew.  (Could I say that again?)  

Whew :)

One Day to D-Day...

You know that expression, "You children are going to be the death of me!"

Well, quite literally, today I feared for my life when I narrowly missed being fatally whacked in the head by the ten pound weight which came hurtling down the stairs, having been heaved by my uber-strong two and a half year old.

Poor Eggie didn't fare so well, as he was subject to two remote controls to the head, ending in tears and a not-in-the-least-contrite Dumpie casually admitting to the assault.

I do not know why, but today was probably the hardest day of parenting I have yet experienced.  Eggie is somewhat apprehensive about his 15 strong birthday party tomorrow afternoon (like I'm not) so perhaps he was acting out as a result.  Dumpie on the other hand turned into a 'Dennis the Menace' type character, meting out disasters one after the other, so much so, that just as I began to deal with one, another, even more urgent situation would present itself.

He refused to have a nap today, so that might be one probable cause of his absolutely diabolical behaviour all day, but I do remember thinking, "Take a deep NOT commit child WILL regret it...honestly you DO love these children...and no, they are not monsters inhabiting your previous children's bodies..."

The day started with tears and high drama when Eggie point blank refused to dress up in the medieval costume the husband and I had furitively constructed between cups of coffee and with not two threads of creativity between us.  Quite literally.  An old MTV t-shirt, turned inside out, arms cut off and a big messy red cross scribbled on front, paired with one of my silver belts and a poorly constructed tinfoil crown, does not a proper knight make.

Fair enough.   Still, in the end he looked okay....the piece de resistance being my shield made from yet more tinfoil and an old pizza base.  Truly.  Moments later on the way to school the crown and the shield flew into the road and one of them got run over.

You see his school had a medieval parade today and the street was hosting a summer carnival.  So it was with much bemusement that Dumpie and I found ourselves joining the parade by accident to march in the glaring hot sun, waving to equally bemused onlookers as I hoisted my incredibly heavy toddler son a few paces behind my mortally embarrassed five year old.

Anyway I'm off to bed.  The house has been cleaned and decorated within an inch of its life.  True to his word the husband completed all the tasks I emailed to him in list form today (no nagging dontcha know).  My only mistake was not to add more tasks to the list.

I can tell you that I was not terribly amused when half an hour ago having not stopped for a moment all night, I took yet another load of rubbish out to the curb.  I just happened to glance across at the wine bar opposite, and lo and behold, there was my husband casually sitting at a table sipping a cold ale and reading his book.

He's lucky I love him.  That's all I can say.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

"How Do You Solve A Problem Like The Dumpie..."

I don't suspect that having your cleaner catch you furatively spooning up great lumps of diarhorrea from the carpet at 8:30am is a great way of ensuring she stays put.  She's the best we've ever had and I fear this morning's shenanigans have done nothing in the way of convincing her that we are worth the bother.

The morning started innocently enough...a subdued husband bringing up two big cappuccinos before promptly climbing back into bed with a groan.  Minutes later we were bombarded by an icy-toed, rambunctious Dumpie still smelling strongly of fish (more on that later).  We lay in for much longer than is acceptable on a 'school day', but the sun was shining so gloriously outside the sliding doors and I swear I could hear birdsong.  If it weren't for the crushing hangovers we were struggling with, I might have thought we'd been reborn as supporting characters in a Disney movie.

I suppose last night was a bit full-on.  I had spent the day kitchen-bound, whipping up a feast of homemade spinach and feta rolls, a gargantuan pasta salad (which we shall be eating for weeks), and a scrumptious (if i do say so myself) lemon vanilla birthday cake.  The Aunties came round as did some of our friends, to help celebrate the Egg Man's ascent into proper boyhood.  There was much wine, mad chatter and frivolity, and of course Egg finally got his beloved scooter in the end.

At some point I was asked outright by the Aunties why my house reeked of fish.  I couldn't explain it, and just dismissed it as being from one of the restaurants down the road.  They didn't look too convinced and it was only later, during a prolonged cuddle with the Dumps, that we realised that it was not my house that stank but rather my second-born.  Bewilderingly, he was ripe with the overpowering scent of  'eau-de-rank-fish'.

Turns out that Dumpie had gotten into Auntie Mo's uber-expensive pure fish oil gel capsules and exploded them one by one by simply squeezing them between his chubby little thumb and forefinger.  The empty husks were discovered in his dirty nappy bag much later and I fear we are going to have to put up with the smell for quite some time, as last night's thorough bathing did nothing to quell the intensity.

Of course it did take three slightly inebriated but rather merry adults to bath two little boys (thanks Aunties and husband!), but the party carried on afterward and I'm sure we sufficiently annoyed our neighbours into the wee hours to declare the party a success.

I could almost be in a good mood today if it weren't for the fact that Dumpie has soiled the whole house with three 'accidents' this morning and it's only 11am.  Shockingly, he was able to top this morning's multiple diarhorrea explosion by proudly exhibiting  a new party trick (or should I say 'potty trick').

Just moments ago he went M.I.A. and I found him standing next to a giant puddle of wee on the carpet in Auntie's room.  

"Dumpie!  Why?!"  He put his head down, doing his best Princess Di impersonation before confessing,  "Me pull winks out and me make wee wee".

Indeed he did.  So now we are onto the 'Anti-Potty-Training' agenda whereby he lifts his 'winks' out of his pull-ups and wees one the carpet before placing it back inside.

Well, at least he's got the whole urinal thing mastered for later on.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

A Message to My Boy...

"Happy Birthday little Egg...can't believe you are 5 years old today.  You were so excited about it being your birthday that you arose around 5:30am and came (as per instructed) into the 'Mama-Dada-Bed' for some early morning cuddling and a brief discussion of how the day's events might unfold.

I know I had promised to get straight out of bed when you woke me up and get down to the hot griddle and whip up some pancakes for you, but really, I should have inserted a clause about it having to be at least 7am!  So I think you took yourself downstairs, grabbing a groggy Dumps on the way, and settled down in front of cartoons with your beloved Nintendo DS Lite (which has of late become like 'Kiddie-Crack').

I excitedly showed you your packed lunch, waiting for squeals of excitement, but instead your big eyes got watery and you expressed concern that it was too much food and you'd be last in your class finishing again. As per your request I removed the giant chocolate chip cookie in bewilderment, wondering how I managed to produce such a sensible, non-sweet-toothed-addict for a son.  (Perhaps it was due to the fact that I uncharacteristically hated chocolate and sweets when I was pregnant with you and instead feasted on fruits:  green grapes, clementines and pomegranates being personal favourites).

You opened all your cards this morning from well-meaning friends and family, and excitedly built up a nice contribution of cheques and banknotes to deposit in your bank account.  One day you will be so grateful for this when you have built up a nice little nest egg to help with further education (and No Egg, you will NOT be allowed to spend the money on a motorcycle and tour India like your father did).

Right now your little brother Dumpie is sitting on the steps outside, quietly singing to himself. He is practising his own unique version of 'Happy Birfday' to sing to you later.  He only does the one line before it goes off into some strange tangent about 'Nannies' and 'Be-Bops', but boy does he give it great feeling.

Your little brother was so NOT amused this morning when your beloved 'Magic Plant' once again (a sunflower in this case) produced a chocolate birthday lolly for you and not for him.  He tried to relieve you of it but fortunately you were canny enough to take yourself off to the kitchen pronto and gobble it down before he downright wrestled you for it (and would have likely emerged chocolate-covered and victorious).

You are such a gentle big brother Eggie.  You let Dumpie sit on your lap in the bath, even though there is no logical reason why he would want to do share your small single bed with him on occasion, even though it is cramped, he hogs all the covers and insists on bringin in about a dozen toys with proffer your lips for unwanted kisses when Dumpie is feeling particularly 'loved up' and needs to spontaneously express his brotherly affection...and you (usually) handle with good grace the immense disappointment you feel when he comes barreling out of nowhere to knock down a block tower you have painstakingly created.

At five, you are a kind, gentle, sensitive and thoughtful child.  You have huge luminous eyes which magically sparkle when you smile, and such pretty features that many people assume you are a girl (and not just because I let you wear your hair 'longish'!).  People have been trying to bully me into cutting your hair for years now, but your silky, golden tresses really suit you and make you look like a little doll.  I can't bear to have your hair shorn and expose that adorable little 'magic forehead' for all the world to see.  It is for familial intimate kissing and stroking, and makes you look like one of those 'Precious Moments' figurines.

Oh Eggie you are SO loved.  Your current obsession with calculating how many countries you and everyone you speak to, have visited, is rather endearing.  You've recently learned how to play 'noughts and crosses' with Dada and are getting so tall and grown up these days.  You have been clamoring for a 'grown up' scooter for ages now, and I'm happy to say that tonight after your (favourite fish n' chips) dinner you shall be granted your wish.

Happy 5th Egg are a star!"

Love 'Mama-Bear' xx

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Birthday Bound

This is my life at present:  I have 32 homemade vanilla cupcakes to bake, a super-duper-scrumpdiddlyumptious double-layer 5th birthday cake to concoct, various foodstuffs to prepare for tomorrow night's dinner for Eggie and family/friends, and of course a giant 5th birthday party to arrange for this Saturday - when we shall be overrun by 15 excited little people and an especially hired entertainer.  Makes me want to go back to bed just thinking about it.

Birthday parties are a big deal in our family.  (Well, the husband would disagree but he has no say in it - not really.)  My sisters and I grew up with the most fantastical parties, thanks to two of the best, most thoughtful parents who did everything in their power to make the day as magical as possible.  I have SUPER big shoes to fill, and secretly, I think I lack the energy and attention to detail which they possessed.

Egg's day will begin with him running excitedly out to the terrace to check his magic sunflower and see if once again this year it grew him a special birthday chocolate lolly.  It will have :)

Then he'll have his favourite breakfast of homemade blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and whipped cream, and scooter off to school carrying a special 'birthday lunch' comprising his favourite things:  an M&S cheese and celery sandwich, a bag of salt and vinegar crisps, and a giant chocolate chip cookie.  (I shall also flaunt the school's 'no chocolate' rule and include a Reeces Peanut Butter Cup, as they are his most favourite treat.)

Somehow I shall have to cart one excited 5 year old, one jealous 2.5 year old sibling and 32 daintily-iced cupcakes up the few blocks to school.  Upon returning home I shall immediately don my trusted and true apron and bake a giant birthday cake (I have been instructed that it must be 'Vamilla' with 'Vamilla' icing) and prepare some mini spinach and cheese filo pastries and a giant pasta salad.

By the time Eggie gets home from school I shall be imbibing the first of likely many glasses of ice cold pinot grigio and making myself presentable to greet the family and friends coming to celebrate the Egg Man's 5th Birthday.

Dumpie is beside himself with excitement and has even found time (between potty training himself) to practise singing 'Happy Birthday' to his brother.  He is keen to point out however that his birthday is coming and that it will be in London.

Yes Dumpie we know...and we can hardly wait (sigh)...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Morning Glory

You know how sometimes you cling to the smallest but nonetheless meaningful rituals to get you through the day?  Well every morning, I get a tiny burst of excitement as I hear the sturdy little footsteps of Egg clomping upstairs to deliver my morning cappuccino.  The husband is far better than I about getting himself up in the morning (save weekends when it all goes to pot and I am left downstairs in the apocalyptic kitchen trying to wade through to the fridge and conjure up something breakfast like while he lies in bed silent, immovable and immune to the random shrieks and screams that filter upstairs...)

Anyway I digress.  Pretty much every morning I wait for the husband to depart our third floor bedroom before painfully opening one eye and surveying the mountain of clothes piled up on HIS side of the room.

"Get me some furniture then" he retorts whenever I draw his attention to the depressing monstrosity which appears to gain in size and stature every time i look at it.  He has a point...

The dj on the radio is blethering on about something or other and often the unmistakable strains of Dumpie practicing on his (loud) xylophone can be heard from the floor below.  Soon though I know Eggie shall walk through the door, lips pursed in concentration, bearing a big steaming mug of my caffeinated morning elixer.  

He is usually not very successful at accomplishing 0% spillage, and so, a short while later as I make my way downstairs bearing mug, the husband's water glass from the night before (which he ALWAYS forgets to bring down!), my laptop (i sleep with it dontcha know), and other assorted accoutrements collected during the journey down, I am never quite sure whether the brownish spots on the carpet are:

a) spilled coffee
b) bits of melted chocolate
c) 'bum-prints' from the Dumps who is still potty training himself

Which brings me to my final note.  I HATE POTTY TRAINING!!!  

I do.  No matter how much I adore the little monsters, there is just something fundamentally wrong about cramming my fingers into greasy little cavities to extract bits of feces whilst getting some on my newly manicured nails, clothes, and even my hair (yes, it has happened).

I used to do the 'scratch n' sniff' test, bending down to ascertain the origin and subsequent method needed to remove said stain from carpet, but these days I just make a mental note to come back upstairs with my heavy duty carpet mousse at some point, drown the stuff in it and hope for the best.

In fact that's the way I seem to be living my life these days.  Whether it's effective is not quite clear, but the days do roll forward with a reassuring predictability, and we're all still here.  Ever since I purposely hid my 'Daytimer' with all it's depressing to-do lists, things seem to be going along more smoothly.

What I don't know won't hurt me....right?  (Tell that to the librarian regarding my overdue library books....)

Friday, 5 June 2009

My Life...Poetry in Motion...(Not)

You know sometimes my everyday domestic life is littered with so many hilarious moments that I am too busy laughing and living to record them all.  This has been one of those weeks.  I don't know what it is, but there is something so hilarious about 2 1/2 year old Dumpie these days that I wish I could freeze him in time and keep him this age forever - if only as a guaranteed source of constant humour.

I made the mistake of getting angry one day and saying, "Mama has had a bad day...such a BAD day...urghhh!"  Both boys looked solemnly up at me and Dumpie said in a quiet whisper, "You bad day Mama?  Ahhh..."  That of course broke the spell and I burst out laughing - bad mood disintegrated by the utterance of a toddler.  Ever since, Dumpie has been preoccupied with having a daily recap with me about the kind of day I've had, 'bad' or 'good'.  He usually asks me late afternoon, and purses his lips when he does so, tilting his head as if to establish a warm intimacy and get me to reveal my true feelings.  

Another thing Dumpie likes to do is keep a daily track record of his own behaviour.  You have to admire the little chap, for nine times out of ten when I query, "Have you been a good chicken or a bad chicken today Dumps?" he thinks for a moment then (usually) blurts out, "Naughty Shishken" and grins. He's not wrong.

The other day was definitely a naughty day.  My lovely sister-in-law in Canada had just given birth to a baby girl and I had bought a beautiful card to send her.  That evening the husband asked (in slightly disgusted fashion, leading me to believe that he might actually assume that I'M responsible for such behaviour), "Is there any reason there are cards and magazines on the roof of the kitchen?"  

Incredulous, I ran upstairs to the third floor, peered over the balcony, and sure enough, there on the shingles lay a magazine and...the pretty card I'd bought to send my sister-in-law (sigh).   I won't even get into the overturned pots of soil on our terrace, the jugs of water gleefully tossed over the side of the bath, the oven mysteriously turned on at random points throughout the day, the bits of food hidden (and forgotten about) in nooks and crannies throughout the house, and the beautiful picture books missing several important pages.  That boy is a one man wrecking machine.

I think I shall leave it here for now.  It's Friday night, I'm absolutely shattered, and I have a gorgeous glass of St. Emillion winking at me from on the table.  I've also got a DVD I've not had time to watch yet ("Slumdog Millionaire") and some lovely homemade pizza's waiting to be popped in the oven.  

In the words of the fictional character 'Alan Partridge', "It don't get better dan dis".  No my friends, it certainly doesn't.  Trust me.