Tuesday, September 26, 2006


It is just as well that by child number three you are past the embarrassed when your children don't behave like angels in public stage! Sunday was the September weekend, so obviously Sunday was pouring with rain - an obvious Science Centre kind of a day. I thought lunch would set us up for a trip round the exhibits. So we went in to the Science Centre café. Marcel ordered haddock and chips, Charlotte beans and chips and I had a cheese baked potato. I assumed there would be enough leftovers to give Pudge something to get him through the day between the three of us.

Marcel and I carried the trays to a little round table in the middle of the completely-full café. Charlotte helpfully took the plates off the trays and placed them on the table while I collected cutlery and salt. From half the café away I watched in horror as Charlotte place a dinner plate with chips and beans at the edge of the table just above Pudge's buggy...yes you can see it in slow motion, can't you? The little hand reached up, grabbed the plate and tossed it nonchalantly over his head. It landed on the floor a metre away, beans and chips flying and landing on all the surrounding customers and the floor, Léon himself didn't even have so much as a bean on his clothing. It was too big to deal with myself so I ran apologetically to the till asking if someone could tidy up the mess my baby had just made while 20+ guests gasped in horror at the scene. Charlotte had also ordered a 75cl bottle of
Irn Bru. She placed that safely, with its top firmly on in the middle of the table. Two members of staff retrieved beans and chips while another quickly made Charlotte a second plate of lunch free of charge (thanks guys - that was very kind). I came over and placed the cutlery on the table. People were finally stopping their staring and gasping. I caught the Irn Bru with my elbow and knocked it on its side but the top was on so no harm was done. I returned to the till to thank the girl for clearing up the mess. Then in slow motion it happened - I turned in time to see Charlotte pick up the newly-shoogled Irn Bru, unscrew the top and watched in horror as the fizzy juice shot 1 metre in the air and drenched all around and the floor once more.

It is a pity my trusty camera wasn't with us that day - though I guess stopping to photograph the aftermath may have antagonized the victims unnecessarily!

Anyone want to buy three kids?!

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Marcel and Charlotte spent most of the past week on their hands and knees scrubbing floors, hoovering and tidying :-) No they aren't well-behaved, delightful, helpful little kids, they noticed that Lego Star Wars Volume II was coming out for playstation and at £17-99, they needed to earn as much cash as possible and as quickly as possible! Anyway, it arrived about a week ago and I haven't actually had time to sit down and watch it till today. When I did sit down today to watch it, it suddenly occurred to me how much the little lego men's hairdos reminded me of Benny and Björn in their heyday! ;-)


I now have a statistics counter on my blog page to check how often my page is accessed and by whom (Click on the little graph symbol on the right of the page under the Blogger symbol). I am not sure of the wisdom of this as it could be quite depressing to find out only three people read my blog! Mind you the upside of that would be that then I know only three people know I am actually certifiably insane :-)

Friday, September 22, 2006


Tonight the kids and I decided to treat ourselves to fish and chips out of the local fish and chip shop. I probably have a fish supper about once a year but I am never the one who goes to get it. It is years since I was inside a Chippie. Standing in the queue, I was reading the menu. It said Pizza - deep fried £1-80, ovenbaked £3-85! I always thought deep-fried pizzas were a myth like deep-fried Mars Bars - surely people don't actually eat deep-fried pizzas? Interestingly, the batch of chips wasn't ready, so I had to wait approximately 3 minutes. In that time 3 people actually bought deep-fried pizzas! (And worse still no one bought an ovenbaked one). Incredible!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Dad's photo's back on the front of his blog now and on his profile. He's now only missing from the comments boxes. Very curious...


Some news articles just make you embarrassed to be Scottish - this could only happen here, I fear (check the photo caption). Oh dear :-(


When Dad began blogging I set up a basic account for him to get him started. I stuck on a baby photo of him and it appeared on his blog page, on his profile and was attached to all comments he made on others' blogs. Today, now he's getting more into blogging, he decided to change that photo for another of his personal favourites. He amended the photo URL in the profile, replacing the one I had chosen with the new one and saved. Now his photo appears on his profile, but no longer on his blog and no longer on his comments. Has he done something wrong? I can't find anything? Does anybody out there know?


I think he's finally lost his marbles - sweet theory, but I have my doubts!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I think there are two categories of women in the world each at opposite ends of the spectrum. The two types will never understand each other, not in a million years. There are what I'd call shoe people and non-shoe people. Shoe people love shoes, they buy shoes that look nice, they have cupboards full of shoes that have only been worn 2 or 3 times. They have shoes to match every conceivable outfit. They look in shoe shops to see if anything jumps out at them, even when there isn't a hole in the sole of the pair they are wearing! And there are non-shoe people. That is to say people who have maybe 2 pairs of shoes - a black and a brown so you have something that will go with more or less anything, these shoes are characterless and very comfortable. The adventurous non-shoe person might even run to a couple of pairs of boots or sandals too. I consider myself a very adventurous non-shoe person as I not only own all the above but even have one pair of (very comfortable) pink(!) trainers. I also wonder if it is a hereditary condition. My sister-in-law likes shoes and her son spends all day chewing everyone's shoes, while Léon crawls past everyone's shoes in complete indifference. Carol too always says a girl can never have enough shoes - what for I ask myself?! Am I strange?

Anyway where was I going with this shoe theory? Oh yes - handbags. I think handbags are an extension of shoes. Kind of like shoes in the extreme. I think shoe people also need a variety of handbags. My mum has different coloured handbags to match different clothes, practical ones she'd use out shopping, little ones she'd take to a dinner dance etcetc. She buys handbags! I find that incredible. I have never bought a handbag in my life. Handbags don't interest me. They are purely functional and can be inherited as mum tosses old ones out! In fact handbags and mobile phones are two of a kind. In a family like mine there is always someone who has a nice handbag or mobile phone that is in perfect working order that needs to be discarded in favour of something prettier or more high-tech. And there is always some runt of the family ready to accept the cast-offs! :-) (Thanks for my new phone mum!)

I'm just looking through flickr and there are actually handbag and shoe fan clubs on there, have a look at this photo - how strange!


What a wild night! I lost count of the number of times the rain and wind woke me up! (Rumour has it, it was the tail end of hurricane Gordon) :-)


What am I saying? - hid under my duvet! It was the 70s, I hid under a nylon, fuchsia pink candlewick ;-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


When I was little, I was scared of clowns. I loathed clowns. Clowns didn't make me laugh - clowns gave me the creeps. They were terrifyingly sinister. I dreaded our annual outing to the Kelvinhall to the circus with the Cuthbert family because I knew not only would there be clowns but there would also be a revolting smell of animal sweat and pooh. Mum and dad didn't know I hated clowns, why should they - I never mentioned it! So because I was a good little girl they bought me a present. A painting about A3 in size of a sad-looking turquoise blue clown with a tear running down his face! Did I tell them it scared the living daylights out of me? Or did I lie awake under my duvet every night thinking: Can't sleep the clown will eat me! Crazy, screwed-up kid!
Donations kindly received towards all future psychiatrist bills, thanks. (Oh and for the record - I still don't like clowns - they are kind of on a par with monkeys (see posting: BLOG PROFILE) in my book).


It's nice to have a library in your house. Mine's a nice sunny room you can sit in a choose something from the shelf and while away your time (usually 35 seconds in my case between screams of Muuuuuuum!) Anyway it is full of 20 years of books - big, small, fiction, fact, silly, intellectual - you name it. Books are like extra little children to me - I may lend them out for a day or two but they have to come back or I start to twitch nervously!

Recently my parents had a guest staying with them for a few weeks so they all came up and we had a coffee in the library one afternoon. This is nice, she said, have you read any of them or are they just for show? Why on earth would anyone waste a fortune on books, and use up loads of space storing them, not to read them? I think I was too dumbfounded to reply at first, but later tried a tactful, I'm about half way through but I intend to get there.


I wonder what you can tell about someone from their attitude to games? As a mother I can see quite clearly that kids fall into very distinct gaming groups. Playing ludo on Saturday, Charlotte was completely indifferent to what number turned up on the dice and if her man was sent back to base she just threw the dice again. Marcel accused Charlotte of cheating if she threw a 6, his lip quivered if she sent him back to base, he got angry and cried if she got to base before him and would have been positively abusive if we hadn't taken a break to eat a pizza. Surely by 9 ludo shouldn't really matter? I believe that kids either need to win or don't give a damn. Derek and I were the same as kids. Derek was a really bad loser as a kid. At 5 he screamed bastard! at a game that was meant teach kids manners, just because his turtle was losing a race! I wonder what all this means for their future? It is odd because both Derek and Marcel were/are easygoing kids, Charlotte and I highly strung and yet games always brought/bring out the opposite trait. Hmmm.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Just flicking through the channels and saw a bunch of people ceilidh dancing. I used to go to the Riverside all the time between about 1985 and 1997 - when you aren't the world's greatest dancer, ceilidhs are a fun and easy option.

I have great memories of there. I had to pretend to be a nursing student once to get in as it was booked for a private do. I also vaguely remember Vivian getting us all in after it was full one night by showing someone else's press pass and saying we were writing a piece on it for a big national newspaper! Another time Maree and I had an eye-opening experience in more ways than one. She got a black eye on a night out simply by following me - the problem being she's at least 20cm taller than me so as I walked under a shelf, she walked straight into it! That was a hard one to explain.

Of course the last ceilidh I went to was on 26-7-97. Maybe that Strip the Willow just before midnight was just one step too far at 39.5 weeks pregnant! (And it must not have been a pretty sight). Marcel, of course, showed up on 27-7-97.

I must get back to dancing.


I heard on the lunchtime news on Radio Clyde that the Finnieston Bridge opened this morning (and is already being renamed The Squinty Bridge by the locals - surprise, surprise.)

Now, I have been looking forward to this as it is an obvious link between the West End and the M77 on-ramp at Springfield Quay and vice versa. Simply cross the bridge, first left and you are on the motorway, excellent!

So I drove down to it from the West End and on to it, lovely view, must come back with the camera! Drove across ready for first left and yes, of course, there it was: the sign saying obligatory right turn. Why oh why can they never do anything right in this city???? So I cross - I am forced to go right, drive 2 minutes to the Science Centre, go all the way round the roundabout and then go back East. This probably still is a good alternative to get to the M77 but it is just so silly and annoying. And of course coming at it from the South Side the same problem occurs - you can't drive west and take a right onto the bridge - you have to go all the way along to the Science Centre again. I get the feeling whoever had it built has shares in the Science Centre :-(

The more I think about this the sillier it is - forcing you to go right means you get sent towards where the Clyde tunnel comes out, so why wouldn't you just take the tunnel? Why does it force you away from all the motorway on-ramps????


Today a new car seat law comes into force in the UK. Which is interesting since no one probably really knew what the old car seat law was, if there was one?

Firstly I see the point, yes child safety is paramount. However, I can already hear the cacophony of tantrums this morning around the UK as most kids who stopped sitting in a babyseat, as they will perceive it, around the age of 6 or 7, ie in their 2nd year at primary school are wedged back into one to go to their primary 6 or 7, or even for the most unfortunate among them, their first year at highschool class this morning! (Yes, I think 12 is a bit over the top!) I am lucky in so much as Charlotte still uses hers so no tantrum there and Marcel is 9 but 1m39, phew because he had informed me he would quite literally rather die than use one! But as one of the tallest in his class, I guess he'll be comforting a good few friends this morning.

The problem I see it is the lack of consistency across Europe. I often drive in both France and Germany, often on the same day hopping backwards and forwards across the border. I rang ahead to Avis in Hahn last time and asked which seats I'd need to fly over with me - the guy said one for Léon, one for Charlotte but Marcel could sit in the car. Believe me when you are flying alone with 3 kids and luggage, you want to fly over as few carseats as you can get away with! At the desk when I arrived they were unsure whether Marcel needed a seat or not so I drove off with 2 on seats, one not. At the French border again there were no signs, no instructions, but my sister-in-law (a childless 50-something - so who knows if she is right or not!) seemed to be under the impression they should all have one and that Marcel wasn't allowed to sit in the front till he was 12. In the UK you can sit in the front from 3 on a booster, from 12 or 135cm without and you can go in the front in a newborn <9kg carrier.

Can't they just publish a list of rules somewhere which are the same in all EU countries to stop us poor unwitting parents who drive around not knowing what the law is or who to ask to get the right answer?

An aside: I actually remember hiring a car in Barcelona when Charlotte was a baby (before I realized you were charged more than a seat cost to hire one for a week) so I asked to hire a car and a babyseat - Here's the car they said - the babyseats are in that hut over there - you can have one if there are any in stock! ...and if there aren't? I guess my 1 year old can rattle up and down the back seat all the way from Barcelona to Perpignan, where I was driving, I guess!

Sunday, September 17, 2006


I can feel another rant bubbling beneath the surface. Who invented square yogurt pots? Now I don't mean the shallow type of pots with rounded square corners - those don't upset me. But normal, deep, square pots are infuriating and stupid. NO ONE sells square spoons so you can't eat the stuff in the corners, it just sits there unless you are willing to leave it upside down for an hour and leave it to trickle out slowly. So why????

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Oh dear! Next month's France Scotland football match sold out before I could acquire tickets for it - bad parent :-( Any volunteers to break the news to the football crazy kids?


Poor Pudge is sick. It started as a cold and now it is a chest infection. I'd to drag all three kids to the hospital this morning to have him looked at and now have a bottle of baby antibiotics. He is so pitiful. He hasn't eaten since Wednesday so no longer has the energy to crawl about wrecking the place so he crawls one step then sits down and wails. And of course I had forgotten babies don't know how to blow their noses so he's just vomited 3 days of snotter all over my rug. A joy!
There isn't much for the other two to do either stuck in the house because Pudge is too sick for the park so I thought making krispie cakes and allowing them to eat them might avert World War 3 for an hour or two. Fingers crossed.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Finally dad seems to be getting fired up enough to blog! That's cool because he can be quite witty in a Victor Meldrewesque way. I'm looking forward to reading his rantings and will be checking it on a daily basis from now on (hint, hint).


Charlotte seems to take after her mother linguistically. When I was little and I didn't know a word, I didn't let that bother me, I didn't bother to ask 'what's that?' as most toddlers do annoyingly over and over, I simply chose what something was to be called and called it that, giving no explanation or forewarning! One day a digger was clearing a building site at the back of our house. I was approximately 2. I apparently told mum to look out at the 'jalt'. To this day everyone in my family calls a digger a jalt.
Today I had forgotten to make the kids' lunches so I gave them money for a school lunch: £1-50 each. The problem being that I only had 4 £1 coins. So I handed them each £2. Marcel is good and honest so said instantly: 'You'll be wanting the 50p back, I guess?' I said no he could keep it since he asked and didn't just go and spend it. Charlotte is more of a chancer though so immediately inquired, 'Is it ok, mum, if I use the 50p to buy one vending?', 'what???' I asked, ' a vending, you know, from the vending machine!' As usual she looked at me as if I was the stupid one - that face that says 'Come on mum you write dictionaries you should understand me!' So I guess I need to add the noun 'vending' to the dictionary once I go back to work, or at the very least add it to the family's eternal vocabulary.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Tonight I passed our local Chinese restaurant, 5 minutes from my house on foot, and very nice too - Lam's Kitchen it is called. Though I've never eaten in, I have had the odd carryout. Tonight there were 12 cars in their carpark, all makes and models, old and new, big and small, all price ranges - but all silver! How strange. Is silver the most common car colour (I once read it was red)? Or do only silver car owners eat Chinese? Maybe the reason I have only ever had carryout is because my car is dark blue?

Oh and Marcel asked for chicken chow mein for dinner - does this mean he'll want me to buy him a silver car when he turns 17?!


He's started poohing hair out the other end, he must have eaten so much of it - how can I stop him? How?!?!?!

Monday, September 11, 2006


I was listening to PM on Radio 4 while cooking this evening. One news article caught my attention. I listened in disbelief - it was bad enough the crazy banned passenger thought it better to have a blind man drive than to break his own driving ban himself but the bit that amazed me most, not mentioned in the written article, was part of the punishment. Apparently he has been ordered to sit a driving test!!!! (I'll give you a minute to digest that and possibly reread in disbelief!) When asked if this was a wise punishment, the judge said his hands were tied - it was in the rules that the punishment for this type of driving offence (he was charged with driving with no insurance, licence or MOT) had to include making the offender sit a driving test. Surely in cases like this, when the offender has no eyes, the rules should sensibly be bent a little, no???


Recently I took a panorama shot of the Clydeside while my car was in for repair. It is made up of 3 photos stitched together. I was thinking what a great photo you could make of the 360 degrees of the city from up the Glasgow Science Tower. The only problem being that the science tower seems to be closed 999 days out of every 1000 for repairs and has been since the day it opened. (Did it ever really open?) Somebody did their job really well!
Wonder if it is currently open or closed? Anyone know?...or is that a silly question?

Sunday, September 10, 2006


I guess it has happened to most people at some time. You are sitting in a restaurant half way through your pasta and suddenly you spy it in the middle of the sauce - a disgusting human hair - you know it isn't your own because it is black or curly or whatever. Yeuch! Or you are sitting in Great Auntie Betty's house and there it is again in the middle of your soup - that grey curly hair looking up at you. Your appetite goes and nothing will bring it back.

Here at home though we have the opposite problem. Léon's favourite food is fast becoming human hair! At first he'd just suck on it while you held him, then he started pulling it out at the roots trying to eat it. But things are getting worse - he's cruising the carpet picking up human hairs and popping them carefully into his mouth, savouring the delicacy. With Charlotte and I both having long hair, there are always some hanging about the rug. And worse still, he now even wants to pick them off the hairbrush if we forget and leave it within his reach. What am I going to do with this disgusting boy????

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I just made Léon French toast for lunch. I haven't had French toast for years. It got me to thinking. Why is it called French toast? - given very few French people have ever heard of it. They don't even have the right kind of bread there to make it - a baguette isn't exactly ideal! Language is strange.


One of my favourite quotes if from Doris Lessing's autobiography, Part 1 Under my Skin.

When scientists try to get us to understand the real importance of the human race, they say something like, 'If the story of the earth is twenty-four hours long, then humanity's part in it occupies the last minute of that day.' Similarly, in the story of a life, if it is being told true to time as actually experienced, then I'd say seventy percent of the book would take you to age ten. At eighty percent you would have reached fifteen. At ninety-five per cent, you get to about thirty. The rest is a rush - towards eternity.

As an eighty year old woman she is qualified to describe time from the different age perspectives she can remember. I remember those too, though am not sure they will still be so vivid when I am 80! (If I break the family rule and actually manage to live that long!) I think this strikes you most as a parent. When you are a child, childhood takes forever, naturally, but when you see that same childhood from the parental perspective it is over in the blink of an eye. The first 3 or 4 years take the longest but as soon as they start school, year after year flashes by. Yesterday Marcel was a cute little 5 year old in primary 1, now he's testing adolescence in primary 5. Where did those years go? And baby Pudge who has only just arrived is already walking around the room hanging on to the furniture. We watch them grow so we can let them go, but letting them go is the hardest thing in the world.

Even more poignantly, I've just been watching the interview on Austrian TV with that poor child Natascha Kampusch . I guess the perspective thing probably holds true for her too. For the 44 year old captor 8 years will have passed much more quickly than for the 10 year old captive. That makes what is already unimaginable, even worse, if that is possible. I hope she finds a way to live after this.

I must blog another book that I have read and reread An evil cradling, when I get a minute. That is another one to make you think.


I remember at the age of 7 or 8 coming home from school and announcing to mum: Jesus loves me! And mum nearly falling off her chair in surprise. I had been told by friends that if I joined the Scripture Union club at school, not only would I be allowed to stay indoors at rainy lunchtimes but I would also be given pretty rainbow stickers that told me Jesus loved me. Now when you are 7 stickers are appealing whatever they say and given the Scottish climate I was an instant convert! My religious period lasted I think 2 weeks before I realized I actually had to sit in on bible class instead of running around the playground pretending to be one of ABBA or Charlie's Angels. I was fickle.

Tonight I had my parallel parenting moment, I think. Marcel, now 9, came home from school and asked: Mum, when I'm 13, can I have a Bar Mitzvah. Given that we live in the biggest Jewish area of Scotland and many of Marcel's neighbours and schoolmates are Jewish, I didn't think it inconceivable he might genuinely be interested in a Bar Mitzvah, so I wondered how to break it to him gently that he wasn't Jewish, though I suppose since he hasn't been christened at all he could in theory nip round to the synagogue on Saturday and ask if they'll have him, as it is just across the field behind the house. I asked gently why the big interest in Judaism. Oh I'm not interested in the religious aspect he confirmed - I hear you get a big party, presents and quite a bit of cash! I guess he's as fickle as I was at that age. That and the fact that he'd be loathe to give up his bacon rolls for Saturday brekkie.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Marcel just asked me to check the score of the France-Italy match, 3-1 apparently, revenge!

But while checking that I noticed two other more astonishing things (well apart from the score line in the German match which was truly astonishing - 13-0, no they weren't playing rugby, they were playing San Marino, who patently left their goalie at home).

Firstly, I noticed the Italy - Lithuania score from last week 1-1, and the Lithuania - Scotland match today 1-2. So in theory Italy drew against a team we managed to beat away from home no less, that surely sort of makes us proxy World Cup Champions, no? (Clutching at straws ;-) )

The other thing I feel I need to record for posterity is the group table as it currently stands - mainly because in all my years I don't think I have ever seen Scotland at the top of the table in anything but with both the real World Cup Champions and the runners up currently below them, this really must be a one off!


I was looking though some old family photos recently and I couldn't help but notice how much older people used to look 2 generations ago. Either that or I am in denial when I look in the mirror. Ok, I no longer pass for 25, but despite not spending my life caked in moisturiser or expensive creams that promise to get rid of the lines, I definitely think I'm a younger 38 than my grans were, or am I deluding myself??? See these photos taken when they were approximately 36.


Is any one else bored with all this childishness yet? Am in two minds trying to work out if it reminds me more of the tearful booting out of Iron Maggie back in November 1990 (what a party we had that day) or my two kids playing a board game on a rainy afternoon.

Come on, if he's going to go get on with it, if not can we ignore these squabbling children, please?


I'm in this cool book group - Me, Amanda (my brother's wife), and her friends Roisin, Andrea, Jan and Mandy. We started the book group about 20 months ago. The plan was simple - once every 6-8 weeks or so we were to meet, discuss something we've all read and have loads of nice food and wine. Sounds like a good plan but I think there's something gone a bit wrong with the focus of our group. First Roisin had a baby so we needed to have a break for a month or two, then I had a baby so we needed to have a wee break, then Amanda had a baby so, yes you guessed it...and now not only is Roisin pregnant again but both Andrea and Jan are getting married this month so I guess our little group may end up a very big group indeed. Maybe it's time we threw in the towel and just called it what it is - the Literary crèche and babysitting circle!

So the tally stands like this so far:

Babies: Caitlin, Léon, Gordon
Books: A big boy did it and ran away, Life of Pi, Pride and Prejudice, The time traveler's wife, The red tent, Demo, Dropping in on Idi.

I wanted to get us to read I don't know how she does it when it's my turn but at this rate we may need to book larger premises to accomodate all these new members.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


After my analysis of car miles the other day, I was wondering how far someone is likely to go in their lifetime - unless of course things change and we all start working from home and talking only to other humans online in the near future, God forbid. So I thought a good way to project this was using Pudgemiles! Léon has been and will be sharing all my car trips so we already ascertained that was 10000 a year plus 1000 in the holiday hirecar, ok 11000 so far. Let's calculate how many miles the wee guy is likely to fly in his lifetime. Well looking at the first 12 months of his life he will have flown return Glasgow-Hahn twice (830 miles one way, so 3320 miles), Glasgow-Paris once (661 miles one way, so 1322 miles), Edinburgh-Nice once (1288miles one way, so 2576 miles) and Glasgow-New York once (3221 miles one way, so 6442 miles) - that makes 13660 miles. According to the BBC today the life expectancy for this area of Scotland is 77 for men, though I expect that'll change in Pudge's lifetime. So let's multiply 11000+13660 x77= 1 898 820 miles in a lifetime. I wonder what that is equivalent to? Too few miles to get to Mars or Venus but a good few trips to the moon again I guess!


Was looking through flickr just now and I came across this amazing set of shots of Manhattan taken with an 11mm lens - wow!


I see the croc man died. Why doesn't that surprise me? I have often watched his documentaries half hiding behind a cushion waiting for the inevitable. Compelling, yes but the parent in me always nervously thought he some how owed it to his kids to do something a little less dangerous till they were a little bigger and needed him a tiny bit less (not that we ever really need our parents less, we just have to pretend to be grown-ups in control of our own destinies!)

Anyway I guess he did a job he loved. Though there is something to be said about dictionaries - they are never going to endanger my life, just my sanity ;-)


I'm thinking back to the movie Toy Story that everyone who has kids has been made to watch over and over. There's a scene in a garage when the kid, Andy I think, leaves Woody behind - Woody panics and cries - 'Oh no, I'm a lost toy!' I wonder if all 26 missing socks are out there somewhere crying 'Oh no, I'm a lost sock!'

Friends, feel free to disown me if you think I have finally lost my marbles! ;-)

Monday, September 04, 2006


Yet another sock problem is rearing its ugly head as the cooler autumn air descends on Scotland...Pudge who hasn't worn socks since early May is now being forced to put them back on. Of course, he hates them and tugs on them while in his buggy. If I go out in the cold and rain with a baby wearing no socks, I get stopped every 50 metres by old ladies in the shopping mall helpfully pointing out that my baby must have cold feet. If I put socks on him, he tugs till they come off and and then the old ladies point out: Do you know your baby is missing a sock? So far in 3 trips to ASDA, two minutes of inattention have resulted in 2 lost-forever socks. I would put on shoes to hold on the socks but he's already sussed velcro and missing shoes are even dearer than missing socks :-(


Ok those who know me may not recommend I do this for real, it'd be too unsightly after all those babies and they weren't unobtrusive to start with ;-) but metaphorically speaking, did we really think things through and plan them out properly in the 60s when I was a mere 2 year old bra-burner? Ok some coutries may have got it right, if they have I'd like to hear about it, or at least better than us but we in the UK still haven't got the work/life/kids balance right.

Today I had to take Léon to nursery for the first time for him to get to know the women and other kids he's going to have to spend 5 hours with daily from the end of this month onwards. Five hours a day away from his mum and he isn't a year old yet :-( And yet that in itself is an improvement.

When Marcel and Charlotte were little we were told to hand them over at 29 weeks or lose our jobs. Why 29 weeks? - a strange figure derived arbitrarily, I guess. At 29 weeks Marcel was barely on food, he couldn't sit or crawl or walk or talk - he wanted to hug his mum and drink from her breasts, he didn't want to do finger-painting with a bunch of strangers. When Marcel was 29 weeks old part time work wasn't something you could ask for or if it was it was so hidden in the small print that no one had yet found it. So I left my 29 week old baby and I went and wrote a German-English dictionary 35 hours a week and I drove 5 hours a week to and from work so I spent 40 hours a week away from my precious boy.

Marcel didn't sleep well - he first slept through the night at 15 months. So from 29 weeks I worked those hours and I drove those hours without having slept at night. I sat in the office to keep my job with my breasts aching to feed him, my body longing to sleep and my heart quietly breaking.

But I didn't learn my lesson, because I did it all again 2 years later! And this time I went back and wrote French dictionary while the same pattern set in. But this was crazier still - I was paying out £900 a month to have someone play with my babies while I wandered about like a zombie who hadn't slept in 3 years with aching boobs. And there's that unwritten law that you have to look ok, even when you haven't slept, even when you are worried sick because your kid is home sick and you've been up all night, even when you don't know where to take your sick kid while you go in to the office, or when you use up all your holidays at short notice because your child gets chicken pox and then you can't go away for a much needed rest in the summer.

And then someone suggested part time. That seemed like a reasonable compromise. I started working a 23 hour week instead of 35 but I had moved further away so I was driving 10, so I was still away 33 hours a week and earning even less.

I know it was my choice to have kids but neither the full time or part time scenario really works. It doesn't work because they are ill sometimes, they do cry all night when they are teething etc

So now the magic number is 52 - you have to go back to work after 52 weeks off. Fortunately, as you all remember, I had Léon in the office before I went on maternity leave ;-) so I get to stay off till he is 52 weeks old but that doesn't make it easier than with the others - I still want to stay home and hug and feed and nurture my tiny man. The last month off isn't nice, you get up every morning with a brick weighing down your heart like a prisoner on death row.

Now I am not advocating staying home till my kids go to uni - both they and I would go mad but I think 2 or 3 when they enjoy interacting with little friends and playing would be a better age to go to nursery than giving up babies - I mean we should hand over toddlers not babies. As for fulltime work with a baby - I have done than and what you miss out on is so phenomenal that I can't begin to explain. Getting home at 6 every day and spending just 2 hours a day with these precious people simply means you miss out on the most special times you can never regain.

I for one wish we'd simply gently singed our bras rather than fully burning them back in the 60s.


Strangely enough people seem to like my sock problem best of all - maybe my level of exasperation hit an all-time high that day. People from far and wide, who I don't even realize read my blog, meet me in the street and ask if I have found the socks yet, and some ask after my friend and his owls (obviously your ponderings also inspired them, Sebastian!)

Anyway - I had a vague notion things had improved on the sock-front, nothing tangible, just a feeling of inner calm as opposed to my usual hysterical outbursts as I fished my way through the daily iron. After my May posting, I threatened to amputate the feet of any person found to have mislaid a sock. I told them socks not bound together would no longer be accepted by the washing machine and things definitely seemed to be improving. Last night I ironed 3 loads as usual and set about pairing the socks with glee, knowing I would be proved right. I think there were 15 culprits back in May, so was expecting, I dont' know 3 or 4. However, to my utter dismay, I found this was the tally for today :-( 11 miserable, stinking, single socks...

Any other strategies on offer, guys?

I now feel compelled to follow this up on at least a monthly basis. Maybe everyone should blog their missing sock tally on a weekly basis? Maybe we could project the decline (or otherwise) of the British native owl population, the RSPB might thank us for those statistics...

Friday, September 01, 2006


I was lying awake thinking about my comments on the car repair last night. I drive around 10000 miles a year. I learned to drive in 1985 and bought my first car in 1990. It is 2006. I guess for the first 5 years with no car but access to parents' and friends' and hire cars, I probably only drove about 10000, for the next 16 years I drove 160000 plus say 1000 on holiday every year in the hire car. That makes 186000 miles. That makes 23.47 times around the circumference of the Earth! I'm 38 years old and I have driven round the Earth nearly 24 times. The distance between the Earth and the moon is 238857 miles. Five years from now I will have driven the distance between the Earth and the moon! Crazy or cool?! :-)