Monday, September 27, 2010


You've got to laugh at wee kids, don't you? 
Yesterday, as I blogged, Léon received a Woody from Toy Story dressing-up costume from my brother and his wife. Marcel was away on a sleep-over with his friend Matt so missed him receiving it. I texted him a photo of course, which he thought was awfully cute.
When Marcel returned home at 3pm today, he wandered into the kitchen where Léon was sitting, once again dressed as Woody, at the breakfast bar. When did Woody move in? Marcel exclaimed walking past Léon. Léon looked absolutely thrilled and genuinely believed that Marcel hadn't recognized him. Lifting both his cowboy hat and glasses simultaneously he replied 'It is me, Pudge!' He reminded me so much of LeClerc from Allo allo! Marcel and I looked at each other both thinking the same thing smiling.


A combination of Léon's new glasses and the Toy Story 3 dressing up costume he got from his Auntie and Uncle for his birthday have left me with the closest thing I've seen in 30 years to the Milky Bar kid living under my roof!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Apparemment aujourd'hui - le 26 septembre - c'est la journée européenne des langues. Afin de fêter la journée du blogging multilingue il faut que j'écrive mon blog en français, allemand, suédois, danois ou italien. Vu que j'ai passé la moitié de la nuit à allaiter un bébé enrhumé, j'aurais du mal à l'écrire en anglais, donc je vais m'en passer pour cette année!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Nearly two weeks after getting glasses we still have a way to go. Firstly I might as well record the phrase 'Look through your glasses Léon, not under them!' and play it on a continuous loop. I then ask if he doesn't see very well through them and he claims he sees much better through them. So why the hell does he look under them non-stop? I am completely baffled. Then there's the contrast between what an adult would consider to be a safe place and Léon's interpretation of the same. While dressing yesterday morning I suggested he should take them off and put them somewhere safe. He proceeded to take them off and simply drop them onto the wooden floor from the height of his face. Arg! They didn't smash - phew! Today, he asked to join me in the bath. I asked him to put them somewhere safe again and he decided that placing them carefully on the floor in front of bath was a 'safe place'. I guess he's still learning... I just hope the glasses last until he's learnt.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Don't you just love it when babies become aware of other babies and check each other out as if they are seeing another mini-human for the first time ever? :-)

Friday, September 17, 2010


Here in Scotland parents are forever moving in and out of catchment areas to make sure their child gets to go to a good primary school. The whole housing market is artificially inflated by the desirability or not of the local school. I'm first to admit I'm caught up in that trap too. Like most parents I'd give anything to give my kids the best start in life...
So after 13 years of parenting I thought it was time I shared my wisdom with those who are less experienced. Given the ubiquity of uniforms here, I would say the most important thing to look for in your child's prospective primary school is the colour of the polo shirt! Orange. I would highly recommend orange! As someone whose kids have all gone to a white (soon to fade to grey) primary, I have come to the conclusion that an orange shirt would blend in much better with beans, ketchup, fish fingers and most everything else primary ones like to eat for their lunch.
So there you have it - the advice of an expert (who has spent way too much time and money on bleach over the years)!

Monday, September 13, 2010


The school has been encouraging parents since back in May at the induction days not to help their children with dressing of any type so that they are able to function independently at school. We had been trying even before then to find the patience to allow Léon the necessary time to do things all by himself... This morning I'm not sure where Thomas and I, or even Lots and Marcel were when Léon was getting dressed but none of us saw him apparently. He looked fine, he went to school for the day, he came home. Nothing seemed wrong until we walked past the downstairs loo while he was peeing. What's that you're wearing? I heard someone ask. There was a moment of silence, just time to look down and up again. Oh! Did I forget to take my pyjamas off before I got dressed this morning? he replied! I shot through to the calendar... Is Monday a gym day, please don't let Monday be a gym day... Gym - Tues, Weds, Thurs - phew! I have narrowly escaped being the laughing stock of Newton Mearns! I bet he was warm and cosy though in this hideous weather!


So today after school I notice Léon is constantly trying to look over or under his glasses rather than through them. We decide to do our own eyetest. Thomas opens a cookbook with small pictures. Close-up, he asks What's that? He points to a mushroom - Emmm, I dunno - a doughnut? What's that? pointing at a cow - A brown puddle? From across the room we try a distance test. I show him a tractor and he squints under them and gets it right. He fails again with the specs on. We start to worry he has some other kid's specs. I phone Specsavers and they say to bring him back in but it's too late today so arrange to do it tomorrow. I then try his library book with the specs on, asking him to point at an 's', a 't', an 'e' an 'o' etc and he gets it all correct with and without the specs on. I don't understand. Stress, stress and more stress! Why couldn't this have happened once he had the vocabulary to say something is sharp or blurred. When I ask if it is better with or without his specs he simply bursts into tears and says he wants to keep them because they are cool with Mr Tickle on! Stress :-(


Today we found out the hard way what no one at the opticians warns you you need to be on the lookout for on the day after your kid gets his first glasses. We had a plan to go and see Toy Story 3 with Charlotte, Léon and Anna, leaving Marcel at his friend's house and Amaia sleeping on my dad. We left at 1-15, dropped Marcel and reached Cineworld in Glasgow at 1-45. As we turned into Renfrew street, Charlotte let out an appalled gasp. I looked up at my Mummy-mirror (all Citroën C8s have a second mirror on the ceiling for keeping an eye on your zoo while driving) just in time to see Pudge vomiting profusely all over the back row of my car. I was a little surprised given he's two weeks short of 5 and has only been sick in a car once in his life and has travelled thousands of miles. I instantly realized the new glasses with their magnification had given him a whole new travel experience which had culminated in the outpouring of his insides and was instantly regretting the blue cheese sandwich he'd had for lunch with 7-UP. With 15 minutes to go till the movie, Thomas sprinted to Sauchiehall street where he found new jeans and a T-shirt for a distraught wee boy who was begging for his cinema trip not to be cancelled, while I gave up all hope of finding a parking space and simply headed for a multi-storey so I would at least have time to clean my car as best I could with a packet of Amaia's baby wipes. After this I got some odd looks as I made my way to the cinema foyer where I'd organized to meet up with Thomas and the new clothes, dragging a four year old wearing only boxer shorts and a vest! And it only took me an hour of cleaning my car when I got home to get it usable again. Funny how it was definitely my car once it was covered in kiddie vomit!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


You don't expect to pick up the phone and hear your son say 'Mum, I was shot while walking past ASDA at 4 o'clock with my friend', do you? I could tell from his phone voice, he was ok, so wondered if he thought this was some sort of amusing joke, but that would be out of character as he's turned into quite a sensitive and sensible young man so I asked what he was on about. It turned out that after he'd left my house at 3-30pm on Friday on a bus to the Kirkhill area of Newton Mearns, he met up with his good friend Jack as he was to have dinner there and together they had walked to ASDA around 4pm to buy some drinks and snacks. Walking back from ASDA to Jack's house along Eaglesham road, Marcel said a blue car (which they didn't know) had driven up beside them, and slowed down, rolled down the window pulled out a 'BB gun' and fired off six shots, hitting Marcel in the shoulder with one. Though he was dressed as in this photo, the pellet went through his jacket and t-shirt marking his left shoulder. Stunned, neither boy managed to note down the numberplate of the car. Fortunately Jack's dad is himself a police officer so knew exactly what to do. Three cars were called out and took statements and looked at Marcel's superficial wound. Jack's dad then rang me to recount what had happened. Shockingly, Jack's dad, who works in the West End told me of the easy availability of such pistols, grenades and the likes and the problem all over the UK (and presumably the Western world) of kids freely buying what they consider fun-guns on the Internet - free delivery, no questions asked - and thinking such seemingly non-dangerous attacks were a way to relieve boredom, not realizing that hitting 30cm further up in his eye would have resulted in quite a different injury. He told me he regularly arrests kids in town on a Saturday night carrying such weapons, but was himself more than surprised to find 13 year old kids being singled out at 4pm on an autumn day for a drive-by shooting in a quiet and affluent area of the city. Did these crazy attackers realize how young these children are or were they singled out as acceptable targets because Marcel's height makes him look older than his age. Whatever the thoughts behind this, I'm absolutely appalled anyone can bring up a child to believe this behaviour is acceptable. And I thank my lucky stars neither Marcel nor Jack was really hurt in this incident.


We found out last week that Léon was rather long-sighted. Today we picked up his glasses. Instantly when he put them on, he opened his mouth wide, looked immediately around himself and exclaimed 'woooooow, so this is what the world looks like!' Has my wee man's eyesight been so bad all this time without any of us noticing? :-( It nearly broke my heart to see this new excited Pudge, even happier than the usual Pudge. While tidying the kitchen after dinner, he bounced through to me and said 'Mummy, can I go outside and look at the night sky?' Again this was followed by another exclamation of awe. Wee man...

Monday, September 06, 2010


It's always poor Pudgeman... After three years of fighting the spots (as you can see we still have one of those on his right cheek) we received a letter from nursery saying he'd had an ambiguous eye test. That was about ten months ago. I rang the number on the letter from the NHS and was told he'd be recalled for a more detailed eye test within nine months. Of course nine months came and went with nothing so I rang again the week before he was due to start school, given being able to see always puts you at an advantage in school. They claimed they'd discharged him without seeing him and advised if I was still worried about him I should simply take him to a high street optician. Grrrr, thanks - I would have done that ten months ago, had I known... So off we trundled last week to Specsavers and they checked the health of his eyes - no problem, and rebooked us a week later for a pupil dilation and eye check. We arrived today, had his pupils dilated and were sent away for a half hour wait before the test could take place. To cheer him up I offered to take him to Waitrose for sweets. He chose a Kinder egg. I built the toy as he chomped on the chocolate. I handed it to him, only to have him ask what it was (a Little Red Riding Hood wolf in a nightie) - I hadn't realized the dilation would make his eyes so blurred he couldn't tell what he'd got, poor wee man! As we walked back down Byres road he pointed at the lamp posts and told me they were lovely helicopters. Oh dear - the dilated pupils were really having bad side effects :-( Once inside the optician diagnosed long-sightedness that he should outgrow before adulthood but insisted he wears glasses before his vision sustains any permanent damage in the meantime. Poor baby :-( He has such beautiful eyes, I don't want to hide them. I already see years of broken, lost, and temporarily misplaced glasses stretching before me. Years of glasses forgotten on visits to his father that I'll get to replace, no doubt :-( And years of hospital appointments stretch ahead again... Specsavers now want Marcel, Charlotte and Anna tested too - though Anna will need to be done during Léon's hospital appointment as she's too young for them to cope with. Marcel is less than amused at losing his Saturday afternoon to that, to say the least, and Charlotte is very (un)helpfully saying in front of Pudgeman that she won't be seen dead in ugly glasses! Thanks, Lots! At least Pudge himself is thrilled he's getting cool Mr Tickle specs - until he tries them on anyway.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Can you believe this is our seven month old baby? I had her what seems like only yesterday and already she's cruising my wall bars, eating biryani unliquidized from the pot using only three stumpy teeth and communicating exactly when she wants another spoonful or a sip of juice by shaking her head at whatever she doesn't want! I guess the problem with having kids later in life is that you yourself have already reached the point where time seems to be passing so quickly, you can't keep up any more!