Not suitable for people with irony deficiency and
cannot guarantee nut-free

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Boy 1 The Teenage Years

Dahlings, long time, no blog! Disgraceful!

Here events have taken a strange turn and Boy 1 seems to have entered the teenage years, even though he is only going to be 11 when his birthday comes next week..

There were a few warnings signs - increased interest in personal hygiene for a couple of weeks which meant showers in the morning/pool of water on bathroom floor and a desire for body spray products.  I even caught Boy "I don't need a bath my knees are only a bit muddy" 2 surreptitiously spraying on some Lynx Africa under his pjs the other day.  (A friend who used to be in the Navy told me that the application of deodorant onto unwashed body is know as a "submariner's dobby", that's the kind of info my brain retains).

I could launch into a rant about childhood ending too early and the evils of advertising and consumerism and children being made to feel they need deodorising when they are not even whiffy...but the blog couldn't cope with an outbreak of earnestness...and  thankfully both boys aren't really that bothered, with body spray coming a long way down a list of activities where Warhammer, computer games, football, totally unfunny jokes about cheese and whacking each other on the head with Nerf guns take priority.

I did, though, find myself in Hollister in the Westfield Shopping Centre, London yesterday with Boy 1.  And what an unsettling experience it was!

We were on a mission to buy Boy 1 a T-shirt for his birthday. We located the shop, which was all decked up on the outside to look like a house with white shutters and tiles. Inside we found a warren of tiny little rooms overstuffed with kit.  And Boy 1, as if a switch had been flicked, got very grumpy and teenage with me.  He was so obviously finding me a total embarrassment.  Can't think why, I only said things like:

"Ooh, it's sooo dark in here, I can't see what colour that is, or the size, can you see the size?" 
"Oooh, it's so cluttered up, did you see I almost fell over that rail? It's a deathtrap!"

He almost died of shame when I pushed the stockroom door ajar to see what colour the T-shirt was I was holding..
And he got really narked when I said for the 50th time, "If you're too hot, poppet, you can take your hoodie off."

The shop was full of teenage girls and boys, both customers and sales assistants. The average age was about 16 ( and that's only because me and a couple of other wrinklies pushed the average up by 10 years).Gosh, I felt so old baggy and witchy, faced with a very pretty sales girl wearing a tiny little broderie anglaise top - why are teenagers so attractive these days?  What happened to acne and gawkiness and greasy hair? (oh, that was just me - thanks Grandma Whacker).  I saw another mother exclaiming about the bad lighting, and a very cross father shouting, "Right, that's enough, I'm leaving!"  It's the sort of shop that makes parents very grouchy.

But despite or possibly because of the parental disapproval, the stuff was flying off the shelves and I guess teenagers would be too embarrassed to return a T shirt which they thought was grey and then in the daylight turned out to be fluorescent orange...

It wasn't all bad.  We scored a couple of cool T shirts.
And I got to take this chap home.

To be honest he is not really my type, I hate a man whose chest is better developed that my own.

And as Boy 2 has just pointed out, he looks a lot like Grendel from Boy 2's Beowulf reading book.

Little know fact: Grendel only angry because someone nicked his surfboard and his agent never got him any really good modelling jobs.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

In Which I Get A Dog

Calm down Grandma Whacker, it's not quite what you think!

Funny how things go.

Today is the first day back to school after Xmas for Boys 1 and 2, finally.

But don't feel too sorry for them, they are on half term soon (give it a couple of days max)...

So this morning the house is quiet.  Too quiet.

But I start doing Useful and Pro-Active Tasks like reading the Daily Mail celeb gossip like attempting meal planning (day 1  - spag bol, day 2 -  chille con carne, day 3 -  what else can I do with mince? day 4 -  zzzzzzz) and making the Shopping List From Hell (go to supermarket, buy entire contents of supermarket, get home, unload entire contents of supermarket, find have forgotten  mince).

The doorbell rings - it is my neighbour. "Do you know anything about this dog?" she asks, indicating an incredibly cute, sandy-coated scallywag (ok, you guessed, I have n't a clue what breed he is).  Who gambols into house and  runs around a bit. I chase after him, retrieve him, and say "No".

My neighbour is late for an appointment so I offer to take him in.

I close the door.  I look at the dog.  The dog looks at me, and then rolls over to have his tummy tickled. He knows a soft touch when he sees it.

I inspect his collar and see he is called Alfie and ring the accompanying mobile number.  I am not cool in a crisis and this is not even a crisis - I get in a terrible muddle trying to get my glasses on, read the mobile number and stop Alfie play biting my hands.  I  leave a breathless, flustered message...

Alfie and I look at each other a bit more.  I am not sure what to do with dogs - should I offer him a cup of tea? Would he like to do the crossword?

Alfie then makes a joyous break for it up the stairs.

I retrieve him.

 He goes into the kitchen, jumps on the sofa and gets excited about the dog he can see in the big mirror. And then launches himself up the stairs again.

It reallys speaks volumes. I have only just met Alfie and he is already behaving as naughtily as Boys 1 and 2.  Children and animals just know...

Finally I work out the best thing to do is to contain Alfie in the study, which is where we are now. He has now gone to sleep, just like a worn out toddler.

And hurrah - his owner rings up and tells me her au pair is on the way to collect him.  He has escaped by digging a hole under the gate..I suppose he just fancied some company.

She tells me not to worry about puddles, he is past that stage.

So I won't mention to her the yellow patch on the rug...
Alfie really enjoyed my amusing anecdote about what I once said to the double glazing salesman....

Thursday, 5 January 2012

2012 and the Entente Cordiale

Happy New Year Dahlings!

2012 is already off to a really good start - Grandma Whacker has decided to take Boy 1's French language skills in hand.   For Christmas she got him this.

Bless him he was so thrilled with it on Christmas Day, he was speechless, just threw it over his shoulder and carried on unwrapping Warhammer and Lynx body spray.

What prompted this grandmaternal purchase was my surprise when I found out that Boy 1 had been learning French at school for the past 2 years...and also that there were lists of vocab he should have been learning each week.  I can honestly say there was no sign whatsoever of any Francophone goings on in Boy 1's busy schedule of activities.  He also steadfastly denies any knowledge of French, merely repeating his chosen mantra of  "The French are a load of cheese eating surrender monkeys" which he has picked up from Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear . I had a little chat with Boy 1's French teacher (now I know she exists) about this and we both agreed that we could quite happily throttle Mr Clarkso. In the circs I feel that Boy 1's score of 3 and a half out of 11 for his French test is  - well, not as bad as it could have been.

So this morning at breakfast Grandma W decided it was a good time to debut the language CD.  She would brook no discussion.  She was on a mission.

I did try to point out that perhaps the boys were not in the right frame of mind as they had just been watching snippets of "Come Fly With Me" on YouTube.

But to no avail - on goes the CD.  Off sloped Boy 1 to the other room.  Leaving Boy 2 who at first appeared to be making a fair stab at repeating the phrases on the CD - "Bonjour, comment allez-vous?, je suis en vacances, je suis de Londres", etc

It was just a minute later than both Grandma and I realised he was now happily repeating the phrases- IN ENGLISH.   The nice lady on the tape was instructing cheerfully, "Now it's your turn, say you are on holiday"  - and Boy 2 piped up : " I am on holiday" urged the lady, "Say you come from London" - "I come from London" chirrups Boy 2.

Final score - Grandma W/Carla Bruni - 0
Boys 1 and 2/Jeremy Clarkson - 1.