Saturday, 11 February 2012

Of God and Elephants

So it's Parent's Evening time again!

Yipee (said through gritted teeth).

The verdict on Second Son (officially 'the youngest child in the school') is that he's err young (funny that!) and 'as I am sure you are aware, ho ho, filled with devilment'.

Well, I can't argue with that.  And neither can the cats, the neighbours, his brother, his father, my mum's dog and just about anything else with a heartbeat that's ever met him.  He woke me up the other morning by informing me that jellyfish were about to attack so he needed some vinegar NOW for their stings 'GET IT NOW MUMMY!' and then proceeded to hold a cat hostage with a plastic T-Rex, refusing to release it until it uttered the password 'WHAT IS MIAOW!'.  He keeps hiding his coat at school so they can't put him in it and if someone annoys him he pushes them into a bush.  He's the kind of child who, once upon a time, slightly horrified me.  I was going to be the mother who spent time reading Ladybird books, painting Beatrix Potter clay animals and going pony riding. If I had a girl I was going to buy her one of those beautiful wool coats with the velvet collars you always see young Royals wearing on Christmas Day  Ha! Who was I kidding.  Nobody would have actually sent a child like that to live with me.  They were going to send me a child who runs around with no pants on covered in neon marker pen whilst pogoing off the furniture screeching and trying to lasso cats.

And they were also going to send me his brother.  You know, just in case I wanted to spend eons of time discussing freight transit and whether or not it would be possible to drive to 'Crick' (which is apparently in Northamptonshire and home to a large Eddie Stobart lorry depot) after school (to which the answer is a clear and emotionally devestating - NO).  

Original Son, when he's not dreaming of Crick, has produced some marvelous paintings of telegraph poles stretching off into the distance and has informed the class and his teachers that whilst they all might wish for an x-box, pony, Chelsea strip or trip to Disneyland he likes 'wires - just wires'.    My brother wants to take him to Vegas to read the cards.  I think we'd better take the younger one too just in case we need some muscle......

Anyway - the best bit of Parent's Evening is the bit where you get to look at their books and see what they actually do in all those hours trapped in the classroom.  

One time I was treated to a graphic drawing of Snow White's corpse in the 'gLas cofin'.  This time crazy arse second child had drawn a bat, eating a mouse, standing on a dead bat.  I'm not sure of the exact symbolisim here but I'm guess it has something to do with being top of the food train and anevolutionary superior.  I asked his teacher.  She was a clueless as I was.  No they hadn't been studying bats.  Or mice.  Or dead things.  Hmmm.

However it is Original Son's workbooks where the real gems lie.

My particurlary favourite was his RE book.  

On the double page spread where they were meant to write their interpretation of Christianity he had drawn a gravestone and merely written:

'Jesus is dead'

Beneath this the teacher had written......

'This is a a good start'.

Nothing else had ever been written and they'd moved on to Islam.

I'm guessing we're still awaiting the resurrection then?  Maybe he should have stayed til the end of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Even better was the page entitled 'Belief Systems'.

They'd had to draw a spider-gram and in the middle he had written:

I Believe In.....

Around this were his beliefs:

Father Christmas
The tooth fairy
The Easter Bunny

Now THAT is a religion I might just sign up to!

Friday, 3 February 2012


So I get back from Asda today, with a box of cat food under one arm, 24 plastic clothes hangers squashed up against my torso and enough Hula Hoops to feed an army and stumble over the post on my door mat. 

The post consists of the local free paper - you know the sort of paper that doesn't even have any news in it - just a bit of vague information about some local police advice for idiots like 'Police Warn: Lock your car at night' or 'ALERT! Don't go on  holiday and leave your door open!' and then 324 adverts for massage parlours - like 'busty housewives Linda and Marie will help you unwind with a massage: have own shower' (which always makes me think as opposed to what? Having to knock on the neighbours and ask if you can borrow theirs because Linda went slightly OTT with the lube and you've got to go to your mothers for dinner?), some bank statements (which go in the pile 'of things I might open when I grow up) and a woman's clothing catalogue for a very upmarket 'chic' brand of clothing that contains phrases like 'urban style' and 'sport luxe'. I have never bought anything from it.  Obviously.  

Add a  'sport luxe' twist to any outfit it exclaims.   Really? As far as I'm concerned 'sport luxe' means wearing  matching socks that aren't those fluffy neon pink ones to the gym  And a top which isn't actually part of your pyjamas.......

Plus I hate the word 'luxe'.  Bleurgh.  

Then there are the outfits which 'take you from day to evening'.   The picture shows a beautifully cut figure hugging pencil dress which you can wear all day and then, once you've slicked on some lipstick and a higher pair of heels you can dash down to the latest bar/theatre/very swanky thing with all the other beautiful people that don't just want to go home, have a nice hot shower and watch Masterchef.    

I can't help reflecting that the only 'day to evening' outfit that would work for me would be a large fluffy dressing gown. And that would mean a day lolling about and not doing anything and how marvellous that would be.   If someone sent me catalogue which showed women reading a book under 4 layers of luxury ultra-soft velour with several cups of  tea at hand and a large bag of tortilla chips - yeah baby - that's selling me the DREAM.  

Because to be frank, much as I love clothes and all that stuff (and coats, especially coats, oh my god how much do I love coats? I couldn't live in a hot country because I'd actually be bereaved by the lack of coat wearing) with all the plate spinning that goes on round here I sometimes struggle to get myself dressed properly at all. 

Take yesterday.

I woke up and found I had no pants.  Now I own a LOT of pants - I don't know why, I just do.  But they were ALL in the wash.   I'd really gone to the very bottom of the draw.  Even the pair the same colour as a prosthetic limb - worn and gone.  And the pair with barely any elastic.  And the strange felty pair left from University (wow - those there pants are OLD).  And the the ones which feature some weird gold bell that reminds me of those Lindt Easter Bunnies and make me worry that every time I go to the loo I'll jingle all the way.  Gone all worn and gone.  Apart from the 'very last pair'.


The 'very last pair' had never been worn. 

There was a reason for this (actually, having spent a day in them, there was several....).

They came as part of a  set where I wanted the top half but had no need for the bottoms.  They have a lot of sort of excess ruffles round the waist (handy for hiding that paunch!) and then from each corner of your body  2 long straps with bows on that you (theoretically) can attached stockings too.   I was not attaching stockings to them.  I was trying to stuff them under my work trousers. With great difficulty.    

Every time I went to the toilet I looked down at my 8 swinging appendages and felt like some sort of giant squid.   

I really did pray that, more so that usual,  I didn't get hit by a car/collapse/etc because had anybody, for any reason, had to take my trousers off they would have probably called the Psych team because, lets face it - wearing all those ruffles and a plethora of bowed suspenders under a pair of utility work trousers teamed with fluffy ankle socks and special boots you can stand up in for 12 hours is not, erm, normal.   

And of course they chafed.  Oh boy did they chafe.   I think they were 'car to bar' pants - not 'lets walk several miles' ones. 


Half-way through the day a colleague pointed out she really liked my top.  'Thanks!' I said, feeling slightly better about the state of my wardrobe.  'But what's that?' she asked leaning forward to touch something on my waistband.

Oh my god I panicked - one of my ruffles must have escaped! I felt heat rush to my face.  

Busted! Busted in the befrilled Octo-pants. 

'Oh'  she said 'Oh! How funny! It's your care label - errr you've got your top on inside out!'.  

Is that all I sighed with relief.  

It's not wrong you see - it's 'boho dishevelled day to evening luxe'.   Come 5pm you can turn your top the right way out, clip your stockings on and go home to, err, cook fish fingers and waffles.