Thursday 23 February 2012

Fish out of water

London life (and no kids):
  • you walk 20 minutes to and from the tube station every morning and evening, with a sense of urgency
  • you race up and down escalators and steps and along corridors in said tube stations as if your life depended on it
  • even if it is a lazy Sunday afternoon in the park, you still walk dangerously fast
  • skinny lattes are the drink of choice from the work's coffee shop
  • you eat salads from the work canteen for lunch, only occasionally allowing yourself a little spoonful of croutons sprinkled over the top as a special treat
  • you go out drinking straight after work and forget to eat an evening meal, sometimes fitting in a stint in the gym beforehand
  • you go for a virtuous swim on a Saturday morning before some very speedy clothes shopping, this is because a) you have time, and b) you can afford to
  • the skinny mannequins donning beautiful clothes in shop windows everywhere you look keep you focused

Country life (with kids):
  • you amble from the kitchen to the sitting room while polishing off the kids' peanut butter on toast
  • you live in the middle of nowhere so have to drive EVERYWHERE
  • when you do get to walk, you sedately shuffle along with your slow-moving child through a muddy field
  • hot chocolate is the drink of choice
  • you not only eat your own lunch but you also polish off your kids lunch too, followed by pudding
  • once the kids are in bed, you reward yourself for a hard days work, with a pizza, and a chocolate orange, washed down with a bottle of wine
  • you promise yourself that you will go for a swim every Saturday morning but the combination of a 30 mile round trip to the nearest pool and the guilt you feel about leaving the kids with your husband, means you only go once a year
  • this means that the only exercise you get is when you occasionally get the hoover out
  • living near a town where the nicest shop is Primark you feel utterly uninspired

And so you leave your kids and your country comforts, and go on a jolly to London. You put some mascara on, and get taken to a posh club, and you feel like you have momentarily rediscovered your old self.  Apart from you are two stone heavier.  You feel like a whale, despite tactically wearing black, and placing your favourite (Primark) scarf over your stomach.  Apart from one bloke you spot, you are the only one wearing jeans and Converse. And you bet the bloke didn't get his jeans from Sainsburys.  You are put out that they do not sell cider at the bar.  You get odd looks when you get your camera out to take photos of the decor (to show your kids).

You sit on the platform at Paddington station on Sunday afternoon, feeling knackered from the 3am bedtime the night before.  You feel sad that you are leaving your lovely London, and seek comfort from a Cadbury's Creme Egg.  You reminisce fondly about the night before, but you cannot wait to get home and give your kids the London toy buses you have bought for them, and the giant marshmallows from Hamleys. 

You also look forward to sitting at the bar in your local, unselfconsciously eating a packet of cheese and onion crisps, pint in hand, talking to the landlady about moulting chickens, your children and husband playing bendy dominoes in the background.

You can't wait for the train to get in.  

Thursday 16 February 2012

I Spy

This is the conversation I heard through the baby monitor a couple of hours ago:

Betty: I spy with my little eye something beginning with W

Dolly: Door!

Betty: No Dolly, no no no, door does not begin with W.  Try again.  I spy with my little eye something beginning with W

Dolly: Light!

This sequence happens about five more times before Betty starts getting really cross with Dolly

Dolly: Please stop being naughty to me Betty, I am only two.  I don't want to play I Spy any more, I want to go to sleep.

Saturday 11 February 2012

So-so sew

For the first half of term Betty's class have been developing their own superheroes. Betty had created 'Monkey Girl' who is 'stronger than a hippo'. The other day Bety came home and told me that she had volunteered my sewing services to help make superhero capes for her class.

So I set my sewing machine up in the corner of the class, while Dolly had Betty's classmates and teacher running around for her, fetching her books, crayons, paper and dressing up clothes.

Fairly confident that I had threaded the machine correctly, I gathered the expectant children round with their chosen cape material.  'My mummy is such a brilliant sewer,' Betty told them proudly.   'Stand back children,' I said, as I pushed my foot down on the pedal.  The machine spectacularly clonked and clanked and jammed up.  'You're not very good at knitting,' offered one little boy.  'My mummy is REALLY good at sewing,' said another boy. 

And this is basically how I spent the next hour and a half, trying to work my frickin machine with children politely telling me I wasn't very good.  Even Betty backtracked and told me I needed to 'go a bit faster.' From the back of the class, Dolly poked her head up and told me I was a 'slowcoach'.

If anything can be redeemed from the afternoon, it was that I learnt what a gorgeous class Betty is in. There are only seven of them (two girls and five boys) and when they weren't helpfully offering me their critique, they all sat around getting on incredibly well with each other and gossiping like little old ladies.  It was very touching indeed.