How to give your one-year-old the perfect birthday present: FOR NO MONEY!

Dear Reader, we have done it. We have seen our child, an actual tiny human being, through the first year of his life. We have managed this with his health, our marriage and my sanity (was touch and go there for a while) intact. Huzzah!

Now, I must confess that I see the first birthday as a celebration for the parents as much (if not more) than their child, who has no awareness of the significance of this particular day, but does like to rip up shiny paper and receives attention with wide-eyed glee. My friends planned parties, visited monkey sanctuaries and Sealife centres; not me. My poor lil Bubs had no cake with a singular candle, no party or elaborate present-giving ceremony. We had a nice time playing and cuddling in the morning, opening cards and pressies (mostly clothes, which I was much more excited about than him). That evening we were off on a train to London and I tried to convince myself that this counted as a ‘special birthday treat’. Don’t think I’ll be getting away with that one again!

And what of his present? Well, I wanted to give him something that he would really enjoy, something with multi-sensory elements and, frankly, something that wouldn’t fill my house with more plastic crap. So, after much debate, we decided that the best present we could give him was a pile of old rubbish.

No, really, that’s what we did.

So, Dear Reader, here is my recipe for the ideal one-year-old birthday present.

Take one old cardboard box and mix with a willing helpful husband.

Take one old cardboard box and mix with a willing helpful husband.

Apply all of that worse-for-wear wrapping paper that's been stuffed in a bag under a desk for a a year or so.

Apply all of that worse-for-wear wrapping paper that’s been stuffed in a bag under a desk for a a year or so.

Take a month's worth of land-fill worthy packaging that you have squirrelled away.

Separately, take a month’s worth of land-fill worthy packaging that you have diligently squirrelled away. Including…

Mr and Mrs Egg box.

Mr and Mrs Egg box.

A box of tissues (unused).

A box of tissues (unused).

That old phone that's been in the bottom draw for longer than you can remember.

That old phone that’s been in the bottom draw for longer than you can remember.

Random plastic trays.

Random plastic trays.

And an optional extra: If you, like us, save all of the scoops from your formula tubs for no apparent reason, now's the time to use them...

If you, like us, save all of the scoops from your formula tubs for no apparent reason, now’s the time to use them…

Sew the ends together and fashion your Bubs a rattle of epic proportions!

Sew the ends together and fashion your Bubs a rattle of epic proportions!

Now, place the gathered ingredients into the afore mentioned box, et voila! Your birthday present is assembled!

Now, assemble the ingredients into the afore mentioned box, et voila! Your birthday present is assembled!

You say cheap and flimsy; I say creative and ecological!!

Any way, Bubs liked it…

DSC_1013 DSC_1016 DSC_1085 DSC_1088

#thrifty #birthday #winning!

What are your thrifty birthday tips? Share in the comments below, or tweet me @aafew

Bubs Speaks: #WickedWednesdays

Dear Reader, I have finally infiltrated the grown-up’s most treasured fortress; the iPad. I will have to be brief as Mother thinks I am playing with it mindlessly. (Why do they eternally underestimate us?)

I just wanted to give you a little insight into life from the ‘other side’, as it were. She’s always writing about how hard things are for her, but what about me Dear Reader, what about me?

Take this lunch time, for example. She hadn’t prepared anything in advance, as usual, so she sat me in my highchair, feeding me cucumber and tomatoes whilst she made us an omelette (it was exceptable when it came, I’ll give her that much). Cucumber and tomatoes? Did she Really think I would be subdued? By salad???? Preposterous!

But don’t you worry, I let her know my feelings on the matter!

*screeeeaaaam*

*screeeeaaaam*

She soon got the message, I can tell you. What else could I do? I was waiting at least five minutes. FIVE MINUTES!

Outrage.

Outrage.

But I’m pleased to report that we had quite a pleasant lunch together after this. You see, you have to discipline these adults, otherwise they never learn. I am sure you agree.

Toodlepip!

Bubs

x

brummymummyof2

“The mummies on the bus go ‘natter, natter, natter.'” Really? REALLY?!?!?

Picture the scene, Dear Reader: In an affluent area of South Manchester a dozen women gather at a children’s centre for a ‘stay and play’. These are intelligent women. Many of them are educated to a high level. These are kind, interesting, socially aware women.

After a fruit plate snack (which was free, big up Manchester City Council for that one) these women take their places, children on laps, for story time. Aw, sweet. ‘Shall we sing some songs?’ Asks the kindly play-worker. Any requests? After a few rounds of Old MacDonald (more on him later), The Wheels on the Bus is requested. Classic! That is, without doubt, the nursery rhyme equivalent of a BIG TUNE. Me and Bubs sing it in the bath regularly (okay, I sing it, he splashes along semi-rhythmically). So, the chorus begins. The wheels on the bus go round and round; the horn on the bus goes ‘beep beep beep’; the wipers on the bus go ‘swish swish swish’; the mummies on the bus go ‘natter, natter, natter’; the babies on the bus… hang on, hang on, what was that last one??

The mummies on the bus go natter, natter, natter. Um, okaaaay. Here we are, this intelligent group of human beings, making that ‘nattering’ hand gesture (which, incidentally, is the same motion we make for a duck’s quack: rude), singing sweetly to our children about those noisy mothers on the bus. Women, hey? Once they get together, you just can’t shut ’em up!

The song moves on and we then hear that the babies on the bus are fast asleep (yeah right); the children on the bus make too much noise (what a negative message to send our youth); and the daddies say ‘shh, shh, shh.’ Good job the men are there really, or those negligent chattering women would let their children run a muck!

I must confide that I do not sing such derogatory things about the mummies on the bus. I refuse on principle. So, I either sit mumbling the tune for that verse or, on my more bolshy days, I sing ‘people’ instead of mummies, loudly enough so my neighbouring parents can hear. I also scan the assembled crowd for someone who will exchange a knowing eye-roll with me. I usually find one. I should probably scream at the top of my lungs “Come on people, it’s 20-bloody-14, what are we doing???” But I’m rarely that bolshy without the aid of alcohol.

As you are probably aware the Wheels on the Bus debacle is not an isolated incident. If only. I am constantly suppressing outrage at the a thousand subtle sexisms that assault my son on a regular basis. Actually, some of them are not so subtle. For example, below is the second page of an Old MacDonald book I got from our local library. Bubs loves that farmyard tune, so I was already singing enthusiastically as I turned the page to discover that the first thing Old MacDonald had on his farm was a…

A WIFE!!!!!

A WIFE!!!!!

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought women stopped being included as part of livestock inventories some time around the industrial revolution. Just saying. And a ‘kiss kiss’? She has her own noise? Bleurgh, a thousand times bleurgh! Now *spoiler alert* the last page of the book is ‘Old MacDonald had a baby’, which makes the inclusion of this wife a bit more logical, but still. Well, at least her noise isn’t ‘natter, natter, natter’. Needless to say I skipped this page. Also considered ripping it out, but I restrained myself. I won’t let the casual sexism of a children’s book turn me into a literary vandal!

I do despair, Dear Reader. For all of of the brilliant progressions made in the past century, women in children’s fiction are still all too often the wife, or mum, or the sensible one (yes, that’s you Hermione). Unless the book/song is about a girl defying her restrictive gender roles. There are plenty of those books; books that make a feminist statement. And I love them (Jane and the Dragon, what a book!). The thing is I was kind of hoping we’d be past statement making now, but it seems instead we’ve regressed.

Of course, literature is probably the most enlightened aspect of the cash-cow that is the children’s market. Occasionally I wonder over to the girls section in Asda/Sainburys/Boots to see if there is anything I could dress Bubs in. WALL TO WALL PINK. Maybe a bit of green and white too; plenty of frills and hearts and bows. I’m a feminist but I’m not dressing my son up like a social experiment.* And it doesn’t have to stop at the obvious clothes and toys; any product can be marketed in this kiddy-gender-enforcement way. Even Airbus are doing it, apparently.

Little girls, take note: You too can be a pilot. But you CANNOT HAVE SHORT HAIR OR WEAR BLUE!)

Little girls, take note: You too can be a pilot. But you CANNOT HAVE SHORT HAIR OR WEAR BLUE!

It’s all around us folks, and it troubles me. I am raising a boy and I want him to grow into a man who sees women as equals. I’m dreading the day he discards a toy, telling me “that’s for girls”. In a way I am more concerned with him being exposed to these images and ideas than I would be a little girl. Because if in 30 years we still have a situation where there are over 20,000 reported rapes a year,   or women still only make up a fifth of MPs, or, God forbid, programmes like ‘snog, marry avoid’ still exist , then my son will be one of those who hold the balance of power. He will be a man in a patriarchal society. #winning

So, Dear Reader, what can we do to stem the tide of mummies who ‘natter’ and wives who go ‘kiss kiss’? Well, I have started with a little DIY project concerning my son’s book ‘When I Grow Up’.

Aw, cute!

Aw, cute!

It’s part of a lovely set of six M&S boards, which he loves. However, I felt that this particular volume needed a few changes made. Observe:

 

Yep, I actually did this. I could have been watching Downton, or playing Candy Crush, but I cut out little bits of paper with the correct terms (not politically correct, just correct) and did an edit on a board book. And I loved every minute of it. Fight the power!

Now, do I actually think me papering over the gender-biased terminology in one book will have any real effect my son’s vision of the world? No, I’m not a mad woman. As long as there’s a woman presenting the cookery show on CBeebies, whilst men run zoos and have Dinosaur adventures, I feel I’m fighting a losing battle. (Yes I know there’s a female pirate captain, and yes she is ace). As long as the Super Mario Brothers are rescuing the princess from the castle and women computer games critics are subjected to terror threats,(yes, that’s an actual thing that happened) I reckon me doctoring a few pictures isn’t going to have the greatest impact. Even posts like these, just a mum rambling on about being a mum and feminist, invite such serious trolling that bloggers stop writing (also a real thing, bleurgh). So I have no delusions of grandeur when it comes to stemming the misogynist tide

But these little things make a difference to me. I probably can’t change the world, but I don’t have to lie down and take it either. So my son will be subjected to ‘girl’s toys’ and female heroines for a long time yet, and I hope he’ll be a better man for it.

 

What sexist songs/books/toys are grinding your gears? Share the rant! Comment below, tweet me @aafew or like my facebook page and join in the fun!

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* FYI. If my son later chooses to wear women’s clothing, or informs me that he is in fact my daughter, that is 100% okay with me.

“I’ll NEVER do that with my kids”: the naive vows we make BC (before children) #WickedWednesdays

Before I had Bubs there were many noble promises I made to myself. I would never formula feed, or use a dummy, or co-sleep, or (conversely) move my baby out of our room before he was 6 months old. I was pretty darn sure that those would be my big, firm no’s…

Can guess what happened next?

I started on the formula from 4 weeks. Oh, and I definitely use a dummy; they are the best. Also, Bubs slept in the the bed with me for at least a few hours every night for the first two months. And then, at 10 weeks we moved him to his own room, because he was just TOO BLOODY LOUD! Aaaah, it feels good to get that off my chest. *represses immediate rush of what-if-they-judge-me anxiety*

The point is that our dreams of ‘perfect parenting’ (not a real thing) soon fly out the window when we meet our little human beings who come packaged with their own little personalities and whims. And I’m here to tell you that’s okay. This is a Wicked Wednesday post, but of course, it’s not actually wicked. (Yes I’m aware it’s Thursday, I’ve been busy!)

I shall give you another example from my own, admittedly limited, parenting experience. I had this idea that from early on I would make a little game out of putting toys away when we were done with them. I would thus burn such habits into my offspring’s psyche from day one. Voila! No toy-strewn floors, no pieces of lego to accidentally step on and swear at the top of my lungs. Ha ha ha, how silly I was. You see, what I didn’t anticipate is that emptying all of the toys out of their draws is the game itself for my Bubs. Let me illustrate:

Oops, I haven't quite emptied that one..

Oops, I haven’t quite emptied that one…

Right, let's get to work.

Right, let’s get to work.

Hmm, what have we got in here?

Hmm, what have we got in here?

Don't need that.

Don’t need that.

Get rid of that.

Get rid of that.

Yes mother, can I help you?

Yes mother, can I help you?

I’m sure I have a thousand more ‘nice ideas’ that Bubs will soon set me straight on. Still, a girl’s gotta dream, right?

brummymummyof2

Making a Millstone Out of Milestone.

millstone

If you have never read a piece of information that said your baby “should” be doing something that it isn’t yet then I’m pretty sure you’re in the minority. (But congrats to you, you have the mythical unicorn child).

For me it was sleep. When my son was tiny he woke pretty much every 2ish hours. This was for the first, maybe, ten weeks, so pretty normal but still exhausting. As you may imagine I spent rather too much time googling and looking up baby sleep solutions. We all do it – even though basically it’s up to our babies when they decide to sleep and wake- we cling to the hope that there must be some sure-fire technique to give us a stretch of sleep more than 3 hours long (or even one hour long for some of us, solidarity sisters!). So, any way, I’m reading this stuff and I find some helpful hints, but mostly unhelpful ones. For example, this helpful little factoid:

“By about six weeks your baby could be sleeping for at least one stretch of up to 6 hours.”

Well really? Could he? He bloody isn’t! The problem with telling us that ‘some babies’ do X at X weeks is that if our baby isn’t one we either feel cheated or, worse, that we’ve failed in some way (there goes that guilt again!)

Currently, I am sick of reading that by six months “your baby shouldn’t need to be fed in the night-time”. Shouldn’t he? What if he is hungry in the night time? Bubs is now 11 months old and each night is different. Some glorious, wondrous nights he sleeps through. Aaah, bliss. But on others wakes up when he is hungry and he doesn’t go back to sleep until you give him food. You can cuddle him, you can give him a dummy, you can leave him to cry, but nothing will soothe him because, guess what? He’s hungry! The books (gggrrr, the books!) say he shouldn’t be because he’s almost one. But he is, so there. Also, to be honest, sometimes it’s just bloody easier to feed him. Every now and then I muster up the energy to so half-an-hour’s soothing in the dead of night, but I usually have to feed him eventually any way. So why waste time? Whatever gets you through the night, that’s what I say!

I write that last paragraph as if I don’t worry that I’m doing something wrong in feeding my boy in the night. As I don’t get that “oh, are we doing it wrong?” pang on a regular basis. Of course I do. Because when you’re a first-time mum it’s hard not to doubt yourself, especially when the “experts” dole out their shoulds and shouldn’ts so liberally. But I don’t think the sleep stuff is half as harmful as the other developmental ‘milestones’ we’re told about.

We parents can drive ourselves mad with movement and speech milestones. That’s one of the reasons the Ages and Stages Questionnaire winds me up so bloody much. If you believe your child ‘should’ have been doing something months ago that they still aren’t then it is difficult not to let the anxiety fairy in. Mothers may feel themselves become self-conscious in groups of children of a similar age, as if their child’s stage of development reflects on them. We seem to have created a timetable for rolling and crawling and standing and using words. This timetable can become a tyranny. Because ‘milestone’ timings are just averages. That’s all. Instead these milestones become millstones around our necks (thanks, I’m pretty proud of that one), weighing us down with worry.

Now, before you scroll down and type furiously into the comments section, I am not saying that if an 18-month old can’t sit up or make noise we should just ‘you know, give the kid some space man!’ But we all know loads of kids who took longer than average to roll-over, start speaking, pick up a bloody Cheerio between their thumb and forefinger or what ever. In the end they got there and it just wasn’t a big deal!

Next time I see a ‘at X months your baby should…’ sentence anywhere I am going to give myself two challenges. The first will be not to panic, or at least not to respond to my panic, if Bubs isn’t doing whatever he ‘should’ be. But the second is not to feel any pride if he is. A healthy, happy baby is an achievement to be proud of but beyond that if we start congratulating ourselves on the milestones then we will inevitably berate ourselves when our babies don’t meet these approximated deadlines. Worse, we will promote a culture in which mothers with babies who walk at 15 months rather than 12 will feel ashamed.

So many of us were professionals before we were mums and this skews our vision sometimes. We see milestones as targets to be met, rather than just stuff that will happen for our babies at some point.

There are very few concrete shoulds or shouldn’ts when it comes these little humans; they just do what they do, and we can trust them.

How do you feel about milestones? Have you been unduly worried about your child? Or maybe they flagged up something you’re glad you know? Comment below or Tweet me @aafew

Getting Deja Vu? Back in the annals of time (well, actually, in July), when my blog about 3 followers, I wrote a post called ‘Ssshh to the Shoulds’. And seeing as a) it is apparently #archivesaturday b) a few more people might read it this time round and c) I just really really hate the word ‘should’ being applied to children, I thought I’d rejig, rename and reblog it. So, there you go.

One small step for Bubs: One giant headache for mumkind. #WickedWednesdays

Any new mum is eager for the ‘next stage’. For weaning, for sitting up, rolling over, standing up etc. Mums of older children must look upon us with a sort of knowing sympathy because, as one mum said to me when I got all excited that Bubs was on the move: “Oh, you don’t want them crawling.” (Imagine that sentence is said is a sort of war-weary voice. Yep, that’s it).

Actually the first ‘milestones’ are brill. Smiling, giggling and sitting up all make your baby seem more human and less like a screaming, pooing creature sent to test your last nerve. For many of us there is a period of grace between newborn insanity and crawling, when your baby manages to have a personality AND will also stay wherever you plonk him/her. Aaaah, bliss.

For Bubs and I those days are over. And I’m not actually sad. Watching him grow into a little boy is a strange mixture of exciting and heart-wrenching. He hasn’t taken his first steps yet, but he is now a seasoned furniture cruiser. This week he took it to the next level, though and learned three new things:

1) To stand for a few seconds unaided. Well done there.

2) To climb up onto the sofa. Oh wow, that’s clever.

3) To climb up over the arms of the sofa and launch himself head first onto the floor below. Aaaah, panic, panic, catch, phew!

So, yes, whilst I still naively look forward to those first little toddles, at least I now know it’s naive. I’ve made my peace with that.

But let me illustrate how Bubs’ new found strength and agility with a little video. First, the context: I have a playpen in our kitchen, the bottom of which is removable and washable. This is fab, as I’m sure you can imagine. However, without the fabric bottom the sides are more prone to movement. They won’t collapse in on themselves but they will move if pushed, changing the shape of the pen and making them hazardous for babies not sure of their feet. However, I thought Bubs was strong enough that he’d be fine in his, and he was. It was my kitchen that was at risk! Observe:

So, there you have it. My hulk of a son can command his play pen and, needless to say the bottom won’t be getting washed again for a while!

brummymummyof2

In The Night Garden: 10 things we’re all thinking (aren’t we?)

The most bizarre family photo ever?

The most bizarre family photo ever?

I don’t about you, but in our household each day is rounded off by sitting down to watch the much loved, and frankly bizarre, children’s TV phenomenon that is In the Night Garden. Most of the time I find it oddly charming. In fact, I am generally ever-indebted to CBeebies for providing a stream of ad-free, colourful programmes that are educational and socially aware enough to ease the guilt I feel when plonking Bubs down in front of the TV. However, after 6+ months of watching an episode almost every evening there a few things I need to get off my chest. So here goes:

1) Tombliboo music is THE WORST.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but In The Night Garden is musically quite clever. All of the characters have their own song, which becomes a motif that follows them through the entire programme. Plus the Tittifers random songs throughout each episode come together into a jolly, harmonic lullaby when it’s time to go to sleep. All well and good. So why is the only music played by actual characters in the show so utterly atrocious? The Tombliboos crash about on their little piano making a catcall of a racket and this, apparently, is ‘Tombliboo music‘. Well, I’m here to tell you Derek Jacobi (he’s the narrator, I’m not just being whimsically random) that it is nothing of the sort! My husband has, on occasion, turned the channel over to avoid said ‘music’. I’m all for discordant musical experimentation but not at bedtime, okay? Just not at bedtime.

2) What the eff are the Haahoos?

Yes, yes, ‘What the eff is anything in the Night Garden?’ I hear you cry. Good point, well made. But come on, the Haahoos? The strange inflatable creatures that loom, balloon like in the background as the others dance? Are they ever featured in a storyline? (okay ‘storyline’ is probably putting it a bit strongly) Yet there they always are, closing their sleepy eyes at the end of each episode. They are weird. And not in a good way.

Seriously.

Seriously.

3) The Ninky Nonk and Pinky Ponk change size. I find this troubling.

So, at the end of each episode there’s that little dance they all do, right? It’s one of the only times the characters all get together at once and so we can see their relative sizes. Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy are the biggest (apart from the weirdo Haahoos, obvs) , followed by the Tombliboos, followed by Makka Pakka, the Pontipines and Wottingers. These sizes stay the same throughout the show, naturally. But not so for the much loved novelty vehicles of the Night Garden. Oooooh, no siree bob. They’re all nice and small at the end of the show. Igglepiggle runs past them (he’s never in bed is he? what’s he like?) and they are, I’d say, about half his size. Even smaller in the dancey bit before. And yet not only can Igglepiggle fit into the Ninky Nonk and Pinky Ponk, he can do so comfortably, in a variety of carriages, some of which are apparently arena-like in size. And everyone else can fit on too. So what’s the deal? Do the residents of the Night Garden shrink as soon as they approach? Or does the Pinky Ponk suddenly grow like it’s been hit by the laser from ‘Honey I Blew Up the Baby’? (If you weren’t born in the 80s that film may have passed you by, which is really a good thing).

Parents up and down the country are being tortured by these unexplained perspective changes. Why? Why? Why? We scream. Well, we scream it internally because our children are watching, blissfully ignorant of the raging inconsistencies that are being paraded before them. I have seen irate Facebook statuses on this subject. Facebook statuses people. That’s how serious this situation is.

4) The Tombliboos seem to live in a primitive version of the Tardis.

Whilst we’re on the subject of perspective, I’d just like to add that, while on the outside the Tombliboos’ house is relatively modest, inside it is positively cavernous. Is it just me or is anyone else starting to think that CBeebies are just messing with our heads?

5) Is Makka Pakka a little bit sad?

I love Makka Pakka. I actually love him. The Tombliboos can go jump for all I care and IgglePiggle just needs to stop falling over. Upsy Daisy I have more time for but still, none of them are a patch on old Makka. He’s the cutest. No, seriously, I love him.

But am I the only who finds that there’s something just a little bit melancholy to his character? Maybe it’s because all of the others have a playmate. Or it could be that he takes a stone to bed with him. He’s cuddling a stone people. Most likely, though is the fact that, whilst Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy and the Tombliboos are obviously a bunch of hapless preschoolers, Makka Pakka reminds me more of an unassuming, slightly OCD, middle aged man. Just imagine, living in a bizarre garden with questionable public transport surrounded by giant toddlers who constantly need their faces washing. Bleurgh. I think I’d be a little bit sad too.

Poor Makka Pakka. #thirdwheel

Poor Makka Pakka. #thirdwheel

Just as an aside, does anyone else secretly covet Makka Pakka’s bed covers? They are stylish man! John Lewis needs to get on that shizzle!

6) Pinky Ponk juice.

I don’t really have anything to say about this. To be honest I don’t want to think about it too much. It just freaks me out that it’s a thing. Bleurgh.

7) The Poor Old Wottingers.

‘The Pontipines are friends of mine’ sings Derek at the beginning of many an episode. That red-clad family do their little dances and hide behind buttons like nobody’s business. They’re often to be found taking a ride on the Ninky-Nonk or enjoying a refreshing beverage (afore mentioned) at altitude on the Pinky Ponk. Meanwhile, languishing just next door are the much over-looked Wottingers. The same in every way apart from their blue clothing, I can’t help thinking the Wottingers are very much the second-class citizens of the Night Garden. Whilst the Pontipines lark about enjoying the life of Riley I often wonder what the Wottinger children are doing. Are they peering out of the windows of their little semi-detached house thinking ‘What have they go that we haven’t? Why do they get to hide in flower pots all the time? Why don’t we have our own song?’  Oh sure, they appear in the odd episode or two but only as sort of mass-sidekick for the Pontipines. When will the Wottingers be allowed to express themselves in their own right? Huh? Huh?? I don’t know, Dear Reader, I just don’t know.

8) The ball is not a character

Notice, Dear Reader, that I write ‘the ball’ and not ‘The Ball’. Because it’s not a person! It’s an inanimate object. Not that I am against inanimate objects being animated into characters per se, Oh no, I love me a bit of Beauty and the Beast! But the ball does fall under this category. It. Just. Bounces. So let’s not talk about it as if it were a being, okay? Does my bloody head in.

9) What is the big deal with IgglePiggle? Upsy Daisy is the star of the show. 

A controversial opening gambit, I am aware. My husband and I have genuinely debated this question. Seriously, it has produced post-modernist interpretations and everything, whilst my son obliviously chomps down his bedtime banana. But I stick to my guns. Yes, Igglepiggle is in the boat at the beginning and the end (is the whole thing a dream? dun dun der!) but Upsy Daisy is 100% the most featured character. In fact I’d go as far to say the Igglepiggle is her sidekick, bless him. He pretty much follows her around, intermittently falling over in shock for comic effect. Upsy Daisy sings, she dances, she has a crazy mobile bed (don’t get me started) and Igglepiggle? Well, he has a blanket.

There, I’ve said it. It feels good to have that out in the open. Commence epic and impassioned debate in the comments section.

And last but by no means least:

10) Upsy Daisy and Igglepiggle: Get a Room!

I know I am corrupting the innocent and childlike relationship that is at the very heart of In The Night Garden. I know I am imposing my jaded, cynical adult mind onto what is, after all, just a nice TV show. But I don’t care! I am not the only one who finds Upsy Daisy and Igglepiggle’s kisses just a bit too lingering for comfort. Am I? Thought not. Those two are, in my mind, the Ross and Rachel of the Night Garden. Everyone can see that they’re in love and half of the time it works just fine, but then they’ll loose each other or just go chasing after a ball or something. Life always gets in the way, doesn’t?

But when they are together, well, they make it count! I’m all for showing affection guys but, you know, the kids are watching.

upsy-and-iggle

What bugs you about In the Night Garden? Tweet @aafew or comment below. 

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All In The Night Garden images © BBC.

Mummy Mantras: 5 phrases to get you through.

If you have been following my blog for the past couple of weeks (thanking you kindly very much please) you will have seen my Mummy Mantra series. It’s been all the things we say to ourselves to, you know, retain a bit of sanity. Or I do, any way! So, you may feel that this is a big fat cop out post. Well, it sort of is. Deal with it. I’

I thought it would be nice to collect them all in one mammoth mantra post. Especially the graphics, which I defo spent longer on than the text, Sad but true. To read more about any mantra click on the links below its pic.

There’ll be more to come, but let’s face it, this could get old pretty soon. So for now here they are in all of their glory. My mummy mantras:

Pretty self explanatory.

Pretty self explanatory. (read more)

For those times when they are JUST CRYING. You know the deal.

For those times when they are JUST CRYING. You know the deal. (read more)

Because you know what's best for your family. So screw the haters!

Because you know what’s best for your family. So screw the haters! (read more)

Honestly, they do.

Honestly, they do. (read more)

Also for when they are just crying. As many mantras as possible are helpful at this point in the day/evening/night.

Also for when they are just crying, or when they’re not sleeping, or not eating or… you know.
As many mantras as possible are helpful at this point in the day/evening/night. (read more)

And a few extras:

From @sleepdeprivdmom : ‘she’s only a baby she’s not being naughty’ (for when she isn’t sleeping or doing something I think she should be!)

From a good friend of mine : ‘The hoovering can wait.’ (That’s a BIG one!)

From a wise granny I know : ‘The babies don’t read the books.’

That’s all folks! Regular service will resume shortly.

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Wicked Wednesdays: this what real parenting looks like!

As I am sure you are aware the internet in packed to bursting with photos of adorable children in cute little outfits hugging each other or their parents or some other cute thing like a panda or something. There are also a lot of food pics doing the rounds. These I have less time for. Unless you’re posting the recipe I don’t want to see how much more effort you’ve made than me on a Tuesday evenings. Sozzers. Anyhoo, generally, there’s a lot of ‘I love my life’ imagery going on. Not that this is a problem, it’s just it’s not exactly representative! (see also this fab post by Hurrah for Gin on pinterest)

So, the very talented Brummymummyof2 has thought up a clever little linky (no, I had never heard of one either, google it) called Wicked Wednesdays (hashtag, natch). One day a week we are challenged to post the pics that show the grimier side of this whole childcare lark. And yes, I know I have already posted pics of my wobbly thighs and Bubs’ newborn-old man hands but, you know, this fun! So this week I’m getting involved with a couple of photos (I almost called them a ‘series of photos’ but then realised there’s only two and I’m not a pretentious arse):

Photo 1 depicts Bubs having discovered and pulled down one of my not-so-nifty changing table baskets.

Photo 1 depicts Bubs having discovered and pulled down one of my not-so-nifty changing table baskets.

Photo 2. Well, you get the picture.

Photo 2. Well, you get the picture.

As this is doubly wicked because instead of immediately removing the cotton buds from his grasp I took a photo first. And I’m not even sorry. Boom!

brummymummyof2