Millie’s joke

MILLIE: What is your name?

ME: Stuart.

MILLIE: Name a colour beginning with B.

Karl Hooper from That's Amazing
Get off my show, mate.

ME: Blue?

MILLIE: What’s the opposite of “on”?

ME: Off.

MILLIE: Ha ha! Stuart blew off!  Ha ha!

ME: Get off my show, mate.

Two sides of growing up

We’ve seen more than the typical number of small children and babies lately, and it’s made me realise how our own “babies” are growing up almost without us noticing.

Growing upBecause we see them every day it’s hard to spot how they’re getting bigger and less child/baby-like.

Oh, sure, there’s some distant memory of a time when they were a bit smaller, had worse table manners and didn’t talk as much, but to some extent, how they are now is how they’ve always been.

Which is, of course, utter nonsense.

But you don’t have time to stand back each day and appreciate how much your children have grown and changed.  If you’re very aware and lucky then something will drag this change to your attention – such as seeing other people’s small children or new babies.  That’s when you realise how grown up your own are.  But on a day-to-day basis your own children seem quite static.

I just had a horrifying thought – what if, in your eyes, your children never seem grown up?  Do my parents still see me as a bumbling child, apt to fall over and skin my knee at any moment?  Do they hold their breath if I run too quickly down the stairs?

I’m less protective of our two than the Lovely Melanie, in that I’ll let them out of my sight sometimes; I’ll let them play in the woods behind our house unsupervised (although in earshot).  I recently had to insist that Millie, who (lest we forget) is now seven, should start using the same toothpaste as us; the Lovely Melanie objected to this for reasons I couldn’t fathom.

There’s a little tension between our two parenting methods – not “tense” as in we argue, but tense as in we pull in slightly different directions – the Lovely Melanie towards what I would call “mollycoddling”, me towards what she would call “reckless endangerment”.

Of course, I joke.

(But only a little.)

Watching your children growing up is not a rational process – very little about having children is: you love them more fiercely and hopelessly than anyone you’ve ever known; they drive you mad with their foolishness, but that same foolishness means they blindly love you almost to a fault.  The whole business is more intense than anything you’ve done before (having a pet – no matter how beloved – is no comparison whatsoever) and is inescapable – which is why I wonder what if your children never seem grown up to you?

I sat down tonight thinking none of this.  I had a vague thought of talking about the girls and how Amber is currently a delight to be around because she has a ridiculous joy at simply being with us that is infectious.  She wants to play and chatter and cuddle and just be with us.  I’m not sure what this change is exactly, but she seems more more social – she still enjoys playing games on her own, but enjoys our company, too.

Millie is properly growing up and saying things that I don’t expect her to say – but perhaps should.  She now reads properly and a lot: slicing through books as fast as she can, with understanding and rhythm. She notices things and draws conclusion; she asks questions, thinks about them and returns to the subject days later.  She even tells jokes now, and  though they’re terrible jokes they’re hilarious because they’re hers, not ours.

It’s amazing because not so very long ago both girls couldn’t sit up without help; couldn’t eat or drink, control their bladders, walk, talk – anything.

Seeing that change gives me a little twinge of sadness at times – only a twinge, because I’m proud of them and want to see where they go and what they do next.

Lift off!

But every day they’re a little less reliant on us and I’m more aware that teaching children is like fuelling a rocket: one day it will be fully fuelled, the countdown will reach zero and they’ll launch out into the world to do…who knows what.

But it won’t be with us.  We’ll be proudly watching and cheering from the sidelines: the Mission Control for their journey – guiding and offering advice.

But they’ll be off on their own journey as we once launched on ours.

Premature teenager

imageThis just in from Millie.

She posted a similar message on her door a few weeks back after I got cross with her (I forget why – I’m sure she’s forgotten, too).

However, that message was restricted to me – “I hat (sic) Daddy,” – but it looks like you’ve all been messing with her because she now hates everyone!

I thought we had another 6-7 years to go before the teenage years started – gosh, they grow up fast, don’t they? 😉

No one’s quite sure what brought  this on; it’s probably because we wouldn’t let her borrow the car – “Young lady, you’re only 7 – and we don’t have a car!

Arise, Sir Danny Boyle!

London Olympics Opening Ceremony Guardian front pageAfter that stupendous Olympic opening ceremony I am officially chastened for my bah humbug attitude towards the Olympics so far.

Danny Boyle did a wonderful job in conveying the idea of “Britishness” to the world – doing it in style, with humour and – quite literally – majesty.

We let Millie stay up to watch it, and had a lovely family moment: all watching and amazed together, exchanging messages with friends and family on Facebook and (to a lesser extent) on Twitter.  Even Amber woke up towards the end and came downstairs to watch it with us – she was hoping to see the flag from Premier Lodge Nursery go round the track, bless her!

But seriously – that was fantastic.  There was something for everyone and I felt proud to be British.  Danny Boyle should be in line for a knighthood at least!

It’s a shame that some coughTory MP Aiden Burleycough didn’t see the inclusion of Great British institutions like the NHS and Sir Tim Berners-Lee as a cause for celebration, instead tweeting “Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!

It is about you’d expect from a man who thinks it’s funny to dress up as a Nazi, I suppose.

Cynicism as an Olympic sport

I just missed the Olympic Torch passing by.  Deliberately.

Working just off the Kings Road in Chelsea I encounter all kinds of posh lunacy every day, but few of those can rival the squandering of money, time and democratic freedoms that characterises the 2012 London Olympics.

The torch passed by about an hour ago, 20 yards away, at the end of the road; but I alone in the office elected to give it a miss.

Olympic rings as handcuffsSure, I felt a bit like Scrooge, but not much, because every time I read about the security measures and the cost and the whining of commercial sponsors and the Olympic lanes and the transport chaos and the missiles on top of council blocks and the shameless grasping for profit by private security firms and another “Official [insert inappropriate, tenuous product here] of the Olympics”…

Every time more of this is revealed my cynicism and exasperation with the whole damn thing grows.

And this is before all the bloody sport begins and my home city’s transport system is clogged with people who don’t know what they’re doing or where they’re going.  And even if they did know they couldn’t get there because half the roads have been reserved for executives of McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.

Every morning this week I have seen police armed with automatic rifles when I got off the train at Charing Cross station.  Who are they protecting?  Is it us, or is it the money behind the games?

Private sponsorship of the Games is bugger-all compared to what we, the public, have paid; but still McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical get to dictate who can come to the games, what they can wear, eat, drink and even say.

That’s why I didn’t cheer the Olympic flame today.

The Price of the London Olympics.

Home again

The girls are home!  The girls are home!

And we are very glad to have them back home again, even though they’re always a bit tired, grumpy and spoiled when they get back from the grandparents. 😉

My brother’s blog has a lovely piece about their exploits, which makes me jealous that I’m stuck at work while “everyone” else is out having fun.

It’s so hot at the moment that everyone (in our house – your mileage may vary) is sleeping naked without sheets.  Amber, in particular, sleeps spreadeagled in a big X, which is hilarious to see. 🙂

Last night, though, she wet the bed for the first time in years and had to come in with us.  Good grief, that girl wriggles and karate kicks and jumps in her sleep!  I lost count of the number of times I was smacked in the face with a carelessly thrown arm or doll.

And how does someone so small take up so much of the bed??

Back to the drawing board

Sadly, I didn’t get the job I (second) interviewed for last week.  They were looking for someone with design skills more than copywriting skills (so I was lucky to get through to the second interview stage, I suspect!)

Anyway, despite a momentary sinking feeling when I read the email I’m still feeling confident about finding a new job before we starve to death and lose our home.

I can’t explain why exactly; perhaps because there are plenty of vacancies coming up that I’m qualified and experienced for.  And I am getting some interviews, so hopefully it’s just a matter of time.

In the meantime, my thoughts have turned to freelance work, thanks to a slew of positive comments about my writing.  And not even the proper stuff I write for a living, just the nonsense I scratch out here most days! 🙂

So, if you’re reading this and you:

  • want a copywriter
  • know someone looking for a copywriter
  • know someone who needs a copywriter but doesn’t realise they need a copywriter (it’s more common than you’d think)

then leave a comment on this page or email and our courteous and efficient staff will follow up your message ASAP.


(except for the bit about the courteous and efficient staff)