Monday, 17 October 2011

Five Mistakes Grandparents Make

Whoa, this one is packing a bit of extra timber isn't she?
The battle of ‘who knows best for baby’ is something every new parent goes through with their parents and, bless their M&S cottons, if they are still around, their grandparents.  
However, among the many inter-generational spats to be had, there are five howlers that all grandparents seem to make.

Calling your baby fat

Grandparents are hard-wired to call your baby fat. They can't help it. Sometimes they might use 'weasel words' like ‘sturdy’ or 'blooming' but make no mistake, they are calling your baby fat.

The last jibe I witnessed of this nature went something like this:

Grandparent picks up nine month old of normal size and stature for inspection. 

‘Aw the weight of it. Nigel, I said, have you felt the weight of it?’

She’s a baby.  She doesn’t eat iced buns all day, except when she is with you and then it's acceptable to scoff Jammie Dodgers for breakfast, apparently.

Feeding them nonsense

We all know that it is a grandparent's job to spoil their grandchild, but really, forgoing all fruit and veg for doughnuts for a weekend? Is that spoiling them or setting them up for a coronary bypass, you decide.

Telling you how it's done

As my lovely grandpa put it when he was first introduced to his two day old great-granddaughter: 

'What you’ve go to do is swing them from side to side and then slap them really hard on the back so that they breathe, oh that sheep? Oh well, our four seemed to do ok...’.

When you can’t tell the difference between a human birth and  lambing, it maybe time to stop dishing out the child rearing advice.

Dressing them like morons

Once you utter the fateful invitation of: ‘I know, shall we let granny to dress you today?’ know that a fashion train crash is heading your way.

Grandparents have a habit of dressing children like a cross between a sensory toy for the visually impaired and Katie Price: Hand knit cardigan - check,  combat pants (they’ve outgrown)- check , belly exposing  t-shirt - check and Minnie Mouse ears - check. Perfect for a day at Junglemania. 

Staying up late

Like the best, most green behind the ears supply teacher your child could ever wish to encounter, grandparents happily let little ones stay up way past their bed time, in fact, way past your bedtime.

Hey grandparents,  two year olds are no good at pulling all nighters, no matter how many lines of sherbet dip you allow them to snort.

But when you consider the technological, medical and psychological advances that have been made in child rearing in the past twenty five/fifty years since they became parents,  is it any wonder their approach is slightly skew?

I mean, for a start, we don’t let them sleep in the bottom drawer anymore.  We are pretty sure that eating crisps with brown spots on them while pregnant won't lead to birth deformities and as for weaning them on hay...or wait, is that sheep?  

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Hello, is that Ms Blamey? It's the office at the bottom of your garden here. We think you should get dressed now.

There are many advantages to working for yourself: your hours, your home, your garden, your dressing gown, your biscuit tin, your dog (there can be drawbacks to this), your child (see caveat for dog), your partner (see caveat for dog and child). 

But I am not sure why working for yourself is held up as the bastion of 'having it all’?    

I mean, don't get me wrong there are some definite advantages.
From not having to ping-pong around the office politics of 'who's hot and who's not' this month, to not having to request time off to do 'basic human functiony' things like the dentist/doctor('Oh, really, what's wrong...?' *Office quietens to a hush as you decide whether to actually say 'anal polyps'*), not to mention being able to scoff custard creams like a spotty piglet without saying 'I know I shouldn't...' to colleagues every time you put your hand in the tin.


However, working from home is hardly Club Tropicana - sitting on an inflatable, laptop in one hand, Pina Colada in the other.

Yes, there are good days, and, yes, my freelance tan is coming on quite nicely thank you, but some days it can be hard to get motivated, especially when there is so much other stuff going on around you.  

For example, the door bell.  I had no idea how much action this little button, the tease, was getting until I was at home during the day.      

As well as becoming the cul-de-sac post office collection point ('Oh good you're in, would you mind taking in parcels for numbers six and ten?), I have made new friends in the form of the-man-who-sells-fish-that-no-one-wanted-at-the-market-that-day (mmm, yes please) and, the rag and bone man, who I thought was a fictional character made up to scare the bejeebers out of small children. Turns out he is alive and well and after your tut.


My neighbours also provide a never ending source of fun and distractions for someone, like me, seeking distraction.

Firstly, there are my immediate neighbours. 

Like a mature version of Tom and Barbara from The Good Life but with Jerry's wine cabinet, they have the wonderful - and very welcome - habit of calling out 'fancy a jar?' over the hedge. 
Three holiday measure G&Ts later and I am fishing newts out of their pond to 'watch them wriggle'. 


Also, I have noticed that our cul-de-sac is one of those very British enclaves where people hang on to their homes until old age makes them a) as crazy as mud bug on a griddle or b) spontaneously combust in front of Question Time.

This means that every day life is a bit like an episode of Last of the Summer Wine - there is always something 'going off'.

In the last four weeks:

Someone bought a classic motorbike

Someone fell off a ladder

Someone ‘allegedly’ made moonshine in their shed

Someone's grandchild pepper sprayed them in the face by accident

Someone cut their hedge into a topiary Thomas the Tank Engine.   


There has also been:

A garage sale (with bunting)

A street barbecue (with bunting)

An autumn ramble (with bunting around the sign announcing there was an autumn ramble).

I know all of this because I have the pleasure of working from home.  And, quite honestly, now I am on this side of the Thomas Tank topiary, I wouldn't swap my cul-de-sac colleagues for the world.

Home Brew or Home Stew, what's your working from home experience?

Lots of love, the Fat Controller x