Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Etiquette lessons for the under fives

Say what you like about Facebook, but it's a great way of keeping in touch with your international friends and family and I just love the regular pictures of my little cousin.

The last one really got me thinking - it showed her sitting in a posh hotel having an ETIQUETTE lesson!

She's only four but in the picture, she's being taught how to eat a meal in the correct manner. At first I thought this was too much pressure, but the more I think about it, the more I realise that this is genius. In fact, it's about table manners and teaches such things as holding the silverware properly, chewing with their mouths closed, how to set a table and remember where to place their drink. I could name quite a few more people, aged more than four, who could do with it.

What are your thoughts on teaching children etiquette?

Friday, 26 July 2013

More camping; this time South Winds Touring Park, Polzeath

I’ve seen the Levellers more than 50 times and I still can’t get enough. But even an old hag like me was thrilled to see them “levelling the sand” at Newquay last week , a remarkable setting which is going to make it hard to see them in a musty old indoor venue!

Anyway, that meant that after a night chez McSister, where the McBaby and McNephew met for the first time in six months and got on famously (at one point McNephew came into the kitchen to get “some juice for my friend"), we put our tent up South Winds Touring site in record time (not hard considering this was our second time and the first took more than 6 hours.)

South Winds has a fabulous view over Polzeath and has a wonderful onsite bar and restaurant, as well as a child’s play area.

Check out the breakfast that McBaby enjoyed!

So all was well on our first night despite having yelled myself hoarse. But on day two, things declined from the moment I got up. I tried to say “good morning” to a fellow camper” and instead growled at her accidentally as I had no voice.

We went to the restaurant for breakfast and I asked the man what the lovely CD was.

“It’s Dylan LeBlanc” he said.

“Ah, lovely,” I said. “Just the thing for a Sunday morning.”

Unfortunately I had forgotten that it was Saturday.

He then turned to MrM to get some sense out of him. “Would you like mushrooms or beans with your fried breakfast?”

“Yes please”, he replied confidently.

Night two however.....well, let’s just say that I don’t think we will be welcome there again.

At 3am, the McBaby started screaming and Screaming and SCREAMING. At 5am, I snapped and shouted: “I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!” and put the McBaby in the car. We drove down to a deserted beach and he fell asleep. I calmly turned the car around and headed back to the campsite and realised that I had probably scared MrM half to death with my comments.

We went back to bed until 8am and considered a public apology to the campsite but gave that up in favour of breakfast instead where our neighbour wouldn’t even make eye contact with us.

We’re actually going camping again next week, so please cross your fingers for us, and more importantly, our fellow campers....

Monday, 22 July 2013

Jamie Oliver's Fifteen

This weather is just made for camping, but before I regale you with tales of our trip to Cornwall last week, I just wanted to share an anecdote which just shows that the McBaby has no refinement, not that he really was ever going to based on his parents.

We were lucky enough to have breakfast at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen last week after a heavy Levellers session. (Seth Lakeman was in there too, but I digress). The McBaby turned his nose up at a tasty smoothie, a kids’ breakfast and also at my mushrooms on toast.

When we got back to the ranch after lolling about on the beach, I heard McNephew shouting to tell me that McBaby had helped himself to some dog food out of the bowl.

I ask you.


Friday, 5 July 2013

Coming home in someone else's clothes

Sometimes people don’t have to tell you that you’re a bad mum. It can be done with a raised eyebrow, a wan smile or a shake of the head.

The McBaby found a new way of making me realise just how poor my parenting skills are when he came home dressed in someone else’s clothes.

T-shirt: never seen before

Trousers: never seen before

Right sock: never seen before

Left sock: model’s own.


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The three hour bouncy castle adventure

We were only walking past. I needed to get some picnic food so that we could watch the outdoor opera in the evening, but en route to the supermarket,the McBaby spied a colourful bouncy castle in the midst of the church’s fun day and started to make his way towards it waving his arms and laughing.

Happy to let him have a bounce, as we got near, we were told to buy a ticket from inside the church. Waylaid by the McBaby’s insistence on playing with a toy sword he found and then watching a group of enthusiastic ukulele players, we went into the church to find that I had nothing but a £20 note (that doesn’t happen very often) and a £5 garden centre voucher, so back out we went to get some change.

First port of call was Poundland, or Pound World or Pound Universe –whatever it’s called. Except there was a toy car outside that attracted the McBaby’s attention. I popped him inside and he kept pressing the “go” button and shouting as it wouldn’t move. I didn’t have any change, so tried again to get him into the Pound Shop where he had a tantrum. So I tried to get him into the 99p shop, thinking that might be a more popular choice with him.

Eventually he calmed down and I bought him some biscuits, clutching the change that would allow me to buy a bouncy castle ticket.

We slowly made our way back to the church, stopping to inspect every cigarette end on the pavement and to shout at every dog that passed. Then we headed into the flower beds to pick up some stones to throw.

Back in the church, I handed over 50p and the McBaby snatched the ticket out of my hand.

And then dropped it into the grate in the aisle. I bent down on my hands and knees and fished it out along with dust from 700 years of worship and we headed back out to the bouncy castle. The lady overseeing the bouncing took our ticket and then warned two older boys on the bouncy castle that the McBaby was coming. But instead, he snatched the tambourine out of her hand and started playing it vigorously. He wouldn’t get on the bouncy castle. Fed up, I eventually threw him on.

He bounced once and then insisted on coming off again.

In summary: Three hours, one bounce.