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BDE

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This week I have stumbled across the news, well I say news, more gossip, that Ariana Grande is engaged. Now I have two Childerbeasts who love Ariana. If you don’t know her, she’s an extremely petite woman, very pretty, perfectly coiffeured, and I believe she has an exceptional vocal range which she has worked exceedingly hard to achieve. By all accounts she is a very talented and hard working young woman. Congratulations Ariana, I hope you are very happy together.

In a gender role reversal, her fiance appears to have been subjected to the same scrutiny that women often are when showbiz couples are revealed. From what little I have seen Mr Grande-to-Be is quite tall and I am given to understand, a confident person. That is about all I can tell you apart from that he is a person of the male gender. Comments have been made that he does not possess a chiseled jaw, or a row of perfect white teeth, with the implication of “what is she doing with him?” and “how dare he be so confident when he doesn’t look like a film star.” He is not what we would think of as Showbiz good-looking whereas Ariana most definitely is. And then Ariana tweeted suggesting that her fiance’s….ahem….. feet are so large that the wedding shoes will have to be bought before the rest of his outfit. There seems to have been some collective relief expressed on Ariana’s behalf that the mystery of their relationship and his confidence has been revealed in one tweet, because presumably, why else would she look twice at him? And why would anyone who is not textbook perfect have the audacity to be confident otherwise?

This confidence has been referred to as BDE: Big Dick Energy. A confidence that men who are not jaw-droppingly handsome possess because, presumably, they know something that we do not. Similarly, both statistics and experience tell us that there are men who do not have this confidence because they also know something that we do not. That’s right, tiny hands. This may be exhibited by the small glove wearers behaving like toddlers to over-compensate for their feelings of inadequacy over being able to squash their danny pats into children’s gloves. I think that none of us have to think very hard to find an example of someone like that.

This leaves us women in something of a quandary because for obvious reasons it is not possible for us to have this confidence. And frankly, if a large vagina was something that we all aspired to, then pelvic floor exercises would not exist. Yet, there are women who fall into both categories; tiny hands and big feet. The woman who told me I was training the Hound all wrong (see The Dog’s B*******) – tiny hands. The woman who woefully misjudged Sister B when out shopping and thought it acceptable to be rude to her and not get a mouthful back (see Generation XX) – lego-sized hands. The person who interrupted a point I was making, suggested to me that reading a legal document meant that they were just as qualified to offer legal advice as me, and then proceeded to tell me what I ought to be advising – teeny, tiny hands.

Take the flip side: Big Feet. Sister B for merely giving the rude woman a mouthful and not clothes-lining her: BDE. Colleague who didn’t leap across the desk and chin the person who may as well as said “you’re an idiot” when they had asked a simple question: BDE. Myself for putting one hand on one ear and another over my mouth to stop myself being breathtakingly rude back to someone: BDE. And my friend who could see me literally wrestling the desire to verbally tear someone to shreds, poised to kick me in the shins in order to save me from straying into a Tiny Hands Moment myself (or a dropping a Donald as I shall now call it): BDE.

All of these examples show two things.  First,  when faced with someone dropping a Donald in our direction, we are at risk of being so enraged by the appalling behaviour that stems from their inadequacy, we end up behaving in a similar way ourselves. The only purpose that can ultimately serve is a world full of people putting their own wants and needs first and trampling over other people in order to do so. That can’t be a good thing.  Second, and don’t get me wrong, sometimes people just need telling, whether they want to hear it or not –  because the world seems to be filled with tiny hands-type people – stupid, over-confident and utterly oblivious to both. But having BDE is one thing; knowing what to do with it is quite another.

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English Water Torture

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Photo by Roman Pohorecki on Pexels.com

Every month I am relieved of nearly sixty pounds.   Depending on the number of children that they have, other parents who go to the same leisure centre as me are also relieved of upwards of twenty pounds a month per child.  For this I and they get the exceedingly dubious pleasure of escorting their Chillderbeasts to their swimming lessons each and every week.

I have been taking my Childerbeasts swimming since they were tiny, with me actually having to go into the pool with them at that time because four month old babies going swimming themselves is apparently not recommended  For those of you who remain blissfully unaware, getting ready to take a baby swimming is another job in itself before you even get near the pool if you are a woman (see The Thigh’s the Limit if you are in any doubt as to what I am referring).  I was usually sweating and stressed out before I even got to the front door.

Now when you take your children swimming when they are very small, it is a double-edged sword.  You are getting them used to the water so they will never remember they were frightened when they start actual lessons, if they ever were; tick.  The water is usually freezing cold; cross.  And causes their little lips to go blue; cross.  So you leap about even more enthusiastically to try and warm them up; tick.  But when you eventually give in and get out they throw a tantrum and kick their little legs up and down because they were having a lovely time; cross.  But they are also now starving; cross.  And their swim nappy needs some attention; cross.  Then you have to stand sopping wet and rather cold whilst you dry an upset and wriggly child.  Once they are dry, the changing rooms are usually so disgusting that you don’t want your child to touch anything, let alone put their hands in their mouths and everything, absolutely everything has a pointy edge just asking for a head to be bumped on it .  We all know how much children listen to being told not to do things, so the only thing to do is to put your dry clothes on your cold and wet body, pick up your child, and leave.  Remember, you are paying for this.

When they get bigger, it’s a whole new circle of hell.  First, assuming that you have got into the changing rooms past the ridiculous turnstiles (who would infiltrate the local leisure centre?  Who?) you have to get the recalcitrant child into their swimming attire.  That’s like trying to nail jelly to the wall.  Then, in spite of you having asked them before they got undressed if they needed to go, and they catageorically denied it, they need a wee.  So they take it all off again.  In the festering and disgusting pit that is the changing room toilet.  It is never any different in any leisure centre I have ever been in.  Why is the person who uses the loo before you in a swimming pool changing room utterly incapable of a) getting their urine into the toilet b) getting the toilet paper into the toilet and c) flushing it?  It’s not difficult.  I assume that they do it at home.  Once I had to report a used tampon on the floor of said toilet to a very distressed looking member of staff.  I had not specified what horror they were likely to find because I could not bring myself to utter the words, so utterly incredulous was I that someone would be so monstrous.  I had merely suggested that the toilet might need some attention and that was sufficient to strike the fear of God into them.  After somehow controlling an almost uncontrollable desire to disinfect everything,  you note that the changing rooms now seem to be at a temperature that is hotter than the surface of the sun, and the swimming hat has yet to go on.

For reasons not even known to myself, last year, I volunteered to go swimming with the school.  I picked up a top tip from one of the children for putting on a swimming hat during that time and I pass it onto you.  The adult holds the hat open.  Hold it firmly and face the open part towards the child.  The child, with hair up if necessary, then runs full pelt and head-first at the open hat.  In one swift movement, as the child’s head goes into the hat, the adult releases the hat, steps to one side and the child has to either stop running or hit the wall.  Either way, they are now wearing a swimming hat.

Just when you thought you were ready to advance on the pool,  you have to tackle the damned goggles.  Goggles are viewed by children like food; what was acceptable last week, or even the day before, could cause great offence this week. So the goggles fitted and did not let the water in last week.  Today is quite the opposite.  The goggles are re-adjusted and put on.  You then gratefully release your child into the care of their swimming teacher for twenty five minutes or until they decide they need another wee, whichever comes first.

You make you way to the viewing area where, in spite of the cacophony, you will note that your child is listening, that’s right, I said listening, to their teacher. And not only are they listening, they are showing all of the signs of doing as they have been asked.  As you sit there, gently perspiring, sporting your shoe covers and the unpleasant feeling of damp around your ankles from the bottom of your jeans getting wet, you think of all of the places you’d rather be; a yacht, a beach, the dentist…and you remember that you’re actually paying for this.

At the end of the lesson, you collect your child and join the queue for the showers.  Now, builders of leisure centres, I want to talk to you so listen up.  In my extensive experience, it is generally mothers who take their children swimming.  Now we could get into a very long and detailed discussion as to why mothers generally take their children swimming, which I am more than happy to do.  But we both know that it ain’t going to change anytime soon.  When our children are small they come into the changing rooms with us.  Trust me, we do not enjoy the experience; we accompany our children because we are their mothers and that is our job.   So what you could do is provide more showers.  They’re not that expensive and it sure as hell would make a difference to us.  Thank you for your attention.

When you eventually get your child into the shower, you then have the very thorny issue of getting the little bugger out.  You will stand there telling them to rub the shampoo in.  You will insist that they put their head under the stream rather than standing with their bum poking in the water and their head poking out.  You will, in very clipped tones, invite them to stop filling their swimming hat with water.  Every week you will eventually make a plea to their better nature and point out that there are other children still waiting so could they please speed up.  Eventually, you bring the big guns out and tell them that if they don’t get out of the shower you will cancel computer time/not let them have some chocolate/never feed them again.

They won’t dry their legs before they put their pants on.  You will ask.  You will ask every week.  You’re wasting your breath.  Every other mother in the changing area knows it because they were standing in the shower with you when their child was also filling up their swimming hat with water instead of having a wash.  They won’t dry their hair off either because what would a Childerbeast have to complain about if it wasn’t for wet hair dripping down their back?  Oh that’s right – they’re hungry again.  Eventually, in a timespan that feels geological, you leave.  Safe in the knowledge that you will go through the very same ordeal in precisely seven day’s time.

In some years from now you will be on that beach.  Slathered in factor fifty you will look up from your book to see your Childerbeast sploshing about in the sea.  Before you sat down you assessed the distance between your sunlounger and the sea and you already know that the distance is such that if you had to run to get there, you could.  The distance is now one hundred metres rather than one hundred millimetres.  So for now you can watch them from where you are.  They will marvel at the fish they can see whilst snorkelling.  They will shout “Mummy, look at me” as they leap in for the millionth time.  You may even hire a boat or go on a trip which involves everyone throwing themselves overboard and swimming to the beach for a visit to a local taverna.  And as you sip on your cool drink, you will lean back, sigh and think to yourself “I have most certainly, most definitely, and without a shadow of a doubt, paid for this”

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Not to be Sniffed at

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At risk of utterly alienating the very few followers that I do have: I don’t have hayfever.  There. I said it.  I have never had it.  And hopefully I never will because it is awful, and has been particularly bad this week.  Nevertheless, and before you stop reading in disgust, I do have Sister A, a Childerbeast and a Man of the House who do.  And whilst I don’t live with Sister A anymore I do remember when we were little her having to bathe her eyes open in the morning because they had sealed up with goo in her sleep, and I also remember her coughing up pollen balls in a particularly attractive manner, not entirely dissimilar to a cat and a fur ball.

For my own personal viewing horror this week have been The Eldest Childerbeast and Man of the House.  It has been so bad for The Eldest Childerbeast that he has had time off school.  This was causing him particular distress when he thought that he might not be well enough to go on the annual school residential trip.  As far as I can tell the residential trip consists of getting wet and dirty, and near constant eating, so I can see why he would be upset at the prospect of missing out. Meanwhile Man of the House has still been off to the office looking rather like Sir Christopher Lee in Dracula most mornings because unless he were to have something instantly terminal, or I’ve told him that we-are-going-on-holiday-and-you-are-coming-with-us, he always goes to work.

So what to do with a Childerbeast who is obviously poorly, but you do have to try and teach them to cope with something that will probably happen every year?  First, like everyone else in the country at the moment, I went to Boots and bought out their range of hayfever products.  What a time not to be able to find your Advantage Card.  If you need any hayfever medication, anything at all, I’m your woman.  And if I haven’t got it I can guarantee I have a friend who does because her Childerbeast has also been struggling this week as well and between us we have the whole thing covered, probably for the next five years.

My First Parenting Fail of this week was quite late in the week really – Tuesday – in that I tried to dose him up and send him to school. I am the sort of person, like Man of the House is, that sometimes, most times, no matter how bad you feel you just need to get on with your day.  And I mistakenly thought that this was one of those times.  I had just sat down at the hairdressers when I received the call; begowned, my hair parted in that particularly attractive fashion that they do when about to put a colour on your hair, and with a stylist poised with the colour brush. I got up, apologised profusely to my lovely hairdresser who couldn’t have been more charming about it, and I left,  still sporting the cream that they put on your hairline to stop it dying your skin.   Five minutes later with the colour brush let loose and it would have been an even less attractive prospect, so I think we can all be grateful for that.  I was in such a dither driving to collect him, that I went around a roundabout twice.  I think that is because whenever I had a call for emergency childcare when I was in paid employment it never went down well at all and that was always made very clear to me.  The lowest point was when the nursery was being closed in the snow and I had to challenge my boss to let me leave the office to collect my child.  That is to say, if they had continued to say no, I would have just had to walk out because that was the position I was being put in. I tried to remind myself that this was not the same situation, there was no one effectively making me choose between my job and my child, and I did not have to react in the same way.  Also, if I kept going round the roundabout, then all it was going to do was make me dizzy and delay me further.  I got to school, got a reminder from the Eldest Childerbeast not to cuddle him until he was in the car, and popped him on the sofa under a blanket.

Second, we ditched the school thing and tried the range of hayfever products and paracetamol whilst lying on the sofa watching ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and eating popcorn.  That worked rather well.  If nothing else the sight of Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn always serves as a healthy and pleasing reminder to me that I am married, not dead.  But it was not doing anything to get rid of the headache that had been making The Eldest Childerbeast feel so poorly.

Third, fruit.  Well it was okay, probably an ego boost from virtue if nothing else, but no discernible improvement.

Fourth, junk food  Not bad.  Helped.  A bit.

Fifth, a HEPA filter.  Every year I say I’ll buy one and every year I don’t.  This year I did.  Expensive.  But frankly I would have paid a King’s Ransom at that point to have a child who wasn’t so distressed. He believed his room to be pollen free.  I wasn’t going to tell him otherwise.

Sixth, a headache cooling patch.  That was good.  I recommend.  Not sure why I hadn’t thought of it before but I hadn’t.  Neither a long term nor practical solution for the young discerning tweenager about town.

Seventh, finally, and in desperation that he wasn’t going to make his trip, we went to the doctor.  Or The Prodders as they are called in our house.  The Prodder did indeed prod the Proddee.  There was nothing seriously wrong with him (I knew that but sometimes I need a medical professional to tell me) and she prescribed a steroid nasal spray.  The instruction to The Eldest Childerbeast was to stuff it up his nose and give it a big enough squirt so he can taste it running down the back of his throat.  That sort of disgusting instruction from a doctor was met with considerable enthusiasm.  The same enthusiasm with which he happily drank a bottle of ginger ale that he had won on the bottle stall from a vase that one of his friend’s had won on the tombola at the church fete last weekend.  And so it begins…..

Last night, after twenty four hours of snorting (medically prescribed) steroids, he was running around the house and shouting.  So much so that after the start of the week when I had that panic that you always have when your child is ill, I was more than happy for him to bugger off for four days.  Five would have been fine by the time he actually went to bed.  When he came in at half past four this morning to chat, I decided that a week would have been better and made a mental note to mention it to the Head when they get back.  Assuming that it is not my child who deliberately capsizes her kayak like someone apparently did last year.

I waved him off.  He even let me give him a kiss in public.  And as they departed my friend and fellow hayfever medication stockpiler asked me if I was okay.  I blamed the watery eyes on the hayfever that I didn’t think I had.  Apparently she had just the thing for it.  Turned out it was taking me to another’s friend’s house for a cup of tea and a biscuit.   They said it was too early for gin 😦

 

 

 

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