Tagged Humour

Hedgehogs Do Rot and Other Teachable Moments

As a parent, it is part of our job to teach our children…stuff, right? You know, educate them, teach them about the world around them, and…stuff. Yes?

Okay, so this week, I went to supermarket with the littlest one, who has just turned three. She had one of the free pieces of fruit while we went round. An apple. She sat in the trolley. She ate her apple. Food was purchased. Bribery was not necessary. I left the shop with the same number of children I entered with. At no point did I have to break any of Usain Bolt’s records in the dairy aisle* in order to make leaving with the same number of children I entered with happen. It was a very successful supermarket trip.

We went back to the car. I put the shopping in the car. I put the three year old in the car. She handed me the apple core. I looked around. There were no bins anywhere in sight in the car park. I could have run back to the shop, but we weren’t very near the shop and she was already strapped in the car. We were parked right by a grass verge and hedgerow. So I put the apple core under the hedge, because it’s an apple core.

The three year old had a few questions about this behaviour. I explained that it is okay to put rubbish on grass or soil instead of the bin as long as the rubbish is natural, like apple cores, because it will rot. I said that it would be very bad to leave rubbish like plastic there because that will never rot. It will stay there, and it doesn’t look nice and it harms the environment. I said that things that people have made that are not natural usually have to be taken away properly by people, but things that belong outside like leaves and fruit don’t cause any harm when they are left outside. They just rot back into the soil and feed plants. The discussion continued. It seemed to be going well. I got ambitious. I said that we call things that will rot ‘biodegradable’, but things like plastic are not biodegradable. The three year old had this: ‘Because they won’t rot. Plastic won’t rot.’
‘Yes, exactly. Well done.’
‘And hedgehogs. Hedgehogs won’t rot.’
‘Wait…what? No…’

Okay, so now I’m explaining that hedgehogs are, in fact, very much biodegradable. As long as they are dead first. The whole thing took quite a dark turn, really.

Moral of the story: don’t teach your kids things. It won’t go well. When you see a teachable moment, just let it pass you by. Wave it on its way. Unless you want to find yourself explaining about hedgehog decomposition. It does not matter how unlikely it seems that you will find yourself discussing hedgehog decomposition by providing that innocent bit of educational information to your child: you will end up with dead hedgehogs.

I really should have known better. I once, whilst painting with my two pre-schoolers, merrily informed them that black is not really a colour. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Didn’t seem like such a good idea 30 minutes into the discussion with a four year old and a nearly three year old about what the f**k black actually is.

These moments are not teachable moments. These moments are the reason the phrase ‘just because’ exists. There is nothing like attempting to explain the world to a small child to make you realise that you don’t have the faintest clue about anything at all.

 
 

*That’s me who often ends up sprinting down the dairy aisle. I don’t think Usain Bolt has actually set any of his records in the dairy aisle. As far as I know, he does not hold the world record in the 5 Metre Toddler in a Dairy Aisle event.

Somethin’ Stupid (or Ballad of the Tinder Girl)

Today, I have written a parody to honour the undisputed person of the week: the woman who managed to go on a tinder date, throw her poo into the abyss between an internal window and the wall at her date’s house, get wedged upside down in the gap trying to retrieve the poo, and have to be rescued by the fire-brigade, wrecking the poor date’s house in the process. If you have managed to miss this epic tale of romance and poo, I suggest you read it. Because, well, she got stuck in a window trying to retrieve her own poo. In every sense, you cannot make this shit up.

So here is my parody of Somethin’ Stupid for Liam’s unfortunate date.

 
 
Somethin’ Stupid

 
I know I’m swiping left until you think you have the time
To go to Nandos with me
And if we go to yours for wine, I know that there’s a chance
I’ll need the lavatory
And afterwards you’re watching a Scientology documentary by Louis Theroux
And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like “I threw my poo”

 
I can see it in your eyes
That you have never had a date who threw her poo before
And though there was a window there, that much is true
It didn’t actually lead outside at all

 
I practice gymnastics, I can fit into that gap and find some way
To retrieve the poo that I threw
But then I think I’m stuck in here head first still just trying to reach my poo
The time goes by, you’re worried now, the fire-brigade gets called and, oh, their light’s so blue
And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like “I threw my poo”

 
The time goes by, you’re worried now, the fire-brigade gets called and, oh, their light’s so blue
And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like “I threw my poo”

 
I threw my poo
I threw my poo
I threw my poo

 
I threw my poo

Humpty Dumpty Is Dead. Everybody’s Dead

It has come to my attention that many nursery rhymes seem to have a common – somewhat disturbing – theme, but they’re trying to be subtle about it. So I’ve fixed that for them.

 
 
 
Rock-a-bye Baby

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, dead and all

 
Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and died
And Jill came tumbling after…and also died

 
Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again
Humpty was dead

 
It’s Raining, It’s Pouring

It’s raining, it’s pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed and bumped his head
And couldn’t get up in the morning
Because he was dead…like Humpty

 
Old Mother Hubbard

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor doggie a bone
When she got there
The cupboard was bare
And so the poor doggie had none
And died

 
Ring-a-ring O’ Roses

Ring-a-ring o’ roses
A pocket full of posies
A-tishoo! A-tishoo!
We all fall down dead

 
Peter Peter Pumpkin-eater

Peter Peter pumpkin-eater
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her
He murderered her and put her body in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well…until his arrest

 
 
Thank god for The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and Oranges and Lemons, which are at least blatant about the dead, they’re all dead aspect.

Beauty and the What Kind of Moral Is THAT?!

Today on the blog, I am venturing into new territory with a study of morality. I will be using as my case study the story of Beauty and the Beast. A tale whose moral is, of course, that beauty is more than skin deep.

I’m sure we are all familiar with the story, but I will summarise. A vain and narcissistic Prince lives a cruel and shallow existence, caring for nothing but outward beauty and hedonistic pleasures. (That last bit might only be in the most recent film, actually. I’m not sure the Prince was holding Freddie Mercury-esque parties in any of the earlier tellings of the story, but I digress.)

An Enchantress, disguised as an old hag, asks the Prince for shelter from the rain/to accept a rose from her at one of his wild orgies. (Again, this very much depends on the version of the story. We’re not even going to consider the version where everyone is secretly the child of some kind of fairy, and being raised in a variety of unlikely fake families to hide their true identity. Ain’t no one got time to be figuring out what the hell is going on in that version.) The Prince, repulsed by the Enchantress’ ugly appearance, rejects her. (Or, in the mad version, he rejects her because she’s his evil adoptive mother and is trying to seduce him, and he felt it was all a bit weird. But that version kind of removes the moral judgment on the Prince, so no one really knows what point was being made. Like I said, ain’t no one got time.) The Enchantress curses the Prince for his cruel and callous attitudes, giving him the monstrous appearance of a beast to reflect his inner ugliness. The curse can only be broken if the Beast is able to find real love in his heart, and receive real love in return, despite his appearance. He must do this before the final petal on the enchanted red rose the witch gives him falls, or he will remain a beast forever.

Inexplicably, the Beast, despite being deeply concerned about the status of the dying rose, chooses to live as a complete hermit, holed up in his castle, meeting no one. I’m not sure he fully understood his task. Even more inexplicably, in the films, the curse requires the staff of the castle to be turned into – I would say inanimate objects, but that would be wholly inaccurate, given that they perform several very animated song and dance routines – household objects. It is not very clear what connection this has to the Beast learning that beauty is more than skin deep and how to love. Was it to stop him from taking the easy route out and falling in love with one of his servants? Far be it from me to criticise, but I think falling in love with someone despite the fact that they are a teapot would have been a much better illustration of the principle of loving someone for who they are inside, and not their outer spout, but hey ho!

Anyway, while the Beast is busy doing very little to break his curse, a merchant returning home gets lost in a storm and finds the Beast’s castle. He seeks shelter inside, and is well looked after, despite the castle appearing to be deserted. As he goes on his way the next morning, he sees the Beast’s rose bushes and, remembering that his daughter had asked for a rose as a gift, picks one. (Now, in the films, the merchant has just one daughter. In the original tellings, he had several, all greedy and selfish apart from the youngest daughter who asked for the rose.) The Beast appears and is very angry that the merchant has stolen from him after having received shelter and hospitality. He plans to kill the merchant, but the merchant pleads with the Beast, explaining that he just wanted the rose for his daughter. The Beast agrees to allow the merchant to go free, on condition that his daughter comes to live at the castle. (Except in the most recent film, where the merchant simply gets imprisoned, but his daughter comes to look for him and chooses to take his place. Presumably because otherwise the film would either have been very short, or the Beast would have been trying to find true love with the merchant (which, again, would actually have been a better illustration of loving what is beneath the surface). In the original versions, the merchant simply had to send any one of his daughters to the castle. The number of shits given by the Beast about which daughter he gets are zero.)

By one method or another, the merchant’s daughter takes his place at the Beast’s castle. We will call her ‘Belle’, as they do in the films. (See what they did there? Because Belle means Beauty, and it’s called Beauty and the Beast. The films didn’t want any confusion. No repeat of the chaos, panic and disorder experienced in that version where everyone was the child of some rival fairy. Oh no. No fairy parents here. There is a beauty, called Beauty, and a beast, called Beast. No one is getting confused. We leave no man behind.) The Beast (and his talking teapot, if you’re watching the films) take good care of Belle. The Beast does not plan to kill Belle – he’s not quite that clueless about his task.

The Beast asks Belle to marry him, but she repeatedly says no. On account of not knowing him, and something about fur and horns. This is probably for the best, as asking the first random you meet to marry you was likely rather missing the point of the curse. Belle has the Beast firmly in the friendzone. Well, to start with, more in the ‘you threatened my father and are now holding me captive, you creepy weirdo’ zone. But then Belle finds out the Beast likes to read, and that completely overrides earlier concerns about what kind of person tries to kill your father for picking a rose, holds you hostage, and has fur and horns. So they are friends, but the Beast’s time is running out. The rose is nearly dead.

Belle is worried about her father and the Beast sees that she cannot be happy. The Beast allows Belle to go to her father. (Because, as the saying goes, if you love someone, set them free. If they come back, you won’t have fur for eternity. If they don’t, well, at least you’ll never be cold in the winter. Or something like that.) The Beast has a magic mirror. Obviously. (No one really knows why. Presumably, the wicked fairy he was raised by was the one from Snow White.) He gives the mirror to Belle so that she will be able to see what is happening at the castle. And the magic ring, of course – he has one of those too, apparently – so that she can return to him.

Depending on the telling, Belle either needed to save her father and races back to the Beast when she realises a group from her village plan to attack the Beast (pitchforks at the ready). Or, she simply missed her father, promised the Beast she would return, and forgot (easily done – it’s not like he’s particularly memorable). Either way, the Beast is almost dead (from pitchforks or heartbreak) when Belle returns to him, causing her to realise that she does, in fact, love him and does not want to be without him. Thus, the curse is broken, the Beast survives and turns back into a Prince (servants stop being teapots, etc). Belle is thrilled because, while she, of course, did love him despite being a beast, a prince is still better, and they live happily ever after.

So, as I was saying, the moral of the story…yes, about that: I think I must have misunderstood. What I’m getting is that the shallow Prince was cursed to live as a Beast until he learnt to see beyond outward appearances, and to love and be loved for inner beauty. A lesson he learnt by, well, by kidnapping and falling in love with the most beautiful woman in the town. Okay. So we know that Belle is not shallow. She loved the Beast despite him being a beast. But Belle wasn’t the one who had been cursed for being a shallow arsehole, was she? Said shallow arsehole managed to rehabilitate himself through the supreme sacrifice of letting the really pretty girl live in his house. Thank god he learnt his lesson. I’m telling you, he should have been made to love the teapot.

(True) moral of the story: don’t listen to life lessons from fairy tales, particularly when retold by Disney, because they talk utter bollocks.

The Hunger Games

In the dystopian, post-apocalyptic nation of ‘Tesco’, Mumniss Evertired is chosen to compete in the Hunger Games. Participants (‘Tributes’) in the Games are selected from the ranks of parents who forgot to put in the online food shop order, and now have nothing in for tea. They must fight to the death to obtain the supermarket shop with toddlers in tow. The winning Tribute is rewarded by leaving the shop with actual food and the same number of children they entered with. The purpose of the Hunger Games is to provide entertainment for childless shoppers, and to punish parents for failing to conform to the system of the online shop.

At the start of the Games, Mumniss is introduced to her mentor, a past victor of the Games, and now a grandmother. The elderly mentor offers advice and guidance to Mumniss: ‘You’ve got your hands full!’ Tributes recognise the importance of collecting free fruit at the start of the Games, to provide as gifts to placate the toddlers as the Games progress. The toddlers must not leave the shopping trolley at any point. Certain doom awaits any Tribute whose toddlers succeed in escaping the confines of the trolleys.

As the Games begin, many Tributes do not survive the first aisle. Their toddlers declare that they now hate apples, oranges and bananas, and throw themselves on the floor, refusing to proceed unless they are allowed to eat cheesecake in the trolley instead. With these weakest Tributes dying of shame, Mumniss, and the other Tributes who succeeded in this first challenge of pleasing the toddlers with offers of free apples, proceed into the dangerous territory of the ‘chilly, too cold, don’t like it, I’M COOOOOLLD’ aisles. Mumniss successfully navigates this treacherous terrain by employing the dual strategies of bribing the toddlers with promises of toys, and declaring the entire family to now be vegans, thus allowing virtually the whole chilled foods section to be skipped.

Mumniss makes a near fatal strategic error in moving too swiftly to the bribery portion of the Games, providing the toddlers with toys and treats with well over half the contest still remaining. Mumniss faces disaster in the lentils and pulses aisle (vegans now), when it becomes apparent there is nowhere left to go in the bribery stakes but to offer the toddlers a car in exchange for their compliance. Mumniss realises that survival in the Hunger Games requires backstabbing ruthlessness. Promise whatever you have to, with no intention of keeping that promise.

Tributes form alliances with each other, but these are treacherous and short lived. It is each mum for herself. Tributes quickly realise that a major meltdown from another Tribute’s toddlers can stun your own into much needed submission. There are gains to be made from selling out your fellow contestants and encouraging tantrums amongst their offspring. By this stage, all the Tributes are battle hardened. They step over the bodies of their fallen comrades in the crisps aisle.

The most dangerous time is yet to come for Mumniss. She must navigate the sweets and chocolate aisle. Here Mumniss goes rogue. She makes a controversial decision to take the path of least resistance, and throws packets of sweets and chocolate (not THAT vegan) at the surprised toddlers before they can even begin to organise a sustained attack of whining. It’s a calculated risk. The move will be unpopular with the Heads of the Games. Tributes are supposed to maintain an organic, superfoods trolley throughout. Mumniss just wants to reach the tills.

The tills are in sight and Mumniss has almost made it. Only one other Tribute remains. As they race to the checkout, the cruel and callous Game Heads have one last trick. They release wild toddlers into the shop. As the feral infants tear through the aisles, grabbing items from the shelves with abandon, Mumniss desperately tries to prevent her own toddlers from joining them. She sees her last chance and seizes it: ‘If you just sit down and be quiet, you can go on Gaston the Ladybird when we’ve got through the checkout!’ Mumniss holds her breath. There is silence. First one toddler, then the other, sits down. The other Tribute has failed. He is knocked to his knees as his own children race to join the wild beasts in the magazine aisle. Mumniss throws her shopping onto the conveyor belt.

Mumniss is crowned the winner of the 3824518954th Hunger Games. She can return to her now vegan home. But the Games continue. There are always parents who forgot to do the online shop.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

 
 
 
 

This Mum's Life

 
 
 
 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

The Toddler Vote

You may have heard that the youth vote has become a big issue in British politics, after Corbyn effectively harnessed the youth vote for Labour in the recent election. However, Labour do not have the support of all of the country’s youth. Oh no, the toddler vote is firmly with May and her Tories. The Tories may not be the natural party of government, as they have always claimed, but they are certainly the natural party of toddlers.

 
Hard Brexit

Mrs May’s Brexit strategy is every toddler who has ever stood on the back of the sofa with an ambitious plan to jump onto the coffee table. It’s not going to work, it has not been thought out, someone is going to get hurt. Sane adults are standing on the sideline yelling ‘Do not do that! Don’t you dare do that! You have been warned! No one gave you permission to do that! This is the stupidest thing you have ever done!’ Meanwhile, the toddler is screaming back ‘I don’t care! I’ve committed now! I might die, but dying is better than climbing off this sofa in an organised and measured manner!’ In short, toddlers approve of Mrs May’s Brexit strategy, because it is exactly what they would do. Of course, a toddler’s still developing brain means that they lack appropriate reasoning abilities. But we won’t let that undermine our opinion of Mrs May’s intellect.

 
The NHS

Toddler health services tend to involve an overworked staff (usually moonlighting in several other jobs including, but not limited to, builder, knight, hairdresser and astronaut), being paid in raisins, working with limited (often imaginary) supplies, in an entirely unregulated manner. Toddlers are perfectly willing to sell off their health service, such as it is, to the person offering them the most cheese. This essentially appears to be Mrs May’s exact plan for the NHS.

 
U-turns

Toddlers love a good u-turn. In fact, prior to Mrs May’s decision that she was actually going to hold the snap General Election that she definitely wasn’t going to hold, the record for fastest and most extreme u-turn had been held by Amelia, aged 2, from Wolverhampton. Amelia had made it into the record books after realising how much she hates jam in the time it took to spread it on the toast following her request for jam on toast, a request which she hadn’t expected anyone to remember, and which she didn’t feel particularly contradicted her current hating jam position.

 
Ridiculous Appointments to Positions of Power

Yes, Mrs May appears to be presiding over the most incompetent government of all time, and who in their right minds would appoint Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary?? Nonetheless, toddlers are not particularly concerned. Mrs May’s cabinet kind of makes sense to the sort of people who appoint baby siblings as knights, tasked with rescuing a plastic leek being held prisoner by the mantlepiece, only to fire the confused baby knight in favour of sending the goldfish on the quest instead. Plus none of them have queried a pig, who refers to himself as ‘daddy’ in a professional capacity, going to work in a job that appears to be the drawing of triangles. They were never really going to notice anything off about Boris, were they?

 
Privacy

Mrs May doesn’t really like the right to privacy (or any other human rights). She wants to spy on everyone and monitor the internet. She remains less draconian than toddlers, however, who consider that even toilet trips must be monitored.

 
Police Cuts

Unpopular with many voters, toddlers actually fully support Mrs May’s cuts to the police force. Cuts to the police mean less available officers to handle all those requests being made by parents for officers to be sent to deal with bedtime infractions being committed by suspects described as ‘naughty toddlers’. In fact, the toddlers have noticed that there often aren’t even sufficient police staff available to actually speak to when parents call the ‘Naughty Toddler Police’. It frequently appears that the parents are speaking to themselves. The toddlers believe they have Mrs May to thank for that.

 
Social Conscience/Morality

Toddlers are actually okay with the idea of taking things away from people who need them and not even being sorry. That’s what toddlers do on Tuesdays.

 
DUP Deal

The toddlers are less horrified by Mrs May’s deal with the DUP than most. They are unfazed by the bribery aspect. They operate almost exclusively on a system of bribes themselves, and most have been able to ensure their demands for 1.5 billion animal biscuits in exchange for a confidence and supply agreement* with parents for supermarket trips are met. Nor do they consider Mrs May’s choice of ‘friends’ particularly shocking or strange. Why, their own friends are also prone to supporting violence, believing in far-fetched nonsense, having little concept of the age of anything, and holding some odd views about dinosaurs.

(*I.e. an agreement whereby parents can be confident of being able to obtain supplies from at least two aisles of the supermarket before tantrums/escapes occur.)

 
 
It should be noted that, prior to the election, the Labour Party was also enjoying significant success amongst toddler voters. The party’s policy of fighting amongst themselves for no apparent reason was extremely popular with toddlers. However, since reducing the extent to which they behave like, well, toddlers, the Parliamentary Labour Party has rather fallen from grace with the pre-school demographic.

You’re Welcome (A Parody)

Now, I’m certainly not calling Nigel Farage a demigod, I want to be very clear about that. However, he does appear to think that everyone is very grateful for everything he has done to try to bring about the apocalypse. So I’ve re-written Maui’s You’re Welcome from the film Moana for him.

 
 
You’re Welcome

I see what’s happening here
You’re face-to-face with hatred and deceits
You don’t even know why you agree, it’s adorable
It’s nice to see that history repeats

Open your eyes, stop screaming
Yes it’s really me, it’s Nigel, I’m unbeseeming
I know it’s a lot, the tweed, the moxie
When you’re staring at a demi-Nazi

So what can I say except you’re welcome
For the Trump, the lies, the Brexit
Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay
You’re welcome
I’m just an ordinary demi-cesspit

Hey
What has two pints claimed on expenses
And nonense he dispenses
This guy

When the referendum got called
Who sold you lies about the EU
You’re lookin’ at him, yo

Oh, also I scapegoated Islam
You’re welcome
To foster discord and bring you uncalm

Also I harnessed immigration
You’re welcome
To fill you with misguided indignation

So what can I say except you’re welcome
For the hate crimes I brought to the street
Only Christians should pray, I exclaim
You’re welcome
Ha, I guess it’s just my way of being elite
You’re welcome
You’re welcome

Well, come to think of it
Kid, honestly, I can go on and on
I could explain every dodgy liason
Robert Mercer, Assange, Le Pen
Oh, I don’t usually support women

I killed a fox
Actually I just observed
Wore stupid trousers, got what it deserved
What’s the lesson
What is the takeaway
Don’t listen to Nigel, it’s all just foul play

And the face of a gurning fool
Is cos of inbreeding in my gene pool
Look where I’ve been I make everything shit
Look at that effing Nigel just keeps refusing to quit

Well, anyway let me say you’re welcome
For making Britain a complete parody
Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay
You’re welcome
Well, come to think of it, this will end terribly

Hey, it’s your day to say you’re welcome
‘Cause I’m gonna get really rich
We’re leaving the EU, the EU, you’re welcome
‘Cause Nigel’s the ultimate right wing dick

You’re welcome
You’re welcome

A Toddler’s Guide to the Human Rights Act

As Theresa May once again threatens to abolish the Human Rights Act, a toddler could be forgiven for asking ‘What has the Human Rights Act ever done for me?’

So here is the essential guide to what the HRA means for toddlers.

 
 
The right to life

This means you can throw yourself down the stairs/attempt to ride an escalator head first/try to lick the cat, and Mummy must do everything possible to prevent you from dying. Your life is protected – test that theory by risking it as much as possible.

 
The prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment

This means Mummy is not allowed to waterboard you. Even if she’s claiming it’s called a ‘bath’, and is a necessary consequence of muddy puddle jumping. Bedtime, biscuit withholding, and refusal to allow Frozen to be watched more than once in one day, are also torture and inhuman treatment, and you should not stand for them.

 
Protection against slavery and forced labour

Obviously, this means you are not tidying up your toys, putting on your shoes, or helping in any way.

 
The right to liberty and freedom

This particularly applies in the supermarket. Screaming ‘FREEDOM’ and tearing off down a random aisle is not only allowed, it’s your right, dammit.

 
The right to a fair trial and no punishment without law

Despite the clump of sibling hair grasped in your fist, you are innocent until proven guilty. There should be no punishment until you have received a fair trial before a properly instructed jury of your peers, or at least your teddy bears. And, actually, you are below the age of criminal responsibility anyway, so you will just be having that confiscated hobby horse back, and galloping off with your dignity, thank you very much.

 
Respect for privacy and family life, and the right to marry

Actually, you are not required to tell Mummy what you’re up to or why you are so quiet: that’s your private business. However, as Mummy is here now, you require her to tie this blanket around your waist because you will be getting married, as is your right.

 
Freedom of thought, religion and belief

You can believe what you like. Even if it is that there is nothing odd about Peppa Pig’s eyes, and that liking cheese only on Tuesdays is perfectly rational.

 
Free speech and peaceful protest

Exercise your right to free speech as often, and as loudly, as possible. The plank is a valid form of peaceful protest in any situation.

 
Freedom from discrimination

You should not be treated unfairly simply because you are three. So, if Mummy could just hand over the car keys, you’ll be off to your knife throwing practice.

 
Protection of property

Mummy has no right to interfere with your Lego, regardless of whether or not she is able to see any carpet anymore.

 
The right to an eduction

Mummy has to answer your questions. All of your questions. Even ‘Why?’

 
The right to free elections

If you are unhappy with Mummy, you must have the opportunity to participate in free and fair elections to replace Mummy.

 
 
 
 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

A Toddler’s Guide to Rainy Day Activities

Nice weather we’re having, aren’t we? Still, no need to dread rainy days in with small children. Just follow this comprehensive toddler guide to filling a wet day.

 
 

1. Sit in the window and yell ‘RUDE!!’ at Tesco delivery vans visiting neighbours’ houses.

 
2. Dress as Mary Poppins and sing Let it Go while freezing people.

 
3. Dress as Elsa and sing A Spoonful of Sugar while looking after the children.

 
4. Ask for biscuits.

 
5. Get angry with your little sister when she pokes you in the eye in a dispute over a used tissue.

 
6. Get angry with Mummy when telling your little sister not to poke you in the eye inevitably results in your little sister rolling around on the floor in a fit of rage. Your little sister doesn’t like being told not to poke you in the eye. Mummy shouldn’t tell your little sister not to poke you in the eye. Mummy should know her place. Fortunately, it’s a rainy day, so you have plenty of time to put Mummy in her place.

 
7. Ask for biscuits.

 
8. Undress all your dolls.

 
9. Ask your dolls why they’ve got their bums out.

 
10. Laugh.

 
11. Make Mummy redress all your dolls.

 
12. Repeat steps 8-11.

 
13. Ask for biscuits.

 
14. Express your anger at Mummy’s repeated refusal to provide biscuits.

 
15. Do some art. You will require a minimum of 300 pieces of plain white paper for your artwork. Each should receive a miniscule dot in yellow crayon before being discarded as ‘finished’.

 
16. Ask to play a game. Cheat. Wander off before the game is finished.

 
17. Wait for the post. Read your important mail. Note that your mysterious correspondent has once again sent you an intriguing letter filled with pictures of pizza.

 
18. Ask for pizza.

 
19. Channel your inner hamster, shred paper and hide it in piles around the living room.

 
20. Stand at the window watching the rain pour down and have a bright idea: you should water the plants in the garden.

 
 
 
 
*THE ‘OH WHAT THE HELL’ PLEA: I WASN’T GOING TO EVEN ATTEMPT NOMINATION FOR THE BiB AWARDS THIS YEAR BUT, AS I SAID, WHAT THE HELL! IF YOU LIKE MY BLOG, AND ARE FEELING VERY GENEROUS, YOU COULD ALWAYS NOMINATE ME IN THE READERS’CHOICE CATEGORY (OR MAYBE FAMILY AND LIFESTYLE) HERE. THANK YOU!*

 
 
 
 

My Random Musings

 
 
 
 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

What Would Mrs May Do? (Or How to Run Your Home Like the PM)

This week, I have been thinking about our Prime Minister, Theresa May. Now, I can’t stand Theresa May. I think she’s a maniac, in fact. However, I have to admit that she does appear to have rather effectively hijacked the country, and now seems to be getting away with literally doing whatever she likes. This, of course, got me wondering: could I achieve the same level of authoritarian, batshit crazy control in my house? As a result, I will be implementing some of Theresa May’s favourite policies and tactics at home.

 
 
1. Soundbites

Like Theresa May, I have decided to adopt the policy of speaking only in a single three word soundbite. I have gone with ‘put it down’. What this house needs is PUT IT DOWN! My leadership will be PUT IT DOWN! Now, more than ever, we need to PUT IT DOWN!

I must report that the toddlers appear to be significantly less susceptible to this technique than much of the population is. At least, I assume they are not susceptible, as they are yet to PUT IT DOWN.

 
2. Immigration

I am committed to drastically reducing the numbers of kinder egg toys entering the household. I feel like I may be being mocked over this policy, due to my numerous previous commitments to drastically reduce the numbers of kinder egg toys entering the household, which resulted in absolutely no reduction in the total number of kinder egg toys in the household. I did fear I might have gone too far when I started channelling Paul Nuttall and claimed that kinder egg toys are taking household jobs, failing to assimilate, and establishing areas of ‘Plastic Tat Law’ in the house where everyone is afraid to go. Still, I had committed by that point, so I brazened it out.

 
3. Healthcare

Household medical treatment, much like the NHS, is currently being administered by disgruntled junior/toddler doctors, who some claim are overworked (an observation based largely on the fact that they are having to moonlight as teachers, builders, gardeners, Elsa and Ana, hairdressers, artists and, last but certainly not least, Ghostbusters). Like the NHS staff, the toddler doctors are under-resourced (last seen using Elsa’s plait as a bandage) and under-appreciated (admittedly, in the toddlers’ case, mostly because they are rather violent with their patients, so this is where similarities with the beleagured NHS end). I have studied Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May very carefully and established the appropriate response to the healthcare crisis we are facing: I have made the toddlers really angry and I am now in the process of selling them to Donald Trump.

 
4. Hunting

In a popular move, I have decided that I will be reintroducing the ‘sport’ of cat hunting with plastic teapots. The use of plastic teapots in cat hunting was banned some time ago, and the toddlers complained that this ruined the entire activity. Ain’t no one interested in chasing the cat on hobby horses without the teapots – what is the point? In this new policy, the toddlers will once again be allowed to unleash plastic teapots upon the cat. The plastic teapots’ role in the sport is to hunt down the cat and confuse her.

 
5. U-turns

On this, I may have angered the toddlers. I announced that we were definitely not having a bedtime. There would be no bedtime until 2020. Read my lips: no bedtime. What this household needed was a period of PUT IT DOWN, and therefore there would be no bedtime. Then, in a remarkable u-turn, I announced a snap bedtime. A snap bedtime was now needed for PUT IT DOWN. The toddlers suspect that I was shamelessly exploiting a yawn from the youngest toddler in order to call a bedtime I knew I could win a landslide victory in.

 
6. Cabinet Appointments

The toddlers recently did something rather silly. They promoted the idea that leaving the sofa by throwing themselves at the coffee table was something we should all be doing. I could have told them not to be so ridiculous. But we are now following the philosophy of What Would Mrs May Do (WWMMD)? Therefore, I have whole-heartedly embraced the idea of leaving the sofa by throwing ourselves at the coffee table and, moreover, I have made the toddlers the Ministers for Leaving the Sofa by Throwing Ourselves at the Coffee Table.

 
7. Chexit

Following an ill-advised referendum, and a falling out with the Babybels, the toddlers recently voted to leave cheese. They are now having doubts. They might want to stick with cheese. At the very least, they would like to negotiate to retain some kind of mutually beneficial relationship with cheese. They certainly didn’t mean that they wanted to leave cheese on toast. They just wanted to make a point, really. They feel it has all got a bit out of control. However, I have assured them that we do not negotiate with cheese. No deal is better than a bad deal when it comes to cheese. We are pursuing a hard chexit. We will be leaving cheese and all cheese-based products. There will be no cheesecake. We don’t need cheesecake. We are the greatest household in the world, and we will be making our own dessert. It will be more successful than cheesecake. WE DON’T NEED CHEESE TO MAKE CHEESE ON TOAST, and we laugh in the face of anyone who suggests we do.

 
8. Debates

WWMMD? Refuse to take part in any debates, of course. As such, none of my household decisions are up for debate. The toddlers are unfazed by this. They weren’t interested in taking part in debates anyway. They were interested in opposing my policies by whining, crying, shouting and outright ignoring them, and they are just going to go right ahead with this approach.

 
 
 
 
*THE ‘OH WHAT THE HELL’ PLEA: I WASN’T GOING TO EVEN ATTEMPT NOMINATION FOR THE BiB AWARDS THIS YEAR BUT, AS I SAID, WHAT THE HELL! IF YOU LIKE MY BLOG, AND ARE FEELING VERY GENEROUS, YOU COULD ALWAYS NOMINATE ME IN THE READERS’CHOICE CATEGORY (OR MAYBE FAMILY AND LIFESTYLE) HERE. THANK YOU!*

Brexit Fortunes (A Game Show Parody)

Hello and welcome to our Brexit and Election Special episode of Family Fortunes (Family Feud for our American audience). The game in which two families compete to provide answers to questions about Brexit and the upcoming election. All of the questions have been put to members of the public, Parliament, the Cabinet or Theresa May before the show. Our contestants are looking to get the top answer, the one given by most of our surveyed group. If contestants give an answer which none of our surveyed group provided, they will hear ‘Eh-uhh’. Ready? Then let’s begin.

 
 
Round One

We asked the Cabinet to name ten things needed for Brexit to not be a complete disaster. You said, ‘Expert guidance and opinions.’ Our Cabinet said, ‘Eh-uhh.’ Next, you said, ‘Good trade deals.’ Surely this must be a high answer. Let’s see. No! Our Cabinet said, ‘Eh-uhh.’ Finally, you said, ‘A can do attitude and no f**king clue what’s going on.’ This is your last chance, you need a good score. Yes! It’s the top answer.

 
Round Two

We asked whose fault this was. You said, ‘David Cameron.’ It was, of course, the top answer. Next, you said, ‘Theresa May.’ It was the third best answer. A good answer. But the other team can steal if their answer ‘Vladimir Putin’ beat Theresa May. So was ‘Vladimir Putin’ the second answer? It was. I think you knew that really, and they steal the point.

 
Round Three

We asked you what answer Theresa May gave to the question: ‘Will you be calling a snap election?’ You answered, ‘I’m not going to be calling a snap election. I’ve been very clear that I think we need that period of time, that stability, to be able to deal with the issues that the country is facing, and have that election in 2020.’ It’s the wrong answer. Very bad luck on this one – the answer you gave was right five minutes ago. However, the updated answer Mrs May has just given, which we were looking for, is: ‘I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet, where we agreed that the Government should call a general election, to be held on June 8.’

 
Round Four

We asked Theresa May why she decided to hold a snap general election. You said, ‘To gain the majority needed to sideline Parliament and destroy the country.’ Theresa May said, ‘Eh-uhh.’ (Though, interestingly, our lie detector said this was actually the top answer.) The correct top answer, according to Theresa May, was ‘strength and stability’.

 
Round Five

We asked Tory MPs what they think of the current Government. Neither team guessed the top answer, intoned monotonously and in unison: ‘Mrs May is a wonderful Prime Minister, and this is the best Government we’ve ever had.’ The other answer we would have accepted, given by Ken Clarke, was: ‘Oh for f**k’s sake!’

 
Round Six

We asked 100 people to name one job Theresa May had before becoming Prime Minister. You said, ‘Nurse Ratched.’ It was a good answer. 31 of our hundred people said ‘Nurse Ratched’. But the top answer we were looking for, given by 53 people, was ‘Death eater’. Other correct answers included ‘Margaret Thatcher’ and ‘Cruella de Vil’. One exceptionally dull person answered ‘Home Secretary’, but we disqualified him.

 
Round Seven

We asked the current Government what they will do to solve the NHS crisis. You answered, ‘Provide proper funding for universal healthcare.’ The Government said, ‘Eh-uhh.’ The top answer we were looking for was ‘sell it to Donald Trump’.

 
Round Eight

We asked the Department for Exiting the European Union to name countries they hoped to secure trade deals with following Brexit. You were a little optimistic here. Your answers of the United States, China and South Korea were all incorrect. The top answer was Liechtenstein.

 
Round Nine

We asked 100 people to name an EU law that has actually caused a problem in their daily lives. It really doesn’t matter what you say here, as I can tell you that 52 of our 100 people said that they will have to get back to us on this, and wandered off muttering something about ‘sovereignty’. While the other 48 people said they actually quite like the EU, and appreciate having employment rights and an economy.

 
Round Ten

We asked 100 people how they intend to vote in the snap General Election. I can tell you, the top answer was…provided by the Russians.

 
 
And the winner of Brexit Fortunes is, of course, absolutely no one! Except maybe Theresa May, and a couple of billionaires, but certainly no one here. Not to worry: we don’t let anyone go home empty handed on this show! You all get to take home a crushing sense of impending doom, less money than you have ever had before, and this stylish blue passport!

Nonsense Parenting Advice

We all know there is a lot of parenting advice out there. A lot. Good advice. Bad advice. But what of that special category of parenting advice? The advice that sounds sensible, but is actually nonsense?

 
Here are my top ten pieces of advice that appear perfectly reasonable at first glance, but are nonsense. Nonsense, I tell you.

 
1. Don’t make threats about consequences you aren’t willing to follow through on.

Yes, this sounds very sensible. However, it rather assumes that your children care about the threat, remember the threat, and were even listening to you in the first place. They weren’t. Make as many empty threats as you like, it really doesn’t matter. (Presumably, people whose kids actually listen to them don’t even need to make threats in the first place.)

 
2. They will eat it if you don’t give them an alternative. They won’t starve themselves.

They will, actually. They will starve themselves.

 
3. If they hurt themselves, they’ll learn not to do it again.

They won’t, actually.

 
4. If they don’t want to go to sleep, just put them in bed and leave them to it. They can’t scream forever.

Well, maybe not. But they can scream long enough for the police to be notified.

 
5. Let them make their own clothing decisions and express who they are.

Who they are is someone willing to die of hypothermia. Specifically, a pyjama-clad gruffa-fairy, who is willing to die of hypothermia.

 
6. Make sure they’re really tired, they’ll sleep better.

No one has ever had as much energy or been as awake as a tired toddler. Tigger has less energy than an over-tired child.

 
7. They don’t need to be eating snacks between meals.

They do if you want to achieve anything with any day ever. In the battle between childhood obesity and being able to do the shopping without a tantrum, raisins win every time.

 
8. They’ll be perfectly safe. They’re not stupid. They’re not going to fling themselves down the stairs/out of the window/over that cliff.

They have no survival instinct. None. Zero.

 
9. I’m sure they don’t need a bib/apron/hazmat suit – that will wash right out anyway.

It won’t. Don’t even need to know what it is. It won’t wash out.

 
10. It’s okay, they won’t even remember that thing you definitely don’t want to do/buy/feed them was even mentioned.*

They will remember it until the end of time. This is not like empty threats. Children hear empty promises. Like mini Liam Neesons, when a child hears an empty promise, they will look for you, they will find you, and they will make you give them the damn ice cream.

 

(* This one is generally said by the utter fool who mentioned the thing in the first place.)

They Have Returned: Protect Yourselves

*THIS IS AN URGENT PUBLIC SERVICE BULLETIN*
 
 
They have returned. They are rising. The invasion is underway. Some are speaking of the apocalypse, though there has been no official statement on this yet.

 
What we are being told officially, however, is this:

 
1. Stay in your homes. Do not attempt to travel. Do not attempt to reach loved ones. The public are advised to avoid all contact with the assailants.

 
2. Gather essential supplies, in case of a siege situation. Stockpile water and canned goods. They often gather in doorways and windows, and you may be unable to get out.

 
3. Avoid corners. DO NOT GO TO HIGHER GROUND.

 
4. Stay in a group, if possible. Keep a lookout at all times. Remember, you do not need to outrun them, you just need to outrun your friends. Sacrificing slow members of the group is entirely acceptable. This is about survival.

 
5. Know your enemy. They move strangely, but they are surprisingly fast. They are relentless. They are absolutely evil. Do not feel compassion for them. Compassion will be your undoing. And never, ever hesitate. Do what has to be done. They must die.

 
6. Collect weapons and keep them with you at all times. A large trainer and a vacuum cleaner are essential. Do not use a cat. Cats are a useless weapon against this threat. They are always full of confidence, but they never fail to f**k it up. They will play with the enemy and then lose it – do not make the mistake of joining forces with the cat.

 
7. The assailants can only be stopped by removing the head or destroying the brain. Nothing else will work. They cannot be drowned or stabbed. It is tempting to run for your life and burn your house to the ground, but you can be sure that they will rise from the wreckage. The only way is to smash their heads to smithereens with a trainer and vacuum up the pieces.

 
8. Stay vigilant. Stay safe. And always remember, under NO circumstances, ever, ever lift up that mug on the floor.

 
 
*THIS IS NOT A DRILL. THE SPIDERS HAVE RETURNED. PROTECT YOUR HOMES. PROTECT YOUR FAMILIES. REMOVE THE HEAD OR DESTROY THE BRAIN. DO NOT LET THE CAT HAVE A GO. DO NOT LIFT UP THE MUG. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.*

 
 

What If We Taught Our Children to Behave Like Brexit?

According to the Brexit brigade, Theresa May has this week done a ‘good’ thing for our country. The ‘right’ thing. This is the right thing to do. So I thought, that being correct, it would be okay to teach your kids to behave like the Brexiteers, right? You know, because they’re not doing anything wrong, are they? It’s the right thing for the country, so it must be the right way to raise the younger generation.

With that in mind, I have considered ten lessons we should be teaching our children if we want to raise them according to the lessons of Brexit.

 
 
1. Mistakes

If you make a mistake, whatever you do, don’t admit it was a mistake and fix it. Just plough on with the mistake. After all, once you do something stupid, you have no choice but to commit to the stupid, right?

 
2. Intolerance

Racism and xenophobia are bad…but, when confronted with racists, the thing to do is bend over backwards trying to mollify them and give them exactly what they want. In fact, it is a great idea to start spouting racism yourself. You know, so they’ll like you.

 
3. Bullies and Principles

Don’t stand up to bullies. Don’t stand up for what you believe in. Don’t stand up for vulnerable people. Don’t stand up for anything. Standing up for things is ‘whiny’.

 
4. Experts

Never listen to experts. We’re sick of experts.

 
5. Information

In fact, we are sick of education, information and facts. Be ignorant and proud of it.

 
6. Language

Use words that you like regardless of whether or not you understand them. Like ‘sovereignty’.

 
7. Friends

It’s usually a good idea to impulsively fall out with all of your friends. Tell them you hate them and you’re leaving. Never ever reflect on this at a later point. Instead, find the school maniac (he’ll be the one torturing local cats), and hold his hand.

 
8. Telling the Truth

Lie.

 
9. Sharing

Don’t share. Never share. Sharing is bad. There is NOT enough for everyone. Everything should be yours. You are more important than anyone else.

 
10. Self Preservation

Shoot yourself in the foot. Maintain that you have done the right thing, even whilst hopping in circles.

 
 
I’m sure they’ll turn out great. What could go wrong?

Toddler Proverbs Part Two

Toddlers, as we all know, are very wise. As such, I present further well-known toddler proverbs.

 
 
1. Fortune favours the bold enough to throw a tantrum in public

 
2. Hope for the best, but prepare for the screaming

 
3. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer…and bite them both

 
4. Practice makes a perfect mess

 
5. Don’t bite the hand…that is all – don’t bite

 
6. If you can’t beat ’em, throw things at ’em

 
7. A penny saved is a penny swallowed

 
8. You can’t lead a cat to water…stop trying to lead the cat

 
9. If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall…so both of you open your eyes and get down from the table

 
10. All good things must come to an end…even chocolate buttons