Tag Archives: plumbers

How to break a child’s heart in one easy ballet step

30 Oct

We’ve just returned from holiday. In the days leading up to the journey home there were the inevitable groans about our imminent return to cold, grey reality. The 4-year-old didn’t want to go back to nursery. The 18-month-old didn’t want to leave our hosts’ endless supply of Swiss Chocobits cereal. I knew that an English supermarket could probably sort the latter, but what to do about the former? Obvious answer: give her something to look forward to when we got home.

And so it was that for several days before our return I buoyed my daughter up with the prospect of her Monday ballet class. As expected, this resulted in the tongue-rolling, dress-lifting, wriggling excitement that normally only a Disney princess can elicit. Pat on the back to Mummy. I was on to a winner.

Back at home on Monday morning disaster struck. A faulty gas supply left us without heat and hot water and the prospect of a day stuck in the house waiting for help to arrive. As the plumber (yes, the same plumber as in that post) got steadily more grumpy and the hours ticked by the likelihood of getting to ballet started to dissipate like the waft of gas from a dodgy gas pipe. Like any good parent, I deliberately didn’t mention the impending trauma to my daughter lest by some miracle all should come good.

An hour before the class and things weren’t looking promising. Tears, tantrums and utter devastation loomed. I called Mr Crumbs & Pegs in the hope he’d be able to pop home from work for an hour thus releasing us from the purgatory of infernal waiting. Success! We were back on track.

Half an hour before the class and I got one very excited little girl into her ballet outfit. All was progressing as normal – the usual explanation of why she must wear her skirt pulled as high as Simon Cowell’s trousers rather than skimming the bottom of her buttocks like a gangsta, the foot stamping as locks of hair escaped from her hair band, and of course the frenzied tumbling into the car when we discovered we were running late. No surprises then when we pulled away from the house with one/some/all of us fraught and in tears. That aside – we were on the way to ballet!

Under stress I seem to have the knack of turning my daughter into a blubbering and uncooperative wreck. (Four years in and I am yet to learn that shouting does not make children go faster. Some red underlining is clearly required in the Bad Mother’s Notebook of Things I Must Do Better. ) Dragging two children into an empty leisure centre reception area I stopped in my tracks. Where were the pushy mammas in their boots and skinny jeans?  Where were the siblings who were usually sprawled across the corridor playing Top Trumps and tripping up the attendees of the Blind Badminton class? Hell no! It was half term. No ballet class.

The receptionist looked at me with pity (or was it disgust?) as I made the walk of shame back out the leisure centre doors, crying ballerina and confused toddler in tow. Guilty doesn’t do full justice to how I felt as I explained to my daughter that her mother – who was obviously always right – had got something terribly wrong. In the car I proffered a trip to a café by way of an apology but was told that her “tummy hurt too much from crying to eat cake”. Make it worse why don’t you.

A day later I am still apologising. A day later, when reminded of the incident, my daughter still looks at me like her heart has been broken by an idiot. A complete idiot. Welcome to parenthood.

How to flirt like a 4-year-old

1 Oct

Tonight my 4-year-old gave me a master class in how to flirt. She was good. I’ve been married for 7 years and with my husband for 18 years in total so maybe I’m just out of practice but, boy, was she good. This evening we entertained a tall, dark and handsome plumber. And one of us was wearing a nightie (hell no, not the plumber!).

She was slick. She was girlie. She giggled QUITE A LOT. There was no self-consciousness, just utter self-confidence. He was on her territory. He was Playdoh in her hands.

How did she do it? Being cute and blonde isn’t enough. Looking like butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth helps but you’ve got to have tactics. Here’s how to reduce a grown man with tattoos to talking in a silly voice:

  1. Tell him your name (first name, middle names, surname). Tell him that you’ve been to ballet. Tell him that you have a brother (don’t mention that your brother is only 18-months-old).
  2. Show what excellent marriage material you are by offering to mop the floor for him. (And in doing so reinforce outdated gender stereotypes. Shame on you, daughter of mine.)
  3. Take him on a tour of the house under the pretence of looking at radiators. Giggle when he asks why your radiator isn’t pink. Show him your Playmobil.
  4. Whilst he has both hands busy with his phone, and with no observance of personal space, gently toy with the key fob attached to his belt (whilst your mother tries to bat you away from said keys without indulging in any toying herself).

They say that dogs and children and babe magnets. If I was single I’d be hitting the town with my daughter and letting her do all the hard work. She’s not learnt all this from me so I’m led to wonder where the nelly she has acquired the skills. Have I been whinging about the much flaunted feminine wiles of the Disney princesses for all this time when in fact they’re just demonstrating what comes naturally? I’d hate this to be true – especially when it doesn’t get you any money knocked off the bill.

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