Saturday, 28 April 2012

Monk Is From Mars, Trampolines Are From Venus

Mama's poorly today. My lungs are trying to make their escape via my mouth, and my head feels like it's turning itself inside out. The Monk, ever sensitive to my moods and physical state, has decided to spend the day being a complete and utter shit. Food flinging, drink spilling, tantrum throwing, eardrum-debilitating shrieking and games console battering have all been on the menu so far, and it's still only early afternoon. I've been told that this is one of the joys of having a son, but in my current fuzzy-headed, snot-nosed state, I'm finding bugger-all joy today, friends.

"Time to get up, mama. I've got PLANS."

Onward to more pleasant things. A week after his first birthday, The Monk took his first few tentative steps. He's lurched around on his feet before, but it always seemed to be by accident; this time, the boy was WALKING.

The best part of me was filled with love and massive pride, because my formerly wriggly, flailing baby was making proper progress. He toddled along the carpet, arms outstretched, Cabbage Patch Doll smirk on his face, absolutely thrilled with himself. It was beautiful. The lesser part of me? Well.

"WHAT IN THE NAME OF FUCK WILL I DO NOW?!?!" quoth the lesser part of me. The part of me that relies on flail-time in order to have a bath. The part of me that feels the need to do housework uninterrupted (admittedly, that part took very little silencing). The part of me that said "Oh, it's alright, we won't need to buy stairgates/childlocks/other assorted barrier devices just yet!" It's all bullshit, my friends, because you always need the stairgates/childlocks/other assorted barrier devices, even when all they do is lay flat on their backs. Especially when your child is drawn to electrical appliances like a moth to a sodding flame. I get the feeling that our blogging adventures haven't even started yet, kids...

The Monk's also taken it upon himself to act as Trampoline Monitor at toddler group. He's had a long-standing love affair with the trampoline since the start, and he wants everyone to know about it. He adores it. He crawls under it like a more realistic Bear Grylls. He runs his pudgy little hands along its brightly-painted curves. He smooshes his face into its tight, springy floor... I'll stop there. Moreover, he wants the others to show his bouncin' belle some fuggin' respect, to treat her like a lady, and not like some elasticated plaything. Otherwise, he's forced to take action... and I'm forced to document it through the medium of hastily-taken iPhone pics. Enjoy. Or not. It's up to you.

"Hang on. What's going on with my trampoline?"

"Let me get my fucking pump truck."

"Make the most of it, girlfriend. You won't be on here much longer. Prepare to eat crash mat."


I do love that boy, even if he has insisted on squawking like Hell's own parakeet for the past bastard hour. Honestly, I've never met anyone - man, woman, child-creature - who feels the need to make SO. MUCH. FUCKING. NOISE. before. It's like having tinnitus. I swear, if I can stay awake long enough, I'm going to camp by The Monk's cot tonight and unleash the loudest "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH" I can muster. Right in his little pink ear. All night long. The neighbours will complain, the dog next door will bark, the police will probably be called, but I don't care. Gabriel will have Learned A Lesson.

Or I could just buy earplugs.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

In which mama turns art critic and keeps hold of her bits

I've been meaning to sit down and get this post finished for well over a week now, but unfortunately embuggerances like an exploding oven and a cantankerous boiler have succeeded in keeping my ass from the computer chair. Apologies, folks! I will neglect you no longer.

Your bits: keep hold of them.

For The Monk's birthday, we took him to Bristol Zoo, a place that seems to be under a perpetual raincloud. Monkles has never really come face to face with any animals before, apart from my mother's miniature Dachshund (and the jury's still out regarding Wilf's actual species, he could be anything), so we thought being confronted with lions and howler monkeys would be a wonderful and not at all frightening way to celebrate our darling son's first year.

It was also our first time travelling by train with the boy and his tank of a pushchair. This in itself was an adventure, albeit one I could live without for the rest of my life. The man-whore Monk flirted cheerfully with every female that crossed his path (if wrinkling his nose and murmuring a coy "Deng!" through a mouthful of dry Cheerios constitutes flirting), while mama and daddy prepared for the imminent train-boarding battle. As is always the way, people lurked around like vultures on the platform, desperate to be FIRST!!!! ZOMGWTFBBQLOL!11!1!!!! to board the stupid bloody train, like it's some sort of Olympic event. Maybe it is. Olympic Train Barging and Advanced Carry-On Luggage Hammer-Throwing. Anyway.

Mercifully, The Monk doesn't appear to suffer from the motion sickness that has plagued his mama for most of her life, so he quite cheerily spent the 45-minute journey to Bristol invading peoples' privacy. Pointing, clapping, eyeballing, yelling, denging, and wedging his chubby little face between the seats, thus providing the poor bastards behind us with a glorious view of his grinning mug (something many seem to find strangely perturbing at that hour of the morning). I won't bore you with the details of the rest of the journey: I'm sure you've all seen trains, buses and small people with overworked larynxes before. Move along, people! Nothing to see here!

As soon as we got to the gates of Bristol Zoological Gardens (yes!), we felt the first raindrops, and mama let out an ungodly howl, for mama does not like the rain and - more importantly - mama's hair definitely does not like the rain. I got a fringe cut in on impulse a few weeks ago, which was a bad idea on two counts: first, that I'm the laziest sod on Earth when it comes to my hair, and second, any fringe made out of my dumbass half-curly half-straight 'fro needs attention. All the time. I'd post pics of the outcome of Hair Vs. Rain, but looking at them still makes my heart and ego hurt a little.

The zoo was heaving with families, thanks to the school holidays. Not being the biggest fan of slow-moving crowds, I brandished the pushchair like a battering ram, ready to set any ditherers foolish enough to block my path flying into the monkey house. With my hellish fringe and my badass poncho, I felt like a fucking warrior, seriously. The temptation to daub intimidating stripes of greasepaint all over my face was overwhelming.

Lemur porn.
Despite the crowds and the grizzly weather, seeing the animals was wonderful. Bristol Zoo has come a long way since the sad days of the desolate polar bear enclosure. There are cheeky, curious otters; adorably tiny marmosets; enormous gorillas and all manner of nocturnal beasties, most of which were dicks and just hid in the dark the whole time. Amongst these were Dickhead Loris, Idiot Rat-Like Creature, Twat Possum, Knob-Jockey Aye-Aye and some Cocksucking Insects. Maybe I sound bitter, I dunno. Fortunately for The Monk, who was rather baffled as to why his idiot parents were hauling him around a darkened room in order to hold him up against some glass over and over again, he was able to witness a rather cavalier lemur fellating himself, as demonstrated opposite.

Incognito furry dicks aside, we soon came across my very, very favourite part of the zoo, the thing that keeps me going back time and time again... the schoolchildrens' artwork of the animals, placed at random points throughout the place. It's hilarious. It should be noted here that I'm very much a judgemental asshole, who gets a great deal of pleasure out of critiquing the drawings of others, a la this guy. This includes things drawn by other peoples' little darlings. I have no doubt that my own son's artwork will be similarly judged. I'm a bastard like that, but at least nobody can say I'm precious about it.

This post has gone on for way too long now, so I'll finish up the whole zoo business next time around. It will contain the King Of Meerkats, overpriced beer, strange men with teddy bears, and lion balls. For now, I'll leave you with some shit drawings done by kids who really should have been old enough to know better. Yes, I am a bad, bad person and I'm most likely going to Hell.

Until next time...

What would happen if lemurs were mated with cows. Awful.

My personal favourite, the streak-of-shit otter.

At least you can tell what it is. Proportions need more work.

And finally, a hippo. I know this because it says "Hippo". The "Children Only" notice indicates that we are now at The Gary Glitter Enclosure.

Friday, 6 April 2012

In honour of Baby Monk.

Right now, I have three unfinished blog posts languishing in my Drafts folder. It's not that I ran out of ideas, or that I don't like what I've written - each post is a speshul, yoonique snoflaek - it's just that Things Keep Happening. Things like weddings, or getting mired under with everyday shit like looking after a toddler and keeping the house together ('domesticated' is not my middle name). Things that suddenly render the stuff I'm writing irrelevant for a while, whether it's for a couple of days, or even a few weeks, because there are New Things to write about that need posting NOW.

I'm sure those posts will turn up here eventually; I hope so, as I enjoyed writing them, and it would be an horrific waste of the couple of hours my son spends sleeping every day - the only time I get to update this thing. I could've been drinking wine in that time. Or rocking back and forth in the corner.

This week, one of those Things That Happened to push my last post to the back of the queue was a birthday. On April 5th 2011, at 6:40 in the morning, after a 26 hour labour and much language, I got to meet this little chap.

My life.

My world.

My heart and soul.

My everything.

My baby.

My son.

Gabriel. My newly-minted one-year-old. My King Tiny Man, my monklet, my King Slink, my pride and joy. I've loved him for a year now. He is the greatest gift and the biggest pain in the ass I've ever had. He causes pains in my heart that I never knew could happen. He changed my entire life with his very first cry, he shifted my whole world on its axis. He changes every single day, clambering ever quicker up onto those tiny feet; feet that will soon enough be moving towards school, to friends' houses, to parties, and to the whole life he has ahead of him.

Until then, he is my baby. And he always will be.

We love you, Monkles. Let mama hold you just a little longer.

Happy belated 1st birthday to The Monk... to be continued!

"You're a day late, woman."

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Short and sweet, like my son when he's asleep

Hangovers are terrible things: I've consumed enough wine this week to keep me from tapping out inane bloggy shite for 6 whole days. Fortunately for the couple of people who read my literary efforts, I'm back and I can now sit up unaided.

The Monk has a 3-week holiday from toddler group, due to half term. This is fantastic news on the health front, as it means we're much less likely to contract repeated bouts of toddler lurgy. It's not so great when it comes to knackering the hyperactive little sod out, however; he now attempts to actually jump out of the living room window, shrieking with delight and too much fruit puree. He must be the only kid I know who gets a sugar rush from fucking baby food.

For such a small kid who isn't walking unaided - he still looks like a baby next to the others - Gabriel asserts himself in grand style at playgroup. Bitches in law enforcement outfits on the mini trampoline? No sweat, he'll just grab that sucker by the ankle and fling him into next week. At least, that's how The Monk visualises it: in reality, the kid already on the trampoline has learned to share (an alien concept for my pigheaded loin-fruit), and his mother happens to be watching, so he better be nice to the yelling tot currently trying to displace him, or he'll be facing mama-wrath come hometime.

"Fuck tha police, mama. That trampoline gon' be mine."

Aside from my son discovering entitlement, it's been one hell of an emotional week, folks. My darling niece got married to her lovely husband (now Shiny New Nephew) on Friday, The Monk indulged in some hardcore flirting (and tantrums. Can't forget those), and mama got drunk. Dreadfully, awfully drunk.

I'll keep this post short, as the wedding, the revelry and the subsequent falling over all deserve a post of their own. I'll attempt that one on a day where I've consumed nothing but fruit tea and Omega-3 capsules. Safe to say, I was an horrifically embarrassing, blubbering disgrace of an auntie who probably should've said an emphatic "No, thank you" to the free champagne. But I didn't, and that's how all the best stories start.

I'll leave you with The Monk, suited and booted and trying his best to seduce a cougar.

"How you doin'?"