Tuesday, 28 October 2014

A Rock and a Hard Place

Piglet is now three months old and still basically nocturnal.  He is sitting in front of me on his bouncy chair now, sucking his thumb.  His thumb is his latest new discovery and one I have mixed feelings about.  On the one hand, I now feel less bad about denying him the dummy which various people (for "various people" read "my mother") keep suggesting.  To be honest, I can't logically explain why I'm so against the idea of a dummy.  I just think they look bad, like something that's been shoved in the child's mouth to shut them up with no thought for what really might be bothering them, and which stifles their freedom of expression (God, now I sound like one of those dreadful middle class mothers who grow their sons' hair into Harry Styles ringlets and allow little Milo and Harriet to race around gastropubs on scooters, pausing occasionally to doodle on the walls to express their creativity).  In other words, I enjoy listening to little Piglet's gurgles of happiness and shouts of reproach and don't want to plug his mouth with a plastic contraption in case he NEVER EVER SPEAKS, like Maggie from The Simpsons.  

However, the thumb sucking is not without its reservations.  As I try to manoeuvre his thumb into his mouth for the umpteenth time in the hope that he will be able to settle himself to sleep and not need me to rock him for several thousand years or provide him with unlimited nipple until it falls off, I do wonder if I am unintentionally giving him buck teeth and a childish habit that will last until his university days.  At this precise moment though, I will take anything that potentially helps him to settle himself to sleep.  So far he has been completely inept at sleep in general, and right now seems to prefer sitting in his bouncy chair looking at his hands to settling into a nice deep slumber.  At least he amuses himself.  The hands seem to be an endless source of fascination for him.  At the risk of sounding far too earnest for my own liking, it is fascinating to see him discover such essential body parts as hands, and realise that they belong to him and aren't just things that randomly flail about on either side of his eye line.

Another thing that Piglet has recently taken an interest in is his collection of muslins.  This morning he was so enthusiastic in his play with one of these that it ended up covering his eyes and he didn't know how to move it out of the way so that he could see again.  Again, this is something I have mixed feelings about.  On the one hand, I am thrilled that he is happy to play with something so simple, that we already have so many of, and which is more aesthetically pleasing that the reams of multicoloured plastic tat that are usually marketed as toys.  On the other hand, I am terrified that he will now end up like the friend of mine who screamed for the entire duration of the Year 7 French trip in 1992 because she forgot to bring her comfort blanket and couldn't sleep without it.

Motherhood.  It really is a choice between a rock and a hard place.

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Facade of the Public Badge of Good Motherhood

Argh.  I have inadvertently trained Piglet to gaze blankly at the television as if in a hypnotic trance.

Unfortunately, this does not only happen during In the Night Garden.  This was not supposed to happen.  I was supposed to be an earth mother, all joss sticks and babywearing, giving birth blissfully  in a bathtub surrounded by candles and incense, then holding the baby aloft as if he was the future leader of a pack of lions in a Disney musical.  I was supposed to fill Piglet's days with classical music and brain-enhancing learning activities; he was supposed to be reading fluently by the time he turned one (there's still time...Not that he paid much attention to tonight's bedtime story, Flitter Flutter Butterfly).  He was not supposed to be wrenched out of me by a team of medical personnel in an operating theatre, following several hours of Mummy taking all the drugs the NHS could offer.  He was not supposed to be wheeled around in a pram for eternity because it has a shopping basket underneath which is just so damn convenient for carrying around all those spare nappies and the groceries.  And he was not supposed to be sat in front of the television like a zombie, silently taking in all that ITV can offer (reader, it wasn't even BBC4).  By the time he's three, he'll doubtless be asking Mummy why we can't track down his father using a DNA test and a lie detector on Jeremy Kyle.  

I have to admit, it is useful to be able to plonk Piglet in front of the television when Mummy needs to complete some pressing task, such as eating dinner, but isn't motherhood supposed to be about self-sacrifice?  If I was any sort of mother I would surely have relinquished all food and be living on a diet of pure maternal love, ready to abandon dinner and jump into action like a coiled spring at the first sign of baby whimpering.  If I was any sort of mother I would have gone to bed long ago, instead of still sitting here at 11.15pm with a glass of wine, desperate for a few extra minutes of self congratulation at getting Piglet to bed, before he wakes up again.

Still, I did manage to tick off one box of the middle class mother questionnaire today.  Piglet and I attended a swimming class.  OH YES.  And Piglet excelled himself by not crying AT ALL.

I should probably not crack open the champagne just yet.  After all, we have another four weeks of swimming classes for him to get hysterical and/or poo in the pool, leading to a mass evacuation (if you'll pardon the pun).  However, I will add that Piglet's angelic calm-baby performance occurred in front of one of the other ladies from my NCT class, who was also swimming with her baby, so at least I was able to enjoy the Public Badge of Good Motherhood for an hour or so.  Those fraught hours spent searching Westfield for a reusable baby swim nappy yesterday were put to good use.

At least I appear to be keeping up a charade of reasonable competence at this job in public, even if in private Piglet is spending (considerably) more than the recommended upper limit of half an hour per day on television watching (as decreed by a poster in Wembley Children's Centre).

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Essential Items for the "Nursery"

I just ate my dinner from start to finish with an angry Piglet sitting in his chair kicking his legs around and shouting at the TV, which I had turned him around to face to try and take his mind off the fact that Mummy was eating and not playing with him.

I am a terrible mother.

OK I may now have redeemed myself by cuddling him all through Downton Abbey (it is now several hours after I started writing this-nearly 11pm-and I have just put Piglet in his cot for the fourth time).  He has been fussing all evening.  His bedtime routine started at 6.20pm as usual and I was hoping he would be in bed in time for Strictly Come Dancing.  O what folly!  Instead he decided to whinge all the way through Strictly, X Factor and Downton.  Clearly one night of uninterrupted television (two.  Or maybe three as there's a new series on Thursday I like the look of) is too much to ask, for the rest of my life, ever.  Oh well, Piglet is worth it I suppose.

I had been reading another baby book that I got from the library the other day in an attempt to pick up some tips, in particular on sleep routines.  The thing about baby books is that the advice proffered is guaranteed to make you feel bad as inevitably there will be something the book suggests you do which you haven't done (or that the book says you should never do, which you do all the time), and as a result you will be made to feel that your child is now destined to grow up and become an axe murderer or general menace to society because you didn't give him a bottle of expressed breast milk for his night feed (please also note the use of the singular here, "night FEED."  Clearly the implication is that if your offspring is having more than one feed during the nocturnal hours then you are a failure and a bad parent who will end up being talked about in hushed tones at the school gates as the mother of "Piglet, who has NO boundaries.  Did you know that yesterday he weed-yes, WEED all over the headteacher's office?"

Another annoying thing about these books is the outrageous assumption they make that you are a) middle class-live in a house rather than a flat, have a car and a selection of Cath Kidston aprons; are not a teenage mother and b) have a husband, which I find somewhat presumptuous.  There are, for example, many mothers who are single, or who are married to other women.  Clearly I myself am in the former category.  In the particular book I borrowed from the library, there was far too long a list of baby-related items that the author deemed "essential" to purchase.  For example, a baby monitor-not necessary when you live in a one bedroom flat.  I know only too well that I can hear Piglet cry wherever I am in my very small flat.  Not everyone lives in some sort of palatial stately home where one may find oneself in a completely different wing of the house to the baby (like in Downton Abbey.  Has Lady Mary actually met her son?  It seems to me that Lady Edith spends more time with her secret daughter who lives in a different house than Lady Mary does with the son and heir whose name I don't even remember.  She could definitely do with a baby monitor).  Also, the book kept banging on about things you need for the "nursery"-not just a baby monitor, apparently, but a night light and a special chair for breastfeeding.  Firstly, my iphone has a perfectly good light on it thanks, so why would I go wasting money on some sort of specialist baby light that is bound to be bright pink, plastic and shaped like a character from In the Night Garden and ruin the feng shui?  Secondly, a chair specifically for breastfeeding?  What's wrong with a normal chair?  What is a breastfeeding chair anyway?  One shaped like a breast?  And lastly, who even has a nursery to put these things in?  Who do they think I am, Tamara bloody Ecclestone?  Clearly this book is a ruse to make me feel bad about being single and impoverished.  Not only this, but the author proudly boasted about how she moved her children into their poncey nurseries when they were only Piglet's age, in clear contradiction of the current guidelines which state that the baby should be in the same room as you for at least the first six months.  The woman is a charlatan.  She is practically Lady Mary, banishing her child like that.

And I did not just say that to make me feel better about the fact that Piglet and I will more than likely still be sharing a room when he is in his teens (I mean due to financial constraints, not because I am weird).  I think I will write a baby book of my own.  After all, I'm sure Britney Spears' mother wrote a parenting manual at some point.  And look how poor Britters turned out.  Admittedly she's done all right for herself, all things considered, but I'm pretty sure she's mentally deranged as a result.  Anyway, I could be a pushy stage mother, easy.  This week I suggested to Piglet that he might want to try ballet when he's older.  That's definitely a start.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Piglet is ten weeks old, and I find myself asking the question, how much TV is too much?

Aha!  I don't want to speak too soon, but I think I may have found the secret of the elusive Bedtime Routine.

It is none other than popular children's television programme In the Night Garden.  So far it has helped Piglet settle down to sleep no less than two days running.

It is as yet still only 9pm so whether his current slumber will continue throughout the night remains to be seen.  Judging by the squeaks I can hear coming from the direction of his cot I doubt it.  Still, it is a marked improvement on the four hours of rocking and swaying I had to do the other night to get him to sleep.

I have to admit, In the Night Garden seems far less irritating than most of the other claptrap on CBeebies, although as I said before it is early days as I've only actually seen two episodes.  The reason for the lack of irritation is that there are no annoying human children's TV presenters in the Night Garden, only odd creatures with names like Iggle Piggle and Macca Pacca (please excuse any spelling errors).  Macca Pacca is my favourite so far, as he seems oddly obsessed with putting pebbles into neat piles for no apparent reason, and tonight actually went to bed clutching one of these pebbles.  Hopefully Piglet will not start collecting random stones and bringing them home once he is old enough to understand what's going on.  Although having said that, I'm not sure I really understand what's going on in the Night Garden so that would make Piglet at least thirty-four by the time it dawns on him.

It's difficult to know how much Piglet really is taking in from these TV programmes.  He does stare at In the Night Garden quite intently, but then he also stared intently at the world gymnastics championships today, and Loose Women, and the news, and he probably would have been pretty interested in Homes Under the Hammer if his bouncy chair hadn't been facing the opposite direction.  I'm fairly sure that at this stage the television is merely an interesting provider of bright colours and sounds, but I have found myself avoiding Jeremy Kyle the last few days just in case his understanding runs any deeper.  I wouldn't want Piglet to think that Jeremy or his contestants are modelling normal behaviour.  That said, I don't really want him thinking it's normal for people to be riding around in tanks shooting AK47s into the air either but we have continued watching the news.  From what I can remember, I didn't start to be really interested in the news until I was about seven or eight years old.  Up until that point although I think I had a vague idea that certain events were going on, I tend to remember individuals rather than events.  I'm pretty sure at one point I believed, somewhat terrifyingly, that Margaret Thatcher and my grandmother were the same person.

Perhaps I shouldn't expose Piglet to the news after all.  Who knows what horrors he could come up with?

Monday, 6 October 2014

Piglet wreaks vengeance upon Mummy for ignoring him in favour of outrageous coat-lust

Knackered.  It has just taken me four hours to get Piglet to sleep.

According to everyone in my NCT class, their babies now sleep from about 8-9pm and wake up an average of once per night.  Piglet goes to bed at variable times, but rarely before 11pm, and wakes up an average of three times.  This didn't bother me-I generally catch up on sleep in the mornings by ignoring Piglet until at least 11am-until I heard that people in my NCT class were having wild times, drinking wine, watching television and painting their nails, AFTER their babies had gone to bed. So I decided I wanted some of this unbridled hedonism for myself, especially since I have read repeatedly on the Internets that one must train babies to go to sleep on their own, otherwise one ends up with an eighteen year old who wants to be rocked to sleep every night and share the parental bed.  

To this end, I decided to start Piglet's bedtime routine at 7.30pm tonight, as there was nothing on TV, so I bathed Piglet, considered reading him a story but vetoed this idea as he doesn't appear to show any interest in books just yet, attempted to get him to watch In the Night Garden as I had heard it has a hypnotic effect on all children and sends them to sleep-only to discover that In the Night Garden finished forty minutes ago, thus proving my point that Piglet is going to bed far too late-put him in his sleepsuit, fed him, cuddled him and then put him in his cot and walked off.

Those exact actions were then repeated an infinite number of times (minus the bath), to no avail.  Eventually I phoned my mother in desperation, explaining that Piglet would not go to sleep and was shouting at me in baby-language from his cot, reproaching me for being a terrible mother and-to my horror and distress-probably learning from experience that his cries were not being heard and that his emotions do not matter.  The latter is something that I have read on the Internet and in many baby books is the result of leaving babies to cry.  And even though Piglet was not at this point crying, merely making random noises, I figured that I was already in a precarious position having spent most of the afternoon ignoring Piglet in favour of perusing various online shopping emporiums for something resembling this beauteous coat, but costing about a thousandth of the price (and I mean that literally.  This coat costs £7000.  Cue lottery-win fantasies about how I would swan around on my yacht/sleigh in this fabulous coat, looking nothing like an extra from Sesame Street).

I mean, is this not the greatest coat you've ever seen?

I think we can now conclude that Piglet has definitely had his retribution for the coat-hunting, ignoring baby scenario.  And hopefully the lesson we have all learnt from this is that Mummy cannot afford the £7000 coat, and already has a considerable collection of fur coats, and not that fur coats stand above Piglet in the pecking order.  He is slightly above even this fabulous creation.

Not by much though.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Why Middle Aged Women Should Rule the World

For the last two days I have managed to get Piglet to bed at *around* the 9pm mark.  This is an immeasurable improvement on midnight, which was his previous bedtime.  It may in fact now be the case that Piglet will grow into a creature of reasonable nocturnal habits, and will not be staying up all night to play on his Playstation (are they still a thing?) all night by the age of two.

To celebrate this irrefutable evidence that I am now an uber-mother, and should definitely be crowned Mother of the Year by Mumsnet, the Pride of Britain Awards and OK! magazine (whichever of those venerable institutions has such an award), I decided to do two things.

1.) Take Piglet to Time for Rhymes at the local children's centre, and
2.) Stand up for mothers everywhere-and the disabled and mobility challenged-by taking both Chiltern Rail and London Underground to task for failing to provide a place to swipe one's oyster card at the step-free entrance at my local station, which for reasons of protecting the guilty, shall remain nameless (Wembley Stadium).

Neither of these were entirely successful.

Time for Rhymes was actually brilliant.  I loved the songs and toys (tambourines! Drums!  Every bit of the percussion section at the back of the hall that we weren't allowed to touch when I was at infants' school!) more than Piglet, who mostly just sat on my lap staring into space while other, bigger babies toddled up and tried to poke him and their parents cooed "ooh, look at that tiny baby!  I'd forgotten how small they were!" I also liked the fact that the staff were so nice and informative.  And then, upon lifting Piglet from my lap as I told a member of staff that I thought he needed changing and asked where the baby change facilities were, I discovered that not only did he need changing, but I did too, as the poo had seeped right through his nappy, covering the stylish dungarees (very Prince George) that I had lovingly dressed him in that morning, thinking that such an occasion merited proper big-boy clothes, rather than the usual daily babygro, and the stylish dress that I had lovingly clothed myself in, thinking that I was going to be a trendy yummy mummy and the envy of all the other mothers at Time for Rhymes, rather than my usual daytime uniform of milk-stained pyjamas.

"This doesn't usually happen!" I squealed at the member of staff, terrified that she was going to think I was an unfit mother and ignoramus who couldn't put a nappy on properly.  I then spent ten minutes running back and forth to the pram, which had been left in the buggy park outside (thankfully hadn't been stolen.  The amount of time I spend worrying that the pram will be stolen is ridiculous. I love that Bugaboo almost as much as the baby) fetching the spare babygro and nappy bags, and dealing with a screaming, poo-covered Piglet.  Sadly, although I had the facilities to clean the baby, my organisation did not stretch to cleaning myself, and I spent the remainder of Time for Rhymes, and the not-inconsiderable journey home, with three huge poo stains on the front of my dress.

Could have been worse I suppose.  At least it wasn't the back.

My second fail of the day came when I ventured into Central London (always a test of endurance) to meet a friend and fellow mother (look at me, drinking coffees in Regent's Park with my fellow mothers and talking about motherhood!).  I had decided to take the train rather than the tube, as the nearest tube station to where I was going (Baker Street) was not step-free, and being a caring, sharing sort, I didn't want to lumber the great British public-who already largely despise me for procreating if the number of people who moved seats to get away from a squawking Piglet and I on the Jubilee Line yesterday is anything to go by-with the headache of feeling obliged to assist me on the stairs with a lumbering pushchair.

This would be fine if it were not for the fact that the train station in question (Wembley Stadium) has no oyster card reader at the step-free entrance which, I might add, is some distance away from the main entrance with the card readers.  This led to a particularly fraught journey with a screaming Piglet last week when I had to walk all the way around from the step-free exit to the main exit just to swipe my oyster card to avoid being charged a million pounds.  Thanks Transport for London.  Thanks a bunch.

I'd just like to take a moment to point out to my fellow Londoners here that if Transport for London do cut the vast numbers of jobs they've been threatening, other stations will go the way of the wretched Wembley Stadium, as being an unmanned station there is a) never anybody there who can help you with anything and b) nobody at any other stations ever understands why you were unable to swipe your oyster card/purchase a ticket as they just assume it's a normal station, with a kiosk and turnstiles and everything, instead of just a random unmanned and un-gated platform which happens to have a few trains stop there occasionally, and have a go at you and imply you are a moron for being unable to see where to swipe oyster card/purchase ticket despite the fact the ticket machine is not working and there is nowhere to swipe oyster card.  Angry point made.  I shall continue.

Anyway, last time I used this station I had to leave Piglet with a random middle aged woman (risk assessed as being of the demographic least likely to kidnap Piglet or allow him to have some terrible accident in my absence) so that I could run up a huge flight of stairs to swipe my oyster card.  Today, however, the only other people at the station were middle aged men, which I considered a less favourable demographic and so decided to press the little button on the platform for information.  This led to a long conversation where it took ten minutes to explain what the exact issue was and then the man on the other end of the line had to go and speak to his supervisor to see if he could find out if anyone knew if there was somewhere to swipe the oyster card that did not involve walking up a flight of stairs.  At that point, the train came.

I then had to explain to someone at Marylebone why I had not swiped said oyster card, which met with the inspired response "you need to swipe your oyster card.  Now you're going to be charged loads when you swipe your card here", although he did at least let me through the barrier, saying I should speak to someone in the tube station about it as oyster card readers were Transport for London's business and not theirs.  I then went to the tube station to explain the situation and to politely request that they install a card reader at the step-free entrance at Wembley Stadium, only to be told again that I should have swiped my oyster card, despite the fact that I'd already explained multiple times why I was unable to do this, and that this was Chiltern Rail's problem and not theirs (why was the rail service ever privatised?  WHY?  Not only this, but the logo was much better in the old days) When I explained that I had already spoken to Chiltern Rail and been told to speak to London Underground as they are the ones with the oyster card readers, I was accused of being, and I quote, "ignorant."

On the way home, I was still so angry that I couldn't face Marylebone or Wembley Stadium or the whole situation, and got on the tube at Baker Street instead-the station I had been trying to avoid due to its many steps.  I was immediately asked by a middle aged woman who reminisced about when she used to have a double buggy and couldn't go anywhere if I needed assistance with the pram.  Moral of the story: middle aged women rule.  Men who work at stations do not.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Sadly, contrary to what Jeff Brazier and that fat one from TOWIE might say, I will not be walking away with £30,000 in cash and a holiday to the Caribbean


I had decided I was going to enter every single one of those competitions you get before the ad breaks of programmes on ITV-you know, Lorraine, This Morning, X Factor....the ones that promise untold riches beyond one's wildest dreams: £30,000 in cash; a brand new car; a Chanel handbag; a holiday to the Caribbean...

Some of these competitions can be entered via the website, I thought cheekily.  That means they are FREE, and I will avoid the charge for a text message or phone call to enter, which will inevitably run to about £10.  I will CHEAT THE SYSTEM.  I am a GENIUS.

It appears that, yet again, the rule of whatever looks too good to be true, is too good to be true, despite ITV's valiant attempts to convince us otherwise by parading Jane and Trevor from Wolverhampton in front of us, sitting on their sofa talking about how all their dreams came true when they won £30,000 and a holiday to the Caribbean, not to mention that Rolex watch and ipad mini.  This is because when you actually try to enter these competitions, you have to answer, not an easy-peasy question about which city is the capital of France: Paris, Berlin or Rome, but a long line of intrusive questions about one's electricity supplier, along with a requirement to provide one's telephone number so that one can be contacted in the unlikely event of winning....and with a free quote from Npower, some hard-sell telesales and daily nuisance calls from India for eternity.

Well, there was no way I was signing up for that, even if I was going to get £2500 to spend at Primark or free groceries for a year from Morrisons.

Morrisons and Primark?  What sort of people do they think enter these competitions?  Last time I went to Primark, in search of some cheap and comfortable leggings to wear in the immediate postnatal period, I found to my horror that not only do pairs of £3 size eight leggings turn out to be somewhat variable in actual size, but neither of them fit over my postnatal bottom.  And not in an attractive, Kim Kardashian-esque way.  From now on I am going to veto these competitions unless they are offering free groceries for a year from Waitrose.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014


Yes, in the words of Faithless, those great sages of 1996, I need to sleep I can't get no sleep.

The baby, meanwhile, is sleeping like, er, a baby.

I'm not sure why people use that phrase, as "sleeping like a baby" clearly doesn't mean lying in a crib suspended between two trees in a gentle forest resembling Tellytubby Land, rocking gently while a soft breeze lulls the baby into a peaceful pink-cheeked slumber more profound than that of Sleeping Beauty, but refusing point blank to go to sleep until well past midnight, needing to be rocked by a knackered mother for half an hour thereafter and then waking at two hourly intervals for a bit of boob following at least twenty minutes of squeaking and flailing arms about while Anxious Mother looks on nervously to check Baby has not fallen victim to some terrible accident in the co-sleeper.

That very same Anxious Mother is not being helped to sleep by either of the following (both entirely non-baby related):
a) Classic 1996 dance anthem Insomnia is now stuck in my head.  As pleasant as the memory of those years of GCSEs and trying to get into clubs wearing a sparkly blue bra top and so called "hipster" trousers, neither of which I shall ever be able to wear again, may be, it isn't conducive to a peaceful night's sleep.
b) Upon reflection on the poor state of my finances, I decided to ditch the decaffeinated tea I have been drinking for the past year in favour of the caffeinated version, purely because the former only comes in small boxes of sixty or so teabags, thus making it less good value than the larger boxes of so-called "regular" tea.  See how thrifty I am?  See?

The Devil's Own Drink

Given the number of cups of tea I am prone to sink in a day, combined with my lack of tolerance for what must surely be one of the world's most addictive sleep-depriving substances after a year of withdrawal, I am now, to use another analogy from the unsurpassable dance music of the nineties, about as wired as Keith Flint from the Prodigy singing Firestarter in a vat of Red Bull whilst slapping his head repeatedly.


This can only mean that come tomorrow, yet another attempt to get Piglet into a routine that does not involve going to bed past midnight and sleeping on and off until nearly midday is going to fail, as I will be too knackered to implement it.  And meanwhile, everyone from my NCT class is busy breathing a collective sigh of relief that their babies now sleep virtually through the night, thanks to their rigid routines.  I have not felt like such a failure of a mother since July, when all seven expectant mothers in that class managed to pop out their babies before me, despite mine being due third.  THIRD.

Perhaps this is why their babies all seem to have such superior circadian rhythms, because they have been in the outside world for longer (I hate to say they are "older," preferring to rate babies' ages by their conception dates, or failing that their birth weights, to make myself feel better about the being last situation).  Not that I am in any way competitive or anything.  My life in no way resembles that scene in Baby Boom when Diane Keaton overhears the pushy mothers in the park discussing all the classes their babies are doing so that they can get into the best nursery and start on a lifelong course of academic achievement culminating in graduation from an Ivy League university.

Although come to think of it, that's no guarantee of success.  After all, I went to Oxford and here I am, in a state of such abject poverty that I have to buy caffeinated tea because it works out slightly cheaper than the decaff, and taking detours to Wilkinson's to buy the toilet roll that's on special offer.

Anyway, I must go, I have to keep the beast in my nature under ceaseless attack or something.  I can't get no sleep.

A Critique of Daytime Television: 1.) Real Housewives

I just shouted "Yes!" when the announcer on ITV2 announced a double bill of Real Housewives of Beverley Hills.

I am officially a very sad person.

The thing is, when you are on maternity leave, there isn't a lot to do.  Or there is, but most of it involves spending money I do not have.  Got a credit card bill in the post today and almost cried as I completely forgot I had a credit card that needs to be paid.  I thought the credit card was for buying designer shoes and pretending they were free, as the impact on the bank account isn't felt immediately and therefore doesn't count.  Real Housewives doesn't exactly help in this respect as the women on it appear to have all the money in the world despite appearing never to do a single day's work.  After googling some of the Real Housewives, I am reliably informed that at least some of them do in fact work, but how they manage to fit this in amongst all the partying, wine drinking and bitching, and asking stupid questions that no one ever asks in real life, such as "So now we're alone...I wanted to ask you, why do you have such a problem with me?" and "Did you just give me the Evil Eye?  You just gave me the Evil Eye!" (the latter, btw, led to a full-on six person argument that I thought was going to descend into actual fisticuffs).  One of the cast of Big Rich Texas, which is even worse than Real Housewives, is actually a successful doctor and author, and yet seems to spend the entire series wafting around a clothes shop with elaborately styled hair, drinking and schmoozing.  This raises two questions: 1.) when does she do the doctoring and authoring? and b) why am I not this person?

Argh an entire section of the cast of Real Housewives of Beverley Hills have just swanned off to France (which is a LONG way from Beverley Hills, so we're not talking driving down to Dover and hopping on Le Shuttle here) for no apparent reason, just because they can.  I hate them all.  That said, suspiciously all the scenes that were supposedly filmed in France seem to look exactly like Beverley Hills, so there is a strong possibility the whole trip has been faked (a bit like the Real Housewives' friendships and arguments, one suspects).

Oh I love it, the French scenes now involve a French flag flapping about and, bizarrely, something that looks like a tank driving down the Champs Elysee.  Is France being invaded again?  Or is this just how Americans imagine the rest of the world rolls?  Maybe they just found some very old footage of Paris in 1945 and re-used it to save money on air fares.

Today, in a bid to get away from all this daytime television, I signed Piglet and I up for a parent and baby group at the local children's centre.  This may be worse than staying in watching Real Housewives.  I doubt it will involve champagne, but it may well involve bitching.  Watch this space.