Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Week 168- X Factor, smoking in pubs and being Father Christmas...

SPOILER ALERT.

I am Father Christmas.

And it's the best fucking thing EVER.

To be honest, I used to think people who went on about how Christmas was so much better with children were a bit wet. 

Talking about how brilliant they thought Christmas Eve was, putting out a mince pie for FC and a carrot for Rudolph. How they got caught up in the excitement of their children on Christmas morning as they raced down to see if there was anything in their stocking.

I just assumed it was cos they had dull mates or didn't have a good local to go to.

Our Christmas Eve's were properly messy.

Shots. Smoking on the sly in the pub long after the ban had come in. Seeing old mates you hadn't seen since, well, the previous Christmas Eve.

It was eight plus pints, a 12 inch pizza and then back to my mate's who lived opposite the pub, loaded up with as much take-out as we could carry, ready to dance in her front room to her back-catalogue of early 90s Britpop until the neighbours complained.

Seriously. How could you top that?

I pined for it the first Christmas Eve with my daughter in 2011.

She was three months old; oblivious to what was going on. And I was having a light beer sat on the sofa watching Gavin and Stacey.

I wouldn't have changed the situation. 

Of course I wouldn't. 


But I would have liked to duplicate myself, and my double go out on the lash whilst I sat off eating cheesy Doritos as a festive treat.

The thing is, it's never going to be massively entertaining if your child isn't even old enough to eat the wrapping paper. 

If you're having to muster up the enthusiasm for them as well yourself as they look at you blankly, waiting for their next milk injection.

But. Once they're old enough to get excited about Christmas. Once the threat of Santa not coming if they're naughty is real. Once they've written their shopping list for the big bearded guy.

Then, THEN, it starts to get good.

On Christmas Eve my daughter went to bed at 7pm without complaint.

The girl who normally won't even consider shutting her eyes without at least two stories and a song, got into bed and requested that we skip both so morning would come more quickly.

And at 7am I reminded her what day it was and I can genuinely say I've never seen a person more excited.

And that includes the Irish presenter from Milkshake and the last decade of X Factor finalists.




But the best bit was when she saw that the mince pie had been eaten, sherry drunk and there were distinct reindeer bites out of the carrot.

She looked like she was going to combust.

She went bright pink and couldn't get her words out.

And I thought, this is the business.

I can forsake the boozy night out if this is the pay off.

I now hold the greatest annual responsibility awarded to any adult.

I am Father Christmas.

And may many years pass before my children find out.




Don’t miss the next You Can Take Her Home Now post: 




Monday, 22 December 2014

Week 167- communal singing, Frozen and drinking on a school night...

Hangovers and small children, eh?

They're fun, aren't they?

So I'm sitting off in the cinema with my three year old, watching Frozen. The sing along version. 

The only difference between this and the original is the karaoke style words at the bottom of the screen. 

Oh. And it's a fiver more expensive than normal screenings.

Communal singing is evocative at the best of times. 

But imagine a cinema full of under 10s, all unselfconsciously belting out the sound track to their short lives.

It was something else.

And when 'Let It Go' started, two girls no older than six, both dressed in identical Elsa dresses, pushed passed their mums and, drawn like moths to light, ran towards the screen.

They were not only singing, but miming all the actions. Throwing their imaginary cloaks off. Fashioning themselves a dress of ice. Stamping their feet as they built a majestic ice castle. 

It was then that I realised that, two days after having a few festive drinks, I still hadn't shaken off the hangover.

I was crying. 

Like literally blubbing my face off as I watched two children I didn't know reenact a film I've seen at least 50 times.

And then I turned to my daughter. And she was singing with her eyes closed. 

That finished me off. 

I was having a shoulder-shaking beal, totally overwhelmed by how wonderful it was to see children as yet unaffected by embarrassment. Or judgement. Who were having the absolute time of their lives singing to their favourite songs.

And I thought that I should make a New Years resolution to join a choir. 

Be brave. 

Be inspired by these brilliant little people who take such joy in just singing their hearts out.

Either that or I should stop drinking Sambuca on a school night. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Week 168- Fagin, Christmas wish lists and Barbie dog turds...

I am overwhelmed by the sheer volume of crap that’s being advertised on TV for children this Christmas.

In between Peppa Pig and Toby’s Travelling Circus, there is a stream of not-so-subliminal messages telling my daughter how much happier she’d be if she was the proud owner of a whole heap of brightly coloured, plastic landfill debris.

From princess dresses made with material so cheap that you can’t stand anywhere near an open flame, to Barbie dolls complete with handbag, dogs that shit and an accompanying pooper-scooper accessory, with the strapline ‘Anything is possible’.

Seriously?

Picking up Barbie’s dog turd is meant to pass as entertainment these days?




Luckily, my daughter is just a tad too young to realise that she is the target audience and they’re trying to sell her stuff. She watches with frustration while complaining, ‘We’ve seen this programme, mummy.’

Her list for Father Christmas is innocently short.

She wants a pink yoyo and a packet of Smarties. Oh, and a green yoyo for her baby brother for when he’s older.

Although I feel like Fagin in the festive cheer stakes, I’m just going to suck it up this year.

I can’t imagine there are going to be too many more Christmases when I can trade good behaviour for a present so small that they don’t even charge P and P for delivery on Amazon.

Don’t miss the next You Can Take Her Home Now post: 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Week 167- They're boobs. Get over it.

What is the obsession with breastfeeding mothers?

Seriously.

Everywhere you look it seems someone’s banging on about whether women should cover up, be more discreet, or sit in a corner to feed their child.

How’s about we just don’t say anything.

Don’t cast judgement.

Don’t offer up alternatives, like covering a breastfeeding mother with what looks like a massive tablecloth as a waiter recently did to a mum feeding her 12-week-old baby in Claridge’s.

Don’t make stupid comparisons like the King of Neanderthals, Jeremy Clarkson, who likened breastfeeding in public to taking a piss in full view of the general public.

Just don’t. Say. Anything.

Anyone who’s breastfed a child knows it can be a nightmare.

You’re desperate for your baby to latch on, but the chances are that your nipples are blistered at best; bleeding and infected at worst.

Before you’ve even left the hospital, the breastfeeding police have been round to check you’re doing it right, and often won’t let you go home until you’ve ‘proved’ you’ve got the hang of it. 

So there’s that.

There’s also the slight disadvantage that you can’t negotiate with a baby.

You can’t say, ‘hang on a minute mate, I know you’re hungry, but how’s about holding on for a minute until I can find an appropriate, inoffensive corner to sit in to feed you?’

It can be a messy, uncomfortable experience, punctuated with milk-soaked breast pads and cheesy smelling bras if you’ve stumbled in a knackered fug from day-to-night wearing the same nursing bra until you realise the bottom-of-the-fridge smell that’s been following you round is actually you.

And when you do get the hang of it, there’s no guarantee that your baby is going to stay feeding for any length of time once they’ve started.

I have, on more than one occasion, been feeding my son whilst messing about on my phone or reading a magazine in a cafĂ©, only to realise that he’s nodded off and I’m sitting there, tits out.

The point is, and I know this is so painfully obvious it makes me want to shoot myself in my own face for even having to say it, but breastfeeding is natural.

It is feeding. 

Feeding a baby that would otherwise be hungry.

Women are not getting their breasts out for the sexual gratification of men. I mean, seriously, who gets a boner over that?

Women are not doing it to offend other people. Or to make a statement.

They are simply feeding their children when they are hungry.

So, Jeremy Clarkson, Nigel Farage, Claridge’s staff and anyone else for that matter who wants to pass judgement on breastfeeding women.

Try saying nothing. This isn’t the 70’s. You’re not Benny Hill.

When the thought pops into your head to open your mouth or put pen to paper. 

Don’t.