Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A Genital Related Conundrum

Mr Disgrace is in...well...disgrace.  I had a well formulated plan for what I was going to say when Rory asked me how babies are made.  This was going to involve the words 'special cuddle that only grown ups are allowed to do' and a truthful but vague description of how babies make their way out into the world (glossing over the many hours of torturous pain, things tearing and the epic blood loss, perhaps).  This, I felt was entirely age appropriate and offered enough of the facts of life to satisfy my 4 year old without turning him into 'that' child in his class who would upset the other parents by telling their kids all the gory details.

Enter Mr Disgrace.  One morning a few weeks ago, I came out of the shower to Rory shouting "ER, MUMMY, IS IT TRUE THAT DADDY PUT HIS WILLY UP YOUR BUM HOLE TO MAKE ME?"

Well done, Richard.  Brilliantly executed birds and the bees talk there.  Thanks for that.

"Well, not quite sweetheart.  It wasn't exactly that hole..."

"Ladies have three holes, don't they?  A weeing one, a bum hole and a baby hole."

"That's right.  It's the baby hole that we're talking about at the moment."

"The baby hole?"

"Um.  Yes."

Now it's my turn to be in disgrace:  You see, although my child is fast approaching 5 years old, I have so far entirely skirted around the issue of what to call lady parts.  His bits were easy - he knows that it's a penis and he calls it a willy.  I don't especially like the word willy, but it seems to be used by most people, so it was the obvious choice as everyone would know what he was on about if he mentioned it (hmmm, although sometimes I wish we'd given it a code name so nobody would have known what he was on about when he mentioned it).  But girl parts are a different matter entirely.

He's been told that the 'baby hole' is a vagina, but that's not a very memorable word and seems a bit formal.  Everyone around here seems to call it a 'foof'.  I refuse to even say the word 'foof', let alone apply it to my genitals.  Utterly ridiculous word.  Just as bad was 'twinkle' which kids seemed to call it when I lived in Yorkshire.  Then there's the camp that call it a 'fairy'.  Nope.  Not going there either.  What's the deal with us reducing part of a woman's reproductive bits to anything to do with small, imaginary, magical beings?  Even 'foof' sounds like it might be a sound that fairies make when they fart, and vaginas do not twinkle (unless you're into vajazzling.  And ain't nobody got time for that shit).

Delving further (hahaHAAAAA), the options are no better.  There are the coy ('downstairs', 'girlie bits', 'hoo-hoo' - that last one is not even a word, it's JUST SOUNDS.  FFS).  There are the well used, yet somehow not quite appropriate for a small child ('fanny', 'muff', 'vag').  There are the inventive ('penis fly trap', 'cock socket', 'chasm of doom' and so on) and there are the nasty, mainly the C word (vile, although somehow sounds less offensive when said by a northerner, and positively friendly when said by someone from North Yorkshire).

This is just the tip of the iceberg of vaginal lexicography, but I'd be here all day if I listed every word I've ever heard.  Needless to say, none of them are appropriate for my son to use.

"I just want a word that doesn't make a mockery of a woman's parts", I say, clambering onto my feminist soap box.  "It's a body part that withstands far more than a penis ever does.  It endures childbirth.  It stretches to accommodate a baby, it gets battered and bloodied and altered beyond all recognition, and then it goes back to how it used to be (more or less).  And people want to call that a 'twinkle'?  It needs a better word.

"How about 'THE MIGHTY FLUE" suggests Mr Disgrace, giggling like a schoolboy.  Again, thanks for that Rich.

I quite like The Mighty Flue, though.  Although I'm not sure what the staff at Rory's school would think if he announced that the girls in his class and his teacher have MIGHTY FLUES.  And believe me, he would.  So we're back to square one.  Somebody - anybody - just give me a word.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

TOP BANANAS! Mumsnet Family Recipe Book Review

I do enjoy a bit of Mumsnet:  So fond of biscuits.  So reassuringly swearly.  So when they asked if I'd like to review their new recipe book, I was only too happy to oblige.

I'd like to say that I read all the handy information at the front of the book, but, um, no.  I'm a glutton and I was hot for food porn, so I delved straight in and started picking recipes to try out.  There's 12 different sections (breakfast, packed lunches, party food, baking etc etc), so lots of choice and plenty of opportunity to try out as many recipes as you like fairly quickly.  Also, every recipe is illustrated with the sort of food photography that gets you rubbing your knees lustfully, which is always handy as then you have something to aim for.  This is essential when you are me as otherwise everything seems to end up as a plate of unidentifiable beige slop.  I was fairly successful in my efforts, so I took photos of some of my creations for your viewing pleasure (also to show off):

Clockwise from top: Fluffy Eggs, Garlic Mushrooms, Potato Latkes, 
Aunt Jura's Home-made Lemonade

Here's a quick rundown of all the recipes that I've tried so far:

Fluffy Eggs - Genius.  Like a savoury meringue.  New favourite way to eat eggs and completely idiot proof.

Garlic Mushrooms - The easiest ever garlic mushroom recipe.  Took just over 5 minutes to make from start to finish and tasted divine.  Pic in the book looked a lot less like dog sick than mine.

Potato Latkes - OK.  Bit of a faff, but tasted nice, if a bit oily.  Although pretty sure that they'd have been less oily if we'd had any kitchen roll to drain them on after frying, only the chickens ran off with it down the garden the other day like bastardy little feathered Andrex puppies, so...

Aunt Jura's Home-made Lemonade - This was the biggest hit in my household, and I suggest you buy the book if only for this recipe.  Aside from the wonderful smug-making properties that making your own lemonade has, it was easy and tastes wonderful.  Husband, son and Granny all wanted second helpings (and thirds).  I can see myself making this a few times over the summer whenever it's hot and sunny and I feel the need to be self-satisfied.

Chocolate Bribe Biscuits - This was my only fail.  My mixture seemed to be far too runny, they ended up looking like rather unhealthy poos and they tasted a bit funny (possibly due to the yoghurt in the recipe).  My dad (lover of anything chocolate) pronounced them to be "better than no chocolate biscuits at all, but that's all."  I agree.  I won't make them again.

Raspberry Jam Chicken - Gorgeous:  Sticky, chickeny heaven.  Really good eaten hot with jacket potatoes and salad, or cold as suggested in the book.  Super easy marinade and sweet enough not to enrage my small child's taste buds.  A must make.  If the chooks crap on my telephone again, this is where they are heading.  Be warned, Margot and Barbara.

There's so much more in the book that I want to try, but I haven't had time yet.  I definitely recommend this book to you all.  It's currently £13.40 on Amazon, and is worth every penny.

Now, Mumsnet.  We need to discuss the recipe book that I should write for you.  It's going to be called The Can't Be Jiggered Cookbook and will feature recipe such as Wotsits on Toast, Melted Cadburys Caramel Bar In a Mug and Fish Finger Pasta.  It's a deal, yes? 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Good Life

It was my birthday yesterday.  I turned 30 (mutter, and the rest, mutter).  My birthday present from Mr Disgrace may be considered to be rather unusual.  No fancy jewellery or clothes or...whatever else it is that women are supposed to like for me.  No.  I got chickens.

Meet Margot and Barbara, the newest additions to the Disgrace family:

I've been working on my husband for years to get chickens.  He claimed to be mortally afraid of them, but in the end was lured in by the promise of free eggs and being a bit like Tom out of The Good Life.  Who wouldn't want to be a bit like Tom out of The Good Life?

So, he bought a chicken coop and two little red hens from a local poultry seller, and ever since Sunday, they've been happily burbling about on the lawn, scratching at stuff and chickening about.  Gorgeous.

The thing is, I was pretty convinced that when I was finally allowed to have chickens, my life would suddenly transform into that of a domestic goddess.  Seriously, how much trouble can you get into when you've got chickens living in your garden?  It's the sort of middle class domestic bliss that proves that one is a real adult, right?  There would be snow white laundry on our washing line, our house would transform from crappy semi to something a bit more farmhouse-esque and I would become a rosy cheeked farmers wife type with the timeless sex appeal of Felicity Kendall.

What actually happened is best summed up by a conversation with a delivery man this morning:

*knock knock*
"Hello, I've got a parcel for next door.  Would you mind signing for it?"
"No problem."
"Errrr, you do realise you've got a chicken on your sofa watching This Morning?"
"Ah.  Yes.  That's Margot.  She enjoys popular culture."
"But she's a chicken."
"So...does she live in the house?"
"No, she lives in the back garden, but she's perfected the knack of shoulder barging the door open when she want to come in."
"Oh.  Doesn't she, um, poo everywhere?"
"She crapped in my best shoes just this morning."
"Don't worry, it's only water."
"God, my wife would go mental. There's no way she'd stand for chickens in the house."
"Yeah. I stand for all kinds of disgraceful shit."
"No kidding."

Yes, we appear to have adopted house chickens.  The buggers stand at the back door tapping on it with their beaks because they want to come in.  If it's left even a crack open (which it usually is because it's impossible to shut it properly unless you lock it), they barge it open and stroll on through looking for treats.  Dettol is coming in mighty handy at the moment and I'm fast getting fed up of shooing them off the bookcase.  Mind you, it's nearly flying ant season, so they could be handy in the kitchen when our inevitable infestation comes back in a week or two.  I'm not sure that's what Tom and Barbara had in mind though.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

This month I have been mainly...discovering a den of iniquity in Biff & Chip books

Welcome to the weekend you disgraceful lot.  It's time to catch up on what my slovenly household and I have been up to in April.

1. I have unearthed a den of iniquity in Biff and Chip books.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B is from a book called The Babysitter.  Now kids, we don't judge on appearances in real life, but seriously Roderick Hunt and Alex Brychta, when coming up with an illustrative character to represent a babysitter, what made you think that a sweaty, cardigan wearing, tissue clutching man was the way to go?

2. My son demonstrated his love for me with this charming card he made at school. (And yes, his handwriting really is that lame):

So that's nicely cemented our reputation as the 'that' family at school.  

3. The ants have been paying homage to our kitchen again.  In related news, Rory has been learning about chemical death and alternative uses of vacuum cleaners.  

4. I gained 4lbs doing the Slimfast diet for one week.  I'm not sure how this is even possible.  You don't get a photo to illustrate this one.  Nobody wants to see 4lbs of lard.

5. Going back to reading books and insects for a moment, this week Rory took one home about how a flea sucks your blood, complete with graphic illustrations.  So that's nice.  However, my friend's daughter took one home called The Wonderful World of Scaffolding recently, so perhaps we should think ourselves lucky?

6. I have had the dubious honour of being used to promote the patient.co.uk  wellbeing test after I wrote for them a while back.  This has had the unfortunate impact of my face appearing at random on the computer screens of my friends while they're innocently looking up articles about thrush and chickenpox, like some crazy healthcare stalker and freaking them out.  Bwahahahahaaaa, I'm watching you.

7. I have been shortlisted for a Britmums Brilliance in Blogging award in the 'laugh' category.  (Hurrah!)  If you'd like to vote for me, click on this link, scroll to the bottom of the page, click on the 'vote for your favourites now' link and then you should be taken to a voting form.  Alternatively, clicking on the image below should take you directly to the voting form if I haven't screwed up my html.