Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Fall and Rise of 'Irrepressible Don'

So it was this morning that we awaited our first Christmas card ever from Miles.

I suggested that we should brace ourselves for something lewd – given his track record. Maude told me that I was being unkind and that she expected something quite tasteful – in the light of Miles’ recent company record-breaking earnings in commission.

Indeed Miles has proved to be quite a hit with his new employers. His silky South Shields tones are much in demand to close double-glazing deals across Wiltshire and North Somerset. He proudly told us that he had been highlighted as ‘Salesman of the Month’ in the company magazine.

‘They called me Irrepressible!’

‘I couldn’t agree more,’ said Maude.

‘Unfortunately…’ he continued, ‘they got my name wrong and called me ‘Don’, but that was just a mix-up’.

The ‘card’ duly arrived. It was a picture of a naked Miles running into the sea, signed ‘Don x’.

I didn’t gloat. I just pegged it to the string of more conventional Christmas cards which stretch up the banister.

Aurora now insists on a range of toys and nick nacks before she will go up the wooden hill to bed:
'Piggy!' (cuddly toy)
'Baby!' (spooky, battered doll)
'Cards!' (an already incomplete set of miniature playing cards from a Christmas cracker)
along with her collection of monster figures:
‘Green Monster’
‘Blue Monster!’

Daddy acts as beast of burden for all of the above.
As we ascended the stairs tonight Aurora stopped midway and began to grimace. I thought that I had forgotten something.

‘What is it darling? Has Daddy forgotten something?’

‘Give me monsters Daddy, now!’

I considered the request and decided that she could be trusted to carry her own monster figures without tumbling down the stairs. She reached out and collected green, blue and one-eye. She didn’t, however, continue straight up to bed. Instead Aurora paused by the image of ‘Don’. Poppet looked through her handful of monsters and decided that ‘one-eye’ was the man for the job. Assuming the stance of a priest exorcising a malevolent spirit, she held 'one-eye' at arm's length in front of the image and shouted:

‘Sea Monster, go home!’

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Star for Daddy

We realised last week that Aurora had reached a difficult stage in her development. Maude did some research and discovered that it was quite a common development for 2 year old children and was generally referred to as ‘negativism’.

‘Do you want to put your coat on?


Do you want to go to the park?’

‘No. Don’t want to go park!’

And so on.

Further research suggested that a reward system was the way forward. Small toddler treats were placed in a jar and a star-chart placed on the fridge door. Maude used a flipchart to demonstrate how the system worked:

Behave well
Get star
Collect 5 stars
Get pretty thing from jar

The system soon paid dividends. Aurora got dressed without complaint and stopped hitting Daddy over the head with the heaviest storybook she could find – all for the promise of a star.

Imagine my lack of surprise when I came down to breakfast earlier this week to a new star chart on the fridge. No, Maude was not making very early preparations for our next child (due in the new year). The new reward sheet was entitled ‘Daddy’:

Agree with Mummy/make tea/don’t tarry on way home
Get star
Collect 10 stars
Have one pint (no crisps) with Benny

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Old Dog

Miles called again this morning.

'Did you get my Christmas card yet?’

I explained that we hadn’t had the post, but looked forward to getting the card about which he had called several times.

‘It’s because he has turned over a new leaf this year and sending us a Christmas card is highly symbolic.’

Maude always respects the turning over of new leaves.

Miles did recently change career. Being a drug liaison worker in the West Country had lost its allure and he made the natural switch to the selling of double-glazing.

His drug liaison colleagues had judged him harshly after a misunderstanding involving a digital camera at a civil partnership ceremony. Miles had been using his girlfriend’s camera for the day. After what he thought was a particularly handsome shot of the happy couple, Miles passed the camera to the new partners to review his efforts. Unfortunately he had forgotten that the camera contained some intimate documentary footage of his relationship with Gloria. The groom and groom held the camera together, flanked by their mothers and genuinely moved by Miles’ interest in their big day (the unkind office consensus persisted that Miles was an unreconstructed Geordie who had 'fallen into' social work).

It is so easy to scroll the wrong way through someone else’s memories if one is unfamiliar with a given camera.

‘It wasn’t my fault,’ Miles told me later. ‘The picture I wanted them to see was on the screen when I handed the bloody camera over. They had no business hitting the back button. I did feel bad, though, about the ambulance n’that for Justin’s mam. I could tell all day that she’d been struggling with the idea of her only son marrying another bloke. I think the sight of me knocking one out pushed her over the edge.’