The baby (probably him, but it could be any of the little blighters) took the bath plug and put it somewhere and we have not had clean children for four days now. We have looked everywhere, in drawers, under tables, in rubbish bins, in the shredder. I found a banana neatly tucked away in my pyjama drawer, and quite a lot of rotten apples and other decomposing delights, but no plug. And of course, every evening at bath time we have said to each other that we must buy a bath plug tomorrow. But you never remember that when you are walking past the hardware shop, do you? DO YOU? No.

So, last night I cracked. The big kids have showers but the baby shrieks with demonic abandon when you suggest he gets in there with the others, and so he has had good old-fashioned English sponge-downs but his bottom remains resolutely whiffy and I could stand it no longer.

So last night we tried to find a bottle or a lid that would fit into the 4 centimetre chasm which stands between me and a nice-smelling baby and we could not. Desperate, I was, and so I fished some manky homemade ‘playdough’ (in our house, this means flour and water mixed together until a clay-coloured paste forms with which you can ruin IKEA utensils on by leaving bits to dry and be stuck forever like some wheaten concrete) out of the fridge, wrapped it in plastic wrap and shoved it onto the bath plug hole and the kids had a quick bath to wash their bums while the playdough slowly disintegrated into the water like frog-spawny-pond-scum. And I had to hold it there while the children tried to foil my excellent New Zealand-y ingenuity by pushing their feet into the lump of dough and out of the hole. There was more yelling than usual. And so today, I have in my warm little palms, a bath plug from the shop. It may change my life.

On the subject of yelling, Mark has just informed me that the levels of my street-yelling alarm him, and possibly many of our neighbours and that when I yell, and he hears me from the bottom of the stairs, he is reminded of my younger self who thought that people who screeched at their kids in public were quite bad people who needed to read more books on alternative non-confrontational methods of parenting. OH HA! How I laugh at the memory of myself at 20. What a dick. I also thought that:

1. I would always be a member of a gym – my gym membership would never slide, no matter how far I sunk in life.

2. I would always wear black, because HELLO! it’s slimming! and stylish! and fashion editors wear it! and I look sophisticated in it! Colour is for CLUELESS PEOPLE!

3. I wouldn’t let my kids watch TV, eat crisps, have a buzz cut, wear pink, or swear, and I would NEVER hit them or squeeze their arms in a hurty way in the supermarket, ever.

4. I obviously knew more about stuff like feminism, race relations and Swedish film than older/other people because I studied some papers in my arts degree (actually I was probably right about the Swedish film bit). And I was clearly destined for an excellent career.

5. I thought the only designer I would ever love was Kate Sylvester (she who I stalked one sunny memorable afternoon in the supermarket) and that I had found my shape (50’s inspired, a-line dresses and skirts, cardigans, strong graphic lines. In black).

6. I would share all domestic chores equally. I would never iron, and I would never change my name. HA!

Well, it turns out I was a total meathead and to anyone I have ever been a superior ridiculous moron to, I APOLOGISE. Really. I knew nothing, and I think I may very well know less now. I am moving away from an incorrect assumption of clever wiseness towards a swirling vortex of complete ignorance and oblivion. Aided somewhat by sauvignon blanc, it must be noted. I think I like it better that way.

Photos. To lighten the mood, as it were.

The bath-plug-stealing baby. He turned two, and now acts like a crazed insane person. Here he is, once again refusing to get into the buggy and come with me. He screams and falls out of the buggy, runs towards the Grange Hill-esque brick wall of the school, turns his face away, and stays there for a REALLY LONG TIME. So boring, I die.


And his haircut. I keep ruining it, by snipping away at the dreds haphazardly and unskillfully. The Unfortunate Warhol Years:


Me and Mark, on a night filled with Champagne that somebody else bought. Thanking you, Unnamed Benefactoress.Image

The new french farmhouse kitchen table, only partially scarred by homemade playdough dried lumps, at use on a Friday night.Image

The balmy night this week we all ate our dinner in the garden. Spring is here! Kind of.


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17 Responses to Bathplug

  1. Love the list. Mine was similar (although no mention of colour or design) (or Swedish Films). Can anyone explain why, at 60 bloody years of age, I’M THE ONE DOING THE BLOODY IRONING?

    Lovely picture of your 2 year old. Don’t worry, it’s only the next 23 years that are hard.

    In the picture of the kids (Are the ALL yours? *respect*) eating around the table. Are those crudites you’re giving them? Much respect

    *Swigs L&P laced with whisky*

    • theharridan says:

      No, as I have no girl-children. i would like six, though, although that is totally mental and asking for it.
      Frankfurters full of awful preservatives, which I also thought my future children would never eat. HA! But yes, there are some chopped vegetables on that table. See – I’m not all utter filth.

  2. Cath says:

    Love the swords on the table.

  3. Egads, this is a bolt of awesome in my webiverse trawl tonight. So funny….so very funny.

    Pre-babies I was sure my children would sleep in their own little pretty beds all. night. long.

    What, there’s one either side of me? Yeah. What did I know?

  4. theharridan says:

    Oh thanks very muchly! Was thinking I would add to that list: I was going to read all of the classics to my children and take them to the Tate Modern. Also we would have ‘dates’ where I would take each one out just with me and we would be awesome together. And bake. And sketch.
    I have done NONE of those things.
    I also planned to live in New York, read some Russian novels and learn to file my mail into some sensible adult order, and not to cry when anyone asks me questions of a financial nature.
    You are right – what did we know?

  5. Victoria says:

    Your boys are so gorgeous, are your kids all boys? Like me in a house with 3 boys, a man (ish) and lil ol me. No pink in sight, can’t stand it myself so good! For now! I have 3 they are wonderful but eldest is autisic, middle has a chronic (not being dramatic, really serious hospital et al, since birth) skin conditon, Chuck a toddler in the mix and you have chaos to such a degree that I wonder if I am sane, really. IT IS HELL but is can be good, from time to time, they amaze me, I have good moments, wine bloody helps!

    • Victoria says:

      I can spell, really. AUTISTIC, there. Blame the red wine and empty stomach. So glad to see another person in a similar, lots of kids, all boys, public displays that humiliate and generally draw negative attention to me, situation.

  6. theharridan says:

    Oh man, three boys with bad skin condition and autism…that is very tough! Yes, it really is a daily exposure to humiliation and shame, but lovely all the same. Sort of. Here’s to wine, bad telly, magazines and coffee with which to soften the blow. X

  7. Tracey says:

    I feel your pain with the bath plug saga, i had a similar experience myself but did eventually find it hidden away in the toilet roll container! Only nine months old and already playing little tricks on his poor old mum…. Like attempting to shoplift pretty little shoes only to be foiled by screaming security alarm gates and running shop attendants. Hmmmm

    • theharridan says:

      Toilet roll container! Of course! Must go and check now…no doubt will find the mac mouse, the camera lens cap, the Mad Men box set, my Alex Monroe necklace…the list goes on. Sigh.

  8. Patience says:

    I was rereading my old diaries a while back and when I was about 20, had written, “What kind of mother would let her kids watch TV? Um, the kind of mother I became.

    Your boys are beautiful.

    • theharridan says:

      Thank you. They are lovely and seem to be thriving despite our slightly odd ways of parenting. Which is all very normal, I suppose. Thank goodness they don’t know that we are winging it on a daily basis!

  9. Weza says:

    Oh my I too have said many a judgemental statement about what i would NEVER do as a parent. And yet here I am, feeding them mcdonalds, cleaning faces with spit on a tissue and. the. list. goes. on! How can that little bundle of cuteness do any of the things you accuse him of? I dont believe you, he has angel written all over him.

  10. Sally says:

    I was referred to your blog by my cousin Sarah, and I do enjoy it….I also am occasionally haunted by the memories of my smugness in the past…….you have a very funny way of writing and make me laugh.

  11. theharridan says:

    Thank you very much. It helps to have such rich (maddening) comic material!

  12. alisoncross says:

    It has taken me DAYS to be able to get your lovely blog to materialise on this bloody mac *hits it spitefully* but am so glad that it has chosen Friday to let me read your post.

    I love your list of things that you thought were written in stone. I remember thinking that my arse would NEVER be the size of my mother’s…..

    Ali x

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