Friday, October 24, 2008

Driving, the French, and kids TV

I had a refresher driving lesson last week with a man called Desmond. Desmond was in his late sixties and from Jamaica, and had been teaching driving for 30 years. He was a laid back but no-nonsense sort of person, frequently placing his hand on my steering wheel so we avoided colliding with the curb, while simultaneously talking about a craving for chicken soup.

He had a passionate hatred of the police and told me it was commonly known that should any of the three or so policemen that lived in his neighbourhood find themselves in peril with only Desmond to save them, they would certainly die. The idea of being the only person that could help them but instead letting them suffer a slow horrible death appeared to be something he relished.

Desmond's son died at the age of 36. A strange case of the young man being found dead in his flat with no obvious cause of death. According to Desmond, despite the doctor that declared his son dead instructing them to do so, the police failed to classify the circumstances as suspicious and conduct an investigation. He said in his opinion the case was written off as just another black man involved with drugs, even though the autopsy revealed no traces of drugs or alcohol.

Clutching the steering wheel I prayed to god that we didn't have an accident. I worried for the attending officer's safety.

I had a tough day today. Julia is teething which means she's not sleeping very well. This in turn means she woke up a lot last night, didn't have a morning nap, and only slept for half an hour at midday. Happy to play the one minute, crying her little heart out the next. After a (very) long day of dealing with such manic depressive behaviour, I wondered how single parents do it alone. At least when Roberto gets home I can hand her over, and in a very calm controlled voice say to him, "Hello darling, here is your daughter. Please take over while I walk downstairs, open the front door, step outside, and scream. Thank you."

Having children is interesting it terms of what you learn about yourself. I consider myself a fairly calm and even tempered person, and make a concerted effort not to have Julia bear the brunt of my moods. But when you are dealing with someone that is so consistently irrational, it can be trying. It's one of the reasons I cancelled my account with Vodafone.

I bought Julia a couple of vests for a hefty sum from Petit Bateau the other day. The French sales person who had the waistline of an 8-year-old boy said to me, "You need to buy beeg, French sizes ah small." I looked at her and then down at Julia, who is in the 25th percentile in terms of weight, and, as our paediatrician is fond of saying, 'Not going to win any heavyweight divisions.' Bloody French, I thought, always superior with their small sizes and 8-year-old boy waistlines. Anyway, I took her advice and got 12 months (Julia is 10 months), and dammit if she wasn't right, it's a snug fit.

Compare and contrast to the stuff I bought from Sainsburys today. I thought I'd do my bit for the credit crunch and got her some sleep suits from there. I got the 9-12 months size thinking I might be taking a risk with them being on the small side. Well, no risk there. They are big enough to fit a hefty three-year-old. Seriously, wtf? I have never seen such big sleep suits, certainly children that are that size are old enough to get out of bed and put on socks if they get cold at night.

I've been watching some children's television lately. Having worked at the BBC as a temp I can swear some of the scenes are shot in and around the BBC building. Once programme is all about problem-solving numbers (yes, yes I know), and there's always a man mopping (cue BBC corridor) and someone in a cafeteria (cue BBC cafeteria). Those guys are clearly doing their bit for the credit crunch by saving on location costs.

Yes, kids TV. I look at those 20 to 30-something-year-old presenters and wonder how they switch over from doing all that fake cheerful crap all day to their personal lives in the evening. I kind of have this Crusty the Clown fantasy about them. Like the minute they get out of there they light up a fag, take a swig from a bottle of Jack Daniells, and say stuff like, "I was so much better at stage school than that bitch Keira."

And as a parting gift, here is a picture of Jodie Marsh and her girlfriend Nina. Nina's face says it all.

Update: I forgot to add, god, I can't believe I forgot this: Julia took her very first steps last night at 10 months and 1 week old. Well done Julia! And I'm looking forward to the weight loss on my part. God knows I need it.

No comments: