Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Paints, prams, and Phil Collins

So I'm in Ryman's this week, perusing the paint selection in the kids arts and crafts aisle. I spot these large bottles of paint which state on the label that they are 'washable' but not suitable for finger painting.

I am introducing J to a basic version of the colour wheel and mixing colours to create new ones. We go through a fair bit of paint as a result of her watching intently as I carefully create green or orange, and then enthusiastically following suit by mixing everything together resulting in a muddy brown/blue colour, while whimsically uttering, "A little bit of red, and a little bit of blue.... ." And then, "More red, more blue I've muddied the colours!" (toddlers could teach dictators a thing or two). I dutifully wash out the mess and start from the beginning by putting neat little dollops on the palette. A slow, repetitive, and very messy process, but all in the name of learning.

So back to Rymans and the large bottles of washable paint that are not for finger painting. I'm confused, so I grab the nearby assistant, who looks 16-years-old. Admittedly since I turned 30 everyone that is 25 and younger looks 16, but I digress.

I ask her why something that is washable may not be suitable for finger painting, not that J does much of the latter these days, that's if you discount her penchant for panting her hands, her legs, and pretty much any visible surface of skin with a paintbrush she holds fairly adeptly. And then demands a bath. As it was on sale in the kids section and talked about being washable, it was evidently not going to be toxic, so I was just trying to establish what the deal was. The exchange went something like this:

Me: So this label says it's washable, but you cannot use it for finger painting?
Her: Yes, that's right. You cannot use it for finger painting.
Me: But why, I mean, if it washes off?
Her: As you can see on the label, it is washable, but you should not use it for finger painting.

At this point I am tempted to say, ''I'm sorry, but do I have eejit tattooed on my forehead?" But I don't need to, my expression says it all. Seeing this, she thinks a bit and then says, "because kids can put their hands in their mouths"
Me: But they could do that with finger paints too right?
Her: You cannot watch them 24-7, they could put there hands in their mouths or something like that, which is why we put on our label (er, you mean Crayola puts on its label) that they are not for finger painting.

Realising I was getting nowhere, and not wanting to get into the whole, actually if you know anything about kids you will never leave a toddler alone within arms-reach of paint, ever, I said thank you and bought them anyway. Turns out they don't wash off the hands quite as easily as the finger painting stuff but that's the only visible difference.

Had my 37.5 week checkup today and our baby hasn't engaged at all, much like his sister during this point in my pregnancy with her. Which is why I required a c-section with her and am booked in to have one with him. Saying that, you never know, he may decide to surprise us all and trigger labour, but my doctor thinks that's unlikely due to my pelvis which is apparently small or something and there is no space for the head to settle into. I'm so sad I take this as some sort of compliment, "Yes that's right people, I have a small pelvis - I'm really, secretly, beneath it all, a thin person."

I think I've got everything ready, more or less. We just need to assemble the double buggy/pram (for two kids) thingy that we bought. My god, if there ever was a captive audience just waiting to be robbed (aside from ageing women and the cosmetics industry that is), it's parents. The price of baby apparel is frightening. Some of my friends and I have a system of swapping things as and when we need them which has served us very well and saved a bunch of cash.

I always advise new parents not to buy a pram (you use it for the first 3 or so months only) - borrow rather, or get one of those contraptions that starts off as a pram and then converts into a pushchair. Although in my experience it's rare that these doubling up things are ever a great success at doing both things really well, not unlike the shampoo&conditioner trend of the 80s. Also, whenever buying anything, ask what it comes with and what's included. So many of these things, despite the enormous cost, don't include basic stuff, requiring you to spend more to get the 'extras.' A bit like the iPad and the stand, or never mind that, a case. God, don't get me started on laptops not coming with cases as standard, or digital cameras for that matter. Itemisation is definitely one of the devil, I mean, marketing world's most profitable inventions.

Last night I took a stroll to the little Tesco's on our high street and walked past an exotically attractive woman handing out belly dancing class pamphlets. She gave one to me, and I looked at her and said, 'Well, I've certainly got the belly." Her eyes fell downwards onto my bump, and her face spread into a smile, "Oh maybe for after," she said. I think I might look into that at some point. I mean, I've always been someone who has a 'tummy' so why not put it to good use? Display it, and jiggle it about, instead of trying and failing to get rid of it, As you can see, rationalisations ahead of losing the post baby weight are already in progress.

So the big UK elections tomorrow. And yes, I, cynical me, am going to vote. For years I'm avoided doing so because my feelings on politics have always been that the candidates are all as bad as each other - just in varying degrees. But then something happened, or rather, someone happened, that being Barack Obama and the US elections and for the first time I thought, 'Here's someone that's really different and will (at least try) and make a real difference.' It changed how I view politics. Now, although I still think we are forced to pick the best of a bad bunch in these UK elections, I think rather have that, then have the worst of a bad bunch be voted in.

And on a parting note, I leave you with this ahead of making your vote tomorrow: Forget public service cuts, if the Tories get voted in, Phil Collins may well return to Britain. Could you really live with yourself if that happened?

Just a thought.