Wednesday, September 22, 2010

what's in a name...

I have to give my friend Sean credit for this blog idea. I wish I had thought of it first, but I didn’t and it was simply too good to pass up. His mail to me (concisely put I thought) said quite simply, ‘Jamie Oliver has named his latest kid Buddy Bear. (Ok, he actually said brat, but he doesn’t mean it like that. He’s evil but delightful.) The others are called Petal Blossom Rainbow, Daisy Boo and Poppy Honey. After you have finished vomiting, perhaps there is a future article in this.’

Why in the name of God would you set up your own flesh and blood for such ridicule? I remember thinking when Poppy Honey was born that the name was quite cute. You know, because he is a cook and all and doesn’t like to stray too far from foodie words.

But Buddy Bear? Cheese, that’s going to sit really well with him when he’s a strapping teenager. Let’s not even mention that his poor girlfriend/wife/lover will have to call out “Oh Buddy Bear” in the throes of passion. Yup, that’s sexy right there folks. Poor bloke, he’s going to have to introduce himself as “Hi, I’m Jamie Oliver’s son” for the rest of his life. As for Petal Blossom (because we didn’t quite catch the flower theme on the first name) Rainbow (implying rainbow coloured florals?)  and Daisy (again with the garden talk) Boo (Boo, gave you a fright? Boo Hoo? Boo Radley? Boo is close to Pooh?) Quite frankly, there are no words.

It’s not only celebrities who come up with joke-worthy names for their kids. Why, in my very own Grandmothers family, all nine sisters were all called a different version of Sue.  Sue, Soekie, Susanna, Ou Soes, Soesie and who knows what the feck else. It’s like those redneck brothers in that TV show from the eighties.  You know, Newheart…. "Hi, I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.  

I suppose I should be grateful for parents who are creative when they decide on names for their children.  A popular inspiration, I’m sure you’ll agree, is when parent’s combine their names to create a wholly new name. Or they combine two names they do like to create one name that neither of them like. Just Google “combining names” and see just how many people out there think this a cunning idea. As one site puts it; There are no wrong names. (Er, I beg to differ) Combining parts of Mom and Dad are what makes this baby special in the first place. (Riiiight.) Still, you have to marvel; Petronella comes from Peter and Ronelle.  Fredella comes from Fred and Ella. Vanessa and Lisette make a stunning Vannette, and joining Jessica and Faye means you get to be… Jessaye.*  Who can guess where names like Shanaaz, Hilette and Denvey originate from.  I’m only grateful Victoria and David Beckham didn’t decide to do this.  Brooklyn (TMI to know where you were conceived BTW) could have been Vivid, and Romeo might have been Davoria.

Needless to say, I knew a girl who changed her name when she was in her twenties.  I wondered why and secretly hoped I’d finally met someone who was on the run from the law.  She wasn’t, poor girl. It was because her parents had named her Griekie.

To end off, just because I’m so fond of poking fun at celebrities and all, I’ve made a list of some of some of my favorites:

Zuma – son to Gwen Stefani. Clearly. Because he’s such a great role model.
Kal-el – son to Nicholas Cage. Because Arabic names are so hip right now.  Let’s not forget the Kal-el was also Superman’s birth name.
Coco – daughter to Courtney Cox.  Very original.  We’d never have guessed.
Peaches Honeyblossom – daughter to Bob Geldof.  Never too far from the hippie era.
Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily – daughter to Michael Hutchence.  An obviously choice because it just rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it?
Teddy Jo, Speck Wildhorse and Hud – sons of John Cougar Mellencamp.  Understandable I suppose. I mean if you voluntarily adopted the middle name Cougar for yourself.  Also, it ain’t southern if it ain’t two names or single syllable.
Apple and Moses – offspring of Gwyneth Paltrow. Ok, I get it. Your names Gwyneth. You wanted to keep it simple.
Zahara Marley, Maddox Chivan, Siloh Nouvel, Pax Thien – football team belonging to Brad and Angelina. We’re so cool, so rich and co good looking we can name our kids whatever we want.
Sparrow. Genderless offspring to Nicole Ritchie. Mmmm. One flew over the cuckoo’s nest?
Hopper – son to Sean Penn – not a lot I can say about this one.
Kyd – son to David Duchovny – very short sighted. Kyd for short time, adult for longer.
Last but not least…
Jermajesty – son to Jermaine Jackson.  Not at all because he was trying to outdo brother MJ’s Prince Michael 1, Prince Michael 2 and Paris Michael.

*I shit you not.  These are real combinations that I found on the web. Frightening.

Friday, September 17, 2010

allies unite...

I know why wrinklies, specifically grandparents, get along so well with kids - they have so much in common.  True, there are some oldies out there (Grumpy Old Farts - a.k.a GOF’s) who don’t want to ackowledge  the similarity but my advice to them is: make allies where you can. In order to demonstrate my theory, I’ve made a list of  the similarities between wrinklies and kids. This is well researched and written whilst sober. More or less.

They have to wear flat, sensible shoes with non-slip soles. They have to eat food that’s easy to chew and even easier to digest. Under no circumstances serve them spicy food. Upsets their mind before it upsets their stomach. They miss the point. They take a long time to get to the point. They very often can’t see the point at all, even after it’s pointed out. They think they know everything. They pretend to know everything. They’ll tell you everything they think you ought to know.

They have a flexible approach when it comes to time-keeping. No wait, make that a complete disregard for time-keeping. They get cranky in restaurants when the waiter doesn’t come quickly with their food.  They get cranky about quite a lot of things, most of which are things you can do absolutely nothing about.

They make funny noises when they eat. They pee in their pants. Strike that and make it, they struggle to keep many of their bodily fluids where they belong. They don’t always realise when there is food stuck on  their face.  

They are prone to dawdling. They walk slowly on purpose, just to irritate you.  They walk slowly unintentionally, but it still irritates you. They repeat themselves. A lot. They repeat their jokes. A lot. They can make you contemplate pouring your evening drink a little early. They take a really long time to tell a really short story.

They dress themselves in weird clothes then comment on the clothes that other people are wearing. They stare at strangers. They point at strangers. They (seemingly) don’t really care what people think of them. 

They steal shiny things. They lie about their age. They forget their age. They’re quite nosy. They’re petulant when they don’t get their own way. They swear under their breath. They swear out loud at inopportune moments.  They talk to themselves. They’re frightened by loud noises, unless that is, they’re making it themselves. They’re not big on compromise and though they’re actually quite adaptable, they’d rather inconvenience you than inconvenience themselves.  I think perhaps the only thing (other than having a good memory, that is) that they don’t have in common is a blue-rinse. But I’ll bet if you asked a kid, well hell, they'd be all for it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

don't, it'll break..

I think we can all agree that the people who invented pop-up books may not actually have real, live children.
Most pop-up books carry a “not suitable for children under 36 months warning”, but there is always some eejit who gives it as a gift when the kid’s like, a year old. I’m not even sure kids have got the hang of page turning by 36 months, but hey, who am I to say. Perhaps my kids are unreasonably cack-handed, but even by the time they’d reached 5 ½ they’d still not mastered the art of pop-up books. 
And there’s good reason for this.  The pop-up parts are made of cardboard.  Kids hands seem to be, on the whole, kind of wet. Clammy, if you like. This is another mystery; I put it down to body fluids. But is there an endless supply of body fluids that can emanate from them?  I think not.  Maybe they’re, um, what’s the word… ah yes, hygroscopic.  Yes, like coffee or sugar or at the coast. As Wikipedia defines it: they have the ability to attract water molecules from the surrounding environment. Impressive, I’d say. If it wasn’t so bloody dodgy. Needless to say, cardboard plus clammy equals a soggy kind of wetboard - not very poppy-uppy at all.  If, by the grace of God, the pop-up bits manage to stay dry, there is the maneuverability factor.  
Now believe it or not, cardboard isn’t as slidey or poppy-uppy as one would think. Granted, it may have to do with who is charged with operating the moving bits. I now understand why moving parts on the whole, are made out of metal with a touch of grease.  Some clever sciency type must have figured out that cardboard - surprise-surprise - does not cut the mustard when it comes to durability. Why the hell didn’t they didn’t tap into this pearl of wisdom when they invented pop-up books? And if metal isn’t an option for book construction (i.e. too heavy; could be used as a weapon) surely we could recycle all the rogue plastic in the world to make slick, maneuverable pop-up books instead of these iffy cardboard ones that stay intact for all of 12 hours? I mean I really thought that this was the era of seriously innovative shit.
And another thing.  The title for every pop-up book may as well be “Don’t touch or it’ll break”.  Because that is what you have to say every time you turn the page.  It really becomes very boring. 
And why is this pop-up book business such a ball ache to me?  Because of the Oscar winning drama that ensues when the kid who broke it finds out that not only is the book broken, but also pretty much unfixable.  Mostly, the offending, stuffed-up book gets tossed across the room (either by me or by the home-wrecker in question), which renders it (with any luck) completely unsalvageable. No wonder TV is such a hit with families. They’re much, much harder to break. Well, mostly.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

my dark side ...

There really wasn’t anything that had me laughing about families or kids this week. Unsurprisingly really, because possibly they’re mostly a bit bloody ho-hum. I managed to steer clear of smack, booze (mostly) and valium which I think is not only noteworthy but proves that I’m really putting my back into this role-model slash mothering business. So what do you do when you feel your week’s been a bit mundane? You experiment with your bodily functions of course. Here’s my brief foray into my dark side.
Over time I’ve read a lot of literature (in retrospect, maybe too much) about the benefits of having a clean colon. Now, I can’t consciously remember ever having gone in there to do a spring-clean myself and apparently All Bran doesn’t actually cut as much mustard as you’d think. Mmm, what to do?  The thought of having someone stick a pipe up my rear-end just seemed too dire as an initial step. What sort of conversation could I possibly strike up with the person doing it I have to wonder?  I decided the next best thing would be to give an “Iso-Osmotic Bowel Clearance Solution” a whirl.
I think the name they give it  - Klean-Prep - somewhat glosses over it’s true potential. It should be called “Complete Overhaul” or “Power hose pipe-wash”, something like that.  To indicate the potency of this stuff I’ll say this. There are four sachets per pack and after drinking the contents of just one sachet – which I hasten to add, gets mixed into one whole litre of water – I was sure that all my innards had pretty much entirely disintegrated.  
You’re supposed to down 250ml of Satan’s Solution every 15 min. Even under normal circumstances, drinking four litres of anything in four hours can make you feel like puking.  Add to that four litres of water, four sachets of evil tasting Iso-osmotic Bowel Clearance Solution and quite frankly, there should be some sort of award if you can keep it all down.  Not least of all because the solution hardly tastes like a solution at all.  In fact it never ceases to amaze me how things that are supposedly good for you – like solutions – taste like they come from bowels of Lucifer, and things that are supposedly bad for you – like chocolate and whiskey – taste like they are made in God’s kitchen itself.
I blame myself, really, for not taking the time to gain more insight into what the experience held.  Here are a few clues I gleaned (after the fact) from the packaging and insert:
1. Eat no solid food for at least 2 hours before taking Klean-Prep.  I can only assume that this is so you don’t ruin your relationship with the foodstuff that you may have consumed. 
2. Klean-Prep is designed to cleanse the bowel and will cause diarrhoea-like watery bowel movements. A more accurate description would be: hold onto your seat because your rear-end’s going to have the kick of a fire hose
3. The first of these liquid bowel movements should occur within 1-2 hours of starting to drink the solution.  How about: 5mins after you get your first 250ml down, you will let out and exceptionally loud fart, one so loud that it has people running for cover, three houses away. 5 min after that, you will start shooting through the eye of a needle.
4. You should stay near a toilet while talking Klean-Prep. They say that like you have any choice in the matter. Even Johnny Depp couldn’t tempt me to stray from the toilet.
5. Nausea, abdominal fullness and bloating may be experienced. Tick. Abdominal cramps, vomiting and anal irritation can occur.  Tick.  The only thing they left out is that it actually affects your vision.  Truly.  Your bowels must be connected to your eyes in some way because I was weeping and the room went blurry. At some stage I think I saw stars.
Amongst other things, unless completely necessary, I now avoid boxes with words like diarrhoea, nausea, cramps, vomiting and irritation. Just spelling them makes me feel them. I’m also investigating whether it’s legal to combine so many types of Sodium (who knew?) into one preparation.  I feel sure there’s should be a law against it.
In closing, I swear so help me God that nothing I have ever ingested (in my past few lifetimes, even) has any aromatic resemblance with what came out in the end, or at the end.  I was left with the horrific realisation that just a few minutes before, that odour actually resided inside me. The bonus of this exercise, however, is that I’m sure that if I stand in front of a fan with my mouth wide open, I will actually be able to whistle out my bum.  Now that’s not something you can do every day.