Weeknotes 091: Mama hangnail wants to see her babies

This week we’ve mostly been playing don’t-hide and seek. A hopeful toddler sat in plain sight asking can you find me?”

We cracked the velux with the intention of sleeping with open windows in the heat. Five minutes later we squashed the first mosquito and closed them.

The swifts are doing sterling work keeping the mosquito count down to single figures.

We’ve also made peace with the spiders living around the house. The fruitfly population has dropped. While they fly into your face and spoil food, the spiders just hang around looking creepy. Score one for the pleasant creeps.

A single day away from the office air con was spent wearing shorts and sweat. Shirt and towel at hand for videocalls. I could hear The Chef outside managing an overly hot Piglet. She’s better at it than me. Firm patience mitigating tantrums. I vacillate too quickly between play and exasperation. It’s a symptom of her being better at being there. Something I’m trying harder to be better at.

Her reward for raising our daughter brilliantly was to be spat at by the kind of small-minded bigot that could do with crossing the road without looking.1

Piglet, thankfully, didn’t notice—too hot and bleary—and was in good enough spirits for mutual teasing with the neighbours’ kid about food stains on their faces. A recognisable social interaction which explains the bad moods of a few weeks ago.

Courtesy of a bed-time book garden gnomes are called sprites in our house.

Grandma took Piglet to town and instead of telling her to hold on for a few minutes after she said she needed to wee, they opted for a wild wee outside Primark on the busiest shopping street in Newcastle. Subtle.

On drop-off, Piglet took Granddad raspberry picking in the garden before dragging him on to the trampoline. I was chatting with my mam and she said he wants her to stay this size forever. We didn’t know, but he had plans to head out with his mates this weekend and we’d asked about babysitting. He cancelled so he could spend time with her before she grows up and doesn’t want to play with him anymore.” Now I’ve a long night of the soul ahead reviewing my unbearable teens and ungrateful twenties. I owe Dad an apology. And Piglet? She’ll worship him forever.

The tree overhanging our garden has magpie, blackbird and sparrow nests in it. Sitting out in the warm evenings we can hear the nervous blackbird rooting around the ivy for snacks. It’s softened The Chef’s stance on our missing fruit. We can buy cherries and the fledglings get to eat. And we get rewarded with the bustle of family life around us.

There’s a family of frogs living in the same ivy patch. The Chef disturbs them most evenings when watering the plants. Piglet hasn’t had a quiet enough approach to see them yet.

For reasons, we were talking about the days of the week in different languages. The Icelandic for Wednesday is functionally bleak. We learnt the beautiful word calqued while we were at it.

While getting Piglet ready for nursery, she ran off to partially hide. Theatrically searching for her, I asked the Woozle if they’d seen her only to be told by a voice from the almost-aether, the woozle can’t speak, it’s mouth is full.”

I won a book for services to punning2. On a technicality, I think it makes me a paid freelancer.

This is the week I pay for not travelling to US with later finishes and a cooked brain at the end of the work day. Still better than missing out on this time at home.

Mornings before nursery are still rocky, but the teachers have told us she’s made another introverted friend and the two of them are bringing each other out of their respective shells and now they can’t shut the pair of them up. Which is just lovely.

Because we talk to Piglet about our youth when we were kids, she’s taken was” to mean an imaginary state. She’ll happily tell us about when she was a boy or a cat.

While everyone else cooked on the beach, we headed down to the Ouseburn Festival for pinwheels, moons, animals, costumes and ponies. Pre-Covid we took part in the drinking, stalls and music and it was nice to see the other half of the festival up close. We still managed to catch some live music.

It was the second play street; again with scorching weather. Number 23 are optimally nosy and while stewarding with them I got caught up on all the (limited) street gossip before getting soaked in water pistol crossfire.


  1. A Dropbox sync issue caused a draft version of these to leak out to RSS earlier in the week. If you saw that version, my language was less pre-watershed, but the sentiment remains. I mean, what’s gone wrong in your life that spitting at a toddler for their skin colour is acceptable?↩︎

  2. On the express condition that I never write in with a pun ever again.↩︎


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