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Archive for September, 2009

When all is said and done, I like to think I give good facebook. Why, just the other day, my status update read:

[The NDM] got dressed up, went to the city, drank cocktails, watched a great show, drank more cocktails, didn’t fall over, caught the bus home and threw up. In that order.

Which summed up my recent Mothers’ Group Night Out quite nicely, with the omission of one or two important facts. 

Such as that we drank piccolos of champagne on the train into town, which we hid in our handbags between sips, like teenage girls but classier. Or that I let Mistress M and KT give me a Generation Y hairdo. Or even that many of us had started drinking at 3pm. 

And then there was the groovy bar in which the aforementioned consumption of cocktails took place. It was a strange and wonderful place. For one thing, the interior consisted of fake grass and garden furniture. But even stranger still, was the mix of clientele. On one table, there was a group of middle-aged men in anoraks, sporting “bum bags” (aka the more titilating “fanny packs” in the US), like they were on some kind of walking tour of the city. And on another table was the most sedate hen’s party ever. Despite their traditionally outrageous headgear (which politely alerted the public to their hen party status) they sat around like they were having afternoon tea with the local vicar. And what’s more, the party was starting to wind up and it was only six o’clock.

“What the hell is wrong with them?” I whispered to KT. “You’d think somebody was getting married or something…”

But KT was too busy eying off an untouched plate of sandwiches on their table. Which I myself had clocked the very minute we sat down. 

“Do you think they’re going to eat that food?” KT whispered back.  

“No. Do you think we should nick it?”

Yes.

Of course, the waiting staff must have been onto us. While I say we were whispering, the truth is we were probably using our Outside Voices because of all that fake grass. Oh, and possibly because of all that alcohol we’d drunk, too. Anyway, the very second the last of the hen’s group left, the waiter swooped in to start clearing away the table.  

But that didn’t stop us. Or, rather, it didn’t stop KT, who boldly went right up to the waiter and said: “We couldn’t help but notice those sandwiches haven’t been touched. Do you think we might have them, please?” 

The waiter, a prim young man was visibly horrified. He was clearly someone who had never finished off a butterfly cupcake that somebody else’s two year-old had already licked the cream off, let alone someone who pushed the bounds of The Five Second Rule as far as five hours with alarming regularity.

“Those sandwiches, madam, are chicken!” he exclaimed. “And they’ve been at the table for over two hours.” And then he shook his head firmly at KT, and then, for good measure, looked over at the rest of us, and shook his head firmly again. 

“Hey, I’m the one who says ‘No’ round here!” I felt like shouting. But then I realised that “round here” wasn’t my own habitat, and that there was no room in the Big City for the rather dubious food hygiene standards I applied in my own home. 

KT, unruffled, came back to the table, her head held high.

“Well, it’s a waste of good food!” she exclaimed loudly, in her best mother voice. And we all tutted disapprovingly and muttered things about “the youth of today” and “what a sinful waste” until we had drunk enough cocktails to forget all about it. And when I threw up later, it had nothing and yet EVERYTHING to do with those chicken sandwiches. 

Still, if it’s all the same to you, I’d prefer it if the prim young waiter didn’t find out I threw up later that night. I have a feeling he’d shake his head again and maybe even say “I told you so!”. And that just would not do.

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Like many of my best ideas, the concept for the NDM Children’s Vomit Scale came from some quality piss-farting-about time on Twitter.

You see, I recently found myself boasting to twitter friend and blogging peer Mister Trivia that, thanks to my Famous Vomiting Children, there wasn’t much about vomit that I didn’t know. 

“Why, I could write The Bristol Stool Scale equivalent for children’s vomit,” I boldly declared.

“Do it,” was @mrtrivia’s quick reply. “Name it after yourself. Distribute it to parents planet-wide. Appear on Sunrise. Tell Dr Karl he sucks. Become a media darling.”

And just when I thought my mandate couldn’t be much clearer, he threw in a “Brand yourself ‘Chuck Mom’ for the US and ‘Chunder Mummy’ for the UK and Oz” for good measure. You’ve got to hand it to him: that @mrtrivia has one hell of a strategic mind.

Anyway, I promptly churned out a first draft of the NDM Children’s Vomit Scale. And this is how it’s currently shaping up:

THE NDM CHILDREN’S VOMIT SCALE

minestrone TYPE ONE: Also known as “The Minestrone”, a Type One vomit is a little like a Britney Spears-style comeback of the last meal your child ate: it almost looks the same but is far less palatable.  A Type One vomit is always surprising because a) it will almost certainly contain diced carrot even if it has been many moons since your child last even looked askance at a carrot; and b) the quantity of vomit will be much greater than the serving of food your child originally ate.

spreadable TYPE TWO: A Type Two vomit has a more concentrated, less chunky and eminently spreadable consistency. With the correct dietary input, it can resemble peanut butter. But with added carrot. 
cupasoup TYPE THREE: The Type Three is mostly liquid with the occasional chunklet, some of which will, of course, resemble barely-rehydrated carrot. You can heat this up and serve it in a tin mug as “cup-a-soup”. No-one will know the difference. 
amoeba2 TYPE FOUR: Also known as “The Amoeba”, the typical Type Four vomit usually occurs in conjunction with a head cold. Everything (including the carrot) tends to hangs together in a phlegm-coated globular mass and seeing a Type Four in action is a little like watching someone give birth to an alien life form through their mouth.
acid TYPE FIVE: This is the closest thing to battery acid that the human body can produce, due mostly to the caustic qualities of carrot once finally broken down by the digestive system. Parents are advised to wear rubber gloves when handling this highly noxious substance. If left for too long, a Type Five vomit can burn holes through the floor boards and/or metal bed frames. 
bile2 TYPE SIX: All bile, no chunk (or even chunklets) with an alarming flourescent quality.   There has been some speculation that the Type Six vomit is the substance used to to fill those glow-in-the-dark bracelets sold at festivals and school discos.  All I know is this here is some bad, bad shit. 

Impressive, huh?

Now, I’m going to delegate the next phase of implementation to you good people. I’m relying on you to pass the link to this blog post to every parent that you know. Even the ones who claim their children never vomit and secretly think I must be doing something terribly wrong like serving dinner on underside of the toilet seat to have my kids vomit as often as they do.

While you’re all busy doing that, I’m going to concentrate on choosing my outfits for the talk-show circuit (perhaps my signature look could be wearing a Sick Bucket for a hat?). I’ll also be mentally preparing myself for being stopped on the street constantly by grateful parents wanting to shake my hand and kiss my feet. “Oh, NDM!” they’ll say to me. “We’re just so happy that we finally – FINALLY! – have a mutual frame of reference with which we can talk to friends and strangers alike about our kids’ vomit.”

And that, ladies and gentleman, is my gift to the world.

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The other night we came home to find a very strange message on our answering machine.

“There is a naked man in my garden,” spoke a child-like, slightly-accented, other-worldly voice that sent shivers down my spine.

“Who the hell is that?” my husband asked.

I had no idea. So we listened to the message again. And again. And the more we listened to it, the eerier it became. Like the “Have you checked the children?” phone calls of slasher films past. 

Anyway, after a brief investigation, it turns out it was just a text message my mother had accidentally sent to my landline (instead of my mobile). And that the message was actually “There is an echidna in my garden” but the automated voice programmed to speak the text out loud had rendered it “a nekked na”, which sounded very much like “a naked man”. Trust me on this. 

Now, we are no strangers to such verbal confusion in this household. For a long time, a toddler Mr Justice maintained that the trains of Sodor were managed by the “Fucking Roller” (aka “The Fat Controller”). And Tiddles McGee has, on more than one occasion, run around the house shouting “Fucky Fuck!” but thanks to the accompanying internationally-recognised hand gesture for a duck, I’ve been able to tell shocked onlookers that of course he’s quacking and not pretending to be his mother, say, on the school run. 

And so it is little wonder that my mother’s spoken text message got me thinking and we all know how dangerous that is. I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could have myself good old fashioned prank phonecall fun with that automated voice. You know, the Noughties Equivalent of ringing a random stranger to ask them “Is your fridge running, sir? Well, you’d better run after it!”. And yes, thirty years on, I can tell you I’m still laughing about that one. 

And so I thought I could start sending prank texts to people’s landlines. For example: “Suck my big one”. Which I could then claim was supposed to be “Sack the Bhagwan”, even though he’s been dead for almost twenty years and quite possibly beyond the reach of any existing labour laws. Or I could resort to texting my favourite misheard lyric of all time “You might as well face it you’re a dick with a glove” and say I was merely quoting Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”.  Or I could pass “You Arse Clown!” off as “U.R.’s Crown!” or “Boobies!” as “Boo! Bees!” or “Bum Breath” as, er, “Bun Breadth”…  But still, imagine the possibilities, peoples. Imagine…

And in case you’re wondering, next time I see my  mother, I’m totally checking the SENT box on her mobile phone to see what she really texted me.  As if I’m not onto her and her little mind game. Ha! An echidna in my garden, my R’s…

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