Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Extremely Over-Protective Mummy's Handbook

When I was a little girl, I used to dream of writing an epic novel. The kind of novel that spans three generations of the same family, three continents, three tumultuous events in history; the kind of novel that addresses (with subtle eloquence) universal themes like the indomitable nature of the human spirit, or the enduring power of love, etcetera etcetera. But then, when I grew up, I realised I was much better suited to swearing, ranting, and writing a whole load of deranged hormonal drivel. Like 'The Extremely Over-Protective Mummy's Handbook: An A-Z of Neurotic Mummy Shit' . Ta dah!

Yes, this genre-bending debut of mine will probably hit the shelves in about, oh, let me see, a gazillion fucking lightyears, largely because I am unable to write during a) PMS episodes; b) whilst looking for keys or mobile phones; or c) whilst collapsed under the weight of adrenal fatigue, which leaves me with a writing 'window' of twenty minutes a month. In the meantime, I do have a few tentative little entries up my wizard's sleeve, which I'll be posting here over the next few weeks...(in hope of feedback..)

C is for Calpol
Calpol is an essential component of any paranoid mummy’s toolkit. Its primary aim is to reduce fever and pain in small children. But as a happy coincidence for mummies, it also tastes delicious; full-bodied, a good balance of sugars and pharmaceuticals, very morish.

Once, whilst staring through the window contemplating the atrophying of my aspirations and the utter fu$k!ng pointlessness of having treated myself to a higher education, I entered Calpol and gin head-to-head in a taste contest (with myself as the lonely adjudicator). Perhaps it was because the gin was a supermarket’s own brand, perhaps it was because the tonic was beyond its best-before date, but in my opinion, Calpol definitely had the edge.

There are two main problems however with administering Calpol: 
    The 5ml spoon. It doesn’t matter how many 5ml spoons you own, when you have a hot screaming infant in your arms, you WON’T be able to find a single one. Trust me. There is no point looking in the usual places, like the cutlery drawer, or the medicine cabinet, or anywhere in the kitchen or bathroom. In fact, the only places worth searching are a) the plastic play-house in the garden; b) the mythological realms of Camelot or Atlantis; or c) any one of the 26 space-time dimensions posited by string theory. Not only will you not be able to find a 5ml medicine spoon, you won't be able to find a normal teaspoon either. In the end you will have to resort to an approximation, using a shell, a tiny plastic ladle from your daughter’s play kitchen, or your bare cupped hand.

    Dosage. The Calpol bottle features instructions on how much medicine you are allowed to give to your child, depending on age. The print is small, the label is busy, but really, it shouldn’t be a problem. But you read it; you forget it all; you read it again ... and again ... and again. Basically, it’s like you suddenly have a reading age of about five. Is it a 2.5ml dose, a 5ml dose, or a 7.5 ml dose, you ask yourself, and what if your child is bigger than average, sicker than average, or between ages? in the end, you give them a 5ml-ish dose, using the ladle, but quickly realise you should have give them a 2.5 ml-ish dose, using the shell. You google ‘Calpol overdose’, you phone NHS direct, you wait for a doctor to return your call. Three hours later, only slightly reassured, you finish off the spare Calpol bottle (and the vile own-brand gin) and try to sleep.

What fresh hell is this? Mwa ha ha ha ...

P.S: I was going to start at the beginning of the book, with 'A is for Assholes', which is a personal account of Perineal Lacerations Beyond Fucking Imagining, but my partner told me that I talk about assholes too much. As$ho$e. 

P.P.S: My partner is not really an As$ho$e. He is very nice. And patient.


  1. That's hilarious sweetheart, plus you are almost nice about me in it. Have you thought about taking up writing for a living?

  2. Very nice, I think you mean. If I'd meant to be almost nice to you, I would have said "He is almost nice." See?

  3. My children have a calpol habit. They can sniff it out at 100 paces. Should one child actually need some, the others are there, with their foreheads against the radiator whilst wearing every item of clothing they own, just to get a hit/dose.
    You are very very accurate in your definitions and should continue in order to reassure all mothers out there.
    I look forward to the next one :-)

  4. Hadn't realised before how right you are about the labels. They're like weather forecasts - however hard I try listen to them I can never remember whether it's heat or snow. But as for spoons, I don't bother. Tip it down the little blighter's throats, same as I do with sherry for me.

  5. Don't even get me started on weather forecasts. Precipitation probability? Come again? Though i do love the shipping forecast for some bizarre reason. Good tip on administering medicine. Thanks for your wisdom and expertise, once again!

  6. Do you need a 5ml spoon per chance? I have a stack of them in Little A 's bedroom and those syringe things too .... send me a SAE :o). But capol does taste great - I always find myself dishing out a little more than required just so I can have some! X.

  7. Thanks for the offer but I WOULD lose em! Alarming to hear that you have a stack of syringes in Little A's bedroom though ...x

  8. I lick the spoon after giving a calpol dose, it's mummy's treat, just softens the edges to get through the day.

  9. Licking the calpol spoon is the mummy's equivalent of licking the chocolate cupcake spoon aged 3. Love this post, thank you for the laughter x

  10. Amumism and Pipbest, you are women after my own heart. Ta for your comments x