Parenting, profundities and humour

Elly (or maybe Elee, or Ellie or even Ely…) — July 4, 2017

Elly (or maybe Elee, or Ellie or even Ely…)


May I introduce Elly (or Elee or Ellie or possibly Ely…I haven’t written his/ her name down before weird huh? We’ll settle for Elly I think).

Elly is a very, very important personage Chez Harrison.

Elly was purchased for Middlest by Eldest (well by daddy but chosen by Eldest) the day after Middlest was born. And he/she (we never did determine the sex of Elly it has remained a fluid thing to this day) has been a constant and well loved fixture in Middlest’s life ever since.

He has been everywhere with us. Florida, Norfolk, Spain, France etc. Elly is not allowed out of the house except to make these holiday trips for Elly is a ‘bed elephant’. He was not carried around when Middlest was a baby but until recently Middlest had not spent a night without him.

That only changed this year when Middlest announced he was not going to take Elly on Scout camp. A bit of me died. Middlest has always been a strong character not prone to caring what others think and so I saw this caving in to peer pressure as a sad turn of events. But no actually Middlest had decided not to take Elly:-

“For his own safety. People throw cuddlies around mum! I can’t risk that with Elly” all delivered in a shocked tone.

Generally Elly is packed last. He is on my ‘pack in the morning list’ along with Oo Oo (Youngest’s monkey) and deodorant and toothbrushes. He goes in hand luggage as Middlest does not want to risk turning up at a hotel without him.

Elly is nearly 12 years old. And he looks it. His fluff disappeared a long time ago. His eyes are scratched. His ears flop and his seams sag. To my mind this makes him even more adorable. I empathise with Elly. He looks how I often feel. Tired, slightly put upon but well, well loved.

To say he is precious is an understatement. I cannot contemplate what would happen if we ever lost Elly or he fell apart. It does not bear thinking about.

The fact then that, as we speak, Elly is whizzing around in my washing machine is more than a little worrying. He is ‘safely’ encased in a pillow case. But even still. I am awaiting the end of the cycle in a state of trepidation.

In the early days when Elly was often sicked on or worse he was no stranger to the washing machine. And I didn’t bother with a pillow case. But now he looks like he might not survive the ordeal.

Part of what makes Elly so special to Middlest is this lack of washing for Middlest is a very sensual person. He has an incredible sense of smell. In fact it is quite possible he may grow up to be a ‘nose’ or a perfumier. (He also has a way with words so I guess he would be quite good at the sort of pretentiousness often displayed by those wine tasters on the 1980s show ‘Food and Drink’).

Middlest likes to build up a good scent on things. Like a dog. In fact there are only two sorts of smell tolerated by Middlest when it comes to bedding. One- line dried sheets and Two- his own scent. If I dry his sheets indoors he complains until a few days have gone by and he can smell himself on the sheets again. Luckily for him I am quite slovenly housework wise, especially in the winter when drying the normal day to day laundry is a challenge never mind sheets as well, and so he gets ample opportunity to smell himself. Weirdo.

So for all these reasons Elly has not been washed for …a long time…

Today, as the sun is out and I can produce that other allowed smell- line dried sheets, I stripped Middlest’s bed. Elly was there as always curled up under the covers where he had recently been left by Middlest when he finally managed to pull himself out of the duvet.

Elly was crusty. Yep crusty. Middlest has a very specific way of hugging Elly which comes from his thumb sucking days when Elly was an intimate part of that ritual. (Eldest swears blind those thumb sucking days are not actually over and sneaks in a lot to try to catch Middlest on camera in the act). Elly spends a lot of time around Middlest’s nose and mouth and I can only assume that is where the ‘crust’ emanates from… It’s best not to think too hard…

Wherever the crust comes from Elly smells like extremely concentrated Middlest.

Despite my slovenly housekeeping even I had reached the limit of Elly crustiness.

And so I have risked a wash.

Middlest is going to be furious. I will try to line dry Elly but I know that won’t come close to compensating for those years of ‘me-ness’ he has built up.

I can only hope Elly survives the ordeal. For if a lack of ‘me-ness’ is bad a lack of Elly at all would see me permanently ostracised.

47 minutes to go. Wish Elly and me luck…


Keeping clean sheets… — October 15, 2015

Keeping clean sheets…


I may have mentioned before that I do not really enjoy cleaning. If I have not mentioned that before then just so you know I do not really enjoy cleaning.

I would like to say I enjoy the results of cleaning. And I guess that for the couple of hours before the kids come back from school and husband descends a clean room does look good. And then it doesn’t. Again.

Within seconds of them arriving home the kids’ stuff starts to migrate downstairs. I am sure at some point in my Geography lessons I learnt about ‘soil creep’. Nerf Gun bullets have the same properties. Although the timeframe is speeded up. Massively.

A clean bathroom is lovely. It is impractical, however, to ban one’s family from using the facilities for any length of time. And so that shiny tap is soon covered in dried on toothpaste, the mirror acquires a sheen of hair gel and the toilet is smeared with, well, poo. And that hour you spent in there earlier seems fruitless. I resent my husband shaving, my children excreting.

Conversely when I do clean I like to do a proper job. I move furniture. Clean skirting boards and door handles and architraves. Empty the waste bins. Dust and move all the ornaments, shine towel rails and mirrors, clean the windows (inside only I have a man for the other). Etc. This is why I do not employ a cleaner. Well partly I don’t employ a cleaner for fiscal reasons but also I don’t because every cleaner I have ever had never moves anything. They clean only what they can see. What is the point of that? That is why a cleaner comes round and says it will take three hours to do my house from top to bottom. Err no it won’t. So when I clean a room it takes me a while.

In upshot I have to force myself to clean. And so to ensure I do the bare minimum I have devised a rota. As I do like ticking things off lists.

As this house is somewhat larger than my old abode I have spread the chores over three weeks. This ensures that all of the house is cleaned (to my standards) once every three weeks. If a husband or small child does a ‘lick and a promise’ on a room at some point in between all to the good. And the rota also ensures that bed sheets get changed before they walk off and stick themselves on a boil wash. Although Middlest objects to new sheets. Unless they are line dried and put straight back on. He resents that I have washed away the smell of ‘him’ that he has painstakingly built up over three weeks. Unless it is replaced by an odour he likes even more. Tough you scum bag…

As an aside here I must add that I am braving all sorts of abuse airing the fact that I wash bed sheets on a three week rotation. I am a member of a parenting forum and the most hotly debated ‘threads’, aside from who can park in mother and baby spaces, are how often to change bed sheets. Some people do it daily. My god have they not heard of the environment. At least when the world heats up so much that we all die they can do so in clean sheets. I am sure that comforts those polar bears struggling to find enough sea ice to survive. When I am lying in my own filth I feel comforted by my carbon footprint.

Anyhoo back to the rota. I have tried to split the tasks up equitably. For instance I only schedule one child’s room in any one week. There is a limit to how many ‘special shelves’ one can dust in a week. Apparently my limit is one room. Then I give myself any easy room a week- spare room, utility room, study. I end up with 5 rooms a week and some degree of laundry.

I am on Week 3 this week. When I wrote the rota it was clearly Week One. And so I had closed my eyes to Week Three. Week Three is a git. Week Three contains Eldest’s bedroom- he is the eldest (quite obviously, I do really, really spoon feed you here) and so he has the most stuff on his ‘special shelves’. In fact the tut has leaked from his ‘special shelves’ to his ‘special book shelf’, ‘special chest of drawers’, ‘special desk’ and quite often to his ‘special floor’.

For some reason I though it would be wise to link Eldest’s bedroom to the family bathroom. The family bathroom is used by all those of a male gender in our household. I leave you to draw your own conclusions about the general scussiness of that room. I do not enter except on Week Three or when I need to extricate a boy who is late for school because he is ‘on the toilet’. Usually what he is actually doing is playing Minecraft.

Also on the list is the kitchen diner. Oh My Actual Diety Of Choice what was I thinking. The kitchen diner is vast and commodious. It also contains the kitchen (again evidently) and is our main living area. That Nerf Gun bullet creep always ends up there. Along with everything else. In order to clean it I first have to spend an hour clearing it. And then it is full of shelves and dressers and musical instruments and nick nacks on pianos. And the dining table. Which rests above its cache of old food items camoflagued on the beigeish floor tiles. It is truly awful to clean.

Add in the lounge (not a big job but newly decorated and so requiring of care with the vacuum hose) and the study (books, books, books, Lord of the Rings lego) and Week Three is a bitch.

Week One on the other hand is a breeze. I am looking forward to embracing Week One next week.

For now, however, I still have the hoovering to do in Eldest’s room and it is Thursday and Week Three started last Saturday.

I am going in now.

Wish me luck.

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