Thursday, 18 August 2011


On the second week of OH's holiday (recovering after a busy first week nodding at dog-walkers and choosing between plain bacon, or bacon and egg sandwiches at the caravan) we did 'nothing'. Nothing planned, that is.

Monday, on a whim we took the boys to Techniquest for a few hours, and did something naughty - pretended the 4 year old was 3 so we didn't have to pay for him (anyone else do things like that and feel paranoid all day?). At Techniquest, adults feel quite justified in behaving like an 8 year old and not just any 8 year old - an over-indulged bad-mannered one. Men were even dressed like children, wearing those trouser/short hybrid things, sandals, cap and slogan t-shirts.

I have been to Techniquest too many times, mainly through work and a few times on toddler day (when it's free). I ALWAYS find the behaviour of the adults accompanying their children irritating, infuriating and above all, fascinating. Playing on the accepted notion that everything can be mauled, parents and grandparents seem to just 'go for it' and act like it's a day out for their benefit. Your child wants to play a bit longer with the bubble machine, but something else has caught your eye? Time to shout "come on, hurry up" to your enchanted son.
You can guarantee, if there's a queue for the puzzles, it's because uncle Mike and daddy are battling it out together, competing for Alpha male status. If you feel eyes burning into the back of your head, and a sense that you're being willed to move on, it'll be Oscar's dad, itching to take over from your kids.

That's the men, on to the women. Loud is the best word to sum up them. Why do females suddenly get loud once they're a mum?  Ladies, please, resist the urge to continually raise your volume by 13 decibels every time you mention your child's (oh so unusual) name. I've heard that name before, it isn't unique, clever, meaningful or THAT important. Also. shouting at your children for absolutely nothing is something to be done at home, not  in a crowded place. "Anwen, QUICK, wash your hands, QUICK, you TOUCHED the toilet, come on, give them a GOOD wash. PUT SOME soap on, QUICK, come on, you're messing around and trying my patience". You, madam, are trying MY patience, and those deep sighs because I held the door open and your child hesitated to walk through - pathetic.

Changing rooms at the swimming pool are the worst places for this loud, shouty behaviour. Getting dressed after a swim is unpleasant enough, without several high-pitched wails from mothers across the room "don't let your towel touch the FLOOR". Maybe I am a bit noise sensitive, but it is for reasons like those described that I avoid crowded places. Usually, I'll arrive somewhere super-early (often waiting for it to be opened) avoid the cafe, and shoot off before the hoards of loud, hungry, thirsty parents arrive.  My parents started this trend, and OH is happy to carry it on as he hates crowds full stop.

I don't think children should be seen and not heard, but this sounds like a great idea for the parents.

The rest of the week was spent trying to fit too many clothes into not enough storage space. I gave OH an option - take the boys out so I can catch up on chores, or vice versa? Surprisingly, he chose the ironing.
We had a lovely time at a Rhondda Heritage Park you have to pay £2 per child to use the park, but I don't mind. There were only 3 other parents there, it was so peaceful. I knew one of them, so sat with her and put the world to rights. We even went to the cafe, so's not to hamper the progress at home -  that too was a success. The cafe is airy with an art gallery at the back, craft materials for the children and huge windows overlooking a densely wooded area. It was then, I think, that I realised  parents are better on their own with the children, you focus on just them and speak quietly, directly to them.

 I got home, OH looked flustered, he said " I feel like one of those bosses who go back to the shop floor and realise their staff are putting up with shit. This ironing board cover is useless, I've got nowhere, it's demoralising".  I suddenly felt better about not always being on top of the chores, and smug about the pleasant day I'd had.

I forgot to mention that at Techniquest, I spent the entire time catching glimpses of myself in the many reflective surfaces, thinking "am I really that fat?"  just like Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 2 when he sees other versions of him.

This week, we really have done nothing, the weather is vile and I'm too tight to take them to places which charge admission - a couple of outings is enough.  Staying in and shouting at the boys for being boys sometimes beats going out and watching a public display of it.

What do you reckon, are we too loud, generally?


  1. Oh my yes yes yes some parents are too loud! This made me laugh so much as ive been having the same conversation with hubby about our new neighbours. They have two boys, the oldest about 6 who plays outside with the other children in the close. When it hits 5.30 she opens the front door and bellows "OLIVER TEA IS READY!!!!", over and over until the kid decides to come inside. Both her and her husband are very large and tend to not walk further than they have to so if any thing they need to tell their kids is generally shouted unless said child is in the room with them.

    And i do the same thing with refective surfaces - normally combined with a reel back in horror at my "mummy tummy" - i think i should just start wearing large mumu dresses ;o)

    Scarlett x

  2. So many parents are just far to shouty altogether. I think once you're shouting at your children constantly it must completely lose it's effect for when you really DO need to shout!

    Jem xXx

  3. Er yes, that'll be me. I'm very loud but then I always have been. My partner used to call my friend and I "banshees", back in the day, for our loud and attention seeking behaviour! (Oh, those were the days......).

    I try to avoid looking at myself in any reflective surface too...

  4. I haven't got kids but I'm always being told off for being too loud.
    You're spot on though, Lucy, some mothers are dreadful although I do love to overhear a ridiculous baby name, it makes my day. There was an Obama (white girl toddler) misbehaving at this morning's boot sale! x

  5. Shouting so doesn't work! I think the constant shouty instructions for the kids are actually for other peoples benefit. You know, look I'm a good parent, I tell them what to do all the time, so if there's any misbehaviour it not my fault.
    Poor micro-managed, slightly deafened kids! (and poor, poor little Obama!!!!)

  6. I find as I get older that I less and less tolerant of noise. The natives of Lanzarote do NOT speak quietly and for some reason bellow at each other when they are standing almost nose to nose. There is some building work being done by a neighbour at the moment, and the work gang arrived at just after 7.00 a.m today, screeching to a halt and jumping out of the car, the three of them proceeded to have an animated and very loud shouted conversation in the road. Why did they get out of the car to do this? Though that’s not quite the way I put it this morning!

    As for the children, in my experience as a headteacher, it was the shouty parents who had noisy children, not surprisingly. I learned years ago that shouting at children doesn’t work when it is the norm, but on the rare occasions when I chose to raise my voice to signal disapproval it had instant attention.

    Catching your reflection when out and about is to be avoided, I agree, but mine is for the shock realisation that the old bag in the shop window is actually ME! When did that happen? I’d go back to ‘mummy-tummy’ days if it meant I was as gorgeous as you and Scarlett.

  7. I've often lied about my children's ages to save money. I'm not proud of it, but there have been times when that was the only way we could afford a day out. I wish that all entrance fees could be a percentage of people's income.

    Loud parents drive me mad. I hate the mums who talk in babyish voices and say 'little' like a two-year-old: "Look at the lit-tle man Pop-py. Isn't he funny Pop-py?" Or the men who want you to see what a great, fun dad they are: "HEY JOSH, LET'S SEE HOW HIGH WE CAN GO! WOW! THIS IS FUN ISN'T IT!"

    Last we I took my youngest to a local pond. It was a lovely day and we sat down and put our fishing nets in the water. Half an hour later, a South African couple arrived with a young boy, a girl and a mother-in-law. The boy picked up my son's net and started using it and although his father said "You cunt use thet nit, eet's someone ilse's nit", I tried to be nice and said that it was okay if the boy had a go, (meaning just a few minutes).

    The parents sat down with Mum on a bench and had a chat and a fag, whilst I suddenly found myself child-minding, listening to two over-friendly children telling me how good they were at catching frogs. I was getting increasingly pissed off, but also wondered if the problem was mine for being so unfriendly and easily annoyed.

    I'm not sure what the point of that anecdote was, but I'm glad I got it off my chest!

  8. Scarlett - you clearly HAVE to move, all your neighbours crampo your style,get outta the ghetto.
    Jem - shouting isn't for me at all, I try and it is never genuine; so doesn't have an effect. I'm a sulker (unfortunately)
    Lou/Vix - I didn't have either of you down as gobshites, I thought you were the refined ladies of the group. My character judging skills obviously don't work on blogger.
    Max - I agree, and often wonder if parents just exaggerate and showcase their discipline in public.
    Little Nell - I won't be retiring to Lanzarote, unless my hearing deteriorates like my mum's has!
    Steerforth - I love an anecdote! I was there, behaving just like you. Doing TOO good a job of acting like 'I don't mind' and secretly thinking "piss off, imposters, can't you see I'm spending quality time with MY son? I'm just about holding out interest in him - so to expect me to feign interest in your kids too is a bit much. Next you'll be asking me to keep an eye on them while you drop mum-in-law to bingo and go home to make love to your wife!".

    Hmm, maybe I'm the one who is unfriendly and easily annoyed?


Sorry I am having to filter comments at the moment