Monthly Archives: May 2012

My sister in law has recently had a baby girl after two boys; she is totally delighted.  However, she admitted to me that despite her daughter being 4 months old, she still hasn’t got round to naming her bits.  It hasn’t really come up yet, and according to her sons, the main thing is that she hasn’t got any bits to speak of.  But of course, as baby gets older, she will want a name for what’s there.

This is a fairly risqué subject, but one that is close to my heart.  I find that I cannot call either of my children’s bits by the medical term.  They’re just not friendly enough.  Just like I wouldn’t say, ‘Oh dear, you’ve tripped and hurt your fibia’, I’m not going to say, ‘Can you aim your penis INSIDE the toilet bowl.’  It sounds too clinical, graphic and frankly, I don’t like the word.  The same goes for ‘vagina’, which is in fact the wrong word to use anyway, as technically it means ‘the membranous canal leading from the vulva to the uterus in women and female mammals.’  So we should be saying, ‘Don’t forget to wipe your vulva properly.’  I don’t need to explain why I’m not going to use the word ‘vulva’.

So, according to family tradition my son has a willy, and my daughter has a noony (pronouncing a short ‘oo’ as it sounds in ‘good’).  This is an inherited word, passed down from the Jewish side of my family, and I love it.  It is friendly, and somehow sounds how it looks.  Sometimes they are affectionately known as ‘noons’ and ‘wills’ for short.

I passionately believe that noony should be a widely used word, that there should be no doubt about what to call our daughters’ bits, because they are NOT front bottoms, and definitely not an absence of a willy.  They are pretty, useful and eventually, a miraculous gateway to life. So, for those of you who are in any doubt about what to call it, please feel free to use and spread the word.


I’m fed up with feeling chilly.

The weather is really starting to become an obsession of late.  When you’re working in an office the weather is something incidental that happens outside the window, or when you’re walking to and from the station.  The only weather that counts is at the weekend, or in my husband’s case, when he’s scheduled to play cricket.

Opening the curtains this morning I felt a rush of excitement because the sun was out.  The light glistened through the leaves of the horse chestnut tree and the sky was a soft blue.  ‘Summer is finally arriving’ I wishfully thought, as I optimistically pulled on a skirt.  ‘It’s going to be warm today’, I determinedly told the children as I handed my son his school shorts.  But, by the time we were downstairs having breakfast  (just a little bit behind the mythical schedule) the ominous clouds had already rolled in, the wind had picked up and the colours in the front garden were back to a rather subdued, muted green.

My optimism was unfoundered.  ‘We’re walking to school today, because the sun’s out!’  Out we charged in minimal attire, and soon enough my son’s legs were all goose-pimpled, I was tucking my scarf into my light summer jacket, while my daughter alone was unfussed, as frankly she’s inherited an iron constitution from my mother-in-law, who nonchalantly wanders outside with bare arms in mid-winter, while we all scream at her to close the door.

Another mother on the school run caught up with us on the way, as I gave my son a lesson in speaking to me with ‘a big voice’, rather than saying ‘Mummy….’ then speaking the rest of his sentence in a mumble to the passing traffic, the pavement or his navel.  He was countering that speaking audibly would make him ‘exhaaaaausted’.  Meanwhile, the other mother brightly told me that back home in her native Poland they had had three consecutive weeks of at least 30˚C, and that in her mind, she was preparing herself for another damp squib of a summer and that it wasn’t going to get any better, a double blow.  This reminded me that yesterday my younger sister had posted up yet more photos of her sunning herself in L.A.  Her looking very hot in a desert in Death Valley.   The pool at the house where she’s staying.

I didn’t think I cared about sunshine.  I thought I loved the British weather, with its charming unpredictability.  But now, after seven years of staycation holidays, standing outside at weddings with not enough clothes on, and feeling CHILLY all the time, I’ve decided that I’m with the Incas, and the sun is my God, and come next year, we are finally going to scrimp and save and get on a real life plane and go somewhere abso-bloomin-lutely BOILING.

I can’t quite remember…

Memory is subconsciously selective.  We cannot decide what to remember, however hard we try.  For example, my dearest mother in law, despite being a sprightly and very busy young Nana, seems to have wiped the entire early years of bringing up both her children. It’s totally gone.  There’s the odd recollection of pinning my husband, then 4 years old, onto the floor while trying to wrestle a balaclava onto him, in contrast, there was the time that her elder son ‘made up his own language’ at some obscenely early age, but her set response is usually a blank look and ‘I really can’t remember…’

This prompts the possibility that I won’t remember all this either.  Worryingly, the evidence is already mounting.  A few weeks ago we went on a Yorkshire holiday with another couple and their 15 month old daughter.  I foresaw idyllic and leisurely strolls round the dales, lashings of cream teas and long breakfasts.  The reality was that we achieved all these things, but in tiny windows of time.  We spent most of the holiday rushing out after the baby’s sleep or rushing back for her sleep, or her parents were recovering from lack of sleep.  And then it all came back to me; I’d forgotten that when you have little children the ‘sleep’ factor is GOD.  The whole 24 hours of life revolves around the snoozes and snuffles of the smallest person in the family.  Or to be more accurate, one little child.  By the time number two comes along, reality hits, like a sledgehammer.  There’s no point chasing the sleep because it’s not there, and won’t be for a while, so you just adjust to the semi-zombie like state and get on with it, which presumably doesn’t help with remembering anything.

And what about now?  How can I possibly ever forget the little people that I look after and love day in day out.  Will I forget my daughter endlessly playing schools, lining up her soft toy pupils and, after adopting her carefully studied teacher pose (legs crossed, leaning slightly forwards), taking the register?  Will I forget my son explaining the minute details of his latest lego creation, with booster flaps, detachable wings and hidden weapons cache?  The answer is, of course, ‘Yes, most of it’.

Luckily, I have a secret weapon in my armoury against memory wipeout, which is my stash of diaries, which I have kept since my son was around 6 months old.  I don’t write obsessively, but around once a week I just try and record the moment, or the everyday bits of interest.  Flicking back through that first one I find this scribbled description of my son at ten months old:

Little figure of a man, singing your noises, curiosity pulsing through every inch, barrel tummy, disproportionate head holding your fizzing, wiring brain. 

Which, I flatter myself, is almost poetic.  And then there’s the poetry/psychotic ramblings they come out with:

The other day he told me that his bedroom was ‘where my dreams come out’.  He calls his little sister ‘Eggy’ and when asked why, said because you can ‘crack her with a knife’.

Luckily there is no further incident recorded in the diary involving my son testing out this ‘cracking with a knife’ theory.

The final question is why on earth would I want to remember it ALL. And the answer is, boundless, endless love.  I love them in all their incarnations of being, all their stages and phases, happy bits, ill bits, and sad bits.  It’s all good.