Sunday 6 June 2010

How to screw up your baby's life

No idea, 7.5 units. Yesterday’s alcohol intake was mercifully constrained by the fact that the £55 bottle of New Zealand pinot noir I had ordered to accompany our dinner at Glyndebourne proved more or less completely undrinkable. Not corked or anything else that one could reasonably complain about; just “dog rough”, as a friend of ours would say. I haven’t experienced anything quite like it since I moved on from drinking Bull’s Blood in Cambridge in the mid-1970s. Which reminds me of the delicious story of a friend of a friend (always an introduction that makes one suspect an urban myth, I’ll admit) who was visiting a south London street market and asked a mate what he was drinking from the white polystyrene cup in his hand.

“Bull’s Blood,” came the reply.

“Oh, I haven’t had that in years. Can I have a sip?” he asked.

Only to be utterly repelled when he found that it really WAS bull’s blood, since he had failed to take adequate account of the fact that his mate was a Masai from Kenya.

Yeah. It’s an urban myth, isn’t it?

Anyway, I found the experience all the more annoying given that I have two cases of completely delicious £9.50 a bottle Tasmanian pinot noir sitting in my cellar back at home, to which we returned after calling in for a late breakfast on the sunny terrace of some old friends who live in Lewes, and collecting The Boy from his doting grandparents, to whom the Norland nanny had taken him when she could stand no more. To be fair, this was always the arrangement, since she wanted to attend a Norland Nannies’ Reunion Garden Party yesterday. I wonder if Mary Poppins was there?

I tried to detect whether she had managed to instil some improved discipline in The Boy during the two days he was in her care, but could not readily tell the difference. I had been impressed by her robust turn of phrase when he ignored her firm instructions not to stick his hand in the flip-top kitchen bin for the umpteenth time. Naturally he cried as she whisked him away. Her response: “I don’t care if you’re cross. Better cross than dead!”

Unlike us, she apparently also likes to use the two-way communication switch on the baby monitor to issue instructions to her charges. Since he is not used to it, The Boy will presumably have taken “Go to sleep!” booming across his nursery for the voice of God. I dare say it will have screwed him up for life. Lucky, then, that we have read the reviews and extracts from that newish book by Oliver James, demonstrating that what a child needs until the age of three is the attention of its mother 24/7. We can therefore relax in the certain knowledge that he is already completely screwed anyway.

1 comment:

CC said...

Laughed out loud at the "voice of God"
comment. Poor little tyke.... ;-)