Pox pickers

•January 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment

When they were pretty young, both J and T got a rash that, we were reliably informed, could very well be chicken pox but who knows it’s hard to tell when they’re young. And so we went on, uncertain if they had been poxed or remained to be poxed, until shortly before Christmas, when T came down with a fever, and then broke out in spots. She refused to be photographed, or even seen in public, while they were at their peak, but this is what she looked like a few days later.

T with poxJ, though, remained healthy, even though there had been pox swirling around their school for weeks. Could it be, we wondered, that he had indeed got away with a mild infant rash, rather than anything more troublesome when old enough to be properly conscious of things? Er, nope.

J with chickenpoxTwo weeks later, to the day, it was J’s turn. The good news is that in both cases chickenpox involved three bad days, with the one in the middle being worse than the other two, and then a bit more whingeing a couple of days later when the spots start to heal over and become a bit itchy again. And now we know, for absolutely certain, that they’ve both been poxed. Which is one┬áless thing to worry about in the future, I suppose.


Building the future

•August 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

It’s about time I started posting here again, even though Rachel doesn’t think I should. Not, for now, about the kids’ development, but about our house’s. We’re having a new kitchen fitted, and doing a few other bits and bobs to the house which feel fairly superficial but have so far taken a crack team of the nation’s finest builders the best part of four months with the end only just hoving vaguely into sight. So here, as of a couple of days ago, is my kitchen. It is not exactly ready to cook in.

My naked kitchen

And here’s the last I saw of the old kitchen:

The old kitchen, destroyed


Mind the gap

•November 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment


I know, it’s been months. At some point I’ll make amends with a hefty upsum of our summer/autumn fun, but today gets a special post because it contained a special moment: T’s first fallen-out milk tooth. She was so proud about it as well, so chuffed at the speed with which she’s growing up, and so totally unaware that her parents are looking on, or at least this one is, wishing that time would just slow down.

Finally, the tent gets an outing

•July 23, 2013 • Leave a Comment

J and the tent

Last year, with a camping weekend with friends booked, I bought a tent being heavily discounted by an online retailer. It looked big, bigger than strictly necessary, but seemed well reviewed and was certainly cheap. Two days later the bell went, I opened the door and someone delivered a massive box. It was enormous, and it was heavy. It sat in my hall, looking intimidating.

The following day the bell went, I opened the door and someone delivered another massive box. It was a two-massive-box tent.

That camping weekend, like all other attempts to camp in 2012, was rained off. And the boxes sat, unopened, in my spare room for an entire year, looking intimidating. As this summer streaked into view, and more camping weekends were scheduled, I thought about my scary tent-boxes. I thought about selling them, and buying something smaller and less scary. I didn’t get around to it. It didn’t rain (indeed, we’ve been sweltering under a three-week heatwave). And then, it was time to go. I opened the boxes.


We have used the tent. It is big, sure, but not too hard to put up, and pretty easy to take down. I am happy with it. The kids, meanwhile, absolutely love camping. They hare around the campsite all day, forming very temporary friendships with whichever other kids are there, and bothering their parents hardly at all. This is a good thing. There is a pattern to their sleeping, too: on night one, they go to sleep late and rise early, sometimes very early. On night two, they sleep later. On night three they beg you to take them to bed early, and sleep until you wake them up the following day. We will do more camping.

And I leave you with an action shot of T, at her school sports day. This was the showpiece, end-of-day sprint. Shortly after this picture was taken, with T second in her heat, a shoe fell off, she stopped to pick it up and before she knew it she’d come last. She wept. T doesn’t like coming last.

T's sports dayAnd, for the sake of equality, here’s J, eating ice cream.

J, smiling

•May 13, 2013 • 1 Comment

Talia's pitch invasion

I haven’t posted for a while, not because there’s been nothing to say, but at least partly because Rachel isn’t very keen on me writing about our family on t’internet. I disagree (obviously). It either goes here, or it’s forgotten.

Yesterday I took T to see her second-ever football match, the first she has seen to the end. Watford v Leicester in the Championship play-off semi-finals. The game turned out to contain one of the finest Watford goals I have ever witnessed and without doubt the most ludicrous, emotional climax to any Watford game I’ve been at, and it finished with my first ever pitch invasion. She is five and a half, and has already seen these things, these things I have been waiting half a lifetime to witness. I needed that time, of course, to create a context, to be able to really understand yesterday’s events. Matej Vydra’s opener was beautiful only if you’ve seen a thousand lesser goals. The last two minutes were miraculous only if you’ve seen a thousand games end in comparative drudgery. She will not fully have understood all of this, of course, but if she’s going to spend a lot of her life watching football – and I live in hope – what a way to start.

Good times and bad times

•November 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Lots of water under various bridges since my last post, some of it quite nasty and bitter. Over the last three weeks my father has turned 70, and my sister has turned 40. Two big and noteworthy birthdays, which would normally have called for significant partying and all-round jolliness. But over the same time my paternal grandmother Faye, or Booba to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, had died at the age of 95 after a short illness. And my mother, after several weeks of tests while a succession of medics whittled down the possibilities, has been diagnosed with cancer. Diffuse large b-cell lymphoma, to be more precise – uncannily similar to the Burkitt’s lymphoma that my sister Abi successfully fought off after a long and basically hideous course of chemotherapy in 2002. Even as I type doctors continue to perform tests, but my mum’s chemo should start next week.

It’s been a difficult few weeks, but worse I fear is to come over the next six months or so, hopefully with a similarly positive outcome to Abi’s.

For the kids, life goes on, same as always. They have happily settled into school and pre-school, though they’re getting more Jewish education than I for one am entirely comfortable with. Slightly awkward conversations result. Last week T asked if I believe in god. I told her I did not. “Well that makes me sad,” she said. “Sad – and angry.”


Pre-school premier

•September 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment


Yesterday J started at his new Pre-school, bringing to an end a year of commuting to Archway to deliver the kids to their excellent but, since our move to East Finchley, rather distant nursery.

And here he is, busy settling in with his key worker, Adriana.


•September 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment


Yesterday was T’s birthday party. Unbelievably, she’s five. In two days she starts school. School. The thing proper children go to, children who aren’t babies or toddlers or anything.

It’s been a busy summer, what with the Olympics, a holiday, the Paralympics and now this hectic holiday season. This week in full: T’s party on Sunday, our anniversary on Monday, T’s actual birthday on Tuesday, and J starts at his new pre-school (pre-school!), T’s first day at school on on Thursday, and we go to the Lake District for the weekend on Friday. It doesn’t stop.

Here T is, far right, with her ludicrously ornate Barbie doll cake, created for her by our next door but one neighbour (two doors down, in other words), who knows a thing or two about baking. And icing.

Water babies

•August 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

In the last couple of months T has started swimming lessons at a private pool that happens to be a few seconds’ walk from our house. And here’s some proof.


Beating the bottle

•May 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

On Thursday, three years and nearly two months into his life, J visited a dentist for the first time. It was T’s second visit. So little do they know about the dentist that I successfully managed to convince them that it was something to look forward to.

The dentist took one look at J’s mouth. “That dummy he sucks,” she said. It’s a bottle. Whatever, go on. “It’s got to go.”

J has always taken a bottle to bed, and sucked at it all night. It has helped him to sleep like a demon from the age of around six months, so we’ve all been happy. Not, though, his teeth, which haven’t been growing properly.

On Thursday night I tried to convince him to go to sleep without it. The result was an epic meltdown, a grief stricken toddler mournfully wailing “my bottle!” Or “bubble”, as he prefers it.

On Friday night I was out, and Rachel did bedtime alone. J wanted his bottle, Rachel didn’t want a fight, he got the bottle.

Yesterday, Saturday, at bedtime, J declared that he was a big boy now, and no longer required a bottle. No battle, no bawling. Tonight, the same.

They never cease to surprise you, really they don’t. 20120527-223435.jpg