Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sick and tired

B has been unwell and this has just reinforced to me that I would truly make the worst nurse in the world. In the list of professions at which I would fail inexorably, nursing would be hovering around the number one spot. All those bum wiping, sick-scraping, pit-washing duties, I don’t know how they do it without hitting someone. And there lies the rub. Although I wouldn’t even want to rub, you don’t know what you’d catch. The fundamental trouble is, I struggle with prolonged sympathy. When one of the boys falls ill, the first hour is fine. I cuddle, I administer Calpol*, I allow extra television, I may even read a few stories or sing a song. So far, so nurturing. But as the hours slip slowly by in a haze of vomit, or shit, or fevered brow – or if I am really hitting the jackpot, all three – I start to lose the small cache of sympathy that I was saving up, which was forcefully and painfully gathered through many hours of looking at pictures of sad kittens and injured puppies on the internet**. Where a couple of hours ago, I was quite happy stroking hair and mopping brow, now I really want to ask him to pull himself together as I am getting very bored.

It is a strange state of mind I find myself in, when one of my offspring is ill, oscillating wildly from general boredom and frustration, to nerve-shredding paranoia. With E, being the first born, every sniffle, dribble of sick or runny poo provoked a fleeting thought about some deadly illness that I was too incompetent to diagnose meaning it was only a matter of hours before he should be in intensive care. With B, he has both the luck and the misfortune to have arrived second… for pretty much everything. For attention. For trips out. For concern. So when I feel he is hot one afternoon, I chuck some Calpol down him and put it down to teething.

When M picks up a crying B from his cot at half past midnight and B throws up with spectacular force, I am starting to think that I might have to reassess my initial diagnosis. But after a momentary panic when in the half light of his room, coupled with my still-asleep brain, I spot great dark blotches of something in his sick which I think is blood until I remember he had spinach for his tea, I am not unduly concerned. M settles him whilst I get the shortest of all straws and begin the Great British Scrape Off, cleaning sick from sheets and sleeping bags and pushing sticky fragments of spinach down the plug hole. It is then, as I absentmindedly scratch a smear of sick from my pyjama sleeve, that I wonder if I should take this a bit more seriously. It’s just a temperature and a bit of sick. Or is it? No, it’s just a bug, he’ll be fine in twenty four hours. Or will he? Yes, he will, it’s probably something he picked up from nursery, or more likely, from licking the plastic balls at the play barn. Or something more serious that requires immediate hospitalisation. As I clean the vomit from under my fingernails, I resolve to assume it is nothing to worry about. Unless, of course, it’s… okay, for chrissakes, just go to bed.

The next day, or Shit Saturday, as we now refer to it, is spent mainlining Calpol and Nurofen into B in an attempt to control his temperature. I wonder if it is worth buying a tea urn and filling it with the strawberry loveliness, so we can lie B underneath and dispense with those plastic squirters. They seemed such a brilliant idea at first, as Medicine + Spoon + Baby = how come I have Calpol in my hair and down my cleavage? But after three uses, the plunger sticks, so I press harder and harder until I end up shooting 5ml of medicine down the back of B’s throat at jet speed and nearly choke him to death. The vomiting seems to have gone – obviously just the opening act in this particular medical drama – and is replaced by  diarrhoea. Or just teething nappies. Who knows? They could make a game show out of the arbitrary diagnoses that occur when parents contemplate their sick child:

“Okay, Bob and Eva, here we go with round two. Sickness, high temperature and… what looks like a  rash… let’s spin the wheel and find out… You’ve landed on allergy, would you like to gamble your bottle of Calpol and your sick bowl on the next category, which is unspecified infection?”

I spend the entire day convinced that B has nothing more than teething troubles, and the vomiting was just one of those things… maybe he is just not partial to spinach. And then my mind goes and does its own bloody thing and interrupts my thoughts with the memory of Blake’s last very high temperature, which led to a two-day stay in hospital. But then I picture us traipsing to A&E, to be told that he is teething and they may revoke my parenting license. Bloody hell, someone needs to invent a diagnosis stick. Just stick it up a baby’s bottom, leave for one minute and the read out will tell you what is wrong. Nothing complicated, perhaps just two options: 1. Calm down, you idiot, it’s a cold or 2. Call an ambulance right now. Or maybe one more: 3. Are you sure you should be left in charge of a child?

Whilst we vacillate pathetically about whether we should get a medical professional involved, B is quite happy to go about his business regardless. Quite literally. He is shitting like his life depended on it. And this is no ordinary excrement. It is watery, bright yellow and has an aroma that could strip your nasal passages of skin from three foot. But that is not all. It’s delivery is turbo-charged. The first we know about it is the rumbling of his bottom cheeks as the G Force gathers pace. Approximately three seconds later, it appears in all its glorious Technicolor shittiness, usually running out the bottom of his trouser leg, or creeping up his back underneath his vest like a stinking tsunami of bowel contents. I have never wiped so much poo from one boy’s armpits in a single day. But I have now perfected the art of inverse-rolling of the vest to facilitate removing it without wiping poo all over B’s head. This is a Niche Parenting Skill, which is of utterly no use in any other situation bar with your kids. A bit like Ninja Nose Wiping, where you can soundlessly pounce on a runny nose, using the element of surprise to circumvent the usual chase around the kitchen table, and Teeth Washing Headlock, where you can clamp a child’s head in the open-mouthed position so you can clean their teeth rather than wait the three hours they would take to get round to it.

B started to rally that afternoon, probably due to the entertainment of me spending most of my day scraping poo from five vests, three pairs of trousers, an assortment of socks and a tee shirt. and so we forwent any further inability to make a decision about what to do about his illness. That night, he woke at midnight full of beans. Bleary-eyed and dog-tired, I stumbled into his room. He was never going to settle himself, so I quickly administered a large bottle of warm milk, to try and make him fall asleep. He gulped the lot, looked me in the eye and actually bounced up and down on my lap, laughing. I gritted my teeth and tried not to want to bite the legs off of the cot in frustration. I just needed to get back to bed. I paced the room with him, my arm muscles trembling with exertion. I hummed lullabies. I asked him nicely. I swore very gently in his direction. I was so tired. Still, he was like a ferret with a caffeine overdose, no doubt revelling in the euphoria of not feeling ill. Which was nice for him. And not so nice for me. Eventually, after about an hour and a half, I sat in the chair with him, as I just could not stand and sway and pace any longer. It is not a rocking chair, so I thought I would improvise. I held him, hummed a monotonous series of notes that really could not be called a tune, and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And then it struck me: baby’s bedroom or mental asylum? In the long dark night of parenting an ill child, sometimes it is difficult to tell.

*Other paracetamol medicines for children are available. But really. This one tastes of strawberries. I’m quite tempted myself.

**No puppies were injured in the making of this blog in an attempt to revive my sympathy gene. I did make a kitten a bit sad though.

Did this blog tickle you? Did it challenge your post-birth pelvic floor? If you like the cut of my blogging gib, I would be chuffed if you would vote for this blog in the Mad parenting blog awards. Just pop along to Voting closes on the 18th Feb so put down that Custard Cream and hurry along now. Thanks ever so.

Womb with a View is now out on Kindle. Well, get me. Here it is:

Exuberant jumping and buttock clenching

I have come to the conclusion that the environment that we live in, the home that we spend much time and money on to get it just how we want it when we set up home with our partners, is just not fit for purpose when it comes to having kids. Most people’s houses are crap when it comes to accommodating offspring, and ours is no different.

Firstly, there is rarely enough space. True, if you refer to an area of your house with terms such as ‘the East Wing’ or the ‘north annexe’ then granted, you probably can squeeze in a few nippers without too much trouble. But most of us spend a large portion of the nine months of our pregnancy chucking stuff out, throwing stuff in the loft and finding new nooks and crannies to now house the clothes drier / the exercise bike / the unspecified piles of shit that we have no idea why we are keeping but best not chuck them out, just in case. In place of which detritus, we add unwieldy cots that don’t fit through doorways, swing chairs that were designed specifically to aid toe-stubbing and a cupboard’s worth of baby bottles, plastic dishes and non-spill beakers that leak.

And if that initial de-clutter is not enough, once the crawling starts, you have to basically strip your home of any moveable feature from the waist down, just in case little Johnny takes it upon himself to chew on a ceramic figurine or try to get into the log basket for a better look. Kitchen cupboards have to have baby catches on, guaranteeing a day will not pass for the next six months where you do not break a fingernail as you forget, for the three hundred and twentieth time, that you have to undo the catch to get a bowl out.

As they grow, so do their toys. Shelves and shelves of them, a horrendous shrine to over-consumption that you have to do a midnight raid on to fill a bag for charity, to stop the entire family drowning in battery-operated plastic nonsense.

And the items in your house, so lovingly chosen on those pre-kid weekends when you and your other half would saunter to the shops for a spot of shopping and some lunch (if I squint really hard, I can just about remember them) are now looking more than a little worse for wear as they were patently not designed to withstand the rigours of children. Sofas sag under the weight of exuberant jumping. Kitchen tables that no matter how many times you wipe, your elbow still manages to locate the sticky spot of a substance that even a blow torch does not trouble. Chairs that are not wipe-clean and so have an attractive patina of food stains, documenting every baked bean or spaghetti swirl that did not succeed in the perilous journey from plate to mouth on a wobbling fork.

The item in our house that is the most inappropriate for use is our bed. It struck me, as I lay there one morning with a four year old squashed up against me, gently banging his head against my shoulder and scraping his toe nails down my thighs, as a baby wriggled on my arm leaving a trail of milky saliva, that our bed is crap. As I clenched my buttock muscle to stop me toppling out the side as someone unadvisedly attempted to change position, I realised that the design was fundamentally flawed. What is required of a parental bed is the same facility that tables often have: leaves. You know, handy flaps that fold out to accommodate visitors.  ‘Oh look, two friends have turned up unexpectedly for lunch, George’. ‘Don’t worry, Martha, I will just pull the leaves out of the table and hey presto, there’s room for all of us’.  Our bed desperately needs leaves. One on either side, so that come 6am, when our visitors arrive from their own bedrooms to drink milk or just generally annoy us, they can do so without having to sit on our faces.

Have you read Jodie Newman’s debut book, Womb with a View? You’ll have to shout louder, I can’t hear you. If not, then you can buy it from (where you can also read some more words that have tumbled unbidden from the ends of my fingers in my Navel Gazing blog) or, for Kindlites, you can get the ebook from Amazon. Enjoy.

Crumbs of skin

We are in the car and E has casually mentioned that his head itches. My heart goes cold. Nits. Please no. I am way out of my comfort zone with any medical predicament that cannot be solved with Calpol, and highly nervous of any that involves tiny creepy crawly things. I explain that I will have to have a look at his hair when we get in, in case he has nits.

“What are nits?”

How can I explain that tiny insects set up home on his head, eating his blood and laying eggs without making it sound like… well, like tiny insects set up home on his head, eating his blood and laying eggs? I mention insects, and eggs and purposefully do not go anywhere near the whole blood-sucking thing.

“What do the beetles eat?” See, I knew it would freak him out. I mention insects, and he has imagined a hoard of armoured beetles marauding around his scalp. I scratch my head.

“They’re just insects, sweetie. They don’t hurt you. Just itch a bit.” I think I will change the topic of conversation soon, this is all a bit taxing. I might mention Rice Krispie cakes, that should divert him sufficiently.

“What do they eat?”

“Ermm…” I am not going to mention the blood. Rice Krispie cakes? “Well, just crumbs of skin…” Crumbs of skin? Crumbs? Since when did crumbs of skin exist? Is that really the best I could come up with?

“That we don’t need any more?”

“That’s right. Our skin is always getting old, and tiny bits drop off…”

“In crumbs?”

“Errr… yes, crumbs.” Poor sod. He’s going to walk around thinking he’s shedding like a loaf of bread.

“…and new skin grows in its place.” Please, please do not ask for further clarification. I feel woefully under-qualified to discuss skin regeneration in any further detail.

“Why do nits live on your head, mummy?”

I sigh and silently pray for the line of traffic in front of us to get a sodding move on.

“Because your head is nice and warm.”


“Because the blood is close to the surface of your skin on your head.” I have absolutely no idea whatsoever if there is even a grain of truth in that statement, but at this stage in the conversation I am working on the Parent’s Plausibility Rule: if it doesn’t sound ridiculous, they’ll probably buy it. It is certainly an improvement on ‘because your head tastes of chocolate’ which was my first thought.

“Does your heart pump the blood to your head?” Damn, I knew buying him a book on how the body works was a mistake.

“Yes, it does.” Please. Enough already.

“What happens when your heart stops?” You see, this is what bloody happens. You are having a perfectly nice conversation with your offspring about something innocent like nits, and suddenly you are in Death Territory.

“Err… well. You die.” Just brazen it out, I think. It is pointless flim-flamming around, he’s like a child with a stick and a stranded worm: he just can’t help poking and poking until the inevitable happens.

There is a long pause in the conversation and I breathe a quiet sigh of relief.

“Can your heart start again?” Bugger.

“No, once it’s stopped, it’s stopped. Well, that’s not strictly true. A heart can stop for a few minutes and then start again. But generally, no.” Why do I have to complicate things? Just a straightforward no would have sufficed, for chrissakes.

“Are your eyes open when you die?” I try not to laugh. This is nearly as good as when he asked if you could still hold a fork when you die, prompted by a concern that if he does die he might miss lunch.


“Why?” Of course he was going to ask why. I ask him to brush his teeth and he bloody well asks why.

“Well, it depends on what you are doing when you die.” That is a shit answer, I am sure, but I can’t think of a better one.

“Can you move when you die?”

At last, I see our house up ahead. “No.”

We arrive home and E gets out the car silently. He left nursery happy and carefree and in the space of a five minute car journey I have left him with the thought that there are insects crawling all over his head snacking on his skin crumbs, and that if his heart stops he only has a few minutes to get it going again before he dies for good, immobile but with his eyes wide open. We go in the house and I switch the television on. Let him watch some crap TV, it’s a lot less dangerous than a conversation.

The end of Christmas

January is almost in double figures. The twenty three bags of recycling mostly comprising packaging from kids’ toys are no longer providing an hilarious tripping hazard outside the back door (well, it’s hilarious when it’s not me). And even the coffee cream has disappeared from the chocolate box. That poor fucker, the coffee cream. Imagine being the bloody  coffee cream. The lid is lifted, fingers float back and forth over you and your chocolately box companions, lips are licked in anticipation, a choice is made. But it’s never you. It’s like being the fat smelly kid in a games lesson, the one left downcast and on his own after all the other kids have been chosen, even the one with the boss eye. The fat kid is finally, begrudgingly picked and told to stand at the back and not get in the way. I ate the ugly, despised, lonely coffee cream. Just to put it out of its misery, you understand.

So what does all this mean? The end of Christmas. No more do we have to mention the C word, until some idiot takes pleasure in telling you that there are only two hundred shopping days left until Christmas. And approximately three seconds before he will need a trip to A & E. The end of Christmas. I repeat this phrase simply to luxuriate in it. Does it make me a misanthrope to enjoy the end of Christmas? (Sorry, I can’t help myself, I just have to keep saying it). Should I be sucking on a humbug as I contemplate it? Probably, if only to take away the taste of that bloody coffee cream.

“How was your Christmas?” people ask. This is the same type of question as “How are you?” – one asked purely as oil in the conversational machine, to grease the cogs of dialogue until you reach full speed. No one wants to really know how you are, about your piles, or your crappy boss, or your new car. Just as they don’t really want to know about your Christmas. “Great, thanks,” most people reply, before moving on to more weighty and fascinating topics such as how come Max Branning in Eastenders looks so much like a pissed off, new-born chick. Or, if you are a parent, the reply to the Christmas question will often be: “Oh, the kids loved it.”

Yes. The kids loved it. Of course they did. Because what is there not to love? You get a shit load of presents, get to eat crap between meals and go to bed a bit later just so you can cram in that extra few hours of staring moronically at the television. As many people tell me, Christmas is really for the kids. Is it? Because the last time I looked, Christmas appeared in my diary too and not just to remind me that there were loads of extra jobs that needed doing, like wrapping, putting up decorations and meal planning.

E was not well over Christmas. Viral tonsillitis, the doctor said on Christmas Eve, after we had waited an interminably long time to see her. I had phoned that morning to see if I could get E in front of someone who could tell me if I should take him to hospital or make him tidy his room, and was asked if I could come in, but did I know what day it was? Unfortunately, there was no prize when I guessed correctly, which I thought was a bit mean-spirited as it was Christmas Eve.  So there was nothing left to do but shove Calpol down his neck whenever he opened his mouth.

But it made a lovely start to Christmas, scraping vomit from the carpet and following him around with a sick bowl in a futile attempt to stop any other soft furnishings feeling the wrath of his stomach contents. Luckily, the sickness soon passed, leaving a very high temperature and a volatile temperament as a thank you note for the hospitality. Which was an interesting thing to cope with in the season of goodwill. Given that my parents were with us, and despite the fact that they have never, ever passed judgement on our children or our parenting style (not that we have a style, that sounds far too purposeful. We have more of a parenting lurch) I did not really want to be admonishing my son in front of an audience, even a sympathetic one. At first I tried the Hard Stare. Taking my lead from Paddington, if E misbehaved, I would fix him with a glare of Peruvian Bear proportions, which clearly communicated: If you don’t stop that now, you will be in trouble. Which of course, was about as effective as it sounds, so I moved to strategy number two: Whisper-shouting. On numerous occasions over Christmas when E would not go up to bed, or take a bath, or get out of the bath, or put his shoes on, or take them off, or stop poking me (I did say numerous) I would drag him into another room and whisper-shout a succession of scoldings and threats about loss of freshly unwrapped presents. I pretty much perfected the art of communicating a hundred decibel yell without actually executing one, and there was an interesting side effect of my words being punctuated with a little burst of spittle every now and then as I really got up a head of whisper shouting steam. I think I showered E into submission more than anything else.

I may have triumphed in the whisper-shouting stakes, but E certainly got his revenge at night, where a near 40 degree temperature meant he barely slept. Which meant that we barely slept as well. I did Christmas day on three hours sleep, which in itself is not terrible – it’s only when you haven’t had a decent night’s sleep for the previous four and a half years that it gets problematic. Cue much putting the milk back in the pan cupboard, mixing up my words, and starting to say something and then completely forgetting what…. It’s just as well I was not cooking the Christmas dinner. The state I was in, we’d have been eating turkey stuffed with a kitchen chair, or the cat stuffed with Lego. And that would have been interesting, as we don’t even have a cat.

And then there was B, who at nine months is desperate to get on the move, but as a Christmas trick manage to get up off his bum and onto his hands and knees, at which point he would rock back and forth like a slightly demented bear I once saw at a zoo whose incarceration had sent him doolally. We couldn’t leave him sitting on the floor, as he is prone to a spectacular over-balance and one incident of head butting the floorboards was probably enough. But pick him up, and it’s like trying to hold a bag of very angry, body-building ferrets in your arms. It’s exhausting.

Shortly after Christmas, I was busy on my phone with a work email. Or possibly Facebook, I can’t quite remember. E asked if I would play with him, but after a week of building stuff with him (please, someone buy my son a non-educational piece of crap that we can pull straight out the box and play with immediately, I am begging you) and zooming rockets around on my hands and knees I was utterly exhausted, and told him to go and find one of his Christmas presents to play with. He returned with a chopstick and an empty tissue box (which, just to clarify, were not presents) and played with them for over an hour. A chopstick and a tissue box? Now, I know the old adage about kids playing with the box that the present came in. ‘Ah, look at Jonny. How creative and endearing he is, he’s made a car out of the box that his very expensive present came in and he’s mummified his sister with the wrapping paper. Too cute.’ It’s not endearing or amusing. It’s sodding irritating. Maybe next year, I will wrap up the other chopstick so he has a pair. That’ll soon teach him to ignore his Christmas presents.

So. The end of Christmas. It felt like it was very nearly the end of my on a couple of occasions. So don’t mind me if I creep off to have a quick lie down. For about three hundred and thirty days.

Barely disguised laughter

The run-up to Christmas is aptly named: with a few days to go, you have to literally run from task to task to stand any chance in hell of getting everything done before the fat man in red squeezes down your chimney. The only time you stand still is in the Post Office queue. And if there is an activity (or inactivity) designed to drive you to the brink of madness, that is it. There you are, eyeing up each other’s parcels and letter stack to see which person you are most going to direct your hatred toward, tutting quietly at the person who has the audacity to be renewing their tax (which is NOT a Yuletide related activity, so please piss off out of this queue right now) and wondering if you would lose your place if you sat down in the photo booth for a few minutes, pulled the curtain and just sobbed quietly.

E and I are in the car, en route to nursery. I am already running through all the things that I need to do / get  / make / organise / slightly fuck up due to fatigue today, trying not to scream as on E’s insistence, we listen to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer ‘just one more time’.

“What do you want to leave out for Santa to eat?” I ask, thinking that would be one less thing to worry about on Christmas Eve when E may well need five spoons of Calpol to contain his excitement.

“Errr…” There is a very long pause. I hadn’t realised that I had asked such a difficult question.

“What about a chocolate biscuit?”

“No,” E replies emphatically, “Santa doesn’t like chocolate.” Well I’d like to know how he got so bloody fat then.

“So what does he like?”

“Vanilla.” Of course he does, how stupid of me not to know.

“So we could leave him a Custard Cream then?”

“But he won’t be able to eat it,” E replies. Santa seems to have got very sodding picky since I was a kid.


“Because he has a beard.” I really don’t have time for this.


“There’s no hole for his mouth.” A great spurt of laughter escapes from my mouth before I have a chance to stop it, so I disguise it as a sneeze-cough combo. It can’t be good for a child’s self-esteem, having your mother scream with laughter at you, so I do my best to compose myself. Because it is not as if that was the first time. A few weeks before this, I was picking up the boys from nursery. E was clambering into the car in the rain, slipped and did quite an impressive tumble backwards through a puddle, provoking immediate howls and tears. Quickly, I dumped B in his car seat and rescued E from the ground. He was muddy and wet but otherwise unharmed. He wailed some more, ramping up the volume just in case there was a parent approaching from the main road who had not yet heard him. All my knee-rubbing, hugging and words of comfort did nothing to appease him, probably because he couldn’t hear me above all that bloody crying. I was rapidly running out of ways to calm him down, and after an attempted round of face kisses, I realised with some desperation that I had used up my entire stock of empathy. The cupboard was bare, and full-on irritation was only a few more sobs away.

There we were, getting slowly soaked in the rain, and then B starts to cry as well, in some kind of sibling solidarity that would have been heartening if it were not so painful on the ear drums. I start to cajole… okay, push, E around to his side of the car to get him in. Other parents walk past, looking at the two howling children with concern. I smile through gritted teeth and roll my eyes in that ‘tsk, kids, eh?’ kind of way that really means ‘please let the ground swallow me up right now and force a colony of worms down my throat rather than be here a second longer’. E is putting up quite some resistance to my force, and as I wipe the rain from my eyes, I sense the anger and embarrassment rising as yet another mum gives me a look. And then, instead of that, I just started to giggle. I manage to get E into his car seat and by this time, I can hardly control the mirth. Whatever I do to try and stop it, I can’t stop laughing at the situation I am in and my two inconsolable children. As I lean over to buckle him in, E sees my face contorted with poorly concealed laughter. He looks up at me, eyes brimming with tears, his breath still jerky and uneven, bottom lip a-quiver, and asks: “Mummy, why are you laughing?” It seems that parental guilt stops laughter dead in its tracks, and we drove home in silence.

I think I may have managed to get away with laughing at his assertion that beards preclude eating and I explain that the beard grows around Santa’s mouth, leaving a hole just perfect for a Custard Cream.

“Why do crumbs get stuck in Santa’s beard but they don’t get stuck on my t shirt?” Stop it now. It’s not even eight o clock and you want me to explain the crumb-catching properties of one material over another? I open my mouth a few times, to see if I have an explanation to this knotty conundrum but alas, none is forthcoming. Luckily, E has already moved on by then.

“The sun is electric, isn’t it mummy?”

“Errr… no sweetie, it’s not electric. Just imagine how long the cable would have to be to plug it in.” I laugh and look at him in the rear view mirror, grinning. He stares back at me, stony-faced, unimpressed by both my laughter and the fact that I contradicted him.

“No mummy. You are wrong. It is electric. And bits of stars break off and go in the sun and burn.” He delivers his reply with the certainty of a Flat-Earther and for a moment I actually ponder if bits of stars really do break off and get burned by the sun. It is beginning to sound very plausible and no amount of thinking about it lessens my confusion. I glance at E again.

“They do,” he states and looks away with disdain. So in your face, mummy, with your poorly disguised laughter at my beard faux pas. I am the font of all sun-based facts.

It is not until I get home and I google it that I find out what the sun does actually burn. It isn’t stars, after all. I contemplated phoning nursery to tell him, but I feared he would only laugh in my face.