Where’s The Volume Control?

August 20, 2007 at 2:31 pm 2 comments


Where’s The Volume Control?

 Where is the volume control knob on kids? C and I do not have any kids, apart from the fur baby, Maslow the cat. But we do appreciate the kids of our friends and family. We have been very fortunate to see all of our friends’ kids grow from babies.

We recently stayed for the weekend with my best mate, E, and his family. He has one daughter, R, who is five; one son, J, who is three; and, a new baby daughter, A, who is just nine months old. She has that lovely smell that only babies have. They are all adorable. But, they are all so noisy. Adorable and noisy. How can something so small generate so much volume.

We had an hour or two after arrival having a “grown up” chat with E, catching up on old times and then meeting baby A for the first time, after she had woken up. She was great fun. She is very sociable and used to being passed around between adults, due to the fact, unfortunately, that she has spent an awful lot of time in hospital. She is a lot better now though, thankfully. We spent a pleasant hour or so getting to know her – cuddles, playing hide-and-seek, dutifully picking up the things she had dropped, and taking her for a walk in the new three-wheeler buggy. A three-wheeler buggy. Apparently they are so much better for off-road walking! I’m afraid that E, Barnsley-born and bred, is sliding gracefully into the middle classes. He retains his social conscience though, picking up any litter he finds in the streets, and, rescuing “useful” things that have been discarded in neighbours skips. You can take the boy out of Barnsley, but……..

And then, mom returned with the other two kids. It was as if a tornado had swept through the house. An adorable tornado though. An adorable, incredibly noisy tornado. Admittedly, they were probably high on e-numbers, having just returned from a kiddies’ party, clutching their goody bags in sticky little hands. Apparently, J is at that age when little boys get a rush of testosterone. Well, it showed. The next couple of hours involved J running around laughing and shouting gleefully at all the attention he was receiving, bashing everyone with the balloon he had brought back from the party. He was not quiet. For those of you familiar with the spoof rock classic, Spinal Tap, J’s volume control definitely goes up to eleven!

Actually, we had a great time. J and I built flying monsters out of K’Nex, while C helped little R colour in some fairies that would subsequently be turned into badges and fridge magnets. R is big into fairies at the moment. She’s a proper little princess. These kids both have really great manners and wonderful imaginations, and, it is a pleasure to spend time with them without the necessity of batteries. Toys without batteries seem to be very rare these days. In any case, they are quite capable of providing their own sound effects.

For those of us without kids, it is hard to explain to those of you who have, how loud children can be. Parents seem to have an amazing skill at blocking this sound out. It washes over them. But, if one of the kids so much as misses a breath in the middle of the night, both parents would be wide awake and by their side in a second. They didn’t miss a breath as it happened, but all three kids did have a cough. They coughed through the night until it was time to get up and play. Time to make more noise.

This reminded me of the time I baby sat for the neighbours’ three year old boy. Michael was also adorable. He was cute. He was like a cartoon boy with a big head, big eyes, and a mop of brown hair that could never fully be stuck down successfully. He could have advertised Bisto. He was an outdoor kid and would spend hours in the garden with just his vivid imagination for company. He collected worms, newts and snails. He let the snails play on his slide……or should that be a roll? He loved to plant herbs with C in our garden. He would water them and come to visit often to see how much they had grown. On one occasion he touched some wild garlic and then smelled his fingers. He declared: “It smells like burps!”. Such wisdom.

Anyhow, I had never babysat before. I was a tad nervous, especially about the “toilet things”. Moms in the office spent the day reassuring me that three year olds were normally toilet trained. This was reassuring because I had Michael all to myself for about three hours as C was working late that night. His mom brought Michael round just before they left for their night at the ballet (in Crewe?). “He’s just been to the loo so he’ll just need his teeth cleaning and a wee before bed.” said mom. That was reassuring.

Mom left. A fort was constructed out of the cushions off the sofa and our lounge soon turned into a scene reminiscent of a bomb going off in Toys R’Us. And, just five minutes later, little Michael declared, “I need the loo!” and set off upstairs. He always made himself at home. I wasn’t worried until I heard a little cry from upstairs: “D, I keep falling in!”. His little bum was too small for our toilet seat. And, so it began!

I had to hold Michael over the loo as he did his number twos. How could such a cute little boy produce such a horrible smell! It was clearly hard work. Michael was straining as if he was giving birth to a baby elephant. His teeth were clenched and he was turning red in the face through his exertions. The smell got worse. The noise was incredible. He was pebble-dashing the bowl. It was quite horrible. I began to retch. Fortunately I kept the contents of my stomach to myself. Things could not get worse.

Then things got worse. Michael finished. Michael skipped off the toilet, turned his back to me, bent over and touched his toes. I had to wipe his bum. Yeuch! I hope I never have to get that close to another human being in my life. My hat goes off to all those parents, nurses and other carers out there for which this is a common occurrence. Maslow’s litter tray is about my limit.

C thought all this was hilarious when she got home. Mind you her timing was perfect that night. I had the toilet experience. I then spent the next couple of hours keeping Michael entertained and tiring him out. Tiring him out!? I was exhausted. C arrived just in time for teeth cleaning, which he managed to do himself, and to read him a bed-time story…..Fair-weather babysitting if you ask me.

Adorable. Hard work but adorable. Noisy but adorable. To all my friends and family with kids, the utmost respect. We love them all. We especially love the way you take them back when we have finished playing. See you all soon. xx


Entry filed under: Cautionary Tales, humour, middleman. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

My Neighbours – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Part 2 Let’s Be Careful Out There!

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Shen-Li  |  February 12, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Hahaha… I love the way you wrote this!

    The toilet part reminds me of the time we baby-sat my hubby’s god daughter. I was pregnant at the time and we thought it would be good practice for when our son was born…

    Hubby’s god daughter was NOT toilet trained. According to her parents, she wouldn’t need a diaper change until they got back and they had her in those pull-up diapers.

    Hubby’s god daughter is the most precious and beautiful little girl I’ve ever laid eyes on. She looks so angelic with those big, brown eyes, and wavy hair. Hubby brought her up to our room to crawl on our bed while he played PS3 downstairs with one of his mates.

    I was quite far along in the pregnancy and often needed naps by that time. I had just woken up and was playing with her on the bed when I smelt something suspicious. I took her downstairs and asked the hubby for the diaper bag.

    He asked me, “Are you sure? I thought PL said she wouldn’t need a change until they got back?”

    And when he came near, he realised that there was no question about it. So there was three adults (hubby’s friend was enlisted to help out, although I’m sure he would have opted not to had he been given a choice) who had never changed a diaper in their lives trying to figure out how to remove a pull-up diaper on a wriggling toddler filled with chocolate pebbles.

    By the time we were done, there was poop on the floor and on the changing mat and the little angel was crawling away to leave us with the mess to clean up. If we thought the smell was bad before the diaper came off, boy were we in for a “treat”… I think hubby’s friend said it quite aptly, “How can something that looks so angelic create such a terrible smell?”


  • 2. Middle Man  |  February 13, 2009 at 11:13 am


    Many thanks for sharing. Great story. It is a shame that they don’t come with user manuals isn’t it?

    Godchildren are a blessing aren’t they – have you seen this:





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