Thursday, February 18, 2016

How to parent with spoons.

Don’t worry it isn’t what you think.

The Boy was having a small tantrum.

‘Don’t want the TV go off.’
‘But we agreed, you got two Pocoyos and then off.’
‘You’re angry I can see.’
‘Do you want to go a calm down in your room?’

He throws a pillow. It thumps against the armchair.

‘I’m going to go into the kitchen – to make breakfast.’

Yeah I know - breakfast. TV before breakfast. I KNOW. I go into the kitchen and start tidying up. He comes to the door, fists clenched, face a picture of thwartadom.


I’m emptying the cutlery drainer into the draw. I pick up a spoon. It’s not one we usually use. It is bigger than a normal spoon but not as big as serving spoon. It is a funny kinda old spoon shaped a bit like a shovel.

‘Oh. Look at this spoon.’

I hold it out to him.

‘Spoon?’ he says. He takes a step into the kitchen, looking at said spoon.

‘Which draw should it go in? It’s bigger than these cereal spoons in this draw, but smaller than these big serving spoons and wooden spoon in this draw. So I’m not sure…’

He comes over to me, looks down at the spoon and up at me as if I am surely demented.

‘That one.’ He says pointing at the serving spoon draw.
‘Right I’ll put it there then.’
‘No, want it.’
'Ask nicely please.'

He does and then takes the spoon and flashes a smile at me. TV and tantrum forgotten as he goes about his fine little three-and-three-quarters-year-old business in the other room.

Back of the net. Got this parenting lark sorted.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Yoghurt of Mass Destruction

It is a beautiful calm moment in the hectic rush of the weekly grocery shop. The Norwegian is out at a head wetting getting - I hoped- suitably drunk. I had decided to improve the shinning hour by getting the weekly shop done. Brownie points all round.

I manage well, getting bananas, plums and coriander from greengrocers, corn-fed, happy chicken thighs and gourmet sausages from the butchers, a nice dry Riesling from the bottle shop, and loo roll and milk from the supermarket. The Boy behaves marvellously throughout so I decide to go to the little cafe and get myself a cuppa and The Boy a blueberry smoothie.

All is going well, the smoothie has gone down a treat, while I sip tea and flick through an 18-month old copy of In Style Magazine.  I realise the magazine is older than my son and have a little laugh to myself. The Boy starts to squawk a bit.

Hungry, I think. I bet he is probably hungry. So I rifle through my supply of snacks (aka food-based bribes) and choose a yoghurt pouch.  A handy little healthy snack - I think.  Though I did remind myself to be careful as The Boy sometimes throws these pouches and can make a bit of a mess.

But he slurps away quite happily and lulled into a false sense of security I flick over another page of the magazine to discover that the way to hide a boyish frame is to find a bikini with frills.Nice to know.

I look up and see The Boy has gripped the yoghurt pouch tightly in one fist which he has pulled back far behind his head. His mouth is set into a line of grim determination.

'Nooooooo' I cry and reach ineffectually for his hand. But before I get there, as if in slow motion, he flings his arm forward still holding onto the pouch. I look behind me. A four meter long arc of yoghurt is splattered along the wall, sofa, and a series of tasteful framed photos.

I stare for a moment hoping that the yoghurt won't stain the sofa, or the wallpaper when I hear,

'Oh no! I'm totally covered in yoghurt.'

I look up to see a middle-aged man sitting at the tail end of the yoghurt arc, looking down at himself with an expression of horror.

He was not amused.

The Boy I, Mama 0.

Monday, April 29, 2013

When should you judge a book by its cover?

If you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, then what the hell should you judge it by? The blurb? The title? The author photograph? I know, I know – the saying is about not judging a person by their looks, but having a good cover can make or break a book. Or so I've heard. This is all new to me.

When I was writing the design brief for Day Six I did some research on covers I like. And here they are. I got most of them from the now sadly defunct blog Book Design

What covers designed to you like? What makes a book jump out at you from the bookshelf?


Monday, April 15, 2013

Subtitle, Subtitle by Kingdom for a Subtitle

I think my book, Day Six, needs a subtitle. And now I've done the research I'd say it is pretty much essential. A good subtitle can really sell a book, especially when the actual title isn't that informative, like say Day Six.

Paul McCarthy in his article Compelling Titles and Subtitles  says that the title and subtitle are the most important words that an author will write. No pressure then.

I thought I'd look around at other subtitles and see what sort of thing authors come up with. Here are two of my favourites...

One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw.
A good pun is so pleasing. You know this isn't going to be a dry, scientific-jargon riddled yawn-fest because of the use of humour in the pun and the words 'Natural History.' He could have gone for the workaday History of the Screwdriver and the Screw. I wonder how well that would have sold? 

How Many Camels Are There in Holland?: Dementia, Ma and Me.
Again the wry humour is pleasing to the reader. Even though dementia is a devastating illness, the humour is gentle enough to still be respectful to the topic. This author is quirky and interesting, and has the strength of character to find the humour in difficult circumstances. You know this isn't going to be a depressing read. It might even be uplifting. Also the 'Ma and Me' gives a relaxed informality and a feeling that the reader will be included in the inner workings of an interesting mother and daughter relationship.

But back to Day Six. Here are the options I've come up with so far. None of them jump out at me.

Day Six; of motherhood and madness (a bit to similar to Hill Billy Gothic)
Day Six; the story of one of the toughest start to motherhood there is
Day Six; through motherhood, madness, hell and back
Day Six; babies, bottles and madness
Day Six; tears and trials of a mentally ill mum
Day Six; my road through pyschosis, depression and motherhood
Day Six; from hallucinations to health with my newborn baby
Day Six; surviving becoming a mum and loosing my mind
Day Six; how I became a mother and lost my mind
Day Six; gaining a baby but losing my mind
Day Six; a story of birth, psychosis and depression
Day Six; how to survive birth, psychosis and depression
Day Six; baby plus me equals insanity
Day Six; when the baby blues go bad

What about changing the title?

Am I Cameron Diaz; when motherhood and madness collide
I'm going to cure cerebral palsy. With dental floss; becoming a mum and losing my mind
I can control dogs with my mind; my mind bending motherhood journey. 

Which do you like best? Do you have any other suggestions?

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I need to write a synposis of my book DaySix for my publishers.

How does this sound?

Day Six  is story of one of the roughest introductions to motherhood you can imagine. Jen Wight breaks the taboo around mental ill health to honestly recount her experience of developing post partum psychosis and then severe post natal depression. She tells the tales of being convinced she was Cameron Diaz; that she and Obama were going to use FaceBook to save the world; and that she was going to cure cerebral palsy with dental floss.

One scary night she experiences regressing back through her 'past lives' to become a sixties housewife, an aboriginal women living when Cook first sailed through The Heads into Sydney Harbour, and finally the first chimpanzee to communicate with words. 

And it all started on Day Six of her son's life.

She uses her experiences to explore her relationship with her sister who has schizophrenia and to illustrate that while mental illness can be devastating, there is hope that things can get better.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Words with Foes

Ever the late adopter I have recently got into Words with Friends. And when I say got into I mean TOTALLY f'in addicted.

I play with two friends in London, one in Cambridge, one in Bristol, one in LA and two in Sydney. So at various times of the day and night I get the delightful ping and rush to my iPAD to see what dastardly words my global community of scrabble heads have come up with now.

Who's the best? Well the one in Cambridge obviously. It is the town of the clever people dummy. She doesn't use lots of fancy words but seems to always be able to land on the triple word score whenever my back is turned. The next best is one of my London friends. He comes up with the most obscure words. I sometimes wonder if he just sits there trying out all the possible combinations until WWFs eventually gives in and says yes.

This game, our first, he's come up with Feria (Latin for "free day" was a day on which people, especially slaves, were not obliged to work) and then in a fiendish move added an e at the end to create Feriae (which is just another way of spelling Feria.) He then used the e for the word cate (n. Archaic A choice or dainty food; a delicacy) landing the C (four points) on a triple letter.

He is a writer and editor and has a brain almost the size of a planet, but when my friend at work Jarred told me about an app you can get which gives you all the possible answers, I began to wonder. Jarred said he wished he'd never got into that app because it takes all the fun out of the game. He doesn't play any more.

I think it is good to play with a range of people. You can learn from those better than you as they reveal the tricks of the scrabble trade and you learn all the two letter words like mu (twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet), di (meaning two, twice or double), er (an ancient people inhabiting parts of what are now northern Armenia, northeast Turkey, southern Georgia, and northwest Azerbaijan) and qi (or chi the circulating life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things). And you never know when these words might come in handy in general life.

You can tussle with those on a par with you as you race for the end of the game with barely more than a few points between you. And you can beat those worse than you – always an ego boost. That being said, I'm worse or on a par with all the people I play with so I'm missing out on the ego boost. I'll just have to walk past more constructions sites.

So I'm learning new words and exercising my brain, but no doubt I'm addicted to a computer game. Is that going to be a bad thing?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Between 30 Rock and a hard place

I was shocked and horrified to hear on Radio National the other night that the wonderful and marvellous 30 Rock's finale show was being pitted against The Big Bang Theory, and that it might not win. The thought of anybody preferring BBT to 30R makes me thing some people just aint wired right.

How you could prefer Sheldon to Kenneth, Raj to Tracey or Penny to Liz?

I think BBT is mildly amusing and will watch it when I've got nothing better to do.

That reminds me I must get to the library to get something better to do.