The wisdom of the almost four year old

So it’s bad news for so-called ‘Shy Tories’ out there…

Yes, if Charlotte Church finds you you’re toast!

Well as it turns out the Welsh warbler (and part-time protestor) isn’t the only one unhappy with last week’s unexpected General Election result. Mini-me wasn’t thrilled either.

In fact there were tears in the Neat Freak household.

Don’t worry she hasn’t formed an attachment to Ed Miliband – it was more a case of mistaken identity, or rather mistaken explanation.

‘Mummy, I thought Daddy was going to be the winner,’ she wept. ‘You said he was going to be running up and down the country. And… he can run very fast.’

It’s true that hubby can leg it at speed when he wants to – usually to the golf course, pub or telly if his beloved West Ham or on.

(Actually any kind of sport will do. Even obscure ice hockey games – or netball. Don’t ask.)

The ‘running up and down the country’ debacle though was purely down to my complete failure at attempting to explain the voting process to our almost four year old.

She’s a bright one Mini-me, so I thought she might catch on. I painstakingly explained on polling day that Mummy and Daddy had an important job to do.

We, and all the other grown-ups who cared, were going to put a cross on a piece of paper, and the person with the most crosses would get to run the country.


Nah, with hindsight even I think that was a bit of a rubbish effort. In fact I should just have done what a couple of friends did and take their pre-schoolers along to watch them vote.

Politics aside though, Mini-me’s advancing vocabulary, propensity for constant chatter and diva-like love of the spotlight has led to many amusing conversations recently.

And I’m loving the fact that, now she’s a little older and fascinated with anything and everything around her, we can chat away on all manner of topics.

Yes while Blue-eyed boy does his three-legged crawl and gnaws on ‘bedtime bear’, we’ve ‘chewed the fat’ many a time.

And also got our wires crossed many a time.

Take these ‘gems of conversational wizardry’ for example…

  • ‘Mummy, come on! We have to get to Granny and Grandad’s house for the Easter egg hunt. Easter Bunny is going to hide on their roof – he’ll get up there in his helicopter…’
  • ‘Mummy, were you and Daddy sad you didn’t have two babies at the same time like Corinne?’
  • ‘Mummy, did you know you have spots on your face?’
  • ‘NO MUMMY! Don’t put my baby brother in the washing machine!!!’ (This when she’d got the wrong end of the stick over me tossing poor bedtime bear in there…)

Yes… It seems as if we might have some way to go before she becomes the host of her own talk show.

Still, the other half is pleased.

At least a three year old thinks he’d rock at running the country…

Pondering on the politics of childcare

While I like to think I know what’s going on in the world I certainly wouldn’t call myself a ‘political animal’.

Although I do quite enjoy watching Question Time on a Thursday night – especially when someone like Kirstie Allsopp makes a guest appearance.

But with the General Election lumbering into view the issue of who and what to vote for is suddenly becoming more of a dilemma.

And after having been to the cinema to see Selma t’other night on a rare date outing with hubby, both of us agreed that abstaining just isn’t an option. Not when you consider what hardships other people went through just to be able to put a cross on a ballot paper.

Sorry this is all sounding rather serious isn’t it, but listening to a lively discussion about the soaring costs of childcare yesterday morning on Woman’s Hour (yes, am sad and ageing) only underlined for me that this could well be the issue that swings my vote.

As an ‘always under it’ working mum it constantly amazes me just how much stress, juggling and expense we have to go to in order to simply go about our daily profession.

Yes it’s a choice you make to go to back to work, but when you consider that the Government wants us to return to the daily grind but there’s been a whopping 27 per cent increase in childcare costs in the UK over the last five years (according to the Family and Childcare Trust) it’s no wonder that so many women are actually wondering whether it’s all really worth it.

Now I’m fortunate enough to love my job so much that sometimes I’d happily write for free, but let’s face it that’s just rubbish economics.

Plus when I spoke to a top educational psychologist a few years back for a feature on pre-schools, she insisted that sending your kids to some kind of formal day care setting before primary school is hugely beneficial to them developing good communication and negotiating skills and independence.

So frankly it should pay not only for you to work, if you want to that is, but also for them to go to nursery.

The worrying part about all this is that it’s Labour that has pledged to extend free childcare for three and four year olds from 15 to 25 hours per work.

Not worrying in the sense of supporting this policy you understand, but HUGELY concerning that this would mean actually voting for Ed Miliband to be Prime Minister.

This is after all a man who manages to look uneasy and a little surprised no matter what he’s doing and who, to be blunt, I wouldn’t trust to run a bath, never mind the country.

I mean come on, even Declan Donnelly says he can’t picture him as PM.

Have always had something of a crush on Dec. Hubby also used to get mistaken for him when he was younger and once fraudulently signed an autograph as Dec whilst on a cross channel ferry. I know, shocking behaviour!

Now he gets mistaken for Richard Hammond which massively irritates him and amuses the rest of us. Not that I’m going off on a tangent here or anything…

So getting back to the childcare issue, this is surely going to be one of the biggest factors in any or all of the parties winning women’s and family votes in 2015.

And what I’d like to know is which of them will really be putting the money where their mouth is…