Mum About Town

Emma is a freelance writer, lifestyle blogger and online marketer. When she’s not writing, she gets down with her Smalls, bigs-it-up with Him and swans around London reporting for her blog.

Our sense of humour

Posted by Mum About Town
Mum About Town
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on Monday, 07 September 2015
What really tickles you? And your Smalls? Do you laugh at one and the same - or are you mostly amused by each other's presence? I only ask because, after 8 weeks of living in close quarters, I'm a little overly finely tuned into our family sense of humour ... as well as (occasional) lack of...

My first observation is that only the most curious will make us all laugh simultaneously. This could be an air steward with a high-pitched voice, any food ordering miscommunication and absolutely includes any cheeky queue barge.

More often than perhaps we should, the three of us tend to find Him pretty amusing. Over zealous sun cream application, temporarily hiding his 'precious' sunglasses and the way he deal with intense heat can have us rolling in the aisles.

Small, in contrast, isn't so keen to be the butt of any joke, which brings me conveniently onto the geek that is Mr Bean. One of the most successful British cultural exports ever, this character is a real divider in our family. The males find him sidesplittingly hilarious, particular Small whose uncontrollable laughter can be heard in the next street. Mini and I feel utterly stressed out by this hapless, awkward, self-conscious, childlike, disaster-prone weirdo.

Last weekend we tried our hand at Mrs Doubtfire. I'd actually forgotten just how funny Robin Williams is when his first-time boobs ignite. Again, the Smalls were divided. Mini couldn't quite see past the male-female conversion to find any of the film the least bit amusing. Small is still giggling in his bedroom when he remembers certain episodes.

The bottom line is that finding life amusing is more important than I think we all realize. It binds and reassures us to know that we were, at that moment, on exactly the same page. Bearing in mind the strains, stresses and lack of comic moments in everyday life, I think we ought to take laughter that bit more seriously.

Imagination versus knowledge?

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 24 August 2015
For those who don't follow my blog, I should explain that we've been doing a little globetrotting. If I'm totally honest, it hasn't really been the backpacking + hostel-type of roaming. But there's little more that He and I adore more than showing our Smalls the world-at-large and so this year we tackled parts of Asia.

But this isn't a travel journal post; I'm simply making the point that having just spent a fortnight 24/7 in close proximity (mostly sharing a room) with my tribe, I have plenty of blog fodder for the rest of the year, and beyond.

Mealtimes, long journeys, early mornings, lights out, on the beach and all the bits in between have meant we could delve a bit deeper in our chit chat than manic London life allows.

During one particular meal, Small asked if we thought that imagination was more important than knowledge? I almost choked on my coconut juice as this boy's random thought process throws me every time. And so the debate was opened: I was interested that my Him thought that knowledge was always king as it gives you the power to know how. I disagreed (of course) stating that, within reason, knowledge can be acquired and yet imagination is harder to come by. Surely imagination must be life's differentiator, I ranted on.

But I soon realized why Small was asking this question. He's pretty confident that his vivid imagination is all he needs to get by. I quickly swayed my reasoning and set him on the straight and narrow; there are too many school years for us all to get through...

And I was once more reminded that these discussions (whether or not they are on a sandy beach) are precious and valuable and the essence of family life.

Parental supervision…

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 27 July 2015
I remember my first holiday without my parents as if it was yesterday. Aged 16¾ , I ventured around Israel with a rebellious youth group. The memories, friendships and a few of those piercings from that momentous adventure still remain. But it is the feeling of that thrilling freedom that reminds me most of the trip.

Thirty odd years later, more accurately since Smalls entered our lives, and I now have no issue with the odd parental supervised holiday. Not only do I enjoy their (sometimes quirky) company, I am endless indebted to anyone who can lend me a child-rearing hand whilst feeding me with home cooked (as well as restaurant) treats, washing all of our clothes and allowing me limitless sleep.

So, at the start of each summer I put 'real life' on hold and three generations escape to an undiscovered (by us) part of the UK. For one week, I properly reset my on/off button. Catching up with their news, aches/pains and political thoughts, I also really relish observing the Smalls enjoying their company too. The whole trip feels properly precious.

This week we pressed flowers, walked in the rain, read books and ate a certain number of roast chickens. Story telling always features high at Yablon mealtimes. Tales of my youth, our ancestors and some amusing recounting (from all age groups) of 'what happened when' regularly reduce us all into full flow giggles.

Last year Camber Sands, this year Lake Windermere. Who knows where next year – let's just hope we're all still together and laughing.

Internet Free

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 20 July 2015
I've always wanted to holiday somewhere remote with no Internet access. But never bitten the bullet nor been actually brave enough to subject my nearest and dearest to such a 'hardship'. However sometimes fate is written in the sky and so today we have arrived in a remote part of the Lake District to find that a recent storm has destroyed the rental cottage's connection to the world wide web.

So basically I'm jumping up and down with glee. It's my dream come true... in a curious sort of 'need to do this before I die' way. One whole week with no emailing, googling and tweeting. He might as well leave his iPad in its case and forget Bloomberg, Sky News and the cricket score. Mini can't email her friends and Small can't drum up those infinite word searches (his latest obsession). Plus we're on holiday with Lord and Lady Y too. Lord Y is talking about writing emails offline and walking his laptop down to the local pub to press SEND.

We don't even know what the weather will be like tomorrow. (Better not to know if it's back-to-back rain anyway). Emails from the tail end of Friday's workday are falling on deaf in-boxes. There is no functioning TV and even the phone reception is non existent so there's no way of knowing if anyone might be trying to get hold of any of us.

But all three generations are embracing this social experiment. Besides, we have tea, chocolate, a Roberts radio and a football. Nothing else is needed when holidaying in England. Not least Internet access.

Are they our future?

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Friday, 10 July 2015
I’m generally an optimistic person. I tend to believe that everything will work out for the best unless the evidence is overwhelmingly to the contrary. But some of the ‘modern parenting’ I have witnessed recently is seriously alarming me, and could even suggest a serious crisis on our hands.

I think most of it boils down to a parenting fear of offspring. The mother who turns up at the school gates with a choice of snack, unsure which one little Peter might want after his long, trying day. I watched as Peter reprimanded his mother. Both sugary alternatives were wrong. She lowered her head, apologizing to this 6 year old tyrant.

The bar is continually lowered, when the brats misbehave. Whether it’s a public outburst or private surliness, the adults shrug their shoulders as if to say, ‘That’s kids for you!’ But of course it doesn’t have to be. These minors need manners and a little self-control, basically nothing a table clearing, bed making or even car cleaning couldn’t sort out. The only reason they tantrum (past the age of 3) is because they are being allowed to.

Before I appear smug, nanny-know-it-all and horribly preachy, one final example of this certain tribe of the next generation. In the playground last week, one of (9 year old) Small’s friends was slapped across the face by a boy 3 years his junior. The incident was completely unprovoked and a shock to the older boys. However much the authorities tried to ensure this boy apologized, he failed. Is this normal? At all acceptable? Simply attention-seeking ploy? I have no idea any more but, at the every least, seems to me to be a worrying sign of the times.


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