Handy hints for young mothers who want to read the paper

Today I am pretending to be a Mommy blogger.  This means that, not only am I pretending to be a young mother blogging about life with kids, but I am also pretending to be American, because Brits don't say 'mommy'.  I think we should.  Firstly, I think it sounds good, and secondly, imagine how irritating it must be, when browsing the Internet, to find advice on breastfeeding when what you really wanted was this ...

Anyhow, I would like to share with you a handy hint on how to keep little children occupied without bankrupting yourself in the toy shop on all that coloured plastic which, whatever way you look at it, isn't going to match your cream leather sofa.  This method worked for me when I was a young mother which is a few years ago now quite a while ago now a long time ago just after the Normans invaded the British Isles.

When our kids were young, they had a high chair with a tray, like this ... *slope off to Google to find pictures of high chairs*


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!  

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!  Yeah, that's right.  Put the entertaining bit BEHIND the baby!
Ha ha ha oh my sides are hurting ha ha ha ha hoo hoo ha ha ha!

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes. We used to put our kids in a highchair like this .. 

*Google 'Furniture for the Medieval Child' to find picture of chair like we used to have*

At last! A nice, sensible chair with a nice, sensible baby in it. Do you know how long it's taken me to find this?!  Ten minutes, once I'd trawled through chairs-for-babies-to-fall-out-of, chairs-with-bits-you-can't-wash-sick-out-of and chairs-with-trays-with-no-edges-dur-brain!

Right. Here's my tip. My 19 year old daughter was horrified yesterday when I reminded her that this was how I kept her occupied. I may as well have said, 'We used to put you in the middle of the road and tell you to play with the white lines'. But it kept her busy for hours.

Fun with sticky tape

1. Take a roll of the type of sticky tape which is very light on its stick, if you know what I mean, the type that's no good for wrapping parcels and isn't going to deprive your baby of its top epidermal layer.

2. Cut the tape into short pieces (best not let Baby help with this bit) and stick them all around the edge of the highchair tray.

3. Show Baby how to unstick one and stick it onto its forehead, then unstick it, then stick it back on the tray, then unstick it, then stick it onto its head, then unstick another piece, and stick that on its arm ...

4. Once Baby has mastered the general technique, go and read the paper.

Other games our children played while strapped in their highchairs ...

1. How long does it take to get two yoghurt pots off your hands?

2. How long does it take to pick up and eat seventy-five peas, especially when they're stuck to the tray with syrup?

3. If I am dressed in three hats, four pairs of gloves and a fourteen-feet-long scarf, how long will it take me to undress?

It's okay. Don't call the authorities. The last three were jokes.

But not bad ideas if you're desperate .....


  1. Am I glad I don't need this advice!

  2. Fran, you should take the 'sticky tape' idea on Dragons den and look for 100k to market it.

    Great post, I didnt have a high chair, there were seven of us and I think we just stood on peoples' shoulders and then fought over who got a chance to sleep in a drawer as we didn't have cots either.

    Dont tell my husband cos he tires of my 'Angelas Ashes' stories and goes all Monty Python' on me about licking stones etc.

    Thanks for the great laugh yet again, my daughter read your blog with me the other night and she loved your duvay story.

  3. That was well funny you loon! You are a master of coming up with hilarious search results for mundane things. I liked the high chair results, but the thing that made me laugh my head off was the mummy pic!! Inspired madam

  4. These were great baby hint, but I am spending the weekend with my granddaughters ages 3 and 5. Got any hints for the older kiddies? I've already introduced them to playing statue...where Nana yells statue and they freeze and stay still as long as possible. Unfortunately, they're not very good at this game yet!

  5. So funny.

    I quite fancy playing the sticky tape game myself. Like a game of Exfoliation. With heavy duty tape:-)

  6. You are a genius (I may have said this before, my short term memory is not helped by the champagne, well cava actually but you get the idea). Now have 8 month old grandson who I think will love the sticky tape game. However have 4 and a half year old here tonight. Any emergency tips for the morning?

  7. Oh, where were you when I was a young mommy. (Well, at school, actually. How depressing.)

    The only snag about the peas, as I remember, is that they came out the other end entirely unscathed into the nappy. But maybe the syrup would have helped dissolve them if I'd thought of that.

  8. Anonymous22/8/10 21:50

    Over here we don't have high chairs. We just suspend our offspring from trees until they learn to climb down. Then we know that they're strong enough to go hunting - a bone through the nose and a spear in their hand, and off they go. What's all the fuss about?

    All the best, Boonie
    PS: Very enjoyable post. Thanks.

  9. Forget Jo Frost - you are supernanny! I'm gonna try all of these!

  10. I don't know whether I'm laughing most at your post or Brigid's comment.

    Any tips for teenage sons?


  11. Friko - you may not need it yourself, but pass it on, pass it on.

    Brigid - tell your husband he's a cad. I wept at your Angela Ashes stories.

    Annie - thanks. The day I discovered Google Images I knew how Captain Cook must have felt.

    Nana - another good one is Sleeping Lions. You tell them that if they don't have a three hour sleep, a lion will get them.

    Lane - that is such an inspired idea. Groups of women could do this together as an alternative to going out for coffee.

    Elizabethm - try Sleeping Lions as above, but there's also 'Playing Prisons', 'Hunt the Dust Mite' and 'Find Granny a Real Fairy at the Bottom of the Garden'. This should produce hours of innocent fun.

    Isabelle - Don't talk to me about undigestables. I remember the Husband calling downstairs, 'I'm just changing her nappy. Any use for some secondhand sweetcorn?' Oh, yuk.

    Whispering Writer - good! That's the idea!

    Boonie - thanks for your comment .. all kinds of ideas for new games there, folks.

    Steve - You are giving me ideas here ... I think a spoof SuperNanny is an idea with legs.

    Bluestocking Mum - ah, teenagers. I'm afraid that's where the tables are turned and they are the ones with the ideas for games to keep them quiet, usually 'You give me money, I stay overnight with disreputable friends'.

  12. Gee, I dunno....I thought the yogurt cups was a good idea...

  13. Very funny - and reminded me of a trick I was given once to get a baby to stop whining, wriggling, gurning while you are trying to take its photograph - just pop a bit of clear sticky tape on one of its fingertips, and you get a really cute engrossed-looking baby picture.

    But, being Very Old, I can remember wooden high chairs that sort of bent at the waist (trapping Mommy's fingers in the hinges) and became a low chair and table. And wooden playpens - now THEY were handy! A kind of benign baby-cage.....

  14. June - It is, it is. Actually, when they're teenagers, you can swap to the giant yogurt pots in order to stop them from stealing food from the fridge.

    Rachel - You mean, you mean, it was the BABY who was supposed to sit in the playpen? Gosh, I spent so many lovely peaceful hours sitting in there while Baby roamed the house having a wonderful time.

  15. Well I survived that phase...she's 14 now and in high school. Will the sticky tape work on her PMS mood swings? No? Drat.

    Fun post, as always, Fran. :)

  16. Fran, this was your most amusing post ever, from the temerity of pretending to be so earnest a thing as a Mommy Blogger right through the white lines to those fabulous entertainment ideas. I'd like to leave a respectful chocolate eclair by your front door and creep shyly away.

  17. Lola - Yeah, I guess you're right. It's probably not the best idea to say, 'Here, darling, I know you're feeling hormonal and everything ... have you tried playing with a roll of sticky tape to relieve the tension?'

    Mise - please, please, leave as many chocolate eclairs as you like. But don't leave them at the front door - knock until I come and you can hand them to me directly. I'd hate to miss out.

  18. I love the way the comments/replies have almost turned into a viable post in their own right - or should that be 'write'?!

  19. Hahaha! And how did you children turn out? :)

    When I was young I was obsessed with plasters. I used to stick them all over the place - hours of entertainment.

  20. oh god. just snorting with laughter here....(not a good look OR sound)...was going to respond to your post on mine (but can now SEE with my own two eyes the effects that school hat had on you...)
    I'd sue and ask for the cost of Very Expensive Therapy. :)

  21. I loved Sleeping Lions! You mean it was all just a ploy to get us to be quiet? But... but... *lower lip wibbles*

    I am a bit disturbed by those images of high chairs. Is that what the modern baby sits in? Maybe they are stuck there with velcro.

  22. I love this! Especially the book reviews. Are you on Twitter?

  23. Fantastic. Like Rachel, I used to have a wooden 'child catcher' playpen for my daughter. I don't think they sell them now; people just take their children to Starbucks and let other people watch them.

    OK. I'm following yr blog now.

  24. Jinsky - I love it when the comments have a life of their own. My daughter says she checks my blog just to read the comments (I try not to be hurt by that). Hi, Anna!

    Talli - YES! Of course, plasters! What a brilliant idea.

    ExmoorJane - did you realise that the acronym for Very Expensive Therapy is VET? What are you trying to say?

    Yvonne - no, at present, I am a Twitter-free zone. I have an addictive personality and don't need any more vices. I also have difficulty saying anything that short. They don't call me Motormouth for nothing.

    Helen - Loved your Starbucks comment. You are so right. Welcome to MeLand.

  25. Darn it...get on Twitter, woman! I posted a link to your blog and you already have a tweet-fanclub... yeah, sure it's addictive but it's cheaper than gin.

  26. Exmoorjane - Ah, yes, but the gin I drink is really, really cheap. Oh, heck. Maybe that's the cleaning fluid I drink, not the gin.

  27. A sheet of brown paper was all I ever gave the Banshee and Small Boy.

    It made a hugely satisfying crackling sound and later could be used to wrap up a sibling.

  28. Moptop - Yum. Wrapped sibling in crackling brown paper. Sounds great. With a dribble of purple jus?

  29. Hi! This is so funny- Brigid sent me a link to this post - glad she did, wish I had known that sticky tape tip years ago! I've a lot of empathy for you high chair search, I made the mistake of looking for a "banging on the ceiling" image (literary related post I assure you!)

  30. I suddenly got all nostalgic about the enormous clay pot full of pennies , saved for the missions , that my grandmother used to let me count , stack and return to the pot . Many a happy afternoon was spent , reeking of grubby old copper coins .
    Almost as much fun as polishing the lino floors , "skating" around in Grandpa's old socks .

  31. Words a Day - nice to meet you! I love the idea of someone googling 'banging on the ceiling'! Don't you just love the Internet for things like that?

    SmitandSon - Love the coins story. I had my mum's tin of buttons to 'sort'. But I never got to polish a floor in socks. I feel deprived now.

  32. Is it too late to ask that you also use the word cozy instead of cosy, because it's cozier? I'm going to. I caught it from the American blogs.

  33. Lucille - I am allergic to 'z' in words. Sorry. How can you say it's cosier? Zs are cold, heartless letters. Ss are good old British sit-by-the-fire-and-eat-scones letters.


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