Wednesday, August 17, 2005

While the cat's away...

I haven't blogged for a week and I'm starting to feel guilty. Some friends have already commented that this site is becoming 'too Jewish' (you can take the girl out of the ghetto…) - if I now introduce an element of guilt as well, they'll hit the roof.

So, a quick update. Scrappino is still with my folks by the sea-side and I am still making the most of being childfree. I've been to the theatre ("Tom, Dick and Harry" at the Duke of Yorks - dreadful, since you ask) and the ballet. Again. Where Adam Cooper is concerned, once is not enough. And I've met up with friends for that elusive drink that never seems to happen when you're juggling work and home and kids and everything else.

Being child-free has been a revelation. I didn't work before Scrappino was born and so juggling work and parenting is all I've ever known. I've become used to the panic of missing a train and spending the rest of the journey frantically trying to invent realistic-sounding excuses with which to explain my lateness to an irate school secretary and a crying child. When a colleague suggests a drink after work, I don't need to get my diary out to make an arrangement for three weeks time or phone a babysitter. I can say yeah, that'll be lovely, and off we go. And I don't have to jump every time my phone rings, just in case it's the school on the line, calling to tell me that the boiler has broken down and will I come and collect Scrappino right now?

But for all that life is different with Scrappino away, there are some things that remain the same. Not least because I've found myself adopting his hobbies. I'm not sure when or how this happened. But, to prove the point, on Sunday night I watched four episodes of Dr Who back-to-back after spotting the latest DVD in Tesco that afternoon. I bought it for Scrappino, obviously, and I put it on his pillow as a surprise 'welcome home' gift. It lay there for all of seven minutes before my inability to delay gratification got the better of me and I ripped off the plastic, sat down and was gluded to the telly all evening.

As if that's not embarrassing enough, I am starting to take on some of Scrappino's other, less street-worthy, past-times. I spent three hours on Saturday loading a new CD-Rom he'd bought - a virtual model railway. It's made by Hornby, the same people who make the real model railways. For the sad railway enthusiasts. You know the type. The middle managers who spend every waking hour in the loft, fiddling with microscopic points and reduced-to-scale steam engines. Well, we don't have room in the flat for a huge model railway. And I would be failing Scrappino as a parent if I encouraged this kind of bizarre pursuit. So a virtual railway on CD-Rom seemed the perfect compromise. It also turns out to be highly addictive. I spent three hours laying track, choosing engines, building stations and operating signals. All from the comfort of my living room. I managed to stop myself before I started making microscopic sandwiches 2 days past their best-before date or a virtual terrorist blew the whole thing up.

Scrappino is still blissfully unaware of both the Dr Who DVD and the railway CD-Rom. They are patiently waiting for his return - tomorrow. Meanwhile, he is being spoiled and indulged by my parents - as is every school boy's right - during his summer holiday. I did worry that my Dad's ideals might influence Scrappino in a direction that I've chosen not to follow. My Dad has strong values that he wants Scrappino to adopt and I've decided that they are not for me. Sadly, my concerns have been justified. Despite my own life choices, Scrappino has been unable to resist the urge of his grandfather's influence. He has become an obsessed cricket fan.

During the test match, he spent 90% of our daily telephone conversations discussing the players, the teams, the scores, the tactics. This is not as easy for him as it sounds. For starters, he's only eight, and Trescothick is a bloody difficult name to pronounce when you haven't got all your adult teeth. Plus, he's not quite mastered all of the terminology. One evening he asked me, in a voice of hope mingled with quiet despair, "Mum, do you think the Australians will avoid the follow-through?" I know that some of the cricket commentators have suggested that Shane Warne is secretly crapping himself, but this is taking things a bit too literally.


Blogger MC Aryeh said...

Never quite got the whole cricket fascination, but perhaps that is because in America a cricket is mainly known as a kind of bug...

I have to say I really look forward to your posts. A week's wait was torturous (cue guilt here)!

5:14 am  

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