Dear Auntie Venting
Despite being a parent of excellence myself I have a conundrum that I fear only you can help me with.
I have two children. My three year old hardly eats anything. That is to say he eats everything but only a very small amount of it. My 11 month old eats anything that crosses his path which unfortunately now he is mobile is quite a lot of stuff. He’s eating me out of house and home and won’t stay away from my biscuits.
The only thing I can think of is to let the little hungry one eat the skinny one as that should keep him going for a while but I fear this may be frowned upon. What should I do?
Yours in anticipation
This is a conundrum and no mistake. I knew someone who let her eldest child eat the youngest and it did not end well, I am sorry to say. Yes, they were hamsters and not human beings, but even so, the effects would be the same. Therefore, I am hesitant to recommend any sort of cannibalism, on the grounds that a) I might get into trouble, and b) it’s a bit gross.
But you clearly have a problem with the hungry child. The skinny one is fine – we like skinny children that don’t eat very much, they’re cheaper and it’s kinder to the environment – so I’m going to concentrate on sorting out your youngest.
It is a well known fact that children are PREDATORS. They like to hunt their food. I have spent many a fine afternoon in the park, being hunted by kids and fending them off with electric cattle prods. They all want a piece of my fat arse, I fear. Anyway – YOUR child won’t eat you or any of your relatives, as long as you follow these simple steps:
1. Switch his diet to raw meat. This may seem counter-intuitive, but bear with me. He should be eating raw meat EXCLUSIVELY for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And it’s also cost effective if you let him chew on the bones and gristle as well (saves chucking them away).
2. Instead of presenting the meat to him in a bowl or on a plate, tie a piece of long string around it and leave it in the middle of the floor. When he makes his move, yank the string so that the food twitches out of reach. Keep doing this until you think the child has satisfied his predatory instincts. Of course, once the child is older, you may need to actually sprint. It’s best to take the meal to a wide open space then, like a savannah.
3. Once the child has a taste for raw meat, and is prepared to chase you down for it, lock the child in a cupboard, or a cage, and occasionally throw water over them. Dangle raw meat in front of them but DON’T ACTUALLY give them any. They should be fed on the bare minimum at this stage. If you can keep them alive by feeding them the odd vitamin pill, then do it.
4. Now you have broken them psychologically, and taught them that raw meat – i.e. humans – are unattainable and not for consumption, release them from the cage and integrate them back into society. This will probably take about twenty-five years (average time taken to integrate feral children back into the real world).
5. Lastly, don’t let on to anyone that you have a feral child. You may find other people will not be quite so understanding.
I hope this helps you, Cat. If anything, remember: cannibalism is a last resort, really.
Thanks to Mistress Cat over on the fantabulous Yellow Days *mwah*
Dear Auntie Venting
Something terrible has happened, yah? I have totally kept my other middle name a secret for years and years, yah, and now some pesky phone hacking inquiry has meant I had to, like, totally reveal it to everyone, yah, and now they’re all laughing at me. I mean, Mungo is a totally solid name. It’s been in my family for generations. I totally respect its history and its connection with all things traditional and aristocratic, yah? My other middle name – John – is so common. Like, sooooooo common. I need the Mungo to totally posh me up a bit.
But now my worry is that since people are laughing at me, I totally don’t know what to call my baby, who was, like, born recently and everything. Can I call her Mungo? Is it totally a boy’s name, or can I be all groovy and, like, totally modern and, like, break down the barriers between gender and renounce stereotyping and all that, yah? What other amazing names are there? Surely none are as amazing as Mungo? My god, Auntie Venting, you must help me. This is, like, totally doing my head in.
The totally honourable and not-at-all sleazy
Auntie Venting says…
Calm down, Mungo. Choosing a baby name is fraught with danger and one needs a SOUND MIND and a COLLECTED DEMEANOUR to be able to achieve the Holy Grail of parenting – i.e. the Ultimate Baby Name That No One Will Laugh At. It can be done. Do not quail in the face of danger! Keep your head and take some deep breaths. I will help you through this calamitous time.
Although, from what you say, you are heading in the wrong direction entirely. I don’t have much hope.
You see, Mungo is not a cool name. It is a ridiculous name. It sounds too much like Um-Bongo, the mega-fruity juice drink beloved of anyone fortunate enough to be a child during the 1980s. And nobody wants to have a name that sounds like a juice drink. Please DO NOT call your daughter Mungo. Not even the middle name. No.
As for first names, this can be a veritable minefield of lifelong mockery and heartache. Do not choose anything that rhymes with a rude word. Your child would suffer intolerably in the playground. And beware: kids can be horribly imaginative, as my friends Ruby ‘Pubey’ Townsend and the late Felicity ‘Fecal Matter’ Jones (god rest her soul) knew all too well.
Do not choose a name that could easily be misconstrued as a pet’s name. Standing in the park and calling for your daughter to come to you could result in a cavalcade of dogs launching themselves at your nethers instead, which is never handy for anyone. Therefore avoid Chi Chi, Bam Bam, Snowy, Toto and Sugar Cube. Which reminds me, do not pick a name that can also be slightly whorish.
Try to choose a name which is feminine, to avoid confusion in later life, especially if your daughter happens to inherit your hairy-arse gene.
And lastly, bear in mind that inspiration can be found in the most obvious places. The other day I was gazing out of my window and musing on the wonders of nature and managed to spy several suitable baby names within no time at all. Unfortunately, my husband did not want children called Spruce, Pylon or Massive Grain Silo. The spoilsport.
I hope this helps you, Mungo. And good luck with the whole parenting thing. You’re going to need it.
[No actors were harmed during the making of this blog post]
Oh my, there are some lost souls out there. Wandering this planet, in a state of permanent angst, and most likely a fog of their own confusion and dismay. They need our sympathy, our support, and, more specifically, my help.
Unfortunately, none of the buggers bothered to get in touch, so I’ve had to deal with these lunatics instead.
Dear Auntie Venting,
I am a crap lizard parent, and I am at a loss as to what to do next. My gecko will not eat his mealworms like a good little reptile. I’ve tried chopping them up into little bits (he won’t take even the smallest bits), I’ve hidden them underneath waxworms (he eats the waxworms and leaves the healthy stuff), and trying choo-choo trains just didn’t impress him.
I’m appealing to your parenting Excellence and your knowledge of how to persuade reluctant small animals (albeit mammals) to eat healthy-if-untasty items. I fear if I don’t do something soon, then we’ll end up on one of those Channel 5 shows “Help! My lizard only eats waxworms!” complete with experts looking disapprovingly at me.
Dear Weird Lizard Lady
I know some people who think their dogs are their children, and dress them up in clothes, and call themselves ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’ and do the whole baby talk thing. This is faintly perturbing. As a marginally more sane human being and therefore qualified enough to comment, I can only surmise that as the lizard’s ‘mummy’ you are TOTALLY SPOILING your pet and are now dealing with the consequences. The solution is simple. Withhold all food.
Once your pet starts the whole ‘I’m hungry’ dance, walk away. Leave the room if you have to. Switch off the TV so your lizard is not distracted by Cbeebies. At this point it becomes a battle of wills. Your lizard might begin eating something it shouldn’t, like the sofa, or a lamp. Remove the item and firmly say ‘No!’. If at this point your lizard starts to eat YOU, may I suggest stamping on it, and getting a less offensive pet next time.
Now your lizard knows true hunger. It will undoubtedly eat ANYTHING you put it front of it, whether it’s mealworms, fish fingers, or jam on toast. It will be so grateful for these scraps of food, it will behave itself for the rest of its puny life. You may even be able to teach it some rudimentary tricks and nifty moves. May I suggest the ever popular ‘Stealing money from people’s wallets’? No one would ever suspect the lizard.
I hope this helps you and your lizard. I also hope it is not too obvious that I have no clue what I’m doing when it comes to lizards.
Dear Auntie Venting,
Please help. I love my daughter very much but I am worried that I might be raising a brat. Her father and I bought her a Hello Kitty kitchen for her first birthday, but in the the six months or so since it was installed she has yet to cook dinner once!
We also bought her a car in the spring, but still I am expected to drive her around the place – baby yoga, play group, shopping!
This is beginning to raise serious questions for me and her father about when she will be able to go out to work and start making a contribution.
I am not in complete despair as she does seem willing to make cups of tea.
Should we be worried? Are we raising a brat? Please help. I am at my wit’s end.
Dear Hopeless Expat,
Never fear. There are a MILLION ways to make having a kid worth it. This isn’t the old days, when we had to send the wee ones up chimneys and down mines to earn a crust or two (although why that went out of fashion, I have no idea). Start with a few simple steps that will ensure your child loses some of that damaging self-confidence and egocentricity which so many brats have acquired these days.
Step One: attach cleaning cloths to the child’s knees and elbows, then employ rabid dogs to chase them round the house. The cloths will affectively dust those awkward corners as the child careens desperately into them, especially once they’ve fallen to their knees in exhaustion. You may need to find a rabid dog with only three legs, in order to give the child a head start. And don’t forget to lock yourself into a room. With a gun.
Step Two: teach the child how to pickpocket and then send them out into a busy weekend market. It’s probably best to encourage them to target tourists, especially fat, loud ones wearing bumbags full of Euros. If you are keen for more successful hauls, maybe blind the child in one eye so that the tourists will never suspect them. See also: Oliver Twist, and Slumdog Millionaire.
Step Three: send the child to boarding school for seventeen years. They come back a lawyer. Easy.
I hope these steps help you and your husband on the way to a fulfilling and healthy relationship with your child. Please remember, being a Parent Of Excellence is a not as easy as it seems. We make sacrifices every single day. For example, I just left my kid in the train station because there wasn’t enough room in the taxi for all my shopping bags AND the baby. She sacrificed herself so that my new shoes didn’t get wet on the way home. THAT’S what being an Excellent Parent is all about.
If you would like some help with ANY aspect of parenting (even lizards, now, it seems), then DO email me: motherventing at gmail.com.
Take care now. And be Excellent.
Yes, I am an ACTUAL AUNTIE. I have three supery-dupery extra-cutie nieces. Hello nieces! *waves*
And in my capacity as an Auntie, and as (as you all know) a Parent of Excellence, I have devised a cunning plan. A plan so cunning, that all the other plans run and hide from it, for they will never be as cunning as it is. The cunning is well and truly TO THE MAX within this plan. There is a surfeit of cunning. I am so full of cunning… OK, I’ll shut up.
So in my new guise as Auntie Venting, I am calling upon YOU, Parents of Crapness, to send me your dilemmas, problems, and general queries relating to the topic of parenting. And then I, as a Parent of Excellence, will SOLVE your angst-ridden woes. D’you hear? SOLVE THEM.
You see? YOU SEE? I am an AUNTIE. An AGONY AUNTIE. It’s so cunning, I almost pissed myself.
If you have any dilemmas, problems or queries, then email me, your awesome saviour:
motherventing at gmail.com
And soon I will compile a post with all the answers. It’s so cunning, I had not realised just how cunning it was until I had to write about it being cunning.
Really, what have you got to lose? Apart from your dignity, and any shred of human decency? C’mon, Auntie Venting needs you.
Firstly, I get to use the word ADDENDUM. That is almost as cool as the word SPATCHCOCK. Secondly, as someone pointed out to me, I may need to offer an incentive. What, apart from my EXCELLENT PARENTING SKILLS?? What more do you people need? Oh wait. OK, fine. There will be numerous linkbacks and pimps for your blogs. And I’ll send you all the biscuits I can’t eat this month. Is that acceptable? Thirdly, I should also point out that this agony aunt post will be wholly tongue-in-cheek, and along the lines of the fabby Mrs Mills column in The Times Style magazine. You know. Comedy. Ha ha.
Pssst! Pssst, it’s me. I really need people to email me any sort of questions for this to work, or I’m going to have to make some up, and you just know that’ll end up being rude. Seriously, if this works, I’ll do it monthly or summat, and make a badge. That’s how cool it could be! Really!