Fair Warning

It is officially the middle of July, its hot, the social calendar is full, it seems I spend most of my free time trying to teach my two year old how to swim so she doesn’t drown if someone leaves the gate open. I gave up exercising when it hit 80 degrees and 99 percent humidity, but some how my day seems more full, and when your days are full the forward planning gets much more complicated. My motto when Eva was a baby, was “wing it” but now that she is two, that plan isn’t really working anymore and I have come to the begrudging realization that I need to be more organized, kind of like my sister who has probably already filled her kids Christmas stockings six months in advance. Part of my disorganization comes from my eternally changing schedule of employment as what I do everyday often changes on a clients whim, an unexpected equipment failure, and other more important people’s schedules which can be tricky with a two year old. Many people are astonished when I say I am not available except between 9 and 5pm, as if there were no such thing as a working mother, or like I grew another head right in front of them.

The phrase “summer holiday” used to bring images to mind of relaxing in a sun lounger reading a stack of books sipping a pina colada, and I know that I did this back when I was a young bronzed teenager before real life hit like a rogue wave in a horizon pool. When I heard the words “summer holiday” for the first time this year back in January it was from Auntie Zoe, Eva’s second mother when she let us know of her plans to take a holiday for two weeks in July, of course I winced dreading Eva’s last day at school but we all need a holiday, especially Zoe. Back in January plans were hatched to go away at the same time on our own summer holiday, therefore minimizing our own work days without daycare for Eva. My plan was elaborate, it was six months in advance and it involved three countries and as many airlines. My plan was to fly Chris’s parents from the UK through Ireland to Boston Massachusetts where they would stay overnight then fly onto Bermuda, after a week in Bermuda, they would fly with us back to Boston, and we would drive up to my parent’s house in New Hampshire for a week. We could enjoy our “summer holiday” with an adult to child ratio of Four to one, which if we couldn’t abandon Eva all together, was the next best thing. The plan was flawless, my mother in law booked their Aer Lingus flights to Boston and I booked our five non refundable sale tickets from Bermuda to Boston and back on delta. I had checked the: plan our summer holiday box in January I was ahead of the game, or so I thought.

About a week later I asked Zoe,

“Zoe I just thought I better double check with you, you are going to be away the first two weeks of August- right?”

“Oh no we changed our plans slightly we are now going away on July 16th and coming back on the first.”

“Oh shit.” I said I booked our tickets to leave on August 1st.

When Chris came home we discussed it.

“Why does it matter you don’t have a job anyway.” At the time a project had fallen through.

“I don’t think I will be unemployed six months from now.” I said ever the optimist.

“Oh really how can you be sure?” Chris said, ever the pessimist.

“Maybe we should see if we can change the plane tickets?”

“Why would we do that and pay more money?” Chris said.

“Because otherwise I will have to take a month off of work between our summer holiday and Zoe’s.”

“You don’t have a job.”

“Okay.” I relented I was not going to win this one.

I started to realize that planning in advance might not only be not my style, it was fraught with its own innate difficulties. There was one innate difficulty that always seemed to crop up in my life, my very own mother. She was especially good at appearing when everything else was going wrong already and deciding that the most important thing at that very moment was that I was in desperate need of a new shower head, or lawn furniture. If I spent $8,000 dollars on a new patio set at Island Trading all my problems would miraculously go away. She also had a knack for ruining plans and she was beginning to rub off on my father.

At some point she decided to bring an important detail to my attention.

“So have you booked your flights for your summer holiday in NH?”

“Yes I told you we booked them a few weeks ago.”

“Did you do it in time for the Delta seat sale I told you about?”

“Yes mom.”

“Are they flexi tickets?”


“You might want to call and check or see if you can upgrade them.”

“Why?” I started to get suspicious.

“We just put the house in New Hampshire up for sale, it’s on Sotheby’s Real Estate.”

“What? !!! Mom I just bought five non refundable plane tickets six months from now. What am I going to do?”

“It won’t sell.”

“Why did you put it on the market then?”

“To sell it, eventually.”

“What if it does sell tomorrow?”

“There is usually a period of exchange.”

“Not six months! “

“You will have to make other plans if that happens. It won’t happen.”

“Oh my god, I thought you were going to give us all a year or so warning.”

“This is fair warning.”

As we are about to set off on our holiday next week, my mother was in fact right the house has not yet sold but it could have. It is usually my mother that takes pains to deliberate what might happen, in fact it is one of my mother’s favorite excuses for her least favorite activity, babysitting, which I will explore more fully next week in Part II, GiGi Goes AWAL.

“But Eva might throw up?”

“But Eva might not eat dinner?”

“But Eva might not go to bed.”

“But Eva might not be as good as Sadie and Trystan.”

Xx Derelict Mom

Happy Father’s Day


I don’t remember the last time I gave my daughter Eva a bath. I can imagine my mother doubling over in agony at the thought but on most days, Eva is sponged, ears cleaned out, hair washed and conditioned and on occasion brushed too but not by me, by Daddy. Sigh…

Daddy also gets her ready for bed, puts her diaper on, convincing her on some days that its okay to wear a princess diaper when she really wants a Minnie Mouse, then he takes on the protracted battle over pajamas, sometimes successfully convincing her to wear something other than her ladybird pajamas she grew out of six months ago, at this I am truly amazed and thankful.

Of course in these blissful moments of father daughter bonding mommy isn’t exactly kicked back with her feet up watching sports and drinking beer, she is usually cooking dinner, preparing lunch for the next day or cleaning up the mess from the day if not week before.

As it’s Father’s Day it seems like the perfect moment to mention that through the last two and a half years of parenthood, my husband has changed, from the parent to be who spent most of my pregnancy bewildered, and the first six months of her life thinking “what have I done,” not that was he alone in that.

Although he won’t admit it at first he didn’t want to be seen pushing a pram, but he evolved when he realized mommy was much too slow going up hill. Daddy and Eva have always had bonding moments, from their pram walks when she used to nap in the mornings, to bath time, and feeding the fishes. Through all of this, Eva’s daddy has struggled to keep his identity and continue the things he loves the best, which include primarily: Sports. In the last two years I have noticed that he has picked up one decidedly female trait. He has learned to multitask.

Take this picture of Eva and Daddy’s evening routine, and the video I posted below of Daddy in Mommy’s home office, watching sports on the TV, watching real time game feeds on the internet and entertaining Eva all at the same time. Ahhh Fatherhood.

Fathers Day



Given Daddy’s new multitasking skills, it came as relatively no surprise when Eva said the other day, with the determination and curiosity only a two year old could muster, “I want to grab Daddy’s pee pee.” Then she paused and added “Please.”



“It’s not appropriate.”

“But I said PLEASE.”

“No it’s not right, Daddy’s Pee Pee is HIS pee pee.”

“I will say THANK YOU.”

“No thank you.”


“No the answer is just NO.”

“Daddy, did you both have a shower after swimming lessons?”


“Multi tasking needs a rethink.”


When Eva was fifteen months, my friend Claudia asked me if Eva had started to prefer Daddy yet. I said No, and she warned me that it would happen and I shouldn’t take it personally.

I was probably days away at that point from what would become a full blown Daddy obsession. Daddy goes to work long before Eva wakes up but when he comes home from work she is usually at the gate to meet him. He barely has time to take his motorbike helmet off or put down his keys and she is in his arms.

“Daddy pushes me higher on the swings,” she says.

“Daddy is more fun,” she says.

“Daddy is bigger,” she says as she swipes at me from his shoulders.

On the weekends Daddy likes to wake her up because he misses out on that during the week. When I come into the room Eva says,

“Nooooo” sticks out her lip and says, ”Don’t sit next to me.” And swipes at me again.

Then sometimes when I pick her up she flat out tries to punch me without realizing that that would probably make me drop her on her head. Sometimes I wonder if she is precocious or if all two year olds are like this with their mothers- I am sure I was. I wish I could say Daddy was immune to her ill treatment but I keep remembering the week he went to work with a blood red eye, which looked like he had joined a fight club, but in reality he had only been swatted with Tinkerbelle’s wand for hiding the TV remote.

It’s hard to feel like you are anywhere near competent when your child is offended by your presence. To make matters worse I had noticed recently that my daughter was speaking with a decidedly British accent in stark contrast to my distinct American diction. Let’s just say she hasn’t inherited the mother tongue. Eva’s father is British as is her nursery teacher Zoe which might have something to do with it- that and the obsession with Peppa Pig.

My two year old bites me as hard as she can on the arm and then says, “Pardon me.”

Our situation reminds me of those women who hire nannies who can’t speak proper English and their kids end up speaking some version of heavily accented pidgin English- just my situation was in reverse.

If Eva ever does let me take her out without her Daddy, people will think I am the nanny and not the young hot variety- the aging spinster. No I will insist, I am not the nanny,

“I’m a derelict mom with a very “proper” child.”

I have noticed that some of the things Eva has been saying lately have a common theme,

“Daddies watch sports and mommies watch the news.”

“Mommy doesn’t climb ladders.”

“Mommies don’t go swimming.”

Hmmm maybe I need to work on being more fun?

But like most parents of two year olds I have learned that I must go with the flow, so the other weekend when I came home from my brother’s post wedding brunch, I didn’t bat an eyelid when I discovered Eva and Daddy eating chocolate and watching JAWS. Maybe, just maybe I had discovered his secret.

So last night when I put her to bed, as I do every night she said,

“Mommy, I love you a little bit.”

“Just a little bit?” I asked

“Yes, but I love Daddy a lot.”

“What about your grandfather, Hamma? Do you love him a little or a lot?”

“I love Hamma a lot.”

“ Are you sure you only love mommy just a little bit.”


“I love …. Bunny a lot.”

“What about poor mommy who loves you?”




“Do you want to go to the playground this weekend and Mommy will push you really high on the big girl swings.”


“Then we can come home and have a chocolate after your lunch.”


“And if you are a good girl, you can watch some TV.”




“Are you sure you only love mommy just a little bit?”

“Okay Mommy, I love you a lot.”

“And Mommy loves you and Daddy a lot.”

I turn the light out but as I was leaving, I just couldn’t help myself.

“But we are not watching JAWS again- that crosses the line.”

“Okay mommy.”


Happy Father’s Day Daddy.

Xx Derelict Mom & Eva