Life Update: Red Wine and Muffin Puppets

life update ruth crilly

I always have such good intentions for this monthly life update post (in fact even writing the first part of this sentence seems very deja vu), but however hard I try to do things in advance I always end up compiling it at the nth hour on the 3rd day of the month. (It has been on the 3rd day of the month since Ted was born; before that it was the 17th of every month, Angelica’s birthday. I have never failed to publish my post before midnight on the right day – I’m borderline superstitious about it now.)

Many people would have thrown out the whole “stick to the same date every month” rule years ago, no doubt finding it ridiculously restrictive and unnecessarily stressful. But I seem to be at my most productive when life is ridiculously restrictive and unnecessarily stressful so go figure – if I didn’t have a set date for my life updates then you probably wouldn’t be reading these very words. I’d just never get around to it, like my cookery videos and the post about sunscreens that’s been languishing in drafts since May 2013.

(By the way, if you want to catch up on all of the life updates – and there are almost four years’ worth now – then you can find them by clicking here and browsing backwards to reach the older posts.)

After that semi-apologetic introduction, which is now pretty much mandatory, let’s get down to business. Or pleasure. Or a mixture of both. I can tell you what hasn’t been a pleasure and that is the twelve days (and counting) of suffering from minor ailments that have been popping up with almost comical regularity. It’s become a standing joke, almost, that every morning brings a new gripe and I can’t tell whether I’m missing some sort of vital nutrient or mineral and need urgent fixing or if this is just what it feels like to get older.

Do I moan and demand that the GP takes my ailments seriously (“but how do you know that my stomach acid isn’t something to do with my eye strain and my running nose and they’re not all related and I have one great big super-illness?”) or do I moan (default setting) and accept that multiple ailments, aches and pains are just an inconvenient way of life. And be grateful that I’m generally well. And alive.

I mean I am always acutely grateful to be alive and not have any serious illness or disease – I’m actually very mindful of checking myself in that respect and reminding myself that every day is an absolute blessing, but by God it’s hard to keep perspective when you can’t breathe through your nose, isn’t it? If there’s one thing that makes me furious with the world it’s a blocked-up nose. Few things are more cruel. Being forced to mouth-breathe through the night, as the inside of your throat dries into something resembling an ancient piece of parchment from Caesar’s journal and then feels as though it’s been set alight, is one of life’s great injustices. Why someone hasn’t invented a sort of irrigation/misting system for the mouth I do not know; a little tube, perhaps, that just spritzes the tongue and throat with water when you have a cold – or better still, a glycerin/honey kind of affair that stops tickly coughs in their path and provides lubrication.

Coming soon on Dragons’ Den.

Anyway, the toothache/headache/stomachache/bottomache/throatache/cough has been exhausting and I would just like a whole week off. To reset. Preferably somewhere hot but not too hot (Greece? Spain?) and with a kids’ club run by Mary Poppins. Or the Greek/Spanish equivalent. Maria Haciendo Estallar. (Google translate has possibly let me down there.)

life update ruth crilly

But enough of me, I must leave some time to talk about Headstrong Ted (two years and four months old) and Pre-Teen Angelica (turning four in a couple of weeks). They are chatting away to one another now, Angelica in perfect, surprisingly crisp English and Ted in his own strange little alien language that likes to elongate vowels and completely miss off the beginning consonants from words. “Ooooo!” is zoo. “Armer!” is farmer. “Iraffe!” is giraffe. But we now have sentences, sort of, or at least the seeds of sentences – the intention’s all there.

life update ruth crilly

“Go! Go! Gaga’s ‘oom! ‘Ide! ‘Olf!” is, obviously, “Go! Go! Angelica’s room! Hide! Wolf!”

Apple is “pull”. Snack is “ack” and baby is “dee dee”. And all of this is monumentally boring to other people so I can’t quite believe I’m writing it. Next I’ll be telling you about the knee operation that my Mum’s brother-in-law’s friend had before Christmas and how he’ll always set off the beeper at the airport. I am turning into the woman I always dreaded, though I haven’t started wearing fleece tops or saving eggshells. Why do people save eggshells? I want to say it’s something to do with slugs but I’ve had a large glass of quite a fine Chianti (no fava beans!) and my brain has gone soft.

life update ruth crilly

Oh but I do have to tell you about my favourite Angelica-isms. Can I? I promise I’ll be quick. She now  understands just about everything so I rarely have to stop to explain – in fact a lot of the time she can tell if I’m oversimplifying things for her and she pulls me up on it. So it makes it even funnier when she gets things wrong. My favourite is this one:

“Mummy I’m going to paint my face but not poke the brush in my eye bulbs.”

Eye bulbs! I think I prefer eyebulbs to eyeballs – I may adopt it. At any rate I can’t bear to correct her because it’s so sweet. She still says coldsnore for coleslaw, and then there’s the one that had me in stitches the other day: Muffin Puppets. Guess what Muffin Puppets are? She was desperate to watch a film we had saved on Amazon Prime and it was about Christmas with the Muffin Puppets. I had absolutely no idea what she was on about. “You know Mummy, the Muffin Puppets at Christmas. With Scrooge.”

She was talking about the Muppets. Muffin Puppets!

If someone doesn’t form a band and call it that I’ll be very upset. Maybe Angelica should form a band – her and Ted are becoming quite the duo when it comes to singing their little ditties and putting on dance performances. Granted, Ted just sort of spins about on the spot and then falls over, but Angelica is full-on Sylvia Young jazz-hand material. She even introduces herself in a (slightly creepy) man’s voice before she begins her show. “Ladies and Gentlemen, my performance is about to begin.”

life update ruth crilly

One of the things that I wanted to write about this month was how intense it was all becoming, looking after two small kids. Sometimes I feel as though we’re on a treadmill and it’s stuck on the highest setting and we just can’t stop running, you can’t even shift your gaze to the control panel to find the slow-down button, let alone reach a hand towards it.  You’re desperate for someone capable to lean over and adjust the speed, give you some breathing space, but it’s relentless. I thought that the newborn phase was hard, and it is, but for such different reasons. Because it’s new, because you don’t sleep, because your brain and body are completely mangled. But then they get older and the guilt becomes a thing, and you have to try and navigate your way through disciplining and educating and trying to instil in them the values and behavioural traits that you find acceptable and it’s a BLOODY MINEFIELD!

Why is there not a course on this? Parenting? I mean for the love of God! You learn about algebra (haven’t needed it once) and you learn how to read maps (hello? Sat nav?!) and you do classes on 1066 at Hastings and the six wives of Henry VIII and all sorts of things that are inarguably interesting; but surely there should be some basic bits and pieces on kids? Like what you should do when you shout at them and they just laugh in your face, or what to do when NO, NO, I SAID NO! doesn’t work, or how to get yourself out of the black hole of doom that is the “using ice cream and treats as bribes for good behaviour” hole.

life update ruth crilly

I’m sure it’s all basic psychology, but it’s the sort of stuff I needed drilled into me from teen years onwards; I don’t have the energy to learn it all now. It needed to be second nature. If I took my eye off the ball for long enough to read up about parenting now, the cat would probably have been shoved into the oven and the walls would be bright green with bits of dried pasta glued all over them. And we’d have no floor, because Ted would have picked the lock on the cupboard with the cleaning products in, managed to mix two highly flammable solutions together and blown a hole in the ground. All in the space of nineteen seconds, which is the time frame in which he can achieve pretty much anything, including climbing two flights of stairs, mounting a window sill ledge and unlatching a window that requires the skill and dexterity of a professional bank robber.

Right, I’m onto my second glass of red which is almost unheard of for me, but it has been a testing kind of week(s). Not that I’m going to make a habit of it – two glasses and I’m a felled woman the following day, I can barely tie my shoelaces. But I have a new book to read and it’s a sort of biography and I feel that it calls for slight tipsiness and perhaps some light weeping. I’m too embarrassed to tell you what the book is at the moment, it’s a daft sort of thing, but I do feel a separate post coming on. I have a weird connection with the woman in question – perhaps it’s a nostalgia thing – so I’m really looking forward to curling up and getting stuck in.

On that mysterious note, I bid you all farewell until later on in the week, which is how long it will take me to recover from my two glasses of wine! So it’s goodnight (or morning, depending on when you’re reading) from me and goodnight from the Muffin Puppets – if you have any funny malapropisms of your own then please do pop them into the comments below. They don’t even have to be kid ones – my parents still call memory foam mattresses the “Tempura Mattress”.

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  1. Stripy
    November 14, 2019 / 10:28 pm

    I know this is an old post, but had to share. Both my kids frequently mix the ‘p’ and the ‘c’ up in ‘popcorn. They are puzzled (and slightly annoyed) by the gales laughter every time they say it! Unfortunately we cannot explain it…

  2. Jen
    June 12, 2019 / 11:37 pm

    My then three-year-old pitched a frustrated fit when I tried to give him some milk in a plastic cup. He kept shouting that he wanted it in a “window cup” – which I finally figured out meant he wanted it in a glass!

  3. Tania
    June 11, 2019 / 8:48 am

    My kids are now 14 and 11 and the parenting books remain unread on the book shelves. We’re on to the next phase of encouraging revision, limiting screen time, and trying not to giggle when Kevin the Teenager bursts out from our very lovely, bright and kind 14 year old on a regular basis. Our son used to count: ‘five, six, erit, eight’. We were very sad when he finally substituted ‘erit’ for ‘seven’. Our daughter called small, black unidentifiable particles ‘Pee-oos’ (phonetic spelling) – as in ‘Mummy, there’s a pee-oo in my dinner!’ Years later as an articulate 11 year old she explained that ‘pee-oo’ meant ‘Pingoo’!!!! Pingoos in her dinner

  4. Sara
    June 9, 2019 / 10:03 pm

    Love reading your posts. A malapropism that has been warmly adopted in my house comes from my husband (Spanish, not a native English speaker) who one day told me he wanted a “hot daddy”. Was definitely not prepared for whatever a hot daddy was going to be until I realized he meant the cocktail, a “hot toddy”.

  5. Liz
    June 9, 2019 / 2:54 pm

    Hehe I love these and I write them down too because it’s sad when they start to say the right word and then you forget the cuteisms..
    My twins still (aged 6)say
    Sneakret = secret
    Igportant =important
    In the noid = annoyed (Mummy, James is in the noid with me for knocking his Lego over!)
    Netflakes = Netflix

  6. Rachel
    June 8, 2019 / 11:27 pm

    My 2 year old says that we’ve taken out the ‘greased lightning’ (recycling) and insists that lifts are called ‘cliffs’. If you try to gently correct him he says ‘No Mummy, it’s CLIFTS’!!!

  7. Sarah Horner
    June 7, 2019 / 12:17 pm

    My favourite was when my mum was concerned about her peri-menopause symptoms. She took herself to the doctor and asked for HIV.

    She was a very polite woman. She kept thanking the waiters on holiday in Greece one year until we begged her (through tears of laughter) to stop. She was getting “efcharistó” mixed up with “calamari”.

  8. Kath
    June 7, 2019 / 12:20 am

    This isn’t a malapropism but it made me laugh so hard I cried. My two and a half year old sat on the potty a bit wrong, and yelled out, “Ow! I banged me vag!”

  9. Anna Walker
    June 6, 2019 / 11:07 pm

    Thought this might strike a cord as you’re undergoing home improvements: When I was young my parents had an extension built onto the family home and the mortified builder had to eventually correct my mum when she kept referring to the ‘Irish Jay’ (RSJ)

  10. Jean
    June 6, 2019 / 6:46 am

    My son Jonathan called his elbows ” armbows” and his brother always said he “offing” his clothes, socks or whatever.

    Jonathan died from injuries from an IED in Iraq in 2006, but I will always remember his funny little ways and saying.

    They are so precious, enjoy every minute!

  11. Val Hayes
    June 5, 2019 / 8:15 pm

    Oh! I forgot my absolute favourite. Bugger, I’m going to be doing this all night now, sorry. My aunt (same one as before) told the room she’d made her daughter’s favourite dinner ‘chicken trellis pie’! Think she meant chicken lattice pie but we were all laughing at her so she told us all where to go and took the pie back to the kitchen. My drunk sister (she’s not always drunk, it just so happened she was on this occasion) once boasted that she’d met Kensy Patsit.

  12. Val Hayes
    June 5, 2019 / 8:08 pm

    I LOVE a good malapropism. My kids used to call peanut butter, peter potter, a car park still is a par cark (and they’re 16 and 13!), but my fave of all time is my aunt.
    She once shouted at me to ‘call for an ambience!’ when her daughter was throwing up the copious amounts of alcohol she’d unwisely drank (drunk?), and when I asked if the heavily pregnant woman next door had gone into labour yet she answered, ‘no but it shouldn’t be long now, they brought her in to be seduced last night’. Bit late for that Mary!
    I love your writing style, and reading all your antics, including those of your gorgeous offspring.

  13. Rachel
    June 5, 2019 / 1:24 pm

    My grandma, bless her, thought that Americans drove ‘courgettes’, drug addicts smoked ‘crap-pipes’, and would constantly misremember Dolmio pasta sauce as ‘Dolmiro’, despite being corrected numerous times.

    She also said, refering to me moving in with my boyfriend, ‘Ooh, try before you buy, I wish that had been allowed in my day’.

    • June 5, 2019 / 6:18 pm

      Hahahaha!!!!! Oh my God what a woman. I love all of these!!

  14. Harriet Saunders
    June 5, 2019 / 9:04 am

    Our current favourite from our daughter, who’s three and a bit: “Daddy! STOP disobediencing me, I won’t have it. I’m going back to bed.”

    Both randomly hilarious and weird (to her doting parents, anyway!), but who am I to stop her going back to bed, even if it gives 5 just minutes’ peace!!

    • June 5, 2019 / 6:18 pm

      Oh LOL. They are so earnest when they say these things too! x

  15. Katie
    June 5, 2019 / 8:42 am

    Child: mummy I’ve made an ‘iPad’ -(shows me a cloth)
    Me: er, what does it do?
    Child: You press on the screen and it plays bob the builder for your eye. (Folds cloth up presses it to his eye and sings Bob the builder)

    iPad, eye pad, amazing!

  16. Hannah
    June 5, 2019 / 8:13 am

    I’m not playing Child Top Trumps but my sister and my best friend both have three under 6. I am told that the secret is to attend to whichever child is in most immediate danger. I have none, and can’t imagine how they do it.

    • June 5, 2019 / 6:19 pm

      Excellent rule. Seems sensible. x

  17. Gina Cooper
    June 5, 2019 / 6:30 am

    Not so much malapropisms but my three year old has, unfortunately, picked up on the swearing that I THOUGHT I was saying under my breath. I’ll just recount a recent car argument…
    Three year old tells sister to shut up.
    Me: that’s not nice, we don’t speak like that in this family (that came from a book I read- see how well it works…)
    Three year old: f***iing hell.
    Me: (no book told me what to do in this instance) That’s definitely rude, You must never say that.
    Three year old: dammit
    Me: stop saying rude things.
    A loud trumping sound emanates from the back seat.
    Three year old: I faaaaaaarttttteeeeeedd!!!

    • June 5, 2019 / 6:19 pm

      Just LOLd at this and looked crazy. x

  18. Naomi
    June 5, 2019 / 6:07 am

    My current favourite malapropism from my 2.5 year old is he calls a guitar a ding-ding-car. I have never once corrected him on this and never will as I find it precious and once corrected they are gone. He used to call my mum Gra-gra for granny. She loved it! Called herself Lady Gra-gra. It was their little thing. The day he said granny it was sad :(
    Loved the column x

  19. Lisa
    June 5, 2019 / 12:27 am

    Apparently I used to ask “are you behaving?” One day I asked what the 4 & 2 year old were doing and the 4 YO responded “don’t worry we’re being have!” Sully, but Still makes me laugh

  20. Sophie
    June 4, 2019 / 10:58 pm

    My cousin called chicken korma chicken trauma lol!! And I, aged over 11, called Viennese whirls Vietnamese whirls :)

    • June 5, 2019 / 6:20 pm

      LOL. About right – I find korma a trauma, so bland! : )

  21. Farah
    June 4, 2019 / 9:53 pm

    My favorite malapropism from my kids would have to be calling nostrils “nozzles.” As in “I think I have a cold mama, I can’t breathe through my nozzles.” They don’t do it anymore but I do! I will probably start calling eyeballs eye bulbs now as well. Something disgusting about eye “balls.” I’m comforted that you can’t manage reading parenting books either. Whenever I’ve tried its been generally alarming or just plain infuriating so I’ve given it up. If I ever have time to read I can’t read things that drive me mad mad mad!

    • June 5, 2019 / 6:20 pm

      Nozzles and eyebulbs, so brilliant! x

  22. Denise
    June 4, 2019 / 8:40 pm

    Love hearing about the cuteness! My sister used to call the Queen Mother ‘Ice Cream Mummy’. We sent a letter to the QM to tell her and got a very nice letter back from a lady in waiting !

  23. Anna
    June 4, 2019 / 7:09 pm

    Earlier this week my 8yo explained to his little brother the need to wear a “bone tie” to a wedding.

    He also used to “sharken” pencils for years. I felt sad when he eventually figured it out…

  24. S. Toy
    June 4, 2019 / 6:42 pm

    My Aunt recounted to me once how my Uncle had “too much collateral” in his blood. Needless to say his cholesterol level was high!

  25. June 4, 2019 / 4:29 pm

    Ohhh, I can’t wait to know this autobiography you”re reading, I love autobios!!!! Courage avec les enfants;-)

  26. Emily
    June 4, 2019 / 4:21 pm

    I really have never understood why schools can’t offer the things that are more directly related to being a good human! Definitely the parent-skills, and also mental health skills and dealing with finances/investing. Unclogging a drain wouldn’t hurt, either. And yet, here in Texas, we spend a useless three years on (skewed!) Texas history. It’s insane.

  27. Jaquie
    June 4, 2019 / 12:58 pm

    Lotties ‘froggy’ day comment instead of foggy day was set into context one morning around xmas when on of the boys looked out the window and said ‘farmer christmas wont be coming as its too froggy’…and when he used to come in and show us something he was super proud of he would say ‘beast your eyes!’ instead of ‘feast your eyes on this’…bless….

    apparently I used to call an alsation a salation, and a friends kid was staring intently at identical twins in a shoe shop recently and pointed urgently and somewhat incredulously ‘daddy they’ve got the same head on’ …

  28. June 4, 2019 / 12:54 pm

    I’m an Aussie but my parents are British. They were telling me about the queen and where she lives. I took my new knowledge to school the next day and accounted to the class that the queen lives in [email protected]$#ingham palace! Cue a call home from a very concerned teacher lol. Also parenting is tough, my career has been spent doing play therapy and running parenting programs and my toddler still melts down because I peeled her banana wrong (today’s example). I don’t know if it’s helpful… but even being armed with all that “professional” knowledge (gee that sounds pretentious) I still have a toddler who makes me whisper swear words and want to bang my head repetitively against the nearest wall.

  29. Bunny
    June 4, 2019 / 11:55 am

    This brought back so many memories and had me laughing a bit too hard and you know that’s never a good thing..whoops! My fav overheard comnent was when my twin girls were young and one was declaring to the other she had ‘Public’ hairs growing down there. I wanted to burst in and correct her, but crept away stiffling the laughs i still bring this up to this day probably to her dread!

    Hope you all feel better soon. x

  30. Fiona
    June 4, 2019 / 11:32 am

    You have such an amusing style of writing Ruth. Your articles never fail to make me laugh!

    My two children’s malapropisms when little were “dingfallalla” for steamroller, “diggerdaggle” for crocodile, “sheepsloot” for sleepsuit and “bazzazzazza” for bulldozer. They are now 25 and 21 and speak perfect English :)

  31. Kate Griffiths
    June 4, 2019 / 11:03 am

    You should be super proud of yourself making it through 2 little kids and everyone being so ill. Keep on going strong :) Remember to take time out for yourself too so your not letting everyone take from you when your cup is empty.

  32. Katy
    June 4, 2019 / 9:48 am

    Mum life to a T. *Please* tell us what the book is!! xx

  33. Laurie
    June 4, 2019 / 9:43 am

    Muffin Puppets had me in stitches! My daughter (3.5) calls her elbow her armbow and anything too hot temperature-wise is spicy. She also recently asked me why my belly was bouncy. I don’t think that one was a malapropism though

  34. Amanda
    June 4, 2019 / 9:35 am

    Is your book Hens Dancing? I’m sure I’ve meant to comment before that some of your posts about your adventures at home in the country with two little ones remind me of this book! Especially your garden and chicken exploits!

  35. June 4, 2019 / 8:35 am

    My malapropisms would loose their meaning in translating them from German, but we do have a few too that I will miss once they will stop being said.

  36. Sally
    June 4, 2019 / 7:16 am

    Muffin Puppets – so funny!
    I used to work with someone who despite being mid 20s had developed a malapropic (is that a word?) set of sayings :
    “As white as a sheep”
    “Wild ghost chase”
    “Dead herring”
    However they all made a strange kind of sense and are probably better than the originals!

  37. Lottie
    June 4, 2019 / 6:43 am

    I’ve started writing these down so I can remember them as my boys get bigger. My eldest comes out with some great ones: “it’s froggy out today” at the faintest sign of a little mist; “I’m not playing with that, it’s a baby English toy” (babyish); the glittery calm down jars we make aka magical potions are now “motions” leading him to often ask if we can go and make “motions together”, sounding like we have some strange habit of pooing together.
    Oh and yes the to the treadmill. I started back at work yesterday following a year of maternity leave with my littlest and I already feel like I’m running uphill.

  38. Sarah
    June 4, 2019 / 6:32 am

    Hilarious! Remember my son always wanting to go to the Early Lenter Centre. Called it that for years! Need to know what the book is now?!

  39. Sarah McCully Russell
    June 4, 2019 / 1:07 am

    4 (or nearly 4) is Such a precious age and stage- but my gosh it’s hsrd work! My favourites include:

    Thumber- thumb ( thumb and finger)
    Three teen- thirteen ( after Two teen obviously)
    Radio- radiator
    Coleslave- coleslaw (with a hint of Russian)

    What do you call a baby cow? A baby moo- dead pan serious face!!

    The list goes on!! Big love to you and yours x x

  40. June 3, 2019 / 11:39 pm

    I thought I could contain my laughter through this, but Tempura Mattress just toppled me. That’s it, I’m done. Can’t hold it back…

    So, my favourite malapropism came from my sister when we were growing up. She used to proudly point at the plane trails in the sky and shout ‘concrete!’ (Concorde). Bemused when me and the folks stifled giggles – ok, mine were not stifled. Ever.

    Hope you enjoyed the wine, Clarice!!

    Faith x

  41. June 3, 2019 / 11:29 pm

    My Mother Loved amontillado sherry which she called armadillo

  42. Nancy
    June 3, 2019 / 11:25 pm

    One day while driving, it started to rain. My then three year old yelled “Mummy. For nevens snakes, put on the pudding”. Okay. This meant “for heaven’s sake, put on the windshield washers”. She had decided that the sound they made when swishing back and forth was PUD-DING, PUD-DING”.

    I’ve got a million of them.

    Oh, and <3TED<3

  43. Anna
    June 3, 2019 / 11:03 pm

    My now 5-year old has been mistakenly calling litter “glitter” for a couple years and I hope he never stops… “Mama! Someone GLITTERED!!” ❤️

  44. Laura
    June 3, 2019 / 10:23 pm

    Just provoked a temporary cessation of my husband’s window-rattling snores by laughing out loud at ‘Eye Bulbs’! I am going to call them this from now on. Talking of said husband, he complained last week that someone at work was ‘totally incontinent’. Was horrified and told him off for not being more empathetic, but turns out he just meant they weren’t very good at their job. Incompetent. It’s ‘incompetent’…

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