Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Offcuts

Very odd day that I can't really talk about. As you may recall, when I say that, it is NOT because someone has offered me vasts sums of money to lie around eating cake and talking about my biscuit philosophy.

By the way, thank you so much for all your wonderful support yesterday. I was having a shockingly awful day; it culminated catatonic and trembling in a foetal ball on the bench outside smoking one of the CFO's hideous cigarettes. Today was an improvement in at least one respect: la belle-mère made Proper Dinner with a guinea fowl and potatoes and everything. I nearly wept with gratitude. Have I ever mentioned that they travel everywhere with a 10 litre wine box in case of emergencies? You love them now, don't you, and rightly so. I have left them to watch police procedurals translated into French tonight (Portés Disparus/"Coald Kess"/Police Judiciaire/"Ze Waïre") , and snuck off to bed.

In the absence of anything remotely edifying, and frankly it's a miracle I can put fingers to keyboard at all, here are some arbitrary observations/housekeeping points from today.

1. A Flock of (Shoe) Seagulls

The thing I hate most about Brussels - more than the service des étrangers, UHT milk or the lighting in Delhaize - is the way the paving stones interact with my shoes. WHY, holy mother of Nathan, do they make all my shoes squawk mournfully like seagulls? What is it about the gaps beween paving stones here that sucks my heels in and keeps them, leaving me to hop around and swear to myself, suddenly barefoot in a public place? There is a particular street I walk down everyday, that combines both these appealing characteristics. I will systematically lose a shoe in an embarassing fashion (usually this happens right next to the gangs of too cool for school drama students who lurk around in gangs looking like an edgier version of the Kids from Fame) and then walk the rest of the way squawking. Kark, kark kark, squeeeek. I've tried speeding up, slowing down, all manner of different heel heights, and every time the result is the same. Is it the way I walk? My choice of shoes? I NO LONGER CARE. I have shoe rage.

2. Viral marketing, innit?

No, I cannot tell you what the prototype in the 'Belgian Pic of the Week' is. Not yet. Suffice to say it is something that my brain twin M and I are cooking up as part of our plan for world domination through the medium of craft and swearing and it makes us laugh like Dastardly and Muttley. Well, if one can do such a thing by email.

E: The two halves of the brain will finally be united!

M: What?

E: Moving sloooowly towards each other.

M: Like a slug.

E: Like two halves of a broken slug. Slurp, slurp.

M: Ugh. Unclean.

E: Our brain IS unclean.


3. I am so very sorry

I have terrible TERRIBLE guilt right now about things promised and not delivered on this very weblog. Person to whom I owe that book from ages ago - I am a shithead. Sorry. People who did amazing things for the village fête - I am also a shithead. So so sorry. Sometime, before we are incontinent and delirious in nursing homes, I will actually follow up on what I have promised.

4. Parfum, Lashes style

I have had a horrible conversation with Lashes tonight. Well the horrible was more in the object we were discussing (I wrote 'disgusting' first time, as well I might). Vieux doudou, his comfort blanket, also know as Old Mimi, also known as "that stinky rag". It used to be a scarf of sorts. Then it morphed into what looked horribly like a set of filthy white dreads held together only by knots and slime. Then he lost that one and rapidly created another one in its image made from some pyjama bottoms of mine. When I asked him how he made it so putrid so quickly, he looked shifty and said something evasive. I do not pursue it; this is definitely one of those things better left unsaid.

Anyway, tonight he summoned me and made me smell it. Why did I agree, you are wondering? Because I am in a state of Perma Guilt at the moment.

"You have to smell it, it has a strange smell".

"Strange? Disgusting more like".

"No! Part of it smells different. WRONG".

I sniff my way carefully along vieux doudou. It smells foul, obviously. I get to a bit that doesn't.

"Is it this bit? It smells of Playdoh here".

He checks, with the assured nose of the connaisseur.

"No, it's not that" .

Finally he finds it himself.

"Here! Sniff this".

He shoves it under my nose. It smells like cheap perfume mixed with photocopier toner. Very nasty indeed. I feel an instant migraine coming on.

"What on earth is it, Lashes?"

"The glo-stick from Halloween, er, leaked"

He's looking shifty again.

"Well, just keep your face away from that part until it fades a bit".

"No. I have to find a "centre de dégoûtant"

He makes to shove it down his pyjama trousers. I lunge for him in the hope of restoring some shred of decency to proceedings.

"Oh, Lashes, no! Listen, it just means your doudou is, er, four different flavours! Like an ice cream".

This seems to tickle him. I stagger away and retch quietly in the corner. Gag. I have a distinct fear that some sinister tentacle of vieux doudou will still be lurking under his pillow when Lashes hits 45, but at least he'll be marvellously well-adjusted right? RIGHT? Oldest reader still in possession of transitional object from childhood please give me a report on your current psychiatric wellbeing. Thank you.

44 comments:

Helena said...

I slept with offcuts of my Mother's underslip when such things were still popular, it was called my nyny. I had three which she did occasionally steal and wash. But I only liked them when they smelt of bed.
I am reasonably well adjusted, but I am only 32, no longer have them and it took about £2000 (old money) of orthodontics to sort out the thumb sucking damage.
You might want to refer to someone more senior.

Jo said...

That is so disgusting that I nearly retched myself. Funny you should mention childhood toys/objects - just the other day I was wondering where my brilliantly named "teddy" was, and felt terrible guilt because he is currently residing in a plastic box in the loft in England. I think he is probably lonely, as am I, at times. Sigh. I'm 41.

But I'm pretty stable, psychiatrically speaking. (Christ, is that a word?)

Sending a surge of support...

Z said...

I'm sure I am one of your oldest readers, since you are younger than two of my children. I still have my childhood teddy bear. Younger son Ro has left his teddy bear Edbos here and I hold conversations with him. However, I am completely normal and very lovely in a slovenly and haphazard fashion. I can't resist peculiar smells though, and it so happens I mentioned that very thing in today's post, which shows I'm not making it up, as if I would.

I do indeed now love the CFOs parents. With such care and affection from all, your sons will grow up happy and compassionate. And please eat more cake, it will do you good.

That reminds me, I bought some of my favourite chocolate today. But I ate sweets in the car. Do I deserve chocolate? No. Will I eat it?

Bother (see, I've been shamed out of swearing). No. Tomorrow, I will.

Iheartfashion said...

My son has a dirty, shredded thing, a completely unidentifiable blanket, that he can't sleep without. I snuck it into the wash recently and it's far less foul but doesn't smell "right" to him.

Jo said...

PS. But I should add that I am somewhat OCD, and therefore Teddy, in his plastic box, is really clean and smells nice.

OCD. That's a nice thing to grow up with, no?

screamish said...

I'm so sorry for saying you should throw CFo's parents' stuff out in the street, they travel with wine, all is forgiven. GOD WE'RE SO SHALLOW AND JUDGEMENTAL!!! And possibly alcoholic...

I've started washing the girls' special toys, things were getting sticky, and that's only after one year.

I have no childhood transitional toys, unless it's the great beast of existential crisis that bangs me on the head about every fortnight...

Sewmouse said...

I am 53. I still have "Floppy", a 4"x6"x2" plush terrier. He has one eye. He has one ear much larger than the other, because I would rub my cheek on ONLY that ear. He has Frankenstein's Monsterish repairs scars. He sits on my bedside table. Just in case.

I am not mad.

Much.

M. said...

I used to live with a flatmate of 34 who kept a collection of doudous around. He did wash them regularly; they made a rotational appearance on the washing line. He was also permanently high, unemployed, unlucky in love, and once had his mother come round to clean up for him. Desirable.

Not quite a doudou, but an old lover used to suck his thumb while errr, you know. I almost choked with laughter, which might not have been the most comfortable for him.

dragondays said...

I love Mutley's snigger - so this will be a mega invention... hopefully!

redfox said...

Perhaps he will grow up to be an innovative and avant-garde parfumeur, working for the likes of Comme des Garçons and Etat Libre d’Orange.

"Introducing our most challenging and evocative scent yet: 'Doudou'. Balancing animalic and chemical notes around a central poly-cotton accord, Doudou somehow combines repulsion with comfort in equal measure. Not for the weak of heart."

WrathofDawn said...

How do you manage to be so amusing whilst feeling so miserable? Somewhere, there is an award for this.

Oh, the doudou... I very generously offered up my Squeaky Doggy to my younger cousin when she was a baby. I am an idiot. You know where it went, don't you? Straight into the trash the minute my back was turned.

Just to think, I, like Sewmouse, (who is my age - hello! Sewmouse!) could have had him on MY bedside table to this day, a 1950s vintage orangy-brown rubber squeaky doggy with the white paint worn off by LURVE.

Although he would no longer squeak, as my mother removed his squeaker in a viscious act of self-defence when I was a baby. I would roll over on him in my sleep and then he would "SQUEAK" every time I breathed in, threatening to wake me and, as every mother knows, anything that might wake a sleeping baby MUST BE STOPPED. So he was cruelly and irrevicably de-squeaked in the cause of maternal mental health.

I'm over it.

I think.

Natalie said...

I still have a duck (Duckyboo) that Mr Santa gave me at 3.It's quit big actually, about the size of a pillow. A pillow for my tears.
So thats 20years I've had it. In fact I washed it the other day for the first time all by myself. I think my Mum did it last when I was about 9.
I only washed it because my gerbil has mites and I thought they "mite" be having a wee feast on all my crusty old snot.

Bryony said...

re the shoes... I have recently visited Brussels on eurodrone business but, as I am in a plaster cast from toe to knee, did it in a wheelchair - it is the devil's own city and beyond - the spaces where the cobbles should be are vile chasms - you have my sympathy for this and so much more Bryony

72suburbs said...

I still have an afghan that was given to me as a baby. It used to be a pale yellow; it's now of indeterminate color and consists of more knots than knitting. At 24, I still sleep with it whenever the boyfriend isn't around.

Normal, functional young adult. I think Lashes will make it through.

Margaret said...

OCD: check.
Bun-bun in a Tupperware in the closet: check.
Old: check (43)
Well-adjusted: Uh. Kinda.
Secretly knew the in-laws would step up: check
Knew they travelled with emergency booze: NO! but good tip and AWESOME of them

A friend's son had a blankie called String Bun because of it's state of shreddiness. They lived in downtown and it was retrieved from their contaminated apartment after 9/11 to much rejoicing. So inspiring, right? Yeah, anyway, my friend washed the terrorist cooties out of it despite protests. Take the thing, stick it in a lingerie mesh bag and launder it with scent-free detergent while he's sleeping.

Kate said...

I know someone who is over 30 with part of one of their childhood blankets. I will not say who (it is seriously not me because I am cold and dead inside and don't have nor ever had any such objects). She sleeps with it. She wears it as a scarf while walking the dog in winter. I'm not sure she takes it on trips with her... but she might. Other than that, she is a very well adjusted, very bright, very independent, very lovely human being... a bit demanding, but a-okay.

Anonymous said...

I am 42. I still slept with my "blankie", which I was given on the occasion of my birth, until just a few months ago when it finally gave up the ghost. It traveled with me. It rested under my pillow when my bed was made. It facilitated high quality slumber. I will, however, confess to hiding it when I had bed guests, lest they judge me harshly, and it was regularly washed and therefore never smelled of anything other than Bounce.

I have seriously considered replacing it.

Anonymous said...

I had stuffed bears and some of them wore old baby singlets. As the bears were often under my nose, my father would call them the "sniffers". Then I gradually just carried the bits of old singlet (sniffers also). The bears and singlets were covered in "lurve" dirt and very soporific. I still have most of them, even singlet shreds (that is mad, I know). No longer sniffing them. I am not completely bananas.
Can we guess what the prototype is for?
wv if wafte...

Margaret said...

I just realized you shouldn't take my advice at all. When I was 3 Bun-Bun's music box tore through, spilling out stuffing guts. According to my mom, I was completely horrified and repelled and thereafter SHUNNED my heretofore beloved Bun-Bun. So ignore my advice to wash the disgusting stringy object; clearly I have unresolved perfection issues.

Anonymous said...

Oldest reader in possession of vieux doudou? Not quite, after reading the comments, as I'm not yet 50.

My doudou, a bunny. My father kicked it, enraged, when I refused to go to sleep, and my bunny's mouth was knocked off. Saying that, my father's a saint... I think that was a one-off for him.

Yet, fortunately, my mother did not write about this, and the ensuing mental traumas...

Are you thinking the internet won't exist anymore, by the time Lashes is cognizant? Will he want to read this about his child-life?

Maybe not. Your children, while yours, are not yours to do with as you will. I think you overstep the bounds. This will all still be here, floating about in the interwebs, years from now.

kathycastro said...

Anon3, Lashes is SEVEN. When he is older, do you think he will give a shit that his mother told the internet that he had a smelly doudou?

Certainly Jaywalker knows much better than you do what is best for her children. Mind your own business. And have the balls to sign your name when criticising others.

kathycastro said...

Actually, one other thing: I would KILL to have any evidence, much less a public record, that my mother loved and enjoyed me even a tenth as much as Jaywalker loves and enjoys her kids. I think Fingers and Lashes have something to truly cherish in the BelgianWaffling archive.

Anonymous said...

The point is, kathycastro, that we don't actually KNOW what Lashes will think, many years from now. And because he's a child, and has no voice here, to me it seems inappropriate to bare these details.

But perhaps you know them all better than I do, which is -- to be clear -- not at all.

And my anonymous tag is really irrelevant -- because that's just what the rest of the internet is = anonymous readers? Anyone? One has no idea who's reading.

Mrs Jones said...

Anon3, I think you're being very unfair here and rather unkind just now to our beloved Ms Waffle. It's HER blog and she can say what she likes and if you'd read EVERYTHING she's written, you'd know that great consideration is given to what she will and won't write about.

Plus what's all this bollocks you're spouting about internet readers being anonymous? I'm not. My name is Kaz Jones and I'm a Belgian Waffle addict. I also don't think that Kathy Castro is a made up name. So why are you hiding behind your anonymity? Is it just so you can safely throw barbs at someone who is going through an enormous transition in their lives without the inconvenience of anyone else being able to investigate how well you're living your life? What gives you the right to sit in such smug judgment on what someone else chooses to divulge about their life?

Jo said...

I have to agree with KC and Mrs Jones. Let's get some perspective - we're talking about a childhood rag for God's sake. While I also respect anon's right to their own opinion although I completely disagree with it, I do also firmly think the marvellous Lashes and Fingers, *are* Jaywalker's - maybe not to "do with as she will" (and I don't think she does anything odd to them, do you?) - but they're minors, and someone has to make decisions for them while they are young. I think she does a grand job. We all try our best.

Mrs Trefusis... said...

Darling Waffle, I agree with kathy & kaz, naturally. I dint think lashes will have a cow about you Revealing All about his doudou. Anon 3 is *political correctness gone mad* (please read PGM in screechy daily mail kind of voice, possibly that of Anne whatsit that does The Weakest Link)
Trefusis Minor has something which was once a dalmation: it has gone the way of all doudou, & is grey & smelly in the approved fashion & in a way which resists all attempts to wash it. In a fit of enormous egotism, he recently renamed it 'little Trefusis minor' (it has previously been called Bella for 5 yrs despite it being a boy dalmation.
I didn't have a doudou as a child, but I was swept envious of those that did because it always seemed so sweet & sentimental. Though my little friend James in kindergarten had adopted a pair of his dad's enormous yfronts as a doudou, much to his mother's cheek-burning shame

Anonymous said...

I must be one of your oldest readers, being now a couple of years past 50. I still have my beloved panda stored carefully away in the top of my wardrobe - stained and completely bald. He sat on my bed until I was about 18, and he's going to be there to the end. I think I'm fine! Don't know whether my friends/family/work colleagues would agree, and frankly, don't care!
As for the kids reading this when they're grown up - they'll be thrilled to get this insight into what they were like and touched at how much you care about them (not that they are in any doubt about it).

Jenny

Anonymous said...

I had a blanket that I adored when young. It was cut up so that I always had a piece. Once when travelling to Greece (4 day drive) I left it at a picnic site and my dad drove back for half a day to retrieve it. Yes, still there. A kind soul had left it in a plastic bag hung up, obviously recognising the extreme importance. When I went to boarding school I still had it until one terrible day my mother quietly forgot to pack it. I was about 11 then. I had a major meltdown for hmmm, an hour? And then promptly forgot all about it until now. I am completely and fantastically functional, mostly.

Cooking and wine? Lovely lovely in-laws! I agree with Z on all counts, including eating cake. P.S. well done on the not swearing Z.

Just to add my bit to anon... Mme Waffle writes about her kids with such loving acceptance and humour that I think her kids will greatly enjoy reading this blog if it is still around and they want to. Also it seems rather rude to enter what is essentially someones living room and pick fault in such a direct and provocative manner.

Fran

Laura and Ben said...

On the subject of cobbles - they're the bane of my life. If I'm not losing a heel down the cracks I'm treading on the loose ones which squirt water up your leg. Bastards.

Z said...

Thank you, Anon darling. It makes be believe I deserve that chocolate today.

I think I may indeed be your oldest reader, Jaywalker. Any advance on 56?

Ellie said...

EAugh. That's a little nasty. I think I'd be reclaiming those pj pants quicksmart.

Juci said...

I have a 33-yo friend who still sleeps with his old lovie. He's great, a lot of fun, though slightly childish, oh, and he's a closet gay teacher in a Christian primary school, plus he's the organist of his congregation. Can't exactly get out of that closet, so no relationships.
But then that's him. I'm sure Lashes will be fine. Remember, gross is healthy in boys.

MargotLeadbetter said...

I sucked my thumb, and sometimes I still find myself sucking it (at 38). It's not an object I could be without though really.

Neither of my boys have anything like this (I'm having a brief and very weak lightbulb-over-head moment of possibly adequate parenting in at least one area! Yay for me!)

Anonymous said...

I have realised that being too lazy to sort out a user name means I may be lumped in with the Anonymii whose views I do not uphold so I must try to remember to sign my comments in future.
My son had a cloth he called an "utnee" until he was 9. He started off with several (bits of old towels) so I was able to rotate them so they got washed occasionally, much to his annoyance, but gradually he lost them until we were left with one. He was even happy to take it with him when he started boarding school. The last "utnee" was accidentally left behind when returning from a holiday and I was dreading the sleepless nights to follow but after the initial brief upset he did not ask for it again. However he does speak fondly of it and does not seem remotely embarrassed about it now at the grand old age of 11 - just as well as it features in almost every photo of him.
The "utnee" was often digusting as he used to go through various stages of habits with it, such as going to sleep with a corner of it stuffed up his nose, but the worst stage was when he was placed with us (for adoption) at 2 years old and used to dab the corner on his eyeball. I could hardly bear to watch and would try to distract him with something else and he did move onto a different habit shortly after.
He does have quite severe psychological problems but this is all to do with the profound neglect and abuse he suffered in the "care" of his birth parents and nothing at all to do with that smelly rag. Knowing you are loved and cherished, as L and F probably realise already and will certainly realise when they read your posts, is all that matters.
Rock God's Wife

Completely Alienne said...

Like Z I am one of your older readers and I too still have my teddybear. His sawdust is leaking a bit but I still wash his clothes every couple of years.

I am relatively normal - not the most houseproud person around but with teenagers it would be a waste of time.

I am most impressed by the CFO's parents; whatever their other failings, anyone who travels with a 10L winebox can't be all bad.

magpie said...

I still ahve my teddybear - he's a rather dignified old polar bear with cataracty eyes from where they've been chipeed over the years. He used to hsve a black velveteen nose many years ago but all the velvet stuff wore off a long time ago and it is now pink. All his stuffing has migrated to the lower half of his stomach. I think my boyfriend, who I live with, has also developed some affection for him. I am 26, perhaps not normal (whatever that is), but certainly functional and very loyal to old friends.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Waffle. You are indeed a saint, a fabulous writer and a great mom! At 32 (in two weeks), Mr Bear was given to me at 5 years old. He is brown, used to have a velvet heart (which is now just white plastic heart), all the stuffing has moved from his limbs and he now has a lollipop head and a protruding belly, not to mention the noose indent around his neck from his not yet missing plaid neck tie, and his matted, wearing away fur. He sits quietly on my bed just waiting for those days of disaster to arrive to offer comfort and wipe away the tears (confession - he's NEVER seen the inside of a washing machine...well, that I know of!). When I travel, he is in my suitcase. He's a comfort and one of my most treasured possessions. Fear not! Lashes and Fingers will be FINE! (I shall, of course, draw the line at bringing him as my guest tomorrow evening)! Hang in there - you're gonna make it!! xx

Views from the UK 2006 said...

As to problem with shoes, have you tried flat shoes, as with no heels, in less European roads react badly to shoes in the generic sense!

Jo said...

I read something a bit disturbing last night in Harper's. Grayson Perry still has his childhood bear, named Alan Measles. He is building a "glass shrine" for his teddy to go on the back of his custom built motorbike. Grayson is 47. He may well be a famous/celebrated artist, but he is also a transvestite. You have been warned! (Word verification: undead. )

Red Shoes said...

What's wrong with being a transvestite?

GingerB said...

I lost my Ricki doll, named after my mother, and it pains me still. I do have a couple old childhood friends I can't part with who live in a crate that moves from house to house with me, but I don;t think they'd survive a wash so I've never tried. I may not be well adjusted but I make my way.

I've missed you while I was away, and I love you.

the polish chick said...

ugh! you people are disgusting! all those dirty old bits and pieces to carry around with you? yuck. then again, i have moved so often that even if i did have a mangy malodorous piece of childhood love, it'd have disappeared long ago. i'm still looking for that periwinkle skirt that disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1993.
as for you, mrs. waffle, i'm keeping my fingers crossed that you hang in there and make it out the other side of this ugliness. hugs.

bevchen said...

I have a purple mouse called Nick. He's here in Germany with me right now, sitting on my bed. I never actually insisted on taking him everywhere with me though, so maybe it's not quite the same?

Grit said...

i could not post this earlier, because i deal everyday with the trauma.

i had a fluffy blue rabbit which i carried everywhere. i think he might have been called 'rabbit'. that is poetic, is it not?

and then my mother, the woman who was there to protect me, exterminated 'rabbit' deliberately on purpose just because he stank and i had chewed off half his face and ear. i might have been well adjusted but for that moment, the source of all my despair.

lashes must keep doudou. it is your only hope.