Parenting

 
 

CBeebies: A Parents Guide

So, you are contemplating letting The Child (your one obviously) watch a bit of TV to allow you to concentrate on something important, such as sitting down uninterrupted for 45-50 seconds, but have you really thought it through? You probably think it’s simple, but is it really as easy as avoiding anything with Justin Fletcher? Well, that really depends on whether you want to risk the wrath of the little commandant by turning off Rhyme Rocket (which you will have to do, generally within about 8-10 seconds of naively turning it on) because it’s an easier option than stabbing yourself in the eyes with anything pointier than eyes.

So, as a consistant and unwaivering servant of the people, here is my guide to CBeebies current schedule, commit it to memory, your sanity may very well rely on it. For ease I have included quick reference ratings for each one, firstly, the LASTTIP Rating(Likelihood of Accidentally Singing Theme Tune In Pub) which is of course, universally acknowledged and needs no explanation and secondly, the BPP Rating[1], which rates programmes enjoyability in terms of 80-90’s Blue Peter Presenters from the magnificent Konnie Huq down to the… well… Anthea Turner.

The Adventures Of Abney And Teal

Fabulous, worth watching just for Toby Dog’s Waltz. Avoid debates with The Wife about what the Poc-Poc’s are.
LASTTIP: High
BPP : Konnie Huq

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Alphablocks

In theory a spelling programme where the blocks rattle off words beginning with their letter. Clearly produced by a moron(and/or American) as this morning X spent some time discussing that he was Excited and Exhausted and various other words which don’t begin with X
LASTTIP: Low
BPP: Diane Louise Jordan
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Baby Jake

Undoubtedly the most sinister thing on television. Probably ever. Never turn your back on it.
LASTTIP: Low
BPP: John Leslie

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Never look the baby in the eyes.
Balamory

Phenomenal theme tune. The Wife cannot stand the “Balymoron’s” due to them always being “chipper” and wearing “primary colours”.
LASTTIP: Medium to High
BPP: Sarah Greene

Charlie & Lola

Harmless fun, until the inevitable episode when Social Services come to take both kids into care as their parents appear to have abandoned Charlie to look after Lola single handedly for the past few years.
LASTTIP: Low to Medium
BPP: Tim Vincent

“Sit down Lola, we need to talk about mummy and daddy…”

Chuggington

Farcial, the engines are clearly American gauge, as is the track and they often run the wrong way on it, yet all of them speak with British accents. Unrealistic. (Information courtesy of my father in law)(seems to gloss over the fact that most British locomotives rarely talk at all in his desire for accuracy).
LASTTIP: Medium to High
BPP: Diane Louise Jordan

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Quite clearly American guage engines, they must think kids are stupid.

Get Well Soon

Never really paid any attention to this nonsense until I learned that the singing and dancing presenter, Dr Ranj is an actual practicing Doctor… Imagine if you turned up at hospital and he strolled in to consult!?! Admittedly it’s no different to my whole issue with Dr Glasson(my old family doctor who also happens to be Louisa Glasson’s dad, which is fine for me as I know that, but imagine the confusion and moral dilemma for others who see the framed pictures of them behind his desk, then leave thinking she’s clearly a serial Doctor wooer)(which she posssibly is). I like to think I’d warn him.
LASTTIP: Low
BPP: Diane Louise Jordan

“Clearly I’m going to want a second opinion ‘Doctor’…”

Grandpa In My Pocket

James Bolam (The Likely Lads, New Tricks) makes a disgrace of himself but is overshadowed by the young lad who plays Jason, and who you know swans around school being proper big time(Like Adam “Yeah hi, so like, I’m in Children’s Ward” Rowbottom used to)
LASTTIP: Low
BPP: Yvette Fielding
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In The Night Garden

Someone was taking a lot of fairly potent gear the day they came up with this one. (Apparently)
LASTTIP: High
BPP: Richard Bacon
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Justin’s House

Would happily give all my sensory organs to medical research to ensure I never had to endure another 3 seconds of Justin Fletcher MBE (confirmation, as if it were needed, that the monarchy is full of mentalists).
LASTTIP: n/a[2]
BPP: Anthea Turner

Match Of The Day
The Child makes me watch it every Sunday morning (since The Thick Of It returned to fill the Saturday night after work Sky+ slot), she particularly enjoys all the bright colours, singing and funny men falling over (essentially what Justin Fletcher does every day, but considerably more morally acceptable). Less popular with The Wife.
LASTTIP: Medium
MOTDP: Des Lynam
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Tinky Winky, Po, Dipsy and Lawro
Rastamouse

Designed almost exclusively for middle class, white students who pretend to enjoy it to appear wacky and ironic (see Magic Roundabout). A bigger giveaway of middle classishness than going to a fancy dress occasion dressed as a ‘Chav’.
LDSTTISU: High[3]
BPP: Richard Bacon

"Oh after this let's get ready for our Chav party... I can't wait to dress as a chav Octavia, I'm going to be so working class, isn't it!

“Oh after this let’s get ready for our Chav party… I can’t wait to dress as a chav Octavia, I’m going to look so working class! Yo! Isn’t it!”

Rhyme Rocket

Quite off putting watching Professor Poet and Flying Officer Ditty visibly (and quite understandably) hating themselves as they fly though the galaxy looking for rhymes.
LASTTIP: Lower than their self worth.
BPP: Yvette Fielding
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Something Special

Fletcher.
LASTTIP: n/a
BPP: Anthea Turner

Yep... That'll be an MBE then...

“For the record, one thinks you are a dick, but one had to give you this… for the kids”

The Tweenies

Avoid at all costs unless you want to watch half a dozen (probably) RADA trained out of work thespians detesting themselves, self loathing genuinely seeps from the TV and will fill your house.
LASTTIP: Low to Medium
BPP: Yvette Feilding

16 years at RADA between them.

Timmy Time

Phenomenal theme tune, but plot lines can be childish. Also the ‘will they-won’t they’ love affair between Timmy the lamb and Yabba the duckling is ruined for me as their teacher Harriet the heron is a heron(not just a clever name) and I was one of the two’s of people who watched one the herons in Abersoch harbour eat four fairly sizeable ducklings in front of their parents(who had mixed feelings about the whole affair) a couple of years back. No lyrics on the end credits which frankly, is an oversight.
LASTTIP: High
BPP: Sarah Greene

Waybuloo

Employs a selection of child actors from whom they pick Cheebies each week to harass the Piplings. Currently my nemesis is “girl in stripey tights” for no other reason than you know her mother is standing behind the camera gesturing and badgering little Octavia between takes about her posture and mouthing “Proooo-ject’. Courted controversy last year when they briefly added Come Dine With Me’s Dave Lamb as narrator, an outcry from deranged mothers led to the new format being scrapped(The Wife was one of the deranged mothers).
LASTTIP: High
BPP: Katy Hill

I hope this helps.
x

Explainy Bit I’m Increasingly Having To Put At The End Of These Things

[1]Blue Peter Presenter Rating System Explained:
Konnie Huq – Brilliant
Richard Bacon – Alright(Supervision Required Adult Themes)
Sarah Greene – Alright
Katy Hill – Overrated
Tim Vincent – Harmless Eunuch With Elements Of Slightly Annoying
Diane Louise Jordan – Slightly Annoying with elements of Annoying
Yvette Feilding – Annoying
John Leslie – Dark
Anthea Turner – Stay The F-Word Away From My Kids
.
[2] n/a – Program’s featuring Justin Fletcher and/or Mr Tumble are not rated as anyone allowing themselves to watch the program should not be allowed out in public.

[3] LDSTTISU – Likelihood Of Deliberately Singing The Theme Tune In The Students Union.

*Nb: CiTV, Nickelodeon, Milkshake etc is obviously also available, if you want your young to end up on Jeremy Kyle

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A Revised Syllabus For Baby School

Before I start, let’s be clear, this is not an anti Baby School rant, my argument here is purely with those upstairs. It’s all well and good giving the midwives a list of subjects which have been decided on by a committee, but if it’s the wrong subject matter what are they supposed to do?
When I was at school we learnt stuff, got tested on it and got shoved out of the revolving door to find a use for this new found knowledge. Now I conceed that my life hasn’t benefited massively from knowing how to tell a Roman legionnaire that the dog is in the garden (canis est in horta), but I believed the speel, Latin would give me a better grounding for the multitude of foreign languages I don’t speak (although I still stand my ground on the argument that raged following Latinoralexamgate, when Mr Butler savagely ripped into my accent. Suffice to say that, whilst you could ‘eff and blind’ at him on the football pitch, as one of the staff team’s three permitted ringers, you absolutely could not suggest he “wheel out a centurio” to prove my hard C’s were a little off).

Annoyingly Quintus agreed with Pete Butler

Of course, my grades have become largely irrelevant nowadays, as you’d get a fairly high mark for getting the spelling of dog close(probably in either language, so as not to offend). I was the generation who courted controversy amongst tea drinking Daily Mailists by first taking calculators into maths exams, (had I been allowed to ‘take’ Paul Arcangeli into my Latin exam I’d have romped it, as it stands I spent two hours reflecting that whilst copying Paul’s written work had freed up valuable time to work on my hard C’s it did leave me a little screwed in the exam) but back then we also had to actually get a decent mark to get a decent grade (how wacky and thoroughly old fashioned). Now everything seems so dumbed down that it’s hard to see the point in learning it, and certainly not in testing it…
Anyway, Baby School, we sat uncomfortably, staring nervously at the floor through four classes, in 40c heat (an odd decision by the powers that be to have the heating set to “surface of the sun” in a room full of very pregnant woman and very drowsy men), and left feeling slightly better informed than had we just arrived from Mars, Devon or 1790. And so to the point of this essay, it occurs to me that there’s a gulf of knowledge which wasn’t even touched on at Baby School and as a willing champion of the people allow me to rectify the Top Ten Omissions:

1. If you are the owner of a mobile phone with ‘push notifications’ – turn them off. This should be done as a matter of urgency upon commencement of labour (1. Water breaks, 2. Turn off push notifications 3. Consider heading for hospital…), because, when you have negotiated the maze of corridors leading to a safe zone (where the world will not end if you turn on said mobile device) you will receive on average 126 text messages, individually. The kind thoughts of friends and loved ones are somewhat lost when you have to close each one individually before you can make or receive the call you went out for(and all because you wouldn’t wait for a decent upgrade to become available, and were instead wooed by the glitz and glamour of Jobs’ devil phone). Another fabulous feature the midwives won’t tell you about is, the ‘close’ message feature is, in iWorld, far more important than the ‘answer incoming call’ feature (and as such the background will flash with “Someone You Desperately Need To Speak To – CALLING” as you frantically tap ‘close’ ‘close’ ‘close’… no amount of youthful ‘Track And Field’ in the bus station arcade will enable you to answer that call so give up now).

Embarrassing Dad - Planning is key.

Embarrassing Dad - Planning is key.

2. An absolutely essential piece of equipment for the aspiring ’embarrassing dad’ is a decent notepad and pen for recording important dates, cherished memories and potentially useful anecdotes, you will have plenty on your plate in the coming weeks and there’s no garauntee that you’ll remember the midwives choice nickname for little Beyonce (Imagine the devastation in years to come if you weren’t able to share ‘Little Chunk’ with her friends at B’s 18th, wedding or borstal). These early days will be full of useful subject matter and it’s now that ‘Embarassing Dad’ can lay his foundations in a sure and professional manner.

3. If you are tempted to utilise the marvellously ironic “Patient Line” telephone system think carefully. Researchers have proven that it is actually cheaper to pay a team of bedouin tribesmen to carry your messages back and forth by camel train(by which system a typical six ‘leg’ message can be completed well before you would have ever been connected).

4. It is an urban myth that the father to be will need shorts and a t-shirt for the grand arrival(a rumour created by retailers and Vaynol Arms Bar Managers to sell more clothes and occupy their tiny minds, respectively) and if, for example, the “f2b” were to ask where he should get changed the midwife team will, hypothetically, look at him like he’s mental. However, in an ironic twist the mother and baby ward itself will be kept at a constant 39 c and as such the wise father will opt for beach wear (and ideally comedy beer helmet with isotonic sports drinks) for all future visits.

5. Do not underestimate the distance your child’s poo can cover. Only the most gung ho of parents would even consider changing a nappy from the feet end, once they’ve experienced the indignity and gut twisting disgust of being sprayed by their offspring.

6. In the run up to baby everyone you have ever met will ask you about names, this will generally be followed by a half(probably nearer quarter) joke that you should use their name (this is rarely gender specific, “I think Marta or Martin are good names”). When baby arrives DO NOT, under any circumstance, be tempted to pretend that you have gone with their suggestion on any level(“He’s called Carlos Yaya Marta Box”). The awkwardness of the moment when you jovially say “Not really” is something that could mentally scar the cruelest of despots.

7. Within midwifery circles they bizarrely refer to baby school as ‘parenting class’, this is worth remembering when referring to it to midwives after baby is born (particularly any midwives who may, for instance live around the corner from you and have already referred to you as ‘cocky’).

Catering - Basic and stingy portioning.

Food - Basic and stingy

8. When packing your ‘hospital bag’ remember to safely pack £2.90 for the hospital restaurant’s* excellent fish and chips. Hospital food is not only appalling, but the portion size is woefully inadequate and when mum’s dinner comes round there will be very little left for her once you’ve ‘got some of your strength back’ (Do not dwell on the fact that they price individual items, Fish £1.93, chips 72p… because this, as demonstrated by The Bar Manager will scar you for years to come and ensure that any future conversations about Hospitals, children, fish and/or chips will always descend into a bizarre furious rant).

9. Take a moment to walk the corridors reading the signs (for context) and enjoy the simple genius of the ‘Eye Clinic’ door sign being written at least 8 font sizes bigger. (The fact that the maps and general signage is printed so confusingly that MI5 operatives wouldn’t be able to find the clinic in the first place is somewhat irrelevent).

Crocs - Unpleasant

Crocs - Unpleasant

10. Resist at all costs suggestions by the ‘Doctors’ that any form of assisted delivery may be necessary. You may, like me, have the chiselled features to make pale blue scrubs and pink surgical caps look good, but no one should have to deal with the memory of this miraculous occasion being tarnished by having to wear yellow Crocs.

You’re welcome.

* At Ysbty Gwynedd do not be fooled by the WRVS Snackbar THIS IS NOT THE RESTAURANT and you will be forced to make do with a tiny roll libellously described as a “deep filled bap” which would not serve to mask the hunger pangs of your newborn child, let alone it’s emaciated father.

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