Deb's Digest
Debbie Atkinson’s family life column, as featured in the Southport Visiter.

Thursday, 28 April 2011


Oscar's pre-school group held a Royal Wedding party and each child was asked to dress as a prince or a princess - perhaps because the word was longer and therefore probably more important, Oscar said he wanted to be a princess. His dad made a crown and placed it on his head telling him that he was now a prince. "No, princess" said Oscar. Eventually the matter was resolved by them both deciding that he could be a king.

Over Sunday dinner I was talking to my mother about housekeeping, what I used to spend and what I spend now. Oscar's dad said: "What's housekeeping?" I could hardly believe my ears. Did he not realise that for the 20-odd years he lived at home I worked to a budget and that every one of his three-course meals came out of it? Apparently not, because when I explained the concept he said that he thought it was a bit quaint and old-fashioned.
When his brother was home over Easter I laughingly told him about this episode, expecting him to laugh with me. "What is housekeeping?" he asked. I explained once again. "It sounds quite sensible" he said. This left me wondering what young couples do these days if there are no financial boundaries in place. It also left me wondering whether they had ever noticed that for most of their lives they ate steak at the beginning of the month and shepherd's pie at the end. Probably not!

Thursday, 21 April 2011


Oscar has joined the Tuesday afternoon Little Kickers club. On his first visit he won a race and scored a goal cheered on by a very proud Dad. I'm not sure but it looks to me as though he was sent off!

The half time drink proved to be a big attraction.

I hope he doesn't prove to be as rough as his uncle (our younger son) who arrived at our house last night with bruised knees and cut feet after taking a dive in a mixed sex football match during which he sent a female member of the team flying.

Saturday, 16 April 2011


During Oscar's visit this week I was trying to introduce the concept of addition. Using fingers I said "one and one makes?" "SUNSHINE" he yelled and he was so dogmatic that for a split second I wondered if he might be right.

Our daughter has experienced a downside to the wonderful world of employment. After applying for and getting an extra role at the school where she works, she encountered nothing but unhelpfulness and cussedness from the member of staff she was taking over from. Things got so bad that our daughter found herself having to take the blame for measures that had been introduced by her predecessor - while that person was sitting silently next to her, presumably glowing with satisfaction. So a willing worker has thrown in the towel - with our blessing. If it's taught her one thing it's that there's nowt so queer as folk.
It took me back to my first job in the summer after I left school. I was a dental receptionist and was taking over from a feisty sort of girl. On my first day of booking appointments, a Lady Bracknell lookalike arrived for her 10am slot - only there was no 10am slot booked. I was almost for the chop as all hell broke loose, until I spotted that the feisty one had rubbed out this dragoness's name, knowing full-well what the consequences would be for me. I've experienced mean-minded characters like that on and off throughout my career and have found that it's usually those with a miserable home life who can't bear to see  people who are happy with their lot, getting on in their lives.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


Oscar is great company and we have long intelligent conversations. But sometimes I seem to be transported back to the '60s "where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies" and when nothing was surprising. For instance this week when Oscar was sitting in his car seat supping orange juice he announced: "Oscar had enough now Grandma, Oscar save some for yesterday." I had a sudden mystical moment. Followed sharply by another when he added: "Grandad is very clever man. Grandad is magic man." Fortunately grandad wasn't in the car - it wouldn't do to swell his head any more than it already is. But I wish I could step into Oscar's world just for a couple of minutes.

Today I'm moving my putting all my winter clothes away - so I predict icy cold temperatures and rain for the next four weeks at least.

Sunday, 3 April 2011


At the risk of embarrassing them, I reckon I must have the best children ever. The house now resembles a florist's, I have new slippers, smellies and books that are right up my street.

Our daughter was home from Hull and over breakfast I was asking her if she'd watched any of the Red Nose Day programmes. I told her that I'd taped it all and then watched it the next day, fast forwarding through all the appeals. "So you really entered into the spirit of it," she said. I've been laughing about it all day - which probably just makes my crassness worse.

The "boat" built by my mother for Oscar, out of an upside-down stool, is becoming ever more sophisticated. It is now on wheels, has a Union Jack attached and is pulled by two coloured belts. Oscar sets off for "Edinburgh" "Manchester" and "Liverpool" during his weekly visits to her flat and seems to prefer this cobbled-together contraption to the colourful Raleigh bike that sits unused in our garage!