Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A Question of Names

I am a terrible father.  Which for those of you who have read this blog before is probably not earth-shattering information but may be necessary for the novices amongst us, and if you are new please feel free to have a poke around, I don’t think the place is too cluttered so make yourself at home and enjoy reading about my many and various failures, this post will give you a nice flavour of what is in store for you. 

I really am a terrible father.  We went to Mothercare on Saturday.  Fabulous shop, N was in her element, B was determinedly scoping out high chairs for the little man, who is getting less little and more massive with every feed (and there are plenty of those), S was trucking along with B, presumably thinking about how long it was going to be before the opportunity came round for him to eat something.  Judging by how frantic he gets sometimes I’m fairly sure he has some form of atomic clock tucked away inside one of his many rolls of fat that he consults at regular intervals and which probably begins to vibrate more and more violently as the time comes round for feeding, unfortunately, as S is in control of the device the feeding times come around roughly every twenty minutes, which may be a bit too frequent, but I’m no expert.

So there we were, the three of them having a thoroughly enjoyable time whilst I, though of course I should have been playing with N and helping B in the great high-chair reconnaissance exercise of 2014, and explaining to S that it’s not fair if he keeps his cool atomic thingummy hidden away from the rest of us; I should have been doing all these things, but sadly, as soon as I step into a place like Mothercare my juvenile side takes over.  This has the effect of making me wonder what on earth I am doing there and why anyone in their right mind would let me have sole charge of children.  All the other parents in there seem terribly serious and competent and ready for whatever situation comes their way, I on the other hand find myself in the rather embarrassing position of chuckling away to myself at what appears to be the name of a pushchair.  You see, while I should have been concentrating on making sure that my daughter wasn’t doing a Godzilla through the wooden train track which was out in the middle of the shop (though curiously without any train at all, really Mothercare, you put it out to play with and then just leave all the children hanging, imagining the fun they could have been having if they had thought to bring two tiny wheels and an axle with them, I could almost have justified a small Godzilla rampage of my own, but I managed to hold myself back) I was actually beguiled by a large sign hanging over a pushchair which bore the name,

3D Monodot.”

Which seems to me to be a particularly strange name for anything.  Surely, unless you stumbled into Mothercare desperate to lay your hands on a Rembrandtesque picture of a pushchair (which is a bit more colourful and with fewer sharp edges than Picasso’s) then are you really going to expect anything you come out with to not be in 3D?  How disappointed would you be if you ordered a pushchair online only to find that you were able to roll it up and put into a cardboard tube?  I really don’t think that trumpeting itself as ‘3D’ is going to set it apart from the rest of the pushchair market.  Presumably someone in marketing thought parents are so addle-brained that they would need reassuring that something to which they are going to be entrusting the comfort and safety of their baby is more substantial than the air that they breathe, which maybe I am, but everyone else that I saw in Mothercare that day didn’t seem like they needed telling.

The item in question

What is perhaps even more perplexing is the matter of the second half of the name.  3D is bad enough, but then to couple that with the word ‘Monodot’ seems to completely muddy the message.  Which is it?  Sturdy and substantial, as implied by ‘3D’ or airy, ethereal, frankly incapable of carrying anything with a greater mass than a drop of ink, as ‘Monodot’ would suggest.  Can, indeed, Silver Cross, the manufacturers of the item in question, have forged the way to creating a new race of beings known as the Time Lords, with their ‘bigger on the inside’ pushchair?  If so I hope they never read this and I’m sorry I ever doubted them.  Somehow though I don’t think so. 

The point of all this though is that I stood for a good while thinking all this through.  Meanwhile my daughter was happily flying through the store on a little blue trolley contraption that was definitely 3D and substantially more hazardous than a monodot.

I am happy to report that no major damage was caused, the wooden train tracks remained in one piece, so to speak, most of the books remained on their shelves and the ones that didn’t were easily replaced, and I think, over all, I got away with it.  Next time though, when you see a guy just standing and chuckling to himself over the name of a pushchair, please just tap him on the shoulder and ask him if that is his daughter that is escaping out the door in a pushchair shaped suspiciously like the TARDIS.  He’ll almost certainly thank you for it.

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