Topsy and Tim vs What Mum should have told me

Sometimes when you’re a parent, there are times when things start to slide a little. Moments where you’re not ‘on it’ so much as ‘under it’. I’m like that most of the time. There are rare glimmers of confidence, but other times I’m bumbling along making it up as I go… I’ve done a lot of bumbling during this school holiday. One of my main slipping points is letting them watch TV. I should be more strict, more accurately monitoring how long they watch it for. But at the end of the day, I need to get things done! This does of course come back to bite me. Like when my children sing a note-perfect rendition of an irritating advert they’ve seen on Nick Junior, also known as The Embarrassing Bank Queue Incident with the ‘Go Compare’ Singing Competition.

This is why we like CBeebies. No adverts, plus I can convince myself the children are being educated (thanks Nina).

But then…

“This is our street, it’s where live, we love to play together…

Just like you, just like us, and we’ll be friends forever…

We can be, anything, if we close our eyes and dream…”

(Source: Topsy and Tim)

Every day, at some point I end up singing this at the top of my lungs. I bloody love that song (I bloody hate that song…)

I know I’m not alone in this, a while back I laughed my socks off at Ben Wakeling’s take on the Topsy and Tim song. Theme tune apart, I have issues with dear old Topsy and Tim. Don’t get me wrong, as a child I used to love the books. My children love the books now. I can’t help but cringe when I read the copies I used to own as a child and make a point of highlighting the obvious sexism and asking the children ‘Why do you think the mummy has to do those jobs? Could the daddy do them?’ This is often met with a flat

‘No, she has to do it’: feminist argument ensues – but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Interestingly, my 3 year old daughter is outrageously sexist, whilst my son is coming round to the idea that girls can do just as well as boys (unless it’s judged against his performance in something… in which case, he’s the best at everything.) But these books are a reflection of the time. I get that.

I think, the problem is I can’t separate my family and theirs when I watch it. Every time Mummy reacts patiently to something, my 3 give me the wistful ‘Why can’t you be like her Mummy?’ glance (this does probably coincide with my derisive snort to be honest, but that’s not the point!) I think it’s fair to say, me and Topsy and Tim’s parents don’t have a great deal in common.

Topsy and Tim go to B&Q

Topsy and Tim narrate: We were so excited to go to the tool shop! Dad told us we were going to be his special helpers for the day, while Mummy baked a cake for our afternoon visitors.

Topsy: It was so fun in the car all the way there. We took it in turns to choose which song we would sing, and then we all couldn’t stop laughing when Daddy chose the same song twice! He just loves Frozen.

Tim: When we got to the car park, we had an argument about who got to push the trolley first. Daddy said the best of friends always push the trolley together which made us both laugh. Pushing it at the same time was twintastic!

Topsy: We couldn’t believe how many tins of paint there were stacked in the aisles. Tim tried to count them but it was impossible! We sang I Can Sing a Rainbow while Daddy got some help from a kind man called Dave in the wood section.

Tim: By the time Daddy had found all of the things we needed to be the special helpers we’d made lots of new friends. The lady at the till said Dad was really lucky to have such special helpers.

Topsy and Tim [together]: And that was the moment Dad said ‘Things are so much easier when we work together, I’m so proud of you Topsy and Tim, and that,’ said Dad ‘is that.’

What Mum should have told me and family go to B&Q

Boy narrates: We didn’t want to go to the tool shop, it’s always boring at the tool shop. The IPad still had 46% and I’d not even finished Match of the Day. My sister tried to hide her shoes but Daddy said she could just wear wellies and they argued for a bit because there’s no point wearing wellies when it’s not raining. Mummy lost her keys on the way out of the house, which was funny/not funny because she does it all the time and Dad said if she spent less time on Facebook she might be able to keep track of where she puts things.

At B&Q

Girl 1: I want to sit in the trolley.

Girl 2: My sit trolley?

Daddy: You can both sit in it. Better caged and all that…

Mummy: Oh Honestly!

Daddy: What?! You were thinking it too…

Girls: Out OUT!!!! [climbing out of the seats]

In the paint aisle:

Boy: Why do we need paint? He’s got loads of paint in the garage. He never lets me use any but I know he’s got loads and it’s all different colours.

Mummy: He needs a different type, look at all these colours!

Boy: Can we get blue?

Mummy: No.

Boy: Green?

Mummy: No.

Boy: Yellow?

Mummy: No.

Boy: Pur-

Mummy: I’ll save you a job, we need white radiator paint.

Boy: WHITE? That’s rubbish [sits on floor]

Meanwhile in the timber section

Daddy: Girls!

[The girls are running in circles]

Daddy: Stop running! Daddy needs to find a 28mm door liner, that’s all. Just give me a –

Girl 2 knocks over a huge pile of door liners that come clattering to the floor: Hoo-ray!

They continue running while Daddy mutters various figures to himself and shoves his fingers in his ears.

Back in Paint…

Boy: It’s just when you tell me off, you sound like you really don’t like me!

Mummy: Mmmhm

Boy: What?!

Mummy: Huh?

Boy: You don’t like me anymore?? [Passers-by starting to slow and stare as the tears begin to well]

Mummy: What did you say?

Boy: Weren’t you listening to me?? [Mummy hears an audible tut]

Mummy: Erm… Of course I was love. I just thought you said something else! Ooh look, radiator paint.

Boy Narrates: By the time we found Daddy, he’d had an argument with a grumpy man who sent him to the wrong place for a piece of wood and my sisters were pretending to be Bambi in the aisle selling all the different types of doors.

Mummy: 34?

Daddy: No.

Mummy: 25?

Daddy: How many times?? 28mm! Do you know what a 28 looks like? [to frolicking toddler] STOP KNOCKING ON THE BLOODY DOORS!


Daddy: [holding 14 pieces of wood approximately 8ft long] This is ridiculous!

Boy: I know, you’re taking ages!

Mummy and Daddy: WILL YOU BE QUIET!

Boy narrates: At the till things got even worse after my baby sister pushed the barrier and set that huge alarm off. Mummy went that funny colour she goes when my older sister asks if someone is a man or a lady. A funny red shade with a really weird smile on her face.

And that was the moment when Dad said ‘WE ARE NEVER BLOODY WELL TAKING THEM IN A SHOP AGAIN! AND THAT’, said Dad, ‘IS THAT!!’


One comment

  1. Another brilliant piece – now you know why I didn’t do DIY – it wasn’t that I was rubbish at it , I just wanted to preserve my sanity, you should try it – oh I see its too late!!!


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