Saturday, 1 November 2008

Mummy on the Edge Families NW Magazine Nov/Dec 2008

November/ December 08
Mummy on the Edge
Angelina and Mini-Me are seasonally confused and spiritually renewed.

Something is weird in the state of Angelina and it pleases me to blame the Large Hadron Collider.

We’ve obviously all jumped to a parallel universe. I began sleeping in a thick woollen cardigan in August so by now it’s actually springtime in my head. Therefore I have been gripped with a new-found zeal for cleanliness and have been industriously nuking my sponges in the microwave, scanning the fridge for any whiff-emitting pathogens and devising mnemonics to help Mini-Me avoid the fate of turning out just like her mother. The latest? ABCDE. This is to help her keep her room tidy and I’m pleased to report that it has worked. “No way!!” I hear you cry. Way. We tell our children to go tidy their rooms – but they don’t know how. It is a mammoth task and it is overwhelming when you don’t know where to begin – especially if you are small and have lots of Stuff. So, this is how it goes: A- Animals (cuddly toys), B-Books and make Bed, C-Clothes, D-Dust – E-Everything Else! (Okay, I got sidetracked with an article on Sarah Palin by the time I got to E – those maverick hockey mums, dontcha jus’ love ‘em). I explained this method, Mini-Me executed it 3 days in a row and then the House Fairy paid her a visit leaving a note and a shiny blue hoola hoop on her bed! Such a bedimpled grin you never did see! “Thank you for buying me a hoola hoop, Mummy!” “Me??” “House Fairy can’t go shopping, Mummy, she’s a fairy!” Duh!

If you want to do it properly, go to I’m just improvising but I intend on subscribing soon. Just waiting for these couple of months to pass until it’s the Summer Holidays again. Doh! I also got hold of some proper ostrich-feather dusters in me and Mini-Me sizes and they actually work and make dusting fun. Yes, really! We dust and then shake them outside to release the dust. For Mini-Me’s added amusement I favour singing the head-banging bit from Bohemian Rhapsody while doing this; it’s really very effective. (For stockists visit

So I have yet to think of something memorable for myself to keep the place tidy and anyway, the alphabet is not long enough for my list of things to do. See, the aim every year has been to Clean And Tidy My House And My Accounts Before Diwali which is traditionally a time when you invite the Goddess of prosperity into your pristine home for a Hindu high-five in recognition of your salutary efforts. My own efforts appear to have solicited simply a single finger rather than a whole hand and I wasn’t sure I could do any better this year. I needed extra credit; spiritual insurance if you will.

So I packaged Mini-Me in her Sai School of Harrow uniform and dispatched her onto the stage of Trafalgar Square no less, to participate in the Mayor of London’s Diwali Celebration in front of squillions of people. This free Saturday school ( staffed entirely by volunteers, serves 550 children and promotes values such as truth, non-violence, right conduct, love and peace as well as an appreciation and respect of all faiths. Its pupils are a yearly feature at the Diwali Celebrations in Trafalgar Square and its students have won many accolades and even performed in front of her Maj the Queen herself! Initially, Mini-Me was unsure about the prospect of standing on a stage in front of a thronging crowd singing a Diwali song. But I had spent 5 Saturdays watching the endearingly shambolic rehearsals and the morning of the performance I had played the cd of the song her group was going to perform 20 times (I am still singing it as I write this!) I had also fleetingly daydreamed about posting pictures on Facebook of her sharing a joke with Boris Johnson. As we approached the artiste’s entrance to the stage which was located beneath Nelson’s Column, Mini-Me looked skyward, eyebrows knitted, and made her warbling oo-er noises. I assured her that Nelson’s Column was not wobbling as she thought it was, it was just the clouds flying past really fast because they were excited. In the end, all it took was a minor mishap to dispel nerves and induce fitfull giggle-singing, with a prop falling to the floor in the middle of the performance. All was well and I leeched some spiritual credit from Mini-Me.
High-Five and Merry Christmas! I’m off to dust the baubles to the tune of St Elmo’s Fire.

Angelina Melwani runs Sing and Sign baby signing classes in Harrow, Bushey, Stanmore and Rickmansworth. More info at