Tag Archives: Bill and Bob

Race round the shops #bill and bob

The team:

Mum: Tired mum of three. Tries her best to keep an eye on her kids and a smile on her face at all times. Doesn’t *always* succeed.

Son no. 1: Just turned seven. Usually quite sensible although his attempts to help aren’t always actually that helpful.

Son no. 2: Nearly five. Bit of a nutter.

Baby: 16 months. Very laid back which, frankly, is the only way he survives.

And now to our commentators Bill and Bob to guide us through a trip to the supermarket:

Bill: “You join us outside the supermarket as we wait for Mum and her kids to arrive. The weather is terrible: sheets of rain are coming co opdown – I’d be surprised if they make it here at all, Bob”

Bob: “I think they have to, Bill – Mum had to have her tea without milk this morning and she couldn’t make toast without scraping green bits off the bread first so I think this trip’s a necessity!”

Bill: “Turns out you’re right Bob: I can see mum and kids driving down the road towards us now!”

Bob: “Mum’s looking out for a parking space and I can see one right in front of the store which is useful – I think she’s spotted it too!”

Bill: “Yes it’s great the way they have these ‘parent and child’ spaces now – it means she won’t have to walk from the other side of the car park with a baby on her hip and two small boys running round her ankles! In this weather that’s a massive bonus.”

Bob: “Oh except…”

Bill: “Oh no! A sports car has driven into the space just before Mum got there… a young man has got out of it.”

Bob: “No sign of any kids with him Bill?”

Bill: “None at all Bob – perhaps he can’t read the clear signage ‘parent and child parking only’?”

Bob: “Honestly Bill, from the way he’s just barged his way past those other people to get into the shop I’d say it’s more that he’s a…”

Bill: “Colossal bell-end.”

Bob: “Well I wan’t going to put it quite that way Bill!”

Bill: “Neither was I Bob – that’s just what I saw Mum mouthing as she looked at him going in the supermarket by himself.”

Bob: “She’ll have to park further away now.”

Bill: “Hmmm, and crossing the car park with three kids looks like it’s a real struggle! The baby’s slipping off her hip constantly and Son no.2 is more interested in singing and dancing than actually walking in a straight line! Nothing dampens his spirits eh Bob?”

Bob: “Doesn’t seem to no, although from her expression Mum is feeling very differently and… oops, she’s just dropped her handbag! But it’s ok Son no.1 is picking it up for her and shovelling everything that fell out onto the ground back into it.”

Bill: “Was that empty crisp packet and cigarette butt in there originally Bob?”

Bob: “I’m not sure it was Bill, no – might be a bit of a surprise for her later…”

Bill: “Well that crisis seems to have been averted anyway and, thank God, they’ve got inside – oh?!”

Bob: “What’s that Bill?”

Bill: “Well I thought Mum would go for a trolley so she’d have somewhere to put the baby down but she’s just got a basket.”

Bob: “Ah, that’s because there’s no need for a trolley Bill: I’ve heard her telling the kids they’re ‘Just popping in for bread and milk.'”

Bill: “I see… although they do seem to be heading for the fruit and veg now and flinging a lot of bananas into the basket.”

Bob: “Yes I’ve heard the baby is obsessed with them – look he’s reaching out desperately now and shouting ‘BlaBla!'”

bananasBill: “She’s having to hide them behind a couple of pineapples in the basket– an impulse purchase for the purpose I suspect!”

Bob: “Yes, and dear me, Son no.2 has just raced off down to the other end of the aisle! He seems to be singing “Everything is awesome!” at the top of his voice and waving a cucumber!”

Bill: “She’ll have to buy that too now Bob.”

Bob: “Yes, she’s caught up with him and into the basket it goes. She’s giving him a job to do now to keep him occupied. He’s to get some cheese apparently.”

Bill: “That might just work, he’s gone off quite happily to the cheese section while Mum picks up a few more items in the fresh aisle.”

Bob: “And the baby’s doing his bit too – I saw him grab a bunch of grapes as they went past there… although should he be eating them?”

Bill: “Perhaps not Bob but – good news – Son no.2 is back with the cheese!”

Bob: “Hmm, only it’s cheese strings – from Mum’s face I think she was thinking more “caved-aged gruyere’ or at least a decent mature cheddar but never mind.”

Bill: “I’m a fan of wensleydale myself but… oh dear, Son no. 1 has now decided he ‘needs a wee’.”

Bob: “Mum’s telling him in no uncertain terms that he’ll have to hold on – there’s no customer toilet in here apparently!”

Bill: “Yikes, Bob – they’re going to have to up the pace then, to get home in time!”

Bob: “Indeed Bill, and they are, she’s almost running down the canned goods aisle…”

Bill: “Managing to hurl some baked beans and chopped tomatoes in as she races past – that basket’s looking heavy!”

Bob: “And they’ve finally reached the bread aisle and she’s flung in a loaf.”

Bill: “And also some doughnuts… the boys are looking pleased but she’s shot them a look that says ‘these are for me!'”

Bob: “The basket is looking really heavy now but, not to worry, Mum’s handed it to the boys and they’re carrying it between them”

Bill: “Hmmm ‘swinging’ it between them might be a more accurate way of putting it!”

Bob: “True, they have just scattered grapes across the floor with that last swing but, still they’re helping Mum aren’t they?”

Bill: “I’m saying nothing Bob…”

Bob: “Ah you’ve just spotted Son no.2 sneaking chocolate in to the basket I take it?”

Bill: “Indeed. Luckily Mum’s distracted trying to hoist the baby into a more comfortable position on her hip – he might just get away with that!”

Bob: “Right, Mum’s had enough; they’re headed for the tills”

Bill: “Oh no… there’s a huge queue behind to each of them!”

Bob: “It’s ok she’s headed to the new self service tills – no queue at all there!”till

Bill: “I suspect there’s a reason for that Bob, but lets see…”

Bob: “Right, she’s got the basket in the right area and is following the instructions on screen to swipe the items…”

Bill: “And then put them in the bag. Only she can’t get them in the bag because it’s stuck closed and she’s holding the baby.. but it’s fine she’s just put the baby down next to the till so she can deal with that.”

Bob: “Wait  – the the till’s bleeping and flashing at her: ‘Alert! Alert! Unidentified object in packing area!’”

Bill: “Yes Bob, that’ll be the baby. A little heaver than a punnet of strawberries I’ll warrant.”

Bob: “So she’s put the baby on the floor and managed to open the bag and started to load the shopping into it.”

Bill: “The baby’s crawling off though… should we…?”

Bob: “No need to tell her Bob, Son no. 1 is on it. He’s picked up the baby and jiggling him. The baby is shrieking ecstatically.”

Bill: “Not sure the man at the next check out is that keen on the shrieks Bob.”

Bob: “No, but Mum’s not got time to worry about that now. She’d just noticed the chocolate Son no.2 sneaked into the basket. Although, actually she’s looking quite pleased about it!”

Bill: “Something tells me Son no.2 wont be benefitting from that particular misdemeanour Bob.”

Bob: “No, especially as the self-serve till has just jammed again and is asking her to seek help from a member of staff.”

Bill: “She never should have tried to pass that ‘rustic loaf’ off as a ‘nordic loaf’ Bob – the till can see right through that sort of desperate action.”

Bob: “Mum’s looking wildly around for a member of staff while also taking the baby back off Son no.1”

Bill: “And taking a banana out of his hand… how did he get that anyway?!”

Bob: “Search me Bill! But look, we have real progress – someone has sorted out the glitch and all the items are through the till! Mum’s even managed to pay without a hitch”

Bill: “Although she does now have two small boys hanging off her demanding to go to the loo and telling her they’re hungry.”

Bob: “Not to mention the baby who she’s still trying to keep upright – a difficult task now he’s spotted the bananas in the bag – he can really stretch when he wants to can’t he?!”

Bill: “She needs to get out of here fast Bob!”

Bob: “She’s on it, she’s pretty much sprinting to the door with the kids in tow!”

Bill: “Back through the car park, through the rain, shopping bags knocking against her legs…”

Bob: “Baby crying at the rain slashing in this face.”

Bill: “Boys still shouting about being hungry and needing a wee!”

Bob: “But she’s made it! She’s got them all into the car and she’s setting off!”

Bill: “Hooray! But no, wait! Why’s she now slamming her hands onto the steering wheel like that?! She looks furious!”

Bob: “Ah Bob, that would be because she’s realised… ”

Bill: “Oh dear…”

Both: “She’s forgotten the milk!”

Prose for Thought

For more Bill and Bob check out what they had to say about The School Run and the weekly Kids Swimming Lessons.

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down at the pool

The Setting:

Friday after school at the local swimming baths. Unisex changing rooms with small cubicles, thronging with tetchy children and exhausted parents. Floor awash with puddles and cluttered with buggies. Damp air infused with the smell of chlorine and toilets. Building reverberates with shrieks of children and muffled expletives of parents.

The Team:

The Mum – harassed mum-of-three. Aims to sail seraphically through the weekly swimming experience. Never does.

Son 1 – at 6 years old, takes his responsibilities as oldest brother very seriously. In fact, is by far the most ‘together’ member of the whole team. Mostly seen sighing with exasperation and telling everyone to ‘hurry up!’

Son 2 – 4 years old. Easily distracted from the task in hand. Whatever the task.  Mostly to be seen leaving his swimming bag on the driveway where he stopped on the way to the car to examine a stone.

The baby – usually laid-back, but this weekly excursion pushes him to the limits of his endurance.

Now over to our commentators Bill and Bob as they talk us through the weekly Swimming Run

Bill: “You join us in the car park outside the pool. It’s 4.28 and the boys’ swimming lessons are due to start any minute. We had expected to have seen our team arrive before now but so far, there’s been no sign. What do you suppose has happened to them Bob?”

Bob: “Well, I’m not entirely sure but, between you and me, the Mum’s time keeping is not exactly great… ”

Bill: “And this week is no exception I see… but wait, here they are now! They’ve finally arrived in the car park, Mum has slammed the car to a halt in the nearest space and has leapt out!”

Bob: “An inauspicious start, Bill – she’s already looking rather frazzled!”

Bill: “Yes, although she’s unloading the buggy out of the car at lightning speed… Oooh, ouch that looks painful! Those buggies can be remarkably heavy when you drop them on your foot, Bob!”swimming things

Bob: “They can indeed, although Mum seems to have barely registered the pain, she’s too busy hauling the baby out of the car and into the buggy while also making sure the other two don’t race across the car park!”

Bill: “They do seem keen, don’t they! I can hear Son 1 shouting ‘Come on, Come on! The lesson’s starting!'”

Bob: “And they’re all off across the car park at a run now!”

Bill: “… and in through the doors of the pool…”

Bob: “… and out again to get Son 2 who stopped to swing round a bollard.”

Bill: “Phew! They’ve made it to the changing rooms. If they get changed quickly, there’s a chance they’ll only miss the first five minutes of the lesson!”

Bob: “Hmm, although it’s hard to see how they’ll achieve that in here Bill, the place is heaving! Are there any spare cubicles?”

Bill: “Mum’s searching frantically around for a free one… ”

Bob: “… a hard task when you’re pushing a buggy with a flat tyre through a crowd of flapping arms and slamming lockers!”

Bill: “She nearly got whacked in the face with a hair dryer there, Bob!”

Bob: “Ah! But she’s seen a cubicle, and is fighting her way towards it!”

Bill: “Oh no! Another mum just beat her to it!”

Bob: “But wait, don’t worry, she’s seen another – it’s right down next to the showers but she’s squeezed them all into it.”

Bill: “Well, apart from the baby… the buggy wont fit so she’s just wedged him in the open door.”

Bob: “He’s a fan of water is he, Bill? Because he seems to be getting quite sprayed there!”

Bill: “I don’t think mum’s even noticed… she’s trying to help Son 2 out of his trousers…”

Bob: “… which appear to have pockets stuffed with pebbles which are now scattering over the floor!”

Bill: “Meanwhile Son 1 is standing on one leg in a puddle behind the door ripping his clothes off frantically.”

Bob: “That’s it! Son 1 is ready! The strap on his goggles has come undone but Mum is too busy trying to get Son 2 out of his tangled t-shirt to help him.”

Bill: “I guess he’ll just have to get water in his eyes today Bob.”

Bob: “He’s looking resigned to that… he’s made it across to the pool to his lesson though… and Son 2 isn’t far behind!”

Bill: “Result! They’re both in pool!”

Bob: “Rather late Bill… ”

Bill: “True, but something in Mum’s expression tells me she considers anything before 4.45 to be a small victory.”


Bob: “Mum’s taking a moment now to sort out the chaos of the cubicle… ”

Bill: “And to wipe the baby down where he’s been sprayed by the shower. And, Oh dear, she’s realised that he’s been chewing Son 2’s goggles this whole time. That’s why he’s been so quiet.”

Bob: “Both boys will have to go goggle-less then; Mum’s shaking her head in exasperation!”goggles

Bill: “But good news! – everything’s away in lockers now so mum can go to the spectator area for a well-earned sit down.”

Bob: “If she can find any free seats… or space for the buggy.”

Bill: “Yes, it’s a bit cramped in there isn’t it? And by the looks of everyone in there, it’s boiling hot too!”

Bob: “But look – Mum has managed force her way into the corner and has even found a tiny bit of windowsill to perch on!”

Bill: “Behind a toddler who appears to be in hysterics over a banana.”

Bob: “Yes, it’s not exactly the best seat in the house from that respect… she’ll need to keep an eye out for chunks of flying fruit.”

Bill: “The baby’s getting restless siting in that cramped spot on her lap too… oh, but it’s ok, Mum’s realised that if she bounces him up and down while waving a toy in front of him, singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ and pulling funny faces then he doesn’t cry.”

Bob: “Mum looks like she might though – it’s already five ‘o clock and time to go back to the changing rooms to help get the boys dressed!”


Bill: “Mum’s fighting her way to the showers through hordes of wet swimmers and shampoo-wielding parents… I can see an advantage to having a buggy now Bob, it’s actually quite a useful tool isn’t it? – kind of like a snowplough!”

Bob: “You could say that! She’s made it to her sons and is now squirting shampoo on them… from a distance, mind, as she doesn’t want to get wet herself. Not the easiest task.”

Bill: “No, I can see that – Son 2 has started screaming; he’s got shampoo in his eyes.”

Bob: “And Son 1 has now finished his shower and is shivering violently while Mum tries to pull his towel out of the swimming bag.”

Bill: “While also trying to wipe Son 2’s eyes with… what’s that she’s holding Bob?”

Bob: “I believe it’s a pair or Mr Man pants… it was the first thing that came to hand when she opened her handbag!”

Bill: “Interesting. Well, it’s done the trick anyway and she’s also managed to pull out both the towels and even found a spare cubicle for them!”

Bob: “No space for the baby again though – he’s propping the door open again.”

Bill: “Except now he’s started crying and Mum is taking him out of the buggy… is that wise, would you say?”

Bob: “I wouldn’t say so, no – she’s now trying to help the other two get out of sticky, wet costumes and into clothes with him balanced on her hip.”

Bill: “Still screaming… “20140313_080157-1

Bob: “She doesn’t look best pleased by Son 1’s announcement that he’s lost one of his socks. I think it got kicked under the bottom of the cubicle at some point… oh there it is, he’s found it! It’s wringing wet so it looks like he’ll be going home sock-less.”

Bill: “Looks like we’re reaching the final stages though – both sons are now putting their shoes on!”

Bob: “And now they’re all managing to squeeze out of the tiny cubicle… ”

Bill: “And Mum’s strapping the baby into the buggy.”

Bob: “Still screaming… ”

Bill: “And now I suppose they’ll be heading for the hair dry… oh, no Mum’s just shaken her head.”

Bob: “No time for hair drying, clearly… she seems very keen to make it back to the car!”

Bill: “They’re outside!”

Bob: “And back inside to get Son 2 who stopped to look at a poster of a horse…”

Bill: “.. and back outside again… Son 1 has taken over pushing the buggy and Mum is carrying… well, everything else. Were they planning a three-week holiday with all those bags, Bob?”

Bob: “Not this time Bill, although I strongly suspect Mum is thinking about a holiday right now! They’ve nearly made it back to the car though!”

Bill: “And they have! She’s loading them all in, both the boys and the baby.”

Bob: “Still screaming… ”

Bill: “What’s that she’s muttering to herself?”

Bob: “It sounded like ‘Never again!'”

Bill: “Doesn’t she say that every week?”

Bob: “Oh yes Bill, she certainly does. Every. Single. Week.”


And then the fun began...
Prose for Thought

the morning marathon AKA getting the kids to school

The Runners:

Mum: tired mum-of-three. Does her best to be eternally patient, calm and level-headed but mostly isn’t. At all.

6yo: oldest son. Mostly very sensible and usually is not only head-of-the-pack in the ‘morning marathon’, but also principle motivator of the other runners.

4yo: middle son. Mostly tired in the mornings having just started school a few months ago. Determined and mischievous – both of which can be used for good or ill. And frequently are.

Baby: youngest of the clan. Very laid-back and happy to fit in with the others. Except when it comes to sleeping. Which he doesn’t.

Dad: only a bit player in the ‘morning marathon’ – in the shower in its early stages, reappears to kiss everyone goodbye, then takes a different route.

And now over to Bill and Bob, our commentators for this morning:

At The Starting Blocks

Bill: “… and for those of you just joining us, it looks like it’s going to be a slow start to the race this morning…”

Bob: “Yes, it’s 7am and Baby and Mum are snoozing in bed together… from what I can gather it’s been a long night so we shouldn’t expect things to get going quickly.”seahorse

Bill: “But wait, here’s the 6yo, he’s just come in saying “Wake up everyone!” and appears to be placing some kind of cuddly seahorse next to Mum’s head… and the seahorse has lit up and is belting out… what’s that tune Bob?”

Bob: “I believe it’s Frere Jaques, Bill. She won’t like that; bit strident for this time in the morning, I’d say.”

Bill: “Yes, she’s putting her head under the pillow. The baby seems happy to see his brother though! He’s waving his arms and squealing with glee!”

Bob: “And accidentally punching Mum in the chin as he does so. Oh dear, still, it’s woken her up fully now!”

Bill: “And the commotion has woken the 4yo too. He’s just walked into the bedroom… maybe things will get going properly now?”

Bob: “Or not… since he seems to be climbing into the bed with Mum and Baby and going back to sleep.”

Bill: “But the 6yo is not letting any of them get away with this sort of behaviour. He’s pulling the covers off and telling them they have to get up or they’ll be late for school! Are we sure he’s not Mum in disguise Bob?”

Bob: “You’ve got a point there Bill… he’s quite effective. He’s somehow managing coax them all out of bed.”

Bill: “And downstairs!”

And We’re Off!

Bob: “They’ve all made it down to the kitchen somehow and Mum seems to be trying to make breakfast for them all… it’s taking her a while though.”

Bill: “Yes, she does seem to be a bit sluggish, she’s boiled that kettle three times and still hasn’t made a cup of tea! Still she’s managed to pour cereal for the others, and is feeding the baby.”breakfast table

Bob: “Yes… the baby doesn’t mind having porridge in his ear, I take it?”

Bill: “Oh anything goes with him, he’s a third-born; lucky really, as not much of that food seems to be going in his mouth.”

Bob: “It doesn’t help that his brothers are singing and dancing next to him trying to make him laugh.”

Bill: “Energy levels seem to be up now though don’t they, so maybe this race will start speeding up soon?”

Bob: “Possibly Bill, although I think it would help matters if Mum could actually eat her breakfast rather than having to clear up that bowl of cereal that’s just been tipped all over the floor.”

Bill: “True, although she sees to be managing ok… I didn’t actually know it was possible to eat toast while feeding a baby, wiping the floor, peeling a banana and removing a plastic sword from the clutches of a small boy.”

Bob: “While checking Facebook too… I think it’s a skill that mothers learn somewhere along the way. Thankfully, or I doubt any child would ever make it to school in the morning”

Picking up the Pace

Bill: The 6yos taking charge again now. He’s realised it’s eight ‘o clock and they all need to get dressed.”

Bob: “He’s encouraging them all up the stairs. Mum’s still trying to tidy the breakfast table but he’s having none of it! ‘Come on, Come on!’ he’s shouting”

Bill: “Yes, it looks like the pace is finally picking up!”

Bob: “Yes… except the 4yo is just lying face down on the living room floor. Think he’s trying to go to sleep again. He’s not going anywhere fast!”

Bill: “No, but the rest of them are doing O.K; Mum has got herself and the baby dressed. She avoided getting hit by the stream of urine from him as she changed his nappy this morning, so that’s good.”

Bob: “And the 6yo is dressed too… his hair looks like he’s been dragged through a hedge backwards but ‘shabby chic’ is the look these days isn’t it?”

Bill: “I believe that term is used for furniture Bob… I think the phrase you’re looking for is ‘urchin cool.'”

Bob: “Right, well Mum is dragging a comb through it anyway. While simultaneously brushing her teeth and trying to get the baby’s socks on him.”

Bill: “Yes! And… oh dear! Just when things were going so well! The baby’s nappy has leaked. She’s going to have to change his outfit Bob.”

Bob:” Yes and her top too, by the looks of it. This is turning out to be quite the race this morning!”

Bill: “Does anyone know where the 4yo is? Mum’s just asked the 6yo to see if he’s getting ready.”

Bob: “And is he?”

Bill: “Well, there’s been some progress… he’s changed out of his pyjamas.”batman cape

Bob: “Ah yes, but I can see he’s not exactly dressed for school yet is he? A Batman cape and nothing else is not the required dress code as far as I’m aware?”

Bill: “No, but thankfully the 6yo is saving the day again. He’s got his brother’s uniform and is helping him put it on. He’s even helping him brush his teeth. Not sure he’s remembered to brush his own but Mum will take care of that, eh Bob?”

Bob: “Possibly Bill, possibly.”

Bill: “Oh and now the 6yo is shouting ‘Hurry up!’ over the baby monitor to Mum who’s still in the baby’s room taking care of that earlier ‘nappy incident’.”

Bob: “She’s shouting back telling them to get their shoes and coats on! Looks like she’s finally got herself and the baby ready too!”

The Final Stages

Bill: “I think they’re ready to leave the house! It’s 8.45: They might just make it!”

Bob: “Yes, the house is locked, they’re in the car and Mum’s reversing out of the drive.”

Bill: “No, wait, she’s stopped the car… she’s leaping out looking frantic… heading back to the house.”

Bob: “And she’s picking up the baby! He was just left sitting there in the hall!”

Bill: “That might have held them up a bit. The 6yo is furious! The 4yo thinks it’s hilarious! The baby is laughing as usual.”

Bob: “And Mum’s looking a bit frazzled, but they’ve finally left the drive.”

Bill: “That was quite an ‘interesting’ bit of driving there Bob… I wasn’t sure the car was going to fit through that gap… but looks like they’re going to make it! They’ve pulled up outside the school gates.”

Sprint Finish

Bob: “Mum’s leapt out of the car: where did she get that energy from? Must be the sense of desperation!”

Bill: “Yes, she’s unloaded the 6yo and the 4yo from the car and she’s grabbed the baby… he doesn’t misprint finishnd being held under her arm like a bowling ball I take it? And she’s got the school bags… ”

Bob: “Both of them, that’s good going; two school bags, two school boys; this could be a success story.”

Bill: “And look at them go! They’re racing down the road and through the gates! The school bell is ringing! Will they get there in time?”

Bob: “They’re only meters from the door!”

Bill: “Will the teacher keep it open for them??!”

Bob: “Look at the desperation on Mum’s face! She’s signalling frantically for the teacher to wait!”

Bill: “She will! She’ll have to surely?! She can’t close the door now?!”

Bob and Bill: “YEEEEEEEESSSSS! They made it!”

Bob: “Phew, that was quite a race. I think Mum could do with a sit down now.”

Bill: “And a nice cup of tea.”

Bob: “Or possibly a gin.”

UPDATED 15/04/15 – This weeks Prompt over at Mum Turned Mom is ‘Travel’. Travel isn’t really my thing (I’m a real homebody) but for some reason the prompt made me think of this post – it’s the journey I make every day, after all. 18months on, I have a toddler instead of a baby, the 5yo is less tired and the 7yo is slightly more inclined to draw Harry Potter pictures than encourage us all to school but actually, things haven’t changed that much!

Prose for Thought
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