Every morning we have the same battle. I ask my youngest son if he’d like juice with his breakfast, he demands “pink medicine”. So enough’s enough, I thought. Time to do something about this Calpol addiction. And that’s the reason I was on Mumsnet in the first place – to get advice from those who’ve had to handle such toddler cravings.
What a mistake. It’s my own fault really: like Bluebeard’s wife I should never have stepped foot into a place where I didn’t belong. In her case, it was a small room beneath a castle, in mine it was the forum thread entitled “CBeebies Telly Totty…Fess Up!”
I know, I know. It doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with infant Paracetamol. But as I write about TV for a living, I thought it might be fun. Blimey O’Riley. Now I need a whole different website to deal with the horror seared onto my synapses.
Red-hot lust for Mr Bloom and Chris from Doodle Doo, a debate as to whether or not Andy looks like Fatima Whitbread and – most disturbingly – an explicit fantasy called Fifty Shades of Tumble, based around one woman’s obsession with Justin Fletcher. I can’t quote any passages here but let’s just say that you’re not likely to see this kind of playroom in an episode of Something Special.
So have mothers always fantasised about children’s TV presenters in this way? As I sat watching Heads and Tails as a child, were my mum’s Deirdre Barlow glasses steaming up at thoughts of a naked Derek Griffiths? Were all those women who I called “auntie” (but who weren’t really my auntie) meeting at the nursery gates and making comments like, “ooh, the things that I could do with Brian Cant”? or “give me five minutes with Christopher Lillicrap and I’ll make a man of him”?
Somehow I doubt it. My guess is that the relative anonymity of the internet and the odd snatched half hour reading EL James has brought forth a wave of liberation among Britain’s sleep-deprived mums the likes of which we’ve never seen before. High on the scent of nappy sacks and driven loopy by spending day after day pureeing butternut squash, these contributors are finding a much-needed release by confessing to their unwholesome desires online.
Yes, clown sex is wrong. In fact, the idea of Mr Tumble’s oversized bowtie and star-spangled waistcoat lying in a crumpled heap on a bedroom floor seems like a desecration. But, in a way, such fantasies are far healthier than what dads do, which is to sidle up to each other in the playpark, mutter something about “Josie Jump being all right” before going on to talk about Arsenal. Bucketloads of passion remaining untapped. No catharsis, just bottled-up CBeebies-based confusion.
Maybe both mums and dads would be better off with a Telly Totty forum? A place to pay tribute to both Justin and Katy from I Can Cook. Could this be the reason I was drawn to the message board in the first place? I was ostensibly in search of Calpol knowhow but maybe my subconscious was drawing me towards a much more illicit type of medicine…