(By Bert, aged 4.0)
My mum was going out on speed dating because it was Valentine’s Day and she left me on my own and I said I would be bored and she said shut up and why didn’t I read my chicken book. I like my chicken book but I have read it a lot and I know how it ends – on the front it is very colourful and the chickens look nice and on the back there are smaller pictures of the chickens and it tells you about the meal deals and it has the phone number.
Out the window I could see that the bigger boys from down the road were getting dressed up for skiing but it is weeks since there was any snow so I ran outside to warn them.
The bigger boys laughed at me and they said they just like dressing up in lots of different outfits because then they get lots of girlfriends and they put on their sailor clothes and they looked stupid and I wanted to laugh at them back but I did not because I am scared of Louis.
Louis made me sit on the front of a car while they drove it around the block and I pretended I was in a film because then it was less scary and I thought Niall would help me because he is the gentlest one from the bigger boys but he was showing off because he just wants Louis to like him and I do not like Louis.
Some of the other bigger boys were riding a motorbike and they were all very grown up and they were talking about all the tattoos they had got and about all the girls they would like to kiss and about how they did not mind if she was fat or ugly and I wondered if my mum was doing well at the speed dating.
But it turned out the bigger boys were not driving properly and the police made them go to prison and I had to go too but only to tell them which were the boys that had been bad to me and I thought about all the girls who would be sad if the bigger boys had to stay in prison and I did not tell the police anything and I got to go home and my mum was still not back but I looked at the pictures of the chickens and I went to sleep.
By Bert, aged 4.0
It was the Carnival at the weekend and I was allowed to go with my Auntie Nicki because my mum was organising one of the floats and we were helping. Mum sent us to get all of the fireworks out of the allotment shed and Auntie Nicki said she wasn’t going down in all that mud on foot and she wanted the Keys To The Benz and my mum said in the real world that translated as Change For The Bus and she sent us on our way.
Auntie Nicki was very dressed up but you could still see her big knickers so I think she must have been cold. She kept offering me drinks from her bottle and I had a sniff and it smelled a bit like cough medicine and I did not like it. She was getting quite excited and shouting ‘Bottle, Sip, Bottle, Guzzle!’ and then a bad word and then she said she had no muzzle and I remembered what happened to our old dog and I felt sad.
Then Auntie Nicki said ‘Please-ah! I’m in Ibiza!’ and I said the scenery looked more like Trinidad and she said wasn’t it supposed to be Notting Hill anyway and I said it was probably like before and we were in a made-up place where my imaginary childhood got mixed up with her recent pop videos and so it didn’t really matter and she looked at me and then she did a belch.
I told Auntie Nicki that I could hear the smoke alarm in the allotment shed and she said no it was the music and I should relax and do a dance. I tried but then all the fireworks went off at once and Auntie Nicki was too drunk to stop it. We walked over to the allotment and everything smelled smoky and I do not think there were any fireworks left for the parade. But I could still hear that alarm going off. It was a right old racket but I liked it.
By Bert, aged 4.0
I did not want to go to the football but my mum’s cousin Cheryl was babysitting me and she enjoys the football because sometimes her ex-husband plays and she likes it if he does badly. Cheryl took me on the Tube to get there but the Tube broke down and we had to walk through the tunnel. Cheryl said she did not mind as the tunnel represented her difficult journey from the darkness into the light. I said what did she mean and she said she could exclusively reveal she was bitten by a mosquito and she had lost her job but it was all amazing because everyone still likes her anyway, and she looked pleased.
It was quite dark in the tunnel and I could not see where she was and I called her name and she said how did I think she felt when I did that and I said it probably felt strange because she did not have a last name any more and she said there would always be haters and I noticed she had a bit of poo on her leg.
There were lots of bigger boys waiting outside the tunnel by some cars and I was a bit scared but Cheryl said it was OK they were her friends and I said they looked quite rough but she exclusively revealed that despite her expensive make-up she was still very much from the street and I said yes we all remembered when she beat up my Aunt Sophie and she gave me a look.
Cheryl quickly took her jacket off and threw it away to show that she didn’t have to worry about money any more and she had a nice dance with the bigger boys in her yellow bra. We did not make it to the football in time but when we got home we heard that her ex-husband had missed his penalty and I asked Cheryl if that made her happy and she said her feelings were very complicated and I was interested to hear more but she had found a mirror and she did not end up saying anything else.
By Bert, aged 4.0
For my 4.0th birthday I wanted to go to the Zoo and my mum said my Nana Madge would take me. I do not like my Nana Madge very much because she has a lot of money and she likes to tell everybody what to do. She arrived on our street with lots of friends all dressed up and my mum made a noise with her mouth and said why did she always have to be the centre of attention.
My Auntie Nicki and her friend Maya had come along too. I was pleased to see Auntie Nicki because she is always lots of fun but Maya did not look very pleased to be there and she kept doing naughty fingers behind Nana Madge’s back. To be honest I do not think we will see her again as Nana is always making new friends who are young and trendy and every year it is someone different.
It started to rain and Nana said it made her need to go to wee so she quickly had a wee on a lamp post and because of the rain no-one noticed. She said it was like when you are in the bath and you need to go to wee and you can just put some extra Radox in and it will stay a secret.
For my birthday Nana Madge had got me a nice new jacket but before I could put it on she had to use it to walk over a puddle. I said that I did not mind but I wish I had got to wear the jacket before it got dirty because it looked nice. And because of the rain we could not go to the zoo but Nana Madge said she would let me have a party at her house.
Nana Madge always wants to breastfeed me even though I am 4.0 now and I do not like it but she makes me do it anyway because she says she wants to pass on her DNA. “Only luv can make you a player!” she said and I said she had spelt it wrong but she gave me a look and said how did I know because she had not written it down and I said that Auntie Nicki and Maya were shouting out the letters behind her and she gave me another bad look.
When we got to Nana Madge’s house there were lots of people waiting to get in because they had heard about the party so I do not think she ever meant to take me to the Zoo. I asked her and she said she was learning Internet Skills at the community centre every Thursday afternoon and she had only just used her phone to put the party on Facebook. She said she could not help it if she was popular.
All the girls at the party had to wear masks because Nana Madge said she did not want any competition and they all said to her that they were happy to wear the masks but because you could not see their faces you did not know what they were really thinking. The masks scared me and I could not drink the grown-up drinks and I said I wanted to go home.
Nana Madge had already got changed for the party and she said she could not go out in the rain again now because it would spoil her hair and her dress so I would have to walk home on my own. I think my Nana Madge is mean.
On my way home I walked past the Zoo and you could see the top of a Giraffe over the wall. But I did not go to the Zoo on my 4.0th birthday.
By Bert, aged 3.9
It has been a while since I wrote an update but now my teacher says I should do one because my big sister Beyoncé has had a baby.
Last summer I was a pageboy at her wedding and when she was getting ready I accidentally saw that she was wearing special knickers that came all the way up to her shoulders. Although it was not really an accident because Beyoncé was walking round in her special shoulderknickers for an hour before she put her dress on and she was singing loudly all the time so I think she wanted to be noticed. Anyway you would not have known then that she was going to have a baby.
Before the wedding we had to stop in an Arboretum because Beyoncé needed a poo and as her pageboy I had to hold up her dress to make sure she did not get any poo on it. While she was waiting for the poo to come out she was going on about her last boyfriend and how glad she was that they had split up. She shouted that she saw the real him when he showed his ass. I used to like her last boyfriend though and so I did not tell Beyoncé that she had got some poo on the back of her leg.
Beyoncé had to shut up for five minutes at the wedding while they did the vows but as soon as it was over she was on about her old boyfriend again and how jealous he must be of her now and how she is completely over him and how she used to have feelings for him but she definitely does not any more. I felt sorry for her new husband because he looked a bit left out. Beyoncé also said her old boyfriend was the best thing she never had, which does not make any sense at all when you think about it.
At the reception there was a good buffet and I tried Prawns for the first time and learned a dance called Doop. And that is probably the night that Beyoncé and her husband started making the baby. I do not know how long it takes to make one but it has been at least five months since then so I think it started at the wedding.
She has called her baby Blue which I think is a stupid name. I asked her if the baby was named after the band Blue from the Eurovision Song Contest but she said no that would be stupid, it is named after the song by Eiffel 65. I remember that she used to listen to that song a lot with her last boyfriend so it is lucky that she does not think about him any more.
By Bert, aged 3.9
On Sundays I am supposed to see my dad. This Sunday he could not make it but as he does not want to lose his Access Rights he sent one of his friends to take me out instead and told me not to tell my mum that he wasn’t there.
Dad’s friend said I could call him Uncle Steve and he said we could go to the Seaside, but he seemed sad.
The Seaside was silent and grey. We went past a shop with chickens in it and Uncle Steve started beating against the window. “Those poor chickens!” he said. “It is terrible what has been done to them!” I said it was not as bad as when people get murdered but Uncle Steve did not agree. He said you could murder a hundred people and it would not be as bad as eating a Zinger Tower Burger, which made me sad because I like the hash brown in it.
We were trudging slowly over the wet sand up towards the pier and I was hungry. Normally my dad takes me to KFC but I thought that might not be a good idea so I asked Uncle Steve if we could go to McDonalds. He said that was worse than if I had run over a thousand kittens.
There was an Indian restaurant on the promenade and I asked if we could go in there. “We’re being flooded, and our identity’s disappearing,” he said, shaking his head. “The price is too much.” I said what did he mean and he pointed at the sea and said he only meant that the tide was coming in and that the restaurant was expensive and he shouted at me to say I should not take his comments out of context but I did not know what that meant.
I said could we go to the Chinese buffet then. “No!” he shouted. He looked angry.
We trudged back over pebbles and mud into the town. I was so hungry and I said what would it be OK to eat and he handed me a piece of paper with lots of small writing on it and there was too much to read but I saw it said that he would not eat any kind of chili or spices but that he would have some nuts and a Fanta.
Uncle Steve gave me 60p to buy us a bag of cashews but I had to go into the newsagents on my own because he did not want to walk past the Peperamis. When I came back with the cashews he was angry because they had salt on them and he said he dearly wished he was not here. I said I was not really enjoying my day out either.
Before we went home he made me sign a note to say that MEAT IS MURDER. I did not mind signing it because he had already said that murder was nothing compared to meat so it did not make sense anyway. I think Uncle Steve is a bit confused and I hope he cheers up soon.
By Bert, aged 3.9
There is always something going on when I visit my Auntie Steph. The last time I saw her she took me to church and it was a very unusual church but I did not write any homework about that because she told me not to. This week when I went round she was just climbing out of the window because she had done a chip pan fire.
It must have been quite a bad chip pan fire, I said, because there was smoke everywhere. Auntie Steph said yes, she did not really know what she was doing because she does not usually eat chips but she was in a strange mood tonight. I said had she put a damp teatowel over the chip pan as that was what they showed us in the video at school and she said yes and she rushed back in to get it and hang it up to dry as it was Versaatchi.
I asked her where all her friends were because normally when I see her she has about twenty friends with her and they are all having fun together.
She said she had sent all her friends away tonight because she was feeling dangerous and could I feel the rush. I said no I am only 3.9 years old and she said would I like to stand on the ledge with her and I said I had better not because my mum might be angry. Also there was a strange look in her eye and I was a bit scared.
Then Auntie Steph lay down and started kissing the pavement. I said what if dogs had done their business there and she said one day I would understand what she felt like and I didn’t say anything back because I would like to feel like Auntie Steph does sometimes but I do not think I would be able to feel like that all of the time.
Then she said she was going to go back inside and I said what about the smoke from the chip pan and I did not hear what she said because a man started playing the saxophone and the next day I heard that he had died and it made me sad that I had not known the man because his saxophone was nice but I hoped Auntie Steph had made friends with her neighbour before he died.
By Bert, aged 3.9
I do not like my Aunty Katy. Everyone says she is really crazy and funny because of all the crazy and funny clothes that she wears but I have always thought that she is mean. And my mum says that she cannot sing as well as she thinks she can.
Yesterday we had to visit her and I was looking for my toy robot that I had left at her house. But Aunty Katy said she had given it to her new boyfriend. She is going out with that Kanye from the Halloween party but my mum says Kanye could do a lot better. “He’s going to bath his ape in my Milky Way!” said Katy, looking very happy. “I just want to be a victim and be abducted by him!” My mum told her she was disgusting and made her promise to get my robot back.
We went round to see Kanye and he had lots of new toys and gadgets. He said that they were “playing aliens” when Katy borrowed my robot. “Disrobe and probe!” laughed Katy and my mum gave her a terrible look. Then it turned out they had thrown my toy away so mum made Katy take me to the rubbish dump.
While we were looking through the rubbish Katy told me to stop being so upset about my toy robot, and she said I was being gay. I said I was not gay and she said she did not mean it like that, she just meant I was being pathetic. She said she was only being playful, like when she called her ex-boyfriend gay and told him to go and hang himself. “Anyway,” she said, “I’ve got nothing against gays, I even kissed a girl once. But I didn’t like it.”
Then the wind blew Katy’s skirt up and I saw that she had hooves for feet and I was surprised even though it was my mum had always said. Katy was not embarrassed and she said that we are all special fireworks and we should celebrate our uniqueness and diversity. I said I was cold and I needed the toilet and she told me to shut up and stop crying.
Finally we found my toy robot. But to be honest now Katy has had it I do not want to play with it any more.
By Bert aged 3.9
For “1982 Week” our teacher told us to visit the oldest person we know and ask them what they were doing in 1982. I went to visit my nan in her flat, she is quite ill and tired now and she cannot move around very well but once she was very pretty and she had fun like we do today.
In 1982 my nan went on a holiday with her sister to an island. It was an island surrounded by sea and she said it was like a fantasy island. She showed me some of the photographs from her Kodak Brownie and in a lot of the pictures there was a man.
“When me and your Aunty first saw him we just threw all in the flowers we’d been collecting into the air,” said Nan. “Because he was the most beautiful thing we had ever seen. Just me and him would go walking together – watching the sunrise over the trees. It all seemed like magic.”
“Just you and him and Aunty Linda as well though?” I asked, because Aunty Linda was in all the pictures with the man too. My nan does not speak to Aunty Linda very much and they had a big fight at Christmas once. She did not really answer my question but she said that on that holiday she had a dream of love never leaving, but the man had said that love cannot really live in a dream.
“When you are young you think that true love will hold you both together and you can stay like that forever,” said Nan. She looked at the next picture, of her and the man and Aunty Linda outside a nice cave. “But sometimes it doesn’t even last for a week.”
On the last night of the holiday they all got dressed up for a special night. “If that night had gone differently you would not be here today Bert,” said Nan. I looked at her and she was a bit red around her eyes so I think it must have been time for her medicine. I do not know what she meant and I do not see how my life could have happened because of a holiday in 1982. But one day I would like to see the fantasy island for myself.
By Bert, aged 3.9
My babysitter is called Britney. I look forward to when she comes round because she is very exciting and I never know what will happen. But sometimes this is a bit scary as well.
This week she came round and she was very happy because she was going on a vacation as soon as my mum got home. I asked her where she was going to go on her vacation and she laughed and she said to paradise. She was putting on lots of make-up as usual and I noticed she had some sherbert in her handbag and when she went to the toilet I had some of the sherbert but it did not taste very nice and I had to have a lie down.
Then there was something wrong with the lights and I could not see Britney properly but she looked strange. I was scared and I remembered when Britney took me to the barbers and about the haircut that made my mum angry and some other things that I was supposed to have forgotten.
Britney and I were on a spaceship and she was going to get married but some paint came out of her hands and she could not stop it and it spoiled her dress and she was crying but she was laughing as well and I did not know what was happening.
Then there were two Britneys and they had a big fight and the music was strange I had not heard any music like it before. I could not tell whether one of the Britneys was good and one of the Britneys was bad, I am not sure that either of them was sure of that either.
But I do not think that either of the Britneys won the fight. Then a big comet came and blew us all up and we died but then I woke up and it had all been a dream.
If I had thought about it I would have known that it was a dream because when Britney fought another Britney it was like what happened with my Auntie Nicki and one of her sisters at Halloween and when all the paint went everywhere it was like what my arch-enemy Willow Smith did at pre-school.
I was happy that all the bad things were just in a dream and I went to tell Britney about it. But she was asleep as well with her face on the kitchen table and there was lots of sherbert everywhere all around her. Her face looked nice when she was asleep because usually she is either very happy or very sad and when she was asleep she just looked like Britney. But I do not think the sherbert was good sherbert and I felt sorry for Britney because I know she wanted to go to paradise but I think it was too late.