Peppa Pig’s school roof needs repairing. Again. And poor Daddy Pig ends up having to buy his chair back at a fundraising fete.
That was the gist of our daughter’s latest bedtime story. I’ve read “Peppa Pig’s Daddy Is Made To Look A Right Idiot Again” or whatever the book’s called a million times, trying as best as I can to mimic the voices Isla hears on the DVD.
My Mrs Rabbit is close, Madame Gazelle is spot on and I do an uncanny Daddy Pig – basically lots of booming and chuckling. My Peppa Pig is woeful though – wrong pitch and tone. But, hey, there have been umpteen actresses playing the part since it began a decade or so ago. That’s my excuse.
Isla usually asks her Mum to put her to bed so Mum usually throws herself into reading aloud. She has a gentle Scottish accent that strikes the right rhythm and pace. Well, I think so. Isla too – so much so that whenever Mum starts to put on a voice and do an impersonation she is immediately silenced. Either by a hard Paddington Bear stare or the words, ‘Mummy, don’t do the voices!’
Tonight, Mum’s Madame Gazelle was mercilessly shot down in a scene reminiscent of Bambi.
She gamely protested – ‘But you let Daddy do the voices. Is that because he can do them?’
‘Yes,’ Isla shot straight back.
Undeterred, Mum bided her time until the next book. As she opened the first page of ‘Some Dogs Do’ Isla offered some advice.
‘Don’t do the voices!’
Some Mum’s Don’t. Mum obligingly played it straight and got an approving look. Within moments the tired wee girl was asleep and Kate was downstairs pondering the inequality of Life.
‘Is she asleep?’ I ask.
Kate nods then says – ‘I do a really good Madame Gazelle.’
She launches into an accent straight out of The Sound Of Music – part Austrian, part manic Nun. I am impressed. I tell her so. ‘That’s not what Isla thinks. She thinks you do better voices than me.’
Inwardly I glow, though outwardly I feign a concerned look and mention that sometimes Isla doesn’t like me doing voices. Apart from when I do foppish Captain Hook from Jake & The NeverLand Pirates – ‘Smee, Smee! Where are those pesky pirates?‘ Oh, and my earnest Scooby-Doo always goes down well – ‘Sh-raggy.’ As does my dim Winnie The Pooh – ‘Um, where’s mi hunney?‘
I mentioned in an earlier blog that I tell Isla Stories. These are stories that have certain rules.
1. They must always began with the words Once Upon A Time There Was A Big Girl Called Isla.
2. Isla must always be the heroine and save the day.
3. The stories must feature her Gang, such as the cast of Scooby Doo interspersed with characters from Jake & The NeverLand Pirates and Fireman Sam. Plus key ‘real’ friends from her Nursery.
Invariably the story involves CrackleNose the Witch who rather disgustingly has a nose that crackles when she picks it. In every story CrackleNose puts everyone in mortal danger but Isla beats her with some clever ruse.
Yesterday CrackleNose was turned into a tin of baked beans by magic and rolled down the hill into the mouth of a hungry shark that Isla had helped earlier. Yes, each story features plot twists and heart wrenching character arcs. Oh, and voices. Plenty of voices. I am allowed to go OTT with my voices in Isla Stories. CrackleNose cackles crazily in a ‘Nha-Ha-Harrr!’ kind of way.
Normally I get asked to tell them at 6.10 am when Isla springs in, all bright and breezy. I am far from my best and I usually wind her up by saying, ‘Once Upon A Time There Was A Big Girl Called Isla who tricked a Witch. The End!’
Isla will protest and ask for a longer version.
I say, ‘Once Upon A Time There Was A Big Girl Called Isla who tricked a Witch and went back home. The End!’
By this point Isla is NOT PLEASED so she bashes me with pillows or pokes me in the ear or tickles my feet or opens the curtain or whines to Mum that Daddy is not saying it right.
I do not want to do voices. It is too early, but She Who Must Be Obeyed Because She Is Four And Nearly A Half persists and I sleepily agree to do them … if Isla will agree to get washed and dressed and brush her teeth and eat breakfast and put her shoes on.
Isla readily agrees.
I tell the story properly. Then we spend the next hour trying to get Isla to get washed and dressed and brush her teeth and eat breakfast and put her shoes on……..
Such is life. You couldn’t make it up.
And if you do… Don’t Do The Voices!