Sunday, 25 March 2012

A Tap on the Shoulder

It's been a bit of a week.    Swings and roundabouts some might say..    Others might say 'oh shit'.

Sunday.    Had a perfectly civilized Mothers Day  (usually this alone is worthy of many 'oh shit's),   and we even spent this one AT my mum's ('oh shit' territory for certain)  -  but this time,  noone trod on a cat,   noone hurled the contents of Connect 4 down the back of the settee,   noone said 'fuck',   noone pulled their pants down and farted in anyone's lunch....    (Yes,  for once,  my mother behaved herself.)    And she even still looked perky when we finally clambered into the embarrassment we park on her drive and screeched away.    Normally she's looking seriously close to fetching the big gun by waving goodbye time.    Maybe we're all growing up a bit.    (Like cheugh...)

Monday.    Our Home Ed tribe's football session wasn't in the rain or gale force winds and it didn't take three hours to get their boots and tracky bots off afterwards.    The hall meeting didn't implode.    We started making our flag instead of dropping chips on it.    We decorated eggs and didn't sit on them.     Nobody got locked in the toilet.    The younger Trinity Youth Theatre group's improv presentation was actually entertaining.   The older Trin Yoof's show was... less sweary and death-obsessed than expected.    None of the boys split their lip at Badgers.    High five.

Tuesday.    I got a lie-in.    I got breakfast whilst stationary.   I got a shower (eventually).    I got Lulu Cheese over to her dad's workplace four seconds before he reached his car.   I got shopping.    I got the boys into bed before 10.30pm.    I got a phone call from my brother.    I've now got to carry on reading about beheading dragons without letting on that Nanny's just had a stroke and is in the hyper-acute unit.    I've got to work out what to do.    (I've got a nagging feeling that I'm supposed to know what to do.)  

Wednesday.    Took Minx to her skating lesson (sans boys - always a bonus) and once again Robin Cousins was there - like last week.    (He's touring in Grease and this is his local rink for two weeks).    He's so amazing to watch.    And we watched.   And last week I watched wide-eyed as he floated over to Minx to give her some tips on her axel landing.    She nodded alot but took nothing in.    Just gazed at him all starstruck and then carried on doing it wrong.    Afterwards we squeaked alot.    This week not only does her coach rip my phone out of my dithering hands and ask him for a photo with Minx but follows this up with a request for a special lesson for four of her pupils  -  and he says yes.    We squeak alot more.    Then I burst the bubble with the other news and we go and see my mum in the hospital.    It isn't great.    Yin and yang is it....?    First we went to the house to meet my bro.    Picked up scattered objects and pointed at cats.    Minx was terribly grown-up.    She spotted the washing was still out and set about unpegging and folding,   watered the plants,   told me what dressing gown Nanny preferred and where the socks were and made us sandwiches.    I gawped at how big mum's bras were and nicked her cheese.    Role reversal time.    Weird.    Feel like someone invisible is trying to tap me on the shoulder.

Thursday.    Bowling  -  no fights over Doris (a favoured ball),   no warnings about eating our own food,    no chasing small children up the sirened alleys  -  and I manage to sell all the boys while I take Minx back up to the rink.    And tonight we have no bruised knees,  no walloped buttocks,   no spilt J2O all over my knitting.   I don't know I'm born.    My driving's gone a bit loopy tho'.    Lots of After Eights required.    Couldn't fit in a hospital visit without dramas this end.   Big bruv covered.    Course he did.    He's my big bruv.      

Friday.    Back at the rink,  half wondering if Robin Cousins will change his mind.    But here he is.    Expecting about 15 mins of his time - tops.    He gives them 45 mins of dedicated coaching and not a flicker of despair at the boggling camera-wielding parents squashed in the corner.    And won't accept any payment.    Signs autographs and does chat and bears the gushing thank yous  -  such a dude.    And even stays calm when the swathes of arriving Home Ed skate munsters (not my tribe) swamp him with coos and cameras.    That's some mettle.    (They're a funny bunch of buggers that North Kent lot....)    Back in the driving seat trying not to crash.    Despatch all kids into the hands of my tribe and head back to the hospital.    Still haven't lost control AND I get to wap in my choice of CD.    Take what you can get out any situation I say.    I'll take Lucinda Williams any day.    Mum's out of the strings-attached ward and up the corridor a bit.    Less tea-spillage.    Less trying to escape antics.    I'm still trying to flinch away from that tap on the shoulder tho'.    Still not listening to that voice saying 'It's time to be a grown-up now'.    Back to the tribe and the sun-burnt kids.    Oops.

Saturday.    Medieval archery shenanigans with the tribe.    Loved this.    Twanging bows and flying arrows,   quarterstaffs and shiny swords,   heavy chainmail and wobbly helmets,   muddy vegetables and funny clobber  -  and best of all fabulous sunshine and babbling chums.    Larks a-plenty.    Then child-abandonment again and back up the hosp.    She's been wheeled further up the corridor.    Assuming this is a good sign.    'Hello dear what's your name?'    Hmmmn...     Well she had just woken up.    I should say I had just woken her up.    (Well...  I've gone all that way..!!)    Is it my driving,  or is the car possessed,  or should I turn the stereo down a bit.... ?    It all feels like I'm gonna sail off the road and not have to worry about the growing-up bit after all.    (Although I do think points should be awarded for me not putting 'shiny' and 'helmets' together a minute ago.)

Sunday.    I make Roving Blade drive my car to the golf range to see if it's paranoia or garage time.    Turns out it's just paranoia.    I keep the volume down a bit there and back tonight.    Mum's still in the same pod as yesterday so for once don't have to go in search.   I still manage to get lost tho'.    (Who's the one with the brian blip?)   She thinks she's going home in a couple of days.    I don't THINK so.    That voice over my shoulder is getting a little more insistent.

What happens when they do let her out?

Tap tap.



Friday, 9 March 2012

Good Parenting

Don't be fooled by the title.    I'm definitely not referring to myself.    So breathe a sigh of relief.    No pious preaching from this pulpit.    (Just acutely agonising alliteration.)

I don't know if this is due to approaching menopause but I keep seeing loathsome new mothers everywhere.    They look frumpy and have crap hair and no make-up.    (You didn't click on this blog by accident did you?  -   thinking you'd find open-armed PC parenting sisterhood stuff did you?)    It has been widely established that I dress like an elf,   have put on 2 stone in 3 years,   sport a self-inflicted Willy Mossop hair-don't in a faded shade of mutton-dressed-as and that my thick lashings of black eye-liner look ridiculous so this isn't a campaign for some lunchtime make-ever show.    I just hate the way they moon about,   as interesting as boiled potatoes,   not thinking that their husbands or boyfriends would possibly think any the less of them because they are so over-flowing with nature and nurture that a spot of hair gel would be somehow inappropriate.    I wish they'd all brush up or fuck off.    It just reminds me of how crap I must have looked too.    (I never did lose touch with my mascara brush tho' I'll have you know....)

I hate new mothers.   And the feeling is mutual.    I look at them and see slow-moving smug younger know-it-alls.    They look at me and my litter and see the back of the book  -  and it wasn't the ending they've imagined.   They would want to complain to someone about false advertising if only they allowed themselves to glance my way for longer than a nano-second.    Most of them manage to cut me out of their peripheral view by some primal instinct.    But I suspect it is the only primal instinct they have left.   Everything else they do or think is as directed by some nazi child-rearing-expert brain-washing virus.    Just listen to them talk to each other.    It's thinly-disguised aggression.    It looks like Stepford -  but it's way more Hyacinth Bucket at it's core.    (I do remember frumpy,   I do  -  I don't ever remember the smug bit.    I never reached smug.    Bad parent obviously....)

We were surrounded by a pack of them in the swimming pool yesterday.    They were patrolling around their button-eyed poppets like warships.    Obviously they must have been horrified a bunch of wild pirates had just dive-bombed into their peaceful harbour  - (shouldn't these children be in school?)  -  but they weren't catching anyone's eye.    Amazingly we were still invisible.    We had to negotiate all these icebergs in our adventures.    (It was getting on for 12.30  -  shouldn't they all be shovelling avocado mush down the obliging little red tunnels and getting ready for a nap?)   It could've gone all This Town Ain't Big Enough but we each managed our own realities.    We made occasional 'mind the little ones' chirrups to steer them away but it's more a case of wary circling.    Eventually the lot of us had to make way for the crocodile parade of shivering prisoners of war.    Sorry  -  school lessons.    We were roped off and glared at all the way to the baby splash puddle hellhole  -  a sure-fire way of nudging us into the showers and out of their hair.    Even after all the changing shenanigans,   while waiting for our chips in the cafe,   we could see the PoWs still shivering on the side of the action.    Except by now they were wet and shivering.    At least the new mothers were enjoying their 'what my perfect child eats' serve-and-volleys with each other in the warm.    Definitely not noticing the goose-pimpled future through the windows.

I don't think I remember a whole lot about my monsters as babies  -  it all seems such a blur.    I worry that I'll not even recognise each one if 4 baby photos were lined up before me.    It was a battle of time,  energy and unwanted advice.    It did take me some time to remember I had my own mind and my own instincts  -  and these have been challenged over and over.    I don't think I dyed my hair for a stretch of about 2 years at some point.    I'd lost me completely.    I never had my face on for school drop-off  -  (but it was always there for pick-up -  I must've had a tiny voice still squeaking away).    I used to wear brown for christssakes -  destroy all photos.    I recall I tried to limit sweets and telly.    How quaint!    I bought wooden toys.    I smiled at pregnant women.    Oh my gods.....    It was another planet.

It was a planet where people with older children DID NOT EXIST.

I hated experienced mothers.    It was like looking at the back of the book.    I stopped reading altogether.  

Recently I joined a yahoo group for Home Edders involved with exams etc.    Minx has mentioned she might like to do some GCSEs.    So I stuck my toe in new waters.    It trebled my inbox and my burdened my already oppositional mind with anti-everything.    At first I thought I'd persevere.    But I realised it was just making me worse than usual.    I can't help feeling that if I guide my feral beasts towards academia it will just stifle their genuine talents.    Some kids have a bent towards paper and pens and maths and engineering and history and astronomy etc etc....    Some already know they want to be a physicist or a vet or a geologist and can get their heads round this stuff.    I can't get my lot to  look at the back of a cereal packet.    Minx may well be happy with it  -  I will get round to sorting out a much recommended English course (as written by a Home Ed mum) and see how it goes but without any gloaty-excitement on my face or bragging to my mother.    No pressure.    It's just another 'thing' she's interested in as far as I'm concerned  -  like playing the piano or taking photos.    Both of which she's gleaned from her dad and is happily building on by herself.    But I've had to leave the yahoo group.    I was in danger of posting up something childish last night whilst in a bolshie mood.    It just seemed SO obsessive.    It was peeking at the end of another book I decided was way too hardcore.    (I'd not even bother to wait for it on DVD  -  not enough action.)  

But are these academically-wired parents sucked into a lie?    Are they living their lives through their children?    They are Good Parents.    How DARE I question the validity of qualifications?   (Well... I've got some and they never got me anywhere.... )

Or....  am I standing in the way of my kids' path to a fruitful life?    Am I living my rebellion through them?    I'll not know 'til I get to the end of the book I s'pose.

As far as I'm concerned there's no hurry to write it.  

(Gods know writing books ain't so easy eh?    Still no sign of anything on that score round here.)

I know I am a Bad Parent.    I'm fine with that.    I hate good parents.    I just wonder if my brood might prefer a good one?  

Oh well  -  shit happens.    It's best they learn this sooner rather than spend a fortune on counselling later.    See?    Always thinking of them!    Good parent after all....