Tag Archives: mummy blog

A chip off the old block …

Thanks to everyone who did the survey last week. It was very helpful and much appreciated. This week, I have mostly been running around like a headless chicken. To my complete and utter delight I have managed to do at least 10 minutes of writing every day, which is equating to 400 words plus. Happy joy.

Sausages are being worn high this year.

Meanwhile, McMini has been given time at school to do creative writing. As a ten year old boy he is obsessed with Killy-Killy-Death-Death. Basically the more wanton destruction and violence in something, the better. Or humour. He loves the funny. The picture (to your left if I can get the formatting to work, below if I can’t) is of a model in a museum. The life jacket caused us endless mirth because of its uncanny resemblance to sausages. The blusher is a little unsubtle too.

But back to McMini, his latest ‘work’ is about a ‘dear fluffy little bunny who is hit by dust from a meteor and turns in to a killer’.

The story is then simply a litany of places where humans frolic and gambol under the illusion they are safe and happy only to discover Killer Bunny though the medium of being graphically torn apart, disembowelled, eaten from the head down etc.

I swear he has never seen Monty Python well, he has now that he’s told me about killer bunny. But you wouldn’t know, would you?

There are now six instalments of Killer Bunny and this morning, in the car, we had this conversation.

‘Hey Mum, guess what? I wrote some more Killer Bunny yesterday and the teacher asked me to read it out.’

‘She did?’ I asked, I can only think that she hadn’t actually seen any of it. ‘What was it about?’

‘It was about this man wandering in the desert and Killer Bunny attacks him, rips out his spine and eats it and throws him into the distance.’

‘I see,’ I said after he had explained this. ‘What did the teacher say?’

‘I did tell her I didn’t think I should read it out loud.’

‘That’s very thoughtful of you. What did she say when she heard it?’

‘Yeeeees.’

‘That’s all.’

‘Yep.’

‘Did the other kids like it?’

‘Oh yes, although my fried Mae said that it was not age appropriate.’

I’m never sure how to take McMini’s horror obsession. It’s not something I remember going through and on the whole he is a chip off the old block. As you know, I grew up in a school. One of the features of said school is that it has a very large ‘chapel’ which is about 100ft high and more like a gothic cathedral. I used to have to go there with Mum sometimes while she was arranging the flowers and I remember as a wee nipper, Mr Kendel, the verger, giving me one of the unconsecrated wafers to try. I thought it was delicious and got confirmed as soon as possible. I’m not sure, ‘because the host tastes like a flying saucer sweet without the sherbet’ is quite the right reason to do that, but there we go. At least I never admitted it to anyone.

Meanwhile, McMini’s reaction was extremely similar and he is delighted to be able to take communion now too. He is worse than me though, undeterred by numerous bollockings, he smacks his lips and says, ‘yum, yum’ to wind me up if I am not careful and that is a way dodgy.

Going back to his wayward mother, when I was older, old enough to wander around the school unaccompanied with my friend Lottie, we used to go and write pretend messages in the visitors book in the chapel. You know, Comment: blank, Name: Miss E Likes. Address, The Cock Inn, Tillet, Herts. An other really mature stuff like that. McMini has invented his own form of this.

A few weeks ago at small church, the vicar was giggling in front of the prayer board at the back.

‘Come and look at this!’ he said to me.

I looked at the board, it’s a pin board with ‘Prayers’ written at the top and the cards all say, ‘we pray for …’ on them. You then write what or whom you pray for.  He pointed to one of the cards.

‘Oh bugger, I’m so sorry, that’s my son,’ I told him but unfortunately, my attempts to sound respectful were ruined by the involuntary guffaw of laughter that came out when I saw it. Thank heavens he has a sense of humour, himself, and pointed it out because he thought it was funny.

So yes, on the whole, the parallels between my behaviour and my son’s are usually similar, but with the added frisson of his death and violence obsession. I suspect I am in for an interesting time when he becomes a teenager.

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More McMini

Here are some more lovely gems from my small son.

“Mummy, remember when ….. (name redacted) came round and she did a pooh that was so huge that we had to break it in half with the loo brush to flush it away.”
“I’m tying not to.”
“Well, imagine if we were so poor, that we couldn’t afford a loo brush and had to cut it in half with  our hands or with a knife and fork.”
“I’m really trying not to.”

This one sums up the splendid randomness of life with children. This morning, I was woken up early with someone jumping into my room shouting, “boo!” McOther got up, luckily, fed the ravening mini-beast and went off up to town to the market. Meanwhile I got to the point where I was dressed in trousers pants and socks but my pyjama top when McMini, who was downstairs eating his breakfast, called me urgently.

“Mummy! Mummy! Please can you help me.”
“Sure, what can I do?”
“I need you to help me prepare some breakfast.”
Poor wee soul, I’m thinking, his Dad must have forgotten to give him his breakfast before going out, either that or McMini refused it, which is not unknown. So I scurried down.”Course I can help, what would you like?”
“Oh no Mummmy it’s not for me,” McMini explains as we make our way through to the kitchen, “I wanted to bring you your breakfast in bed but I need your help. I thought you might like a piece of toast but I couldn’t cut the bread,” visions of McMini wielding the bread knife flashed into my head and I tried not to think about them. “Would you like a piece of toast?”
“Hmm, actually I think that what I would really like is one of these crumpets*. Shall we toast one and then you can butter it for me.”
“Yes, that’s a good idea, then you can go upstairs and get back into bead and I will take it to you.”
“Well… I’m half dressed,” I said as I lifted McMini and he dropped the crumpet into the toaster, “press the button,” McMini pushed the lever. “I think the best thing is if I eat it up down here and then go and get dressed.”
“No Mummy!” (shocked) “You can’t do that. You must go upstairs and finish dressing, first. Then you must come down and eat it.”
“Right o. Can I have a bite before I go?”
A beat.
“Oh I suppose so.”
“Thank you.”
“But don’t forget, I have to butter it first.”

He then proceeded to dig a series of small holes in the top of the butter with the tip of the knife, it looks like a primitive woodcut of an owl.

In church last Sunday, the gospel was the massacre of the innocents.

“Why did Herod want to kill all the little babies Mummy?” ‘whispered’ McMini.”Because he cared more about being in power than anything else.”
“Why?”
“I don’t know. I guess he wasn’t a very nice man.” **
“Yes, he was a big wee pot.”
Sniggering from the pews behind showed that this did not go unnoticed.

Going to bed last night.
“Mummy! Come back in here or I will shoot you.”

Going to bed this evening, I found a large velour spider, which is called ‘Glorious’ sitting at the top of the stairs. I picked him up and brought him into the bedroom.
“I found Glorious on the stairs.”
“Oh no, that’s OK Mummy, you should put him back. He has been naughty.”
“Ah right, so he’s on the naughty step is he?”
“Yes, he is nearly finished then he can come back in so long as he isn’t naughty again but he must be out there for a little longer.”
I went and put Glorious back where I found him, walked back in to McMini’s bedroom.
“You can go and get Glorious now and bring him back in. I think he has been out there long enough.” McMini said, the minute I set foot in the door. I went and got the spider and handed it to McMini.
“Glorious is very sorry, he has given me a kiss and I will kiss him back to make up,” said McSmall. And he did.

This is Glorious.

Glorious, looking very contrite.

*Pikelets if you’re northern, google it if you’re from anywhere else but for heaven’s sake put an s on it – crumpetS – unless you want to have to wade through loads of stuff about sex.
** Herod killed two of his sons and I’m pretty sure he also killed his wife, such was his determination to hang on to the reins of power… as Augustus said: “It is better to be Herod’s dog than one of his children.” He makes Lord Vernon*** look like a bit of a pussycat doesn’t he?
*** and if you don’t know who Lord Vernon is, read the K’Barthan Trilogy. NOW. Um… please.

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Shingles anybody? It’ll make you feel better.

I was looking at this post, earlier and a few days before that, this one.

Both are about trying to balance career with other things, in the first being a Mum, in the second illness. So this is not for the people happily churning out a book every month, or painting prolifically. It’s for the people who could but haven’t the time.  My books take about 2 years to write. If I had the glorious luxury of being able to write 9-5, the whole year I reckon each one’d take 6 months, tops. That, right there people, is frustration.

Eyebombing, the only art I have time to do nowadays.

Eyebombing, the only art I have time to do nowadays.

However, these days, I think I’m surprisingly happy with my lot and I’ll tell you the secret. Shingles. run with me on this one, it’s going to take a while.

This isn’t a Mummy Blog but I am a Mum, which is why I thought I’d write this post is for the other Glacier Girls and Guys who are living slowly because they’re parents and they have to. It’s also for anyone who is a Parent who feels that by not enjoying each and every single minute they are somehow betraying their child(ren). In any job there are going to be bits you don’t enjoy. Being a parent is a job and in this respect, it’s like any other.

The other trick, I think is that we all tend to get a bit Monty Python Fork Sketch about being parents. Sometimes, all we see are the bad bits. That’s a habit but it’s not an easy one to shake especially among those of us who tend to be a bit anal about getting everything right. Seriously, though it’s amazing how quickly the good bits become background noise.

McMini goes to school but in the holidays, mostly, it’s just me and him. Sometimes it’s a challenge – usually on days when my energy levels are not quite compatible with his – but mostly we have fun. I think we always  have but it’s only recently I’ve been able to see it like that. Because… well… the truth is, I had a bit of a melt down.

A little while back, three, four years ago? Something like that, the reactor really cracked. The journey down took a year.

My in laws came to live with us for three months, from May to September. I love them dearly and gladly took them in but I found it peculiarly stressful. The fact that I did upset  me. November, the cold set in and my Dad took a real nose dive. My worry about my parents intensified along with me feeling that I was failing them. I crept through the winter, torn between staying at home and looking after my boy and going down to Sussex and looking after my folks.

Meanwhile, I was trying to be a decent Mum, fun to be with, understanding, full of ideas, kind and loving, when I couldn’t remember the last time I’d completed a thought without being interrupted and felt like shit.

Then one of my friends was diagnosed with lung cancer and given 5 weeks to live and  I took stock. I had a loving husband, a lovely little boy, a very dear family, a fantastic group of friends and a car to die for. Hell, I’d even written a book. I knew it was all good but the frustration of caring for a little one and being torn in two different directions at once was beginning to get a bit  much. I knew I was happy ‘on paper’ it was just that in reality I didn’t seem to be able to convince myself. I was perennially angry and mardy and grim and I didn’t like it. Or me.

During this time, I didn’t write or paint. There just wasn’t the slack in the system. The ambient levels of background worry continued to climb into the red zone, my emotional glass was full and the tiniest thing on top would make it brim over and have me in tears. Eventually it all went pop.

It was a Friday, late March or early April and I got home from dropping McMini off at nursery and started to cry. I cried for hours. I mourned for my Dad, for my friend, and for my Mum as she shouldered responsibility for everything my Dad had used to do. I picked up McMini from playgroup puffy eyed and wondered if I was having a nervous breakdown. But I finally understood how it was I could love my life, and the people in it, the way I did and still be sad. And it was OK and it made sense.

The next morning, I woke up feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted, with a new and certain understanding of my world…. and shingles. I’ve never felt so shit and so relieved at the same time. Sure, shingles was bloody painful, but I knew I’d hit the bottom. The only way from here was up, and finally I had some fucking clue which direction up was in. And I felt something else. I felt strong, and solid, and grounded.

Shortly after that, my friend with lung cancer died and in the same week another one did, too, unexpectedly, three days before his 42nd Birthday. I became aware that you can lead a full and happy life, and still find your brain is in a bit of a knot. So, thinking I might need a bit of help I went to the Doctor to see if I could get some counselling on the NHS.  She referred me for something called cognitive behavioural therapy although by the time I got to the top of the waiting list, I’d kind of worked it out for myself, but the basic gist is this:

  1. You cannot do everything you want to do, only what you can do. This is the hardest thing in the world to accept.
  2. Once you’ve understood your limitations, think of ways to work within them and let the other stuff go.
  3. Concentrate on doing things that play to your strengths.
  4. Draw a line under your mistakes. You can’t change them. Move forward and aim to avoid making them again.
  5. Concentrate what you’ve achieved rather than what you’ve failed to do.
  6. If something is wrong, tackle it. Fix it.
  7. Don’t look at other people and compare them to you, they and their circumstances are different.

If you can manage that, you can enjoy and appreciate the things you are able to achieve and you’ll feel less trapped by the stuff you haven’t done. And that will make for an easier going, happier you and perversely, I’ve found I achieve more now that I’ve stopped worrying about it… (mostly). Sure, I am not the daughter I hoped I’d be and probably not the mum, but I know I’m fulfilling both roles about as well as I can and I’ll settle for that.

Yes, is difficult to adjust to the glacially slow process of your own life once there are kids in it – and I’m the queen of the big Jessies there, because I only have one. It’s also difficult to adjust to the fact there are bits of your brain, like your intellect, that you don’t get the chance or just don’t have the energy to use.

However, Amanda Martin’s post (the first link) summed it up perfectly when she said that the whole point is, she wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it. I wouldn’t and as for progress on other things. Well, it’s a bit like getting over shingles. When you are chipping away at something day after day, it’s easy to forget what you’ve achieved.

A few years ago, when I was absolutely at the end of my tether, I remember complaining to a friend, in tears, that I’d only written five words that day.

“Well,” he said, “That’s five words that weren’t there yesterday.”

And that’s the trick, isn’t it? Not to look at the oceans of stuff you haven’t done and the stuff you don’t have but to let all that bollocks go and look it the way it really is.

Life hasn’t stopped. It’s just slowed down; and who knows, we may be hankering for this when faster times come.

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