Monday 28 May 2012


I'm back! I'm updating my blogroll tomorrow and I'll give a book update soon (the short version? OUCH. That was a painful month). I've missed being here. And, so, here's what I've been thinking about lately.  And by the way, my writing aim at the moment is to say less. Write shorter. Wish me luck.

Yesterday was a bad day. I was sick as a dog - my head congested, my ears burning with pain. I did not parent my children very well through this.  In the last few days they have both learned to start sentences with I want and it's more than I can bear, especially right now. I want pasta. I want watch TV. I want go park. I want. I want. I want and it's driving me crazy. Please, Mummy, pasta? I remind them. They have the language skills for the polite version but they prefer it the other way. I want. I want. I want.  They prefer the efficiency, I think, and they also know how much I dislike it and they prefer the amusement they get from seeing how far they can push me before I c-r-a-c-k.

Not very far, yesterday. I want. I want. IwantIwantIwantIwant. There came a point where I yelled at Blue: "STOP IT. JUST STOP IT. I CAN'T TAKE IT ANY MORE" and then sat down on the floor, clutched my aching head and cried.  "Mummy screaming" said Pink, vaguely horrified and vaguely gratified. And of course, that just made me cry more, from the crushing guilt. Happy times.

Yesterday was a good day. I showed the children our wedding pictures for the first time, and they were entranced. Lately they've been hugely interested in family stories. Pink is putting some of the pieces together, and is especially interested in the fact that the shiny ring on my finger means Mummy-an-Daddy got MURRIED. Recently we have put a whole lot of framed maps up in our dining room - maps of places we have been and places that are important to us. We have a series of three customised prints from this great etsy shop above our kitchen door and Pink knows: Mummy Daddy murried on da yellow one, met pink-an-blue on da blue one and da grey one is HOME!  I finally did up a photo lifebook for them over the Easter holidays and they absolutely love it. They call it their 'special book' and they want to look at it all the time. But this is the first time they have begged to see the 'murried book' and the three of us sat down in the sunshine together and slowly looked through the pages. It was incredible. I haven't looked at our wedding photos for ages and it's so strange to look at then-me with my now-children on my lap and think girl, you had no idea what was coming.  It's sad to see just how many people in our photos have died or divorced each other in the nearly-eight-years since those photos were taken, people these children will never know. I tell Pink again about the great-grandmother for whom she was given her middle name. It means nothing to her now, but it will one day. She turns over the page. As that long-ago day progresses in front of us, I am interested to see the answer to a question that has been bothering me lately - it seems that yes, I did always have a double chin, even when I was very thin. Good to know.

I hold them tight - one on each knee, sitting on what they call my 'side lap'. If they have to share me, they are sitting on 'side lap'. If they have me all to themselves they turn around and grin and say 'sitting on BIG lap, Mummy!' but that's rare. They usually have to share. I have one arm around each one and they aren't fighting and I just feel so privileged that these two precious children are being woven into our family's history. It's not something I take for granted. I love how much they love hearing the stories, even though there's nothing interesting about them. Talking, Mummy, more talking says Blue.  More talking about murried. And really, I've said it all, fifty times over, but I start with Well, Daddy asked me "Mummy, will you marry me?" and I say it all again.

Yesterday was a bad day. Blue would not eat at all. Not not-hungry not-eating, but not-gonna-give-you-the-satisfaction not-eating. After dinner was supposed to be over, I left him sitting in his chair at the table outside while Pink scrambled for her latest library book. I was uncertain about it when she chose it - it's called My Mummy and I'm often a bit nervous about those kind of books. Usually they centre around how the child's Mummy is the BEST mummy in the ENTIRE WORLD, which is sweet, obviously, but can be kinda unhelpful when your child actually has two mummies. But this one is fine - it's actually a Peppa Pig book and it's not about the reader's Mummy, it's about Peppa's Mummy so that's all fine. No confusion. Readit, mummy readit said Pink and I did.
Turns out Peppa's Mummy is awesome. She is firm but fair, strict but kind, educational but playful. By the end of the book, I really hated Peppa's Mummy. The last thing she does, on the final page, is have fun splashing with her children in muddy puddles. It won't surprise you to hear that I never do that. Instead, I'm saying no step away don't tread there you'll get dirty come back here come back here come back HERE.  And I read the book cheerfully enough but in reality I was sitting there steaming with resentment and feelings of inferiority towards a cartoon pig.

Yesterday was a good day. Blue is learning to say I yuv as well as I want.  He sort of understands how to use it but not entirely. As I was changing him for bed, he told me, in his adorable little-boy voice, that he yuvved Daddy. I melted. That seemed like  a good start and okay,I was fishing for a compliment so I said who else do you love, Blue?  

He leaned forward and said I yuv.... I yuv.... I yuv... BABY WIPES!  And he said it with such sincerity and passion that I couldn't help myself - I laughed and laughed. I love this unpredictable little kid so much. He really does love baby wipes, I'm sure. Such a pleasantly cool feeling on his poopy little summertime butt. 


So yesterday was a normal day, I guess. And I can't help wondering - when all of their childhood days blur together, which of these things are they going to remember? When we talk to each other as mothers we reassure each other that they won't remember that time you shouted at them, they will just remember how you were always there and loved them so much. But I'm not sure that's how we talk about our own parents, is it? A lot of us have perfect recall of the bad things our parents said and did (obviously, I'm not talking about my parents, since a) they were perfect and b) occasionally read this blog). But we do tend to expect perfection of our own parents. We don't really think we're going to get it, but it still disappoints us that we don't and the stuff they get wrong hurts us. Why would we think that our children would have lower standards than we do?

I do know that the longer I am a  mother, the more I admire my own mother's parenting in the days when her children were little. I don't ever remember her yelling at me like I yelled at Blue. And I don't think she ever lost her mind at her children in the foyer of a crowded theatre, just to pull a totally hypothetical example out of the air. Was she just more self-controlled than me? Did she do it, but hypnotise me afterwards to make me forget? Or was I just an easier kid? (Yeah, definitely that last one, for sure).

I can't work this one out. If one of my friends was to decide to talk to a therapist about their childhood, I'd be behind them all the way. But when Blue is in therapy for being shouted at too much, am I allowed to go along too? Am I allowed to say 'hey, but don't you remember looking at those wedding pictures too? That was fun, wasn't it? Wasn't it?'  I'm not entirely joking. But I don't suppose it works that way.