Mummy, I’m not a baby anymore

 

Today (October 3rd 2016) my three year old son walked up to me in the kitchen and shattered my heart. “Mummy” I heard. The word I hear perhaps two thousand times a day and am ashamed to tell you makes me flinch more times than not. I was busily tidying up the debris from the kitchen and uttered “mmm?”

“I’m not a baby anymore.” he said. Out of nowhere. Blindsided.

I looked down at him in his penguin pyjamas. His pure, pale face staring up at me. His perfect brown eyes shining, waiting for a response. I started to breathe again and felt my eyes heavy with tears forcing their way out.

“I know.” I said. And then started to cry in a way mums cry in front of their children as to not alarm them. A false smile plastered across my face, tears falling, like a deranged circus clown.

“I am a big boy now.” he continued. My body trembled as I choked out “but you’ll always be MY baby.”

‘NO.” He insisted. Not understanding the inflection. “I am not a baby.”

I nodded in agreement and sobbed for twenty minutes in the kitchen while he played with his fire engine.

I wept. He will never be a baby again. My small boy is only going to get bigger, and with each year further away. From day one pressed against my breast, to school next year.

It didn’t help matters further as ‘Always be my baby’ shuffled on to the music on my phone. Mariah belted out:

We were as one babe, for a moment in time, and it seemed everlasting that you would always be mine.”

I sobbed again as I wailed along to the music like a bad X Factor contestant (though I was still better than Honey G).

In these times all I can do is channel my inner Mariah Carey and insist:

“You’ll always be a part of me, I’m part of you indefinitely, boy don’t you know you can’t escape me
Ooh darling ’cause you’ll always be my baby.”

He will always be my baby. I have spent the majority of the day cuddling him.

Three year olds… jeez, they can slay you.

The mum I’ll never be and the wasp

mummy's writing darling

Yesterday I took my youngest son to the park. This for me is an achievement in itself. The fact that we were both washed, dressed and actually out of the house with the three dimensional people – I felt pretty pleased with myself. The sun was shining and I suspected it was the last day of sun in 2016 so I had no choice but to throw us both out of the door and face the world.

I wear gym gear now – everywhere. If you live in gym gear no one wonders why you’ve no make up on and your hair looks like shit – little mum tip for you there. We went to the park, did the swings routine and then went to the outdoor cafe for a snack.

The park cafe; That’s where I saw her. The mum I will never be. She looked groomed, calm and collected. The first thing that struck me was that after she put her young daughter into the highchair she took out a special top for her to wear (like a towel texture top with no back but long sleeves – like a very elaborate bib). THEN she took out a second bib. The plastic type that catches food in the bottom. She basically had two forms of defence for the daughter’s lunch. Already I was in awe.

THEN the food she had ordered appeared and the daughter had A SALAD and a sandwich. I saw the gorgeous girl feeding herself peppers, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, fist fulls of sweetcorn and bloody carrot. I think my jaw was hanging open at this point.

Meanwhile over at team Siviter we had a chubby lad straddling a highchair with no bib at all. Not one. He was stuffing a grated cheese sandwich into his face with both fists in between eating ready salted Walkers crisps (wonderfully nutritious for a one year old). Grated cheese was in his ears, in his hair. There were crisps strewn around the floor area where he sat. I looked at him to her, then from me to the mum.

I will never ever be that mum. That mum who just looked like she was winning at mothering. Like she was born to be a mum. Her long curly hair flowing in the wind. Her massive breast feeding breasts swaying there, unsupported, her clean child sitting in the sun with a cute bonnet on eating God damn vine tomatoes.

I will never ever be that mum. I felt a bit sorry for my children in that moment. Sitting in the shade of the perfect mummy near me knowing that I certainly was not made to be a mum. That I just about get through each day and that’s all I can manage. A trip to the park and a cheese sandwich probably being the highlight of my poor sod’s week.

Then a wasp appeared. It swarmed around my baby a few times and I hoped it would leave as I’m absolutely terrified of them. I watched it intently and it landed on my boy’s face right next to his ear – I knew it was a matter of seconds before he reached for it to see what was on his face and he might get stung. I leapt up from my seat and swatted that bastard wasp away with one aggressive swipe with my bare mother fucking hand.

Which is when it struck me that we are all different in how we parent – how we get through this thing we call ‘mothering’. We might be born to do it and we might just be getting through each day as well as we can but one thing is for sure – however we parent – we would all swat away a twat wasp with our bare hand to protect our babies.

And respect to that mum. I’ll never be you but you are killing it; This mothering thing.

We then had to leave because I am pretty sure she thought I jumped up and slapped my child’s face for no reason.

 

Soft play: The Satanic cesspit of despair

mummy's writing darling

It was on Friday, at around 10am, as I sat crossed legged trying not to show the room my granny knickers, on the PVC floor, wearing odd socks, in a tiny sweaty square next to a tinier ball pool watching my son take part in some sort of world record for how many balls in the ball pit he could caress with his tongue and teeth, me playing the “whose turd can I smell now?” game, wondering where my unsupervised precious first born was, because let’s face it, he’s on his own now, watching several women shovel thick cut yellow chips into their mouths eyeing Jeremy Kyle on the screen (and not their children) all the while protecting my one year old from the heavy set unsupervised nine year olds wearing steel toe capped Doc Martins in between their fag break that I decided once and for all that soft play is the worst place in the world. The worst place on the planet. It truly is a cesspit of despair.

It’s a lie you see! A conspiracy. They lure you in with the beautiful word combination: Soft, Play. How calm and safe that sounds. What a sanctuary that must be.

First it’s not bloody soft. Well it is, but there are quite a few hard bastards wandering around just waiting to nut your child for a fruit shoot.

Then there’s ‘Play’. Well, not really. It’s too overcrowded for that. My one year old didn’t want to play – he wanted to suck and explore with his tongue every piece of soft play paraphernalia that I can only imagine has never ever been wiped clean or disinfected since the day they opened their doors ten years ago. It was probably purchased second hand.

It’s completely un-policed. The staff don’t give a shit. All around are redundant signs and rules: No shoes; But Pocohontis over there is wearing thigh high platform boots. Please wear socks; Crusty mum and dad toes all around me shredding like confetti. Babies only; bloody Jessamy over there has got a nicotine patch on is reading The Spectator. Toddlers only; Zeus has got a fucking NUS card.

All the mums must have been like me once upon a time but now they’ve given up and thrown their offspring in to the cesspit just hoping they’ll make it out alive. There are only a few cautious new mums loitering on the perimeter, stroking their baby’s faces, shuddering, whispering “we’ve made a grave mistake, this is not for you, this is not for you.”

Hoards of desperate parents are at the front desk begging to get in for this ‘fun’. But the place is over its limit. The noise level alone makes me heave. The workers are on strike in the kitchen because their request for industrial ear defenders as part of their uniform has been rejected.

And all around me are knackered mums pouring turkey twizzlers and Slush puppies into their mouths (at 10am) washed down with the shittest warm milk (latte) you’ve ever experienced. Most of them aren’t even there. They’re outside playing Pokemon Go swigging Gin from a hip flask.

That’s it for me. I can’t do it any more. Soft play – our time is over. Now I’m off to have them both disinfected and their jabs re-done.

Can I suggest instead of soft play you purchase several soft cushions from the pound shop and scatter them around your living room. Then invite around one, small, well behaved, clean child and enjoy.

Soft play? Shit play.

 

 

The back of your head

mummy's writing darling

The back of your head 

 

Sometimes, when I’m counting the hours till your bed,

I catch sight of the back of your head

Once tiny, delicate on tiny limp shoulders

Now larger and more perfect with every day you grow older

Your golden curls fall loose and free

as free-willed as your distinct personality

I can’t comprehend you are in fact mine

my beautiful, darling child of mine

I made that head,

I made that mane

And a lonely tear falls from your mummy’s eye

and I will kiss your head every day till we say goodbye

sometimes when I’m busy counting the hours till your bed

I see how precious you are and savour every single second instead.

 

Please don’t wake your baby brother up

mummys writing darling

Every single morning starts the same. 4am. And yes we have black out blinds, and yes we have a sodding Gro-clock, and yes we have tried later bedtimes, earlier bedtimes, no naps, naps, more food, less food.

The only thing we haven’t tried at this point is a tranquilliser gun, but if they manufactured a toddler safe medically approved one – I think we would go for it.

But that’s ok though because he is three now and is fairly self sufficient. He can be left to enjoy squash and toast, playing with his trains in his room specifically designed for self sufficient play with trainess. He even has his own telly now. Happy days.

The foil to our cunning plan is two fold. Firstly he can not seem to understand and follow very simple instructions and two, we only went and buggered it all up by having a second child.

So I creep into his room at four and tell him to stop that endearing shrieking noise he is making. I pop on ‘Tale of the Brave’ a lovely Thomas the tank engine movie that if they ever lose the script for I can speed type it for them and if it becomes a West-end play I am more than capable of playing ‘Marian’ (Olivia Colman no less) without any prompts. I get him a refreshment and start the simple instruction part of the soul destroying routine.

“Ok now darling, it’s ok for you to stay in your room and watch Thomas and play with your trains, ok darling? That’s fine. BUT, and I must emphasise… BUT please, please, please be very very quiet because Daddy is asleep and your baby brother is asleep. I don’t want you to wake up your baby brother ok? So be really really quiet. Ok?”

All of this is sang in a Julie Andrews type whisper.

“Ok” he nods. Job done.

Within seconds, through the wall, I hear the following:

  • Some sort of train based sports day is taking place, with races, hurdles and an awards ceremony. Lots of cheering, clapping and reading out of train names.
  • Wailing and sobbing intermittently each time his track becomes detached.
  • An entire Shakespeare tragedy is being played out starring twatting Thomas and fucking Ferdinand.
  • Singing of entirely made up, and significantly long songs.
  • Stamping of feet which could give a herd of wildebeest a run for their money.
  • “MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY?”
  • “DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY?”
  • I want pink milk!
  • I want cwiisssps!
  • A top class impression of Elmo on acid having an intense conversation with someone in space with no hearing aid and no phone.

 

During this I go in and out of his room attempting to sssshhh him and explain again that it is very early and I need him to be quiet. He nods. And repeat.

My voice soon turns from Mary poppins to someone possessed by the Devil trying to still be seductive. Have you ever shouted at someone while still whispering? It’s quite a feat.

And then I hear it, the short but distinctive gurgle of the baby brother awakening from his slumber.

And so we are up. It’s 4.30. And by ‘we’ – I mean me – after all, the husband “has to go to work” doesn’t he? While I pick my bum for the day.

Arses. All of them arses.

Neighbours – I’m sorry.