Why I wanted to walk with my son in the rain

Why I wanted to walk with my son in the rain

The rain was falling hard. Last week I excitedly picked up my four year old school boy child from his minder. The door opened, I saw his pocket sized face and all the work day’s crap melted away. “Come on darling!” I said “Now put on your coat, it’s really raining outside.” And it was – great big pelts of angry water thudding on top of my yellow mac.

“I’m going your way, I’ll give you a lift” the lady said. “No, no, that’s fine” I argued. ”

I insist” she squealed, half watching the rain wondering why I wouldn’t take her up on her kind rescue.

“No, really, no thanks.” I said seriously, and I led my son towards our special short cut in his matching yellow mac.

She is a lovely, kind lady. She’s a life saver. But I wasn’t going to let her take the walk in the rain with my son away from me.

What she can’t understand is what that walk means to me.

I work hours that mean I can’t take him to school, I can’t even pick him up from school – but I can pick him up from a childminder and walk home with him, whatever the weather.

This isn’t just a walk. This is when I have my precious boy all to myself, his attention purely on me. It’s a time I get to hear what he did at school, which is, granted, only usually ever “I can’t remember,” but that still matters.

It’s the time we get to take our own special short cut that only we know. It’s the time we get to stop and look at the leaves and their different shapes and colours, and even pick a few and stuff them in our macs like we are sharing an exciting secret.

It’s the time he can use expressions I have never heard before like ‘therefore’ or ‘terrific’ which results in me bursting into spontaneous laughter for the first time that day. It’s the time he can tell me his feelings in soft, safe quiet. It’s the time he can tell me my shoes are beautiful (out of nowhere) before asking me if that’s a nice thing to say, because he always wants to say nice things.

On our walk I can tell him he makes me happier than happy, and he can tell me he wants to always make everyone happy.

I can say a silent prayer, as the rain falls, that he will never change. Then we can get his younger brother from the nursery. Finally, the three of us are together, completely together. Nothing else matters.

God willing, when they are older, I’ll remember these precious gifts – these simple walks, hand in hand with my boys – the only things that matter in my entire world.

Our walk, our time together, is as precious as life. We might be sodden, we might be cold, we might slip and slide, but we can warm each other, keep each other grounded, and some days we might even get to share a rainbow.

You won’t be like Binky … beware ‘reality’ TV mummy diaries

I am a big fan of Binky and I love to escape into the scripted reality world of ‘Made in Chelsea’, watching young, nubile, supermodel types supping champagne whilst I shove fistfuls of space invaders into my gob and neck merlot out of a tumbler. It’s pure escapism, so far removed from my life as a stay at home mum. And I was thrilled to see that Binky is with child. Congratulations to her.

However, something about it being on that show made me uneasy. The same uneasiness I get when I see adverts for Sam Faiers Mummy Diaries.

The uneasy feeling is one of wanting to shout at anyone watching the programs who hasn’t experienced pregnancy and motherhood first hand:

THIS IS NOT REAL! 

Maybe people aren’t as stupid as I take them for but I know a lot of young people aspire to be like these reality folks and it worries me that they are seeing a glossy perfect version of pregnancy and family life with a strong filter that will put ideas into their heads like “ooh, that looks lovely. I should do that. I can be just like Binky.”

Except you won’t. Not at all.

I fear the version of pregnancy and motherhood we are going to be projected on Made in Chelsea will be about as realistic as a Chicco advert. 

What we won’t see on Made in Chelsea, I can almost guarantee is:

  • Binky gaining four stone in pregnancy weight that she won’t be able to shift for four years after the birth of her child regardless of how many Zumba classes she does at the local leisure centre
  • Binky crying her eyes out on the toilet trying to have a movement whilst singing wind the bobbin up for the sixth time in a row to stop the child from crying
  • Binky struggling to cope on tax credits and frantically selling everything she owns on eBay just to be able to afford the wine she needs to get by
  • Binky calling JP a complete c#ntwaffle in the middle of the night for not hearing the baby and for ruining her life
  • Binky typing “should I LTB because he forgot my nipple pads?” onto mumsnet at 2am in the morning
  • Binky feeling overwhelmed and unwelcome at baby groups, struggling to make friends and only socialising with her cats for six months after the baby has been born
  • Binky arguing with a health visitor for implying the baby is behind in his development because he can’t pick up a raison with his pincer grip
  • Binky’s crusty bleeding nipples
  • Binky only being able to holiday at a child friendly caravan holiday (Hell hole) site 
  • Binky losing most of her friends and feeling utterly isolated
  • Binky shoving a dreadful sausage bap into her mouth at the soft play satanic cesspit (do they even do soft play in Chelsea?)
  • Binky buying peppa pig yogurts and only being able to get her child to eat potato smiles and fish fingers

What I think we will see is a beautiful, scrumptious, glossy, perfect version of motherhood and pregnancy – which I for one will be watching and enjoying as much as I usually do.

But I will take it with a pinch of salt, a bag of wotsits and a glass of red.

 

Motherhood – not quite what it says on the baking tin

About six months ago or more I bought a Peppa Pig cup cake pack from T’co-op.

I saw it, in between the cheese aisle and the wine aisle and I had a vision: There was me in my kitchen, two ankle biters next to me on cute stools. We were all wearing matching novelty aprons. My eldest was cracking an egg into a giant bowl. My youngest was adorably licking the wooden spoon. Icing sugar filled the air as we all chuckled spooning the mixture into the cup cake holders.

“Just think of the instagram pictures!” I thought! Just think.

Well six months passed and I glanced at the packet between making mountains of toast and wiping arses and cleaning and laundry and drinking and the time never came.

This morning – I don’t have a clue what possessed me but the baby was napping and my three year old was on his tenth tantrum of the day and maybe I was still drunk but I thought – let’s do it! I announced to the child “shall we make some cakes?” with smug glee.

I was finally going to be one of those mums who mother fudging BAKES BABY!

He looked at me with about as much enthusiasm as the average person would if I asked them if they wanted to help me lance a boil.

We weren’t wearing aprons. We were both wearing sweaty onesies. We weren’t in the kitchen as we can’t possibly fit in due to the bags of recycling and wine bottles as well as the oven being a death trap. No icing sugar filled the air because we are renting and I am a control freak.

Did he want to crack the egg? No.

Did he want to pour the mixture in? No.

Did he want to stir? Hell no!

Did he want to lick the spoon? (obviously the best part of baking). Did he bollocks! He looked at the spoon of creamy goodness like it was a pile of cockroach anuses on a Bush Tucker Trial.

He actually started crying like he was being tortured.

Then came the pleasure of waiting for the fuckers to be cooked. Turns out 12 minutes in child minutes equates to 100 hours of pure Hell. Then having to explain we couldn’t put the icing on (which I had already managed to fuck up) until they were cool brought another trauma no doubt he will be reliving to a counsellor in twenty years time – or Jeremy Kyle.

This is not how I envisaged mother and son baking time to be. And no I didn’t include the baby – are you crazy? Bull in a china shop springs to mind. A piglet in a cake factory would be a closer analogy. I have enough problems. The two of them would probably gang up on me and I would end up being pushed into the oven like the witch.

So we eventually iced the bastards and popped a sticker on the top.

They were as hard as rocks and tasted like scrambled egg. Despite this he seemed to enjoy eating them but I have a feeling Mr Kipling would have made him happier.

I am not deterred though – I want to make Gingerbread men this Christmas, but now I know the truth and my vision has shifted. Just like our vision of motherhood changes after being slapped in the face repeatedly with the wet kipper that is reality.

Instagram / Pinterest – they lie! Our perfect visions of motherhood are utter bullshit. Motherhood – not quite what it says on the tin.

“We made a cake didn’t we?” I chirped to him.

“Yes” he said.

“Is making cakes fun?” I asked.

“No” he said firmly and went back to watching Paw Patrol.

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The Tiger Who Came To The Walk In Centre

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when your child finally sleeps the sort of hours you have dreamed about for years, you won’t sleep a wink and will be utterly convinced something catastrophic must be wrong which will result in a call to NHS 111.

My son (three) just hasn’t seemed right for a few days. He’s been as emotional as me watching a John Lewis Christmas ad, he’s suddenly terrified of everything, he hasn’t been eating and he looks as white as a sheet. His neck seemed to be stiff and swollen. Then last night he slept from 4pm to 8am.

So at eight o’clock this morning we (myself and grandma) shivered into the walk in centre with our little soldier to wait for two hours to be told we were wasting their time.

The walk in centre on a Saturday morning is a lovely snap shot of life. Simply lovely. If you didn’t feel ill before hand – it’s sure to make you come down with something. There was a one year old toddler walking about in his slippers and dressing gown, ever so often letting out a ridiculously loud battle call. His exhausted mum was trailing after him apologetically nodding at everyone, especially the elderly gentleman clutching his chest with his hearing aid on maximum.

There was a tiny baby who wailed every time his poor new mum tried to pull him off her breast. I remembered that feeling. I nodded at her in solidarity.

There was a little girl in the corner clutching a cardboard bowl. The dreaded cardboard bowl you’ll all know about if you’ve ever been to A&E of a night time. I remembered it well from my first labour as I vomited throughout the entire three days of it. I remembered my husband pretending to use one as a hat to try and get me to smile at ten centimetres dilated. Nice try mate.

I prayed she wouldn’t be ill both for her sake and for mine – I started to feel queasy. I shot her mum a sympathetic smile. I assumed if she had norovirus we probably all would soon.

My mother leaned over to let me know she could smell poo, making a disgusted face before asking me what veg I would like with my roast later. Not now Mother. Not now.

Last time I went to a walk in centre I had to sit next to man in a high vis with a nail through his thumb, and sitting next to my Mother for two hours was a close second to that kind of torture.

“Grandma, will you read me Tiger came to Tea?” he said in his tiniest sick voice.

“Yes Darling.” She said and in the middle of the house of plague my mum read aloud The Tiger Who Came To Tea. 

The room fell silent as we all listened to her Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet if you please) voice reading the familiar story.

The baby being breastfed fixed his eyes on us, the Gladiator toddler sauntered over with his mum, the ladies behind us stared, even a burly drunk looking gentleman in a tracksuit looked over and listened. The audience of sick people united as the Tiger made his way through all the food in Sophie’s house. Everyone was captivated till the end. The baby fell asleep. My mum in the centre of the room like Mary Bleeding Poppins.

Everything felt nicer, safer. I felt less nauseas. Maybe this is all the divided world needs to unite – a grandma reading us all a nostalgic bedtime story.

We were called in after an eternity to be greeted by a rude Doctor who told us there was nothing wrong with him (my Mother’s instincts don’t seem to work).

So we all put our coats on and we walked down the road to go to a cafe. And all the street lamps were off and all the cars didn’t have their lights on but the little boy screamed that he hated cafes. So we walked down the road to a Sainsburys where we had to buy a toy for the poor (milking it) lamb.

And we got a very big bottle of calpol in case the cold should come again. And it did.

And Mummy got a very big bottle of wine because that’s what she did. And it was just right.

The end.

 

To the kids being bullied – One Day

stephanie siviter

To the kids being bullied,

I know that today the bullies matter. I know that right now you can’t see anything else. I know that you think that all you are is a kid being bullied and all they are – are bullies.

One day your life won’t be about school. One day you’ll venture so much further than the school gates. One day you’ll travel. Because you can! You can do whatever you want.

I want you to imagine you’re up in a plane one day. You take off and start to pass cloud after cloud. You look down and see people. They get smaller and smaller and smaller until you can barely see them. It strikes you that they look a bit like ants. As you pass over the tiny houses and the land it will dawn on you how huge the world is and how tiny people are in contrast.

You will work, you will holiday, you will laugh, you will dance, you will eat delicious meals and listen to beautiful music. You might meet a partner. You will love. You will be loved. You will be confided in.

One day your partner might tell you they were bullied when they were young and you’ll say “me too! I know how you feel.” You will show empathy to each other and shrug your shoulders at the knowledge that sometimes really crappy things happen to really good people.

One day you might even have a family of your own. They might come home from school one day and say they’re being bullied. You will tell them you understand and it happened to you.

You will explain that they are purely tiny ants in the grand scheme of things and the world is so much bigger than they know. You will explain that one day they won’t matter. You will explain that one day things will be so much better for them. You know because you went through it. You survived. You thrived.

And where are they? The bullies? It doesn’t matter. Your life is so much bigger than they ever were.

One day. One day…. hold on in there.