The Arduous Age of Why

Mummy's Writing Darling

The Age of Why

My four year old has reached a mile stone. He has entered the age of ‘Why’. I had heard of this stage but had underestimated the damaging effect of this era on the parents. My sympathy is with you if you are currently in this age.

It started about two weeks ago on our way to swimming:

“Why do we need roads?”

Say what now?

“Why do we need roads?”

Erm… for the cars to go on? (Phew, dodged that one, glad that’s over!)

“Why do we need cars?”

Say what now?

“Why do we need cars?”

To get from A to B?

It’s at this point you realise that you’re really and truly not qualified to answer life’s toughest questions, to be a parent or, indeed, to be a human.

And the Hell just keeps on acomin.

“Why do cars have wheels?”

I frantically looked around for a Primary school teacher or a scientist.

So that they can move? (I literally don’t know enough about wheels).

“Why do we have bollards?”

Who the actual fuck has taught you about bollards? Who has been using that word around you? Who are you right now?

Then just one after the other, again and again and again. It never, ever stops.

“Why do we have grass? Why do we need animals? Why do we need trousers? Why do we swim in water? Why do we eat food? Why do we have a night time? Why do we sleep? Why do we wake up? Why do we poo?”

Where is sodding Nina and her Neurons? Go and ask her FFS!

“Why do we need children?” was my question that morning.

Then yesterday came the best one yet.

“Mummy, what are those big things on your belly?”

He meant my breasts. I wondered what to call them at first – again, no one has qualified me to answer medical questions. Boobs? Boobies? Tits? What will be the worst thing he can repeat loudly on the bus when he sees another pair?

Those are breasts darling.

“Why do you need them?”

I thought long and hard….

Well, darling, they feed babies and they sometimes get me free drinks.

Education done.

Mummy's Writing Darling
The age of why

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.

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.

 

The mum I’ll never be and the wasp

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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.