We used to start our Christmas shopping
on the September long weekend we get here.
Until the year we stood at the mirror in the hall
and I said ‘they could share a room, anyway.’
Until the year the midwives had said ‘a line is a line is a line,’
then the bleeding started.
Until the year we had been a tiny little bit pregnant
so we went to Holy Island
now we weren’t pregnant at all, you took the toddler for a walk
so I could sit on a dune and cry.
Until the year we were pregnant again by October.
Every September weekend, I remember
the tiny little bit of pregnant I was,
over that long weekend: the anniversary of you,
you tiny little bit that never came to anything.
We never start our Christmas shopping in September.
‘Sugar Puffs? Weetabix? Hoops?’
‘Sugar Puffs? Why didn’t you say you wanted them when I asked you?’
‘Go get dressed.’
‘Are you dressed? Why aren’t you dressed?’
‘It’s 8:15 now. Are you dressed?’
‘I’m setting a timer. If you’re not dressed in five minutes, no screen after school.’
‘OK. Stop that. You need to brush your teeth.’
‘Putting a toothbrush in your mouth on a timer is not the same as brushing.’
‘Nooooo, brush all of your teeth, not just the bottom ones on the left hand side.’
‘Do you want your hair up?’
‘OK, you just need your snack and then you’re ready.’
‘You said you didn’t want your hair up!’
‘OK. Yes, I can put it up. No, I need to brush it properly. Well you haven’t, it’s got tangles.’
‘Go. To. School.’
‘No, you CAN’T stay home today.’
Oh, it’s June again. I probably blogged the exact same whine last year.
June 2019 highlights so far include:-
- waking up at 3:30am and making a ‘June’ calendar from an IKEA paper roll
- colour co-ordinating said calendar for each family member
- saying to myself ‘well, that’ll be OK, I just need not to add in anything else.’
- organising two more things that same day. For June.
- scheduling a mental health day for my youngest and thinking ‘oooh duvet day for me too!’
- losing all patience with a child who doesn’t want to go to school and telling them ‘I would be carted off to the loony bin’ if I home-schooled them. (Extra points for bad parenting AND derogatory language surrounding mental health all wrapped up in one grumpy sentence.)
- counting down the hours to July, summer holidays, and sweet, sweet freedom!
I was always good at learning songs and poems off by heart. Mr HB used to refer to it as ‘my super power,’ which made me feel special and precious.
Of course I’m now in my 40s and have two children. My head is so full of dentist appointments, maths homework and what on earth are we going to have for dinner tonight that the lyrics have all fallen out of my brain (science).
What is wonderful about this is that my oldest has inherited ‘the powers.’ They are regularly asked to regale their classmates with screeds of Hamilton, the musical. On the flip side, they are horrified at the draining of my super powers. I try to sing along with Hamilton in the car, and get berated constantly. NO, MUM THAT’S NOT THE RIGHT WORD!
Aaaah, humility. Thanks kids.
Oh it must be Spring. I’m busy!
I like to be busy, but not as much as the average … person? Person in the UK? Person of my generation? ‘Busy’ doesn’t take long to develop into ‘stressed,’ and ‘stressed’ has developed into psychosis – only twice, and a long time ago now, but… I don’t have the option to push myself like other people.
What has been particularly wonderful about this year, as opposed to other Springs, when I was busy with the kids, or busy with work, or busy writing things no one was interested in, is that this year I’m busy with paid, creative work. Sometimes. Other paid work has to fit around the writing, not the other way round.
Meanwhile, the children have to fit around creativity AND paid work, and are no doubt feeling very hard done by!
My favourite bit of parenting is when the kids are getting along. I am delighted to report that, at the time of writing, and for the last week or so, they have been best pals!
Of course this means no one ever goes to sleep…
‘Carry on time’ is the perfect compromise between ‘your parents need some child-free time in the evenings’ and ‘but we’re not tiiiiiiiired.’ Sometimes it ends in tears (or punches), but it’s only when they’re really quiet I have to go and see what they’re up to.
It is a pleasure, getting to know these little people, watching them getting to know each other. It is even more pleasurable doing this from the sofa, watching Netflix with the cat. It’s not just the convenience, though, honest! Without my input, their relationship has the chance to grow.
Mum. You are awesome.
I don’t mean in the throwaway ‘awesome’ sense. I mean you fill me with awe.
Mum: you are the braver than anyone else I know. You smashed stained glass ceilings. You taught yourself how to fund-raise, and then raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the deprived community you were called to serve.
Mum: you are strong. You lived and thrived even though your heart had been broken and your existence changed in every conceivable way over two chaotic years.
Mum: you taught me self-confidence, despite having none of your own. The only limits you put on me were ‘no limits.’ You refused to teach me the skills that girls ‘need.’ I still can’t sew or arrange flowers!
And when I broke, you took me to your new homes until I could fly again.