Saturday, 27 June 2009

This Mothering Lark

It amazes me how Motherhood is an ongoing lesson.
Never can I say, 'Yes, I am a Good Mother.'
Or if I do, I am in for a Little Shock.
Youngest came out of school yesterday. His hair was looking Shocking. Long and straggly, and unbrushed. Hedge and Backwards sprang to mind.
Informed him that we were going to get his Hair Cut.
I might as well have said we were going to perform Surgery on his Privates.
He ran, screaming, all round the garden, little face red with fury and indignation.
'I DON'T WANT TO HAVE MY HAIR CUT!' he yelled, over and over again.
I was appalled. Other people's children can do this, but not mine. AND we live next door to the school. I have to at least Look Like A Good Mother. For God's sake.
I tried to get him into the car and Away. Before teachers started looking out of windows and calling Social Services.
There were no big brothers or sister to distract him. Just Me. And Him.
Said in Very Loud Tones, across the expanse of lawn,
'Come To Me Now.'
Not on Your Nelly.
His face was all scrunched up and Furious.
A little Louder.
'Come To Me NOW!'
As I took a step towards him, he turned and fled round the back of the greenhouse.
I took after him. We went round and round the greenhouse a few times, with me getting more and more Irate.
'Come Here At Once!'
Hard to shout when you are Running Full Pelt.
Off he went, through the gap in the hedge, round the back of the house, and stopped, panting, by the shed.
Talk about Total Loss of Control.
Here was my five year old, running me round into tighter and tighter circles.
Forgoing any further speech (it hadn't done me much good so far) I marched up to him.
Off he went again, round the shed, past the raspberries, with me in hot pursuit.
I caught him by the Apple Trees. His roar of horror at being caught was so loud I cast nervous looks towards the school.
Marched him by the hand to the car.
Squished him into his car seat, to Much Protestation.
All the way to the Hair Dresser, a mere three miles away, Youngest sat and Muttered. Mummy is a Poo. I hate Mummy. Stooopid Mummy.
His arms crossed. Not a Happy Bunny.
Felt pretty damned Miffed myself, if truth be told.
Arrived and parked.
Took his hand and led him into Hairdresser.
A smiling lady took in the situation.
'Allo!' she said. Sounded Russian, and turns out she was.
'You look cross. Would you like a lollipop?'
Youngest looked even Crosser.
Lady continued to smile. Kind and jolly, she coerced him into a Huge Chair.
Asked me out of the corner of her mouth what I wanted done to the Mop.
Short back and sides I muttered back.
Sat down.
Pretended to read magazine.
Lady cut and snipped and smiled and laughed and questioned.
Youngest looking in mirror at himself and occasionally at me.
Still determined to be cross.
Hair comes off.
Smile comes back on.
Hair cut complete.
Out we come. Youngest looking considerably smarter.
Slips his hand into mine.
'Do I look cool?' he asks.
'Yup,' I say. Look glancingly in window and catch sight of self.
Hot. Red. Knackered.
'How about me, am I cool?' I ask him.
He doesn't bother looking. A smile lifts the side of his mouth.
'Nowooh,' he says in that curious Aussie lilt that English children like to copy.
'You're my Mum.'
And we walk hand in hand to the car.

I tell you, this Mothering Lark, it goes on a bit. Will someone Please Tell Me,
when the Bloody Hell do I get to pass the Exam?

Friday, 19 June 2009

Oh, Marvellous!
Soon it will be the Village Flower and Produce Show 2009!
What fun!
Will stroll along to the Village Hall and see all the Flowers and Produce!
Sniff at the smell of Musty Hall.
Have a giggle at the Odd Shaped Vegetable Competition.
Marvel at the Flower Arrangements.
Ooh and Ahh at the Display of Grasses.
Study at length the decorations in a Shoe.
Try a prize winning Fairy Cake.
Sip at the Bovril Brown tea.
Buy a raffle ticket and maybe win that Delightful Box of Biscuits. Or the Knitted Tea Cosy. Hooray!
After such Enormous Fun will wander home armed with a few pots of coriander and basil plants.
Except it's not like that At All.
In the Slightest.
Take the weeks leading up to the Day of Reckoning.
I happen to know that Mr H up the road has had a new greenhouse built. He has filled the bloody thing with tomatoes, peppers, melons and cucumbers. Word has spread that his vegetable patch is Looking Very Good Indeed. Striking a chilling scent of defeat into the hearts of the rest of us.
Mrs C is keeping Very Quiet Indeed about her new roses, bought especially for the Rose Section of the Flower Show. There is a new fence in her garden. It's bloody Enormous. Can't see over the damned thing.
What's behind it? we all ask each other. Nervously.
Mrs J has been seen taking photographs for the Photography Corner. Apparently, she has taken 200 photos of Mole Hills. To enter for the Mole Hill Category.
Am feeling decidedly Unprepared. Have taken two pictures of Mole Hills. Both are Crap. Look like large piles of Turd. But thought, what the hell.
Should I get out there and take another 198 pictures. Just in case?
What about the Frosty Morning Category? Have one photo of that. Quite nice, really. Looks Frosty. In the Morning. That'll do. Won't it? Or will Mrs J have another 524 tucked into her Digital Camera, all ready for the Big Day?
It's Hell. Really.
And on the Day itself, all of us arriving in our cars, with baskets and boxes and vases and tins. Taking a look out of the corner of our eyes at Mrs M's simply Vast Display of Grasses.
Noticing that Mrs P hasn't brought any Jam. Which means that we might be in with a Sporting Chance.
Proudly displaying our Raspberries.
Noticing that other people's raspberries look better than ours.
Husband looking Tense and Sweaty.
Everyone smiling.
Looking Tense and Sweaty.
Staggering in with Flower Arrangements in the 'Bedside with Scent' and 'Table Arrangement in Red' Categories.
Mine looking Complete and Total Crap compared with the others, being brought in by Beefy Ladies in Tracksuits.
Middle son proudly pinning up his photos in Frosty Morning Section (his one photo is lovely, hope he wins) Wildlife (apparently it's a deer, can't quite make it out, but such lovely colours, hope he wins) and Bird Table (who the Bloody Hell thinks up these categories? Hope he wins)
Meanwhile Husband is putting all his vegetables onto the little white paper plates and looking at everyone else's. Still Tense and Sweaty.
It is thought that Mr T and Mr B will have an Argy Bargy over who will win the Cup.
Mr T (or was it Mr B?) won it last year. Mr T (or was it Mr B?) wants to Win It Again. They give each other friendly slaps on the back from time to time. Friendly! Hah.
Everyone is fretting over their Runner Beans.
Frowning over their Carrots.
Husband stands and looks at his veggie patch for ages when he comes home in the evening.
Says things like,
'Broad Beans are doing nicely.'
'Need to weed my spinach.'
'Must thin out my leeks.'
I offer encouragement.
'Lovely potatoes, darling!' I will say brightly.
'Goodness! Look at your onions!'
(Little did I know, when I married my Darling on a Winter's morning thirteen years ago, that I would spout such 'Good Life Felicity Kendal' type Encouragements.)

Must go for a Lovely Walk. Only four weeks to go now.
In a nonchalent sort of way will peer over hedges and fences.
Take Note of the Latest Growth Spurts of Beans and Potatoes.
Not that we Care About Winning.
At All.
In the Very Slightest.
It's all about 'Taking Part.'
Being part of the 'Village Community.'
Getting out and 'Mingling.'
Taking Joy in each other's 'Achievements.'

Bollocks and Total Toss to that.
Don't tell anyone, but We Really Would Like To Win. Something. Apart from the Raffle. And the Special Prize for the Largest Runner Bean.
We'll let you know how we Get On.
Better get my camera out and take a few bloody photos.
Oh, look, the 'Bicycle' Category!
Come on, children! Let's get your bikes out and Mummy take a few Snaps!
Come Along Now!
Quick, quick, only four weeks to go...

Oh, Bollocks. This could take some time.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Beam me up, Scottie.

Heart stopping moment last week. Horror filled, bile inducing, bowel moving moment.
Tea time at Grandmother's. Imagine a dear little cottage on the edge of Dartmoor, garden filled with spring flowers and neatly cut lawns. We'd spent the day on the beach and returned home in the early evening.
Children bathed. Food on the table.
Me sitting at table with huge cup of tea. Smiling indulgently at my children, fragrant from their baths, rosy from the beach.
Daughter, aged almost nine, puts down her fork and smiles at me.
Ah, I think. Such a dear girl.
She looks at Middle Son.
'So,' she says, directing her clear blue gaze on her elder brother. 'When do you think you will Have Sex, then?'
My jaw fell open. I could feel my eyes widen with surprise and a terrible giggly laugh issue forth before I could stop it.
Middle Son spits out all his food in his mirth.
Youngest looks on with Ready Smile, enjoying the moment.
Grandmother is in the corner of the kitchen. I can hear her muttering to my Husband
'These schools...they tell them young...know it all...disgraceful...start before they know which end is which... honestly...whatever next.... got to be so careful with girls.'
I can see my Husband's back is shaking with laughter.
He tries to pour balm on the situation.
'More tea, darling?' he asks me, with an Inspirational Facial Grimace which shows his solidarity to me, shares the humour, notes the sympathy to his mother, and lets Daughter know she is in Deep Dudu.
Meanwhile I just press my lips together in an attempt at Seriousness.
It's not working.
Daughter's face is a picture of Consternation and Giggles.
'Can't think why I said that,' she says, in a Conversational Type of Way.
'No,' say I in Clipped Tones.
'For the life of us, neither can we.'
Rest of meal carried on in muted silence, with the odd chuckle from Middle Son.
Oh, and me.
Honestly, kids.