I’m lucky to be alive. Really. I’ve had so many death-defying experiences in my life, it’s a wonder I’m here at all……. Or so you’d think if you spent time with my mum. The funny thing is, I don’t actually remember these calamitous childhood horrors, and I don’t appear to be traumatised by my early dances with death. But to hear my mum hover (yes, she hovers so intensely you can actually hear a soft hum) over my children, it would seem that life is one long list of dastardly death traps just waiting to happen.
It all began when Daisy was about two weeks old. I’d (so stupidly, obviously) placed her Moses Basket downstairs close to the table, where, lurking ominously a few inches away was ….. the Murderous Melon. Now being a new mother and all, I had never heard of killer fruit, and for all my voracious reading of baby bibles had never come across this phenomenon. So there I was, gazing goo goo at my little wonder, when I was scared out of my skin by the shrieks of my mother.
“What are you putting her there for? Move her away! Move her away!”
As I frantically looked around for the man-eating tiger, all I could see was the fruit bowl.
“There, there!” she yelled as she pointed towards the (very innocent-looking, it has to be said) fruit bowl.
“What??????” I screamed, fearing some exotic South American tarantula was somehow crawling towards my baby from the depths of the pears.
“There. There… the melon! It might roll off the fruit bowl and fall on her head!”
And thus the legend of the Murderous Melon began.
Over the last couple of years, the Most Wanted List has included the Dangerous Door (dangerous because it opens, you understand), the Terrible Tricycle, and the Sly Step to name but a few. As for letting them out of my sight in a shop…. my mum practically ties Daisy’s top to her handbag. My favourite however, has to be the Killer Crust. One day I’d cut the girls a slice of crusty loaf and pulled off the round hard edge to give them the soft bread in the middle. Daisy, ever the girlie, placed the semi-circle of crust around her neck as a necklace.
“No, No Daisy, don’t do that! It might strangle you!”
“It’s a piece of bloody bread mum!” I shrieked in exacerbation. “Relax!”
How on earth did I grow up to be such a well-adjusted (ahem..) adult – surely if this was my mum, I must have been cocooned in a cotton wool straight-jacket? But I wasn’t. I remember going off to play with my friends in the old deserted railway track and turning up back home when I got hungry. I must have played with dangerous doors and sat next to murderous melons with no ill affect. So why has my mum become scared of my daughters’ shadows?
I’ve decided it’s just one of the many funny foibles of grandparenting. Like taking twice as long to do everything, it’s just one of those annoying things - that bug us mums to the point of murderous intent - that we have to accept (along with all the free childcare and hugs). You see, I’m too close, too frenetic, too hassled, too frazzled, too preoccupied with the next ten minutes of tasks, I don’t have the luxury of languishing in worry about rolling melons and dangerous doors. My level of worry only extends to the main criminal characters – The Road, The Stranger, and The Dog Next Door. Maybe when I’m a step removed too – with all the love and little of the responsibility – I might just be afraid of the Murderous Melon too…... that is, if Daisy or Poppy haven’t thrown it at me first! Now there’s a thought that would make my mum laugh in satisfaction…. My melon demise. You can just read the headline now… “Grandmother felled by Murderous Melon…”
(PS. Sorry mum, you know I love you!)