Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The gorgeous and the grotesque

Children. They are the ridiculous and the sublime, and everything in between...including the gorgeaous and grotesque. I'll start with the latter - and I suggest you look away now if you are anyway sensitive.

Yesterday I had the unglamorous task of chasing my toddler round the house trying to get the soggy tissue paper out of her mouth....... tissue paper that was soggy because she had retrieved it from the toilet..... the toilet that was full of my eldest daughter's poo before she had had a chance to flush. Not one of my better moments. I only recovered when they were all gorgeous this morning. As we ate breakfast, they broke into a spontanious Raspberry finger puppet show - like you do. I was still laughing 8 hours later....

Although I was momentarily sobered by a event mid-morning. I was baking brownies (sometimes I have to admit that baking has nothing to do with the kids, and everything to do with my mid-morning snack cravings) and Ruby was playing on the decking where a long slithery worm was casually making its way to nowhere. I turned my back for a moment to stir the chocolate and when I returned, the worm was no more. Maybe he was a super-worm and slithered really really fast. Sometimes it's just better not to know....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy birthday to me

Today is my birthday... I'm going to focus on being 42 years young..... the alternative is too depressing. It started well - three singing children and a basket full of presents....

Not sure what it says about me that I got a bottle of wine from my six year old! When Daddy asked her what she wanted to get me, she replied, "well, her favourite thing is wine!" She even knew which bottle I liked.... mmmm, must keep my tea-time musings to myself in future ("only 2 more hours till I can have my first sip!").
It got better...I took my beautiful girls out for lunch and I felt for once people were looking at me thinking, 'ah, isn't she lucky' as opposed to the usual looks of ' dear god, she has her hands full!' For once I felt like this parenting lark is a doddle. (Last week I was out in a cafe and Ruby was being her usual exhuberant self - a woman sitting with her perfectly behaved, perfectly quiet child said to me on the way out as I struggled to strap Ruby into her pram..."you must have done something really awful in a previous life to have got a child like that..!' I promise you, those were her words to me. The bitch. It made me love Ruby all the more.
This afternoon, hubby came home early and we all had birthday cake, played musical statues and lots of board games. Tonight hubby and I go out for dinner and tomorrow I hit the town with a big bunch of girlfriends. It's ok being 42. The world is not imploding, and my world is expanding.
I feel like I've passed some test. The last 6 years have been extraordinarily hard, and the last 2 unfeasibly difficult. I miss my mum every single day, especially on a day like today. She would have been the first to call, the most excited for me, and most probably would have been sitting on that bed this morning too. I spoke to her this morning but she couldn't understand it was my birthday. The pain still has the power to punch me. But, I took the girls to lunch where I always took her for her birthday... another reminder that a new cycle has begun, where I am the mother.
I am 42 years young, I have good days and bad. But the good days are great and the bad days fade in memory.

Friday, February 17, 2012

what is it about children?

What is it about children that every morning we have to get up for school, they sleep so deeply we have to wake them at 7am....... but when there is no school - on half-term, or weekends they wake up before Jack Frost has finished his work, and the moon is still in full bloom? Yesterday I was woken at 06.00 and this morning at 05.45... the o being -like Robin Williams famously said - OH my god are you serious!!!!!!!!! By 9.30 we had made a lego treehouse, eaten two breakfasts, gone to the shops when Daidsy said, "is it lunchtime yet?" I won't repeat here what I replied.

What is it about children that they love, crave, beg for popcorn one week, and just after you buy the Tesco mega pack offer (3 mega packs for the price of two) - that's 8 bags per pack = 24 bags of popcorn...... they decide they hate popcorn?

What is it about children that they know exactly (down to the tone, the pitch, the timing) how to push your buttons? The buttons that have the nuclear warning on the front. The buttons that require three codes, synched to attack together and say the one thing that overides all the defence mechanisms to all out nucleur warfare?

What is it about children that no matter what you buy them, within minutes they want more? But give them a cardboard box or an empty milk carton and some pebbles and they'll play for an hour (and what is it about me that I never, ever learn this and get spectacularly narky about the lack of gratitude in their gift????????)

What is it about children that no matter how polite and beautiful they are in the hidden confines of your house, like metal - as soon as you expose them to the outside world they react with the air like a corrosive explosive and blow up in your face? As my mum's best friend comes to visit, they waltz in and ask if she bought them a present.....

What is it about children that they call to your inner child.... like little sirens whispering through the trees, pulling, cajoling, tempting out your petulance, your pouting, your pantomime version of yourself, stamping your feet, throwing tantrums, yelling 'it's not fair!' and 'stop being such a child!'
"But I am a child, mummy!"

What is it about children that make you smile with the simplicity of life?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

and then there are days like this.....

and moments like this... and the world feels like its mine, and I'm happy with my place in it. Children can torture you, and love you to death all at the same time. They make you human and animal. They straighten you out, and drive you round the twist. They hurt you and heal you. They are the hardest thing we ever do. And of course, the best. Today I decided to be Tigger, and it made all the difference....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

the downs and downs parenting

There's meant to be an 'up' in that phrase but i'm finding it hard to find the up these days. It seems to be downshill all the way at the moment. Depression is a bit like a coldsore. It's there all the time, in me, just beneath the surface. But much of the time it can be hidden, albeit under the surface, but away from public view.... in my system. Then, a small itch bubbles up. A weird feeling that something is wrong but nothing to see for it. It broods and boild and then, erupts. It erupts so venomously, so viralantly, that although just a small part of me, it takes over complety, and I walk round as if it is covering my whole face. And like a coldsore, you just have to bide your time.
Everything is hard these days. Making the breakfast. Wiping Ruby's uneaten breakfast off the floor. Getting four of us dressed, fed, and out the door every morning. Getting my work down while Ruby sleeps. What to make for lunch. Making lunch. Wiping Ruby's uneaten lunch off the floor. Endless car seat manoevers endless times a day. What to make for tea. Making tea. Wiping Ruby's uneaten tea off the floor. Bedtime routine. Finding the energy to work in the evenings, deadlines looming, bed calling.
So soon after stinging me with her last slap in the face, Daisy threw me another punch. This time I was giving out about something and she just walked off saying 'blah, blah, blah'. That's what my voice sounds like to them now - white background noise. blah, blah, blah. Everyone talks about the joy of parenting. Everyone talks about the sense of achievement, and the sheer pleasure of children. No-one talks about the bone-crushing monotony. The nerve-wrecking lack of validation. The hurt, the frustration, the feeling of failure, the despair, the constant questioning of your parenting skills, the punches, the lack of time to be yourself. And then you wake up the next day and try and start it all over again, trying to make it better, trying to make yourself better and the sheer uphill exhaustion of doing it all again, but better, and getting to the end of the day more times than not feeling you fared worse.
I have three amazing children. I want them to be amazed by me. I want my voice to be something of a building block in their lives. I want them to see how to live by watching me. I'm not doing any of things right now.
And then I watch something like this - the last Lecture by Randy Pausch and I realise I have a choice. To live or to die. To be Tigger or Eyore. To engage or disconnect. To fight or run. To give them a legacy or fade away.....
So, tomorrow is another day..... to start living my childhood dreams and making sure my girls have dreams worth wishing for...