Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The anxiety of separation

'Mummy, I don't want to go to school.'

It's a familiar refrain, but when it comes from a two-year-old, it's a particularly painful one (for this mummy, anyway). It came out of the blue; we'd been following the same routine for weeks. But lo, Separation Anxiety had struck.

As a parent you've had it from the off really, Separation (you separating yourself from them) Anxiety (is making them anxious)...In other words, it's all your fault really...

So when the Duke looks me in the eye and says 'I don't want to go to school anymore' complete with quivering lip, all I want to do is scoop him up and hold him and say come on darling let's go home and play and you don't ever need to go to school again.

But I don't say or do that. I want to bring up a responsible, independent young man so instead I drop him off at school and turn around and leave. While he cries his eyes out. And it's the teacher that scoops him up instead.

His tears – and it has taken me a while to stop ringing up the school ten minutes after drop off – his tears stop almost immediately (and he has a great time at school). But my grief (and guilt, oh, the guilt) lingers in me for much, much longer. And it's of little comfort to me that his nearly-four-year-old sister did the same at his age and now couldn't skip more happily off to school if she tried, because her words "No me play, Mummy. No me play" are still ringing in my years almost two years on.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Ever the Optimist

I'm ever the optimist, me. Certain in the knowledge that one day, small boy won't want to go around bashing everything in his path to smithereens and that one day he will use his considerable intelligence in a constructive manner, rather than in figuring out how to break stuff.

So today we did a little experiment. I decided to try and teach him what gentle means. And I did this by getting him to put some of these back in the fridge.

I know, I know, possibly not the cleverest idea I've ever had. But my thinking was this: what better way to try and teach him that some things are more fragile than others than having to do something with great care.

Duke was well up for the idea. You could see the concentration etched on his face as he listened to my instructions and then slowly, carefully, made his way all the way to the fridge with his fragile little parcel.

And he did it! He actually got it from one side of the kitchen to the other and into the fridge without incident. What a proud Mummy. Of course, no sooner had I lavished praise on his head than he became eager to repeat the process.

Which involved taking the eggs out of the fridge, before mummy could open her mouth to stop him. 


Well, I suppose you could say lesson learned.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Mummy, did I write my name?

It's a roller coaster ride, this parenting lark. Whilst I really only write about the fun stuff here there's no doubt that there are some real lows too. On a particularly challenging day, you might even wonder what on earth ever possessed you to procreate. But the rest of the time, there's just no beating it.

Take, for example, the heart-bursting pride you feel when they do something new.

Like when Little Miss disappeared into the lounge and came back holding up a notepad saying,

"Mummy, did I write my name?"

Well, she may as well have written a bestselling  Pulitzer-winning  Nobel-prize-for-literature-winning-novel for the pride that I felt.

And just so you can see what I mean, here it is:

What do you mean it's just a squiggle?

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Things I know about taking a fast ferry to France on a choppy sea that I didn't know before

1. Appreciate the beauty and cleanliness of your clothes. Don't they look pretty? Don't they smell nice? Take a good look in the mirror. While you're at it, why don't you take a picture?

2. Appreciate fresh air and firm ground. Doesn't it smell nice? Go on, take a deep breath. Feel how solid the ground is... Doesn't it feel good?

3. Try to remember the advice that a helpful friend gives you at the time. The moment when your kids' puke is dripping from your ears and seeping into your underwear is not the time to remember that your friend told you that on no account should you give the kids anything to eat or drink before your ferry crossing.

4. Take wipes. Lots of wipes. Packets and packets and packets of wipes.

5. Preferably lemon-scented ones. Do Frebreze to travel size bottles? You might want to take that too.

6. Take a change of clothes. Make that two changes of clothes. Each. 

7. If you're wondering why the boat staff fill the sick bag holders full to brimming. Now you know, stupid.

8. Don't sit in an area with lots of other kids. This isn't because you don't like kids, you love kids! But just as yours have finished emptying the contents of their stomach all over you they will fall asleep on you. You, on the other hand, won't be able to do anything except sit and marinate (I don't need to tell you what in, right?) Meanwhile, every other kid was watching yours, and one by one...

9. Finally, marry a man with sea legs. Otherwise, while the kids are using you as a toilet bowl your husband will just about manage to throw a packet of wipes in your general direction before holding his head in his hands and turning a shade of green you've never seen before.