I am here for you

My five year old daughter and my eight year old son were watching a programme they had watched repeatedly; they practically knew it word for word.

I was in the kitchen cooking when I heard a scrambling, a bang and someone sprinting up the stairs.  It seemed someone was trying to get out fast.  Minutes later my five year old was hanging around the kitchen, almost loitering:

‘What’s wrong, where is your brother?’ I asked

‘He’s run upstairs, this is the scary part’ She replied

‘How can it be scary? You have watched it a thousand times! You know exactly what is coming next’

‘You are right’ she said and shouted upstairs ‘Don’t worry, come back down, I am here for you!’

‘I am not scared!’ Her brother responded, he obviously couldn’t cope with his sisters show of bravery.

They both returned to the sitting room and I assumed all was honky dory.

‘I am five, you are eight! You are the older one, you should not be the one who is scared, I should be’ I heard her reprimanding her brother.

So much for being there for him!

100% human. 100% female…..always has the last word!

D is for Dog

My fourteen year old is very capable.  He has been blessed with great ability, both academically and physically and as such he is involved in lots of activities to enhance his learning and competes in lots of sporting events.  This does mean that he often is out of class for one event or the other and sometimes misses crucial lessons.  He is supposed to catch up on them but because he knows he can probably do relatively well without putting in too much effort, it has come to my attention that he doesn’t always and so far he has got away with it.

His school is very good at keeping us up to date with his progress, both good and bad so we often receive letters informing us of how he is doing. The other week we received a letter saying that they were very happy with his progress, he was exceeding all his targets but they were concerned about his English.

English!?!!?? I was a bit taken aback because English is one of his best subjects. The letter didn’t give any further information so that evening when he returned from school I told him about it.

‘Ah yes, I got a D’

‘B ’  I said confidently, obviously that is what he said!

‘Na, a D’ He responded.

The African in me flew out….D???!!!  Ah ah how? Why? I couldn’t get my head round it. And he said ‘na’!!!! Is it any surprise he got a D in English when he can’t even articulate ‘no’ properly?!!

‘D for Dog?  Or B for Ball?’ I asked in a shout.

He looked at me baffled, like I was losing it.  Clearly the African in me needs to emerge more often..

‘I got a D mum, chill!  But I got everything right, I can show you the paper’. He tried hard to hide the snigger that was surfacing as he met this new side of mum.  To be fair, I had not been hiding her but I guess she never had reason to emerge in such an aggressive manner.

‘Show me!  How can you have got everything right yet you got a D? AND DON’T TELL ME TO CHILL!’

‘Mum!  What’s wrong with you, you are taking it all a bit …….’

‘SHOW ME!’  I shouted

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I could see that he was visibly amused but determined not to ruffle my feathers any further.  He handed me his paper and yes he had got ‘everything right’ but had written too little…..valid reason or not, it was still a D.

I was seconds away from asking the very African question: ‘those who got an A, do they have two heads?!’ I resisted.

Once we got past the situation I was amused; amused at my response, and amused at his response to my response…despite the seriousness of the situation it was actually quite comical.

100% human. This one knows his alphabet, phonics and all!

Shhhhhh!!

‘Shhhhh’ my ten year old said in passing.

‘SHHHH!’ my fourteen year old shouted.

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‘Why does everyone keep saying shhhh?’  My four year old asked calmly, somewhat perplexed.

I was not too pleased with the way her older siblings had attempted to silence her but I understood their frustration at her constant conversation.

‘Because we are watching a programme and if you are talking we cant hear’ I tried to explain.

‘So how long do I have to be quiet for?’ She asked.  It was clear she wanted to comply but needed to know what she was signing up for.

‘Like an hour’ my ten year old said.

My four year old rolled her eyes; ‘How can I do that? Its not even possible!’ she blurted out surprised at what she thought was a totally unrealistic demand.

And you know what, she’s not far off.  I think that even if she did succeed, I would be concerned.

100% human. This one knows her limits and is not afraid to admit them.

shhh

 

 

Is big fat or old?

‘What does it feel like to be big?’ My three year old asked me.

I paused….big?  Did she mean fat or old? I certainly wouldn’t describe myself as either of these words.

‘What do you mean darling?’

‘What does it feel like to be big? To be 10, to be 13…how does it feel?  Does it feel fun? Or sticky? Or wobbly? Or yucky?’

Well…. what choice! Wobbly!!!  Is that referring to ones balance as one gets older or am I just reading too much into this?!.

‘Fun’ I responded…it was the only option.

She grinned.

‘I can’t wait to be big so I can touch the ceiling, maybe one day I will touch the sky!’

Oh dear….maybe she meant tall!  Didn’t think of that!

I do love the way the things that are important to her are so simple. She wants to touch the ceiling! I bet she forgets that desire when she is ‘big’.

I saw a T-shirt the other day that said ‘Don’t be in a hurry to grow up…it’s a trap’.  Hmmmm

grow up trap

100% human. Refreshingly simple.

 

No I won’t!

I was driving a new car the other day…. I say ‘new’ but let me clarify; the car is new to me rather than new to the world, in fact thinking about it, the word ‘new’ is probably the wrong choice.

Any way, I was heading to pick up my two middle children and my recently turned four year old was in the car with me.

‘Which one opens the door mum?’

‘Don’t open the door!’ I said sternly, painfully aware of the fact that I wasn’t sure if there was child lock on it or not.  I certainly had not put it on and I couldn’t guarantee that my husband had.

‘Yeah but which one opens the door muuuum?’ she asked impatiently.

Through the mirror I could see her stretch towards the door

‘DO NOT touch the door’ I repeated firmly.

‘You have not answered me muuuuummmm, I still don’t know which one opens the door’. I could not believe it!  Was she kidding?!!!

‘DO NOT TOUCH THE DOOR!’ I said loudly.  Okay, I admit, I shouted!

‘Why?’ she asked casually.

Even though she only said one word I knew she had said many more…..something along the lines of  ‘get a grip mum, you are sooo dramatic, I only asked a question’. I chose to only hear the one word.

‘Because it’s dangerous. If you open the door you could fall out and hit your head on the road’ I said.  Surely that would do the trick, now she would understand why opening the door was not an option.

‘No I won’t’ she piped, ‘I’m wearing my seat belt!’.

She then went on to tell me how important it is to wear a seat belt so that when the car door is opened you don’t fall out!!!

100% person.   This one is a bit of a smartass, watch out!

Mirror mirror…

My three year old is quite something. Years ago her older sister had struggled with self esteem and body image and so I had made a deliberate point of boosting them.  One of the things I used to do was encourage her to look in the mirror and see and say how beautiful she was.  Her African shaped (big, as she would put it) derriere was one of her issues and so I would pass the full length mirror in our living room, pat my own African shaped bum and say ‘gorgeous’.  Soon enough my daughter was doing the same; I was teaching her to love her body.

‘What is wrong with the women in this house?!’ I heard my husband shout out to me one day.

‘What happened?’ I asked as I approached the living room.

‘They just keep walking past the mirror, patting their bums and saying ‘gorgeous’’ he said, exasperated.

I reassured him that this was fine, I had instigated it and it was all for good reason.  Even though he had used the plural I kind of assumed he was referring to me and my older daughter.  While we were still discussing it, my then 18 month old, still in nappies, walked through the sitting room, stopped at the mirror, patted her bum and said ‘beautiful’ and walked on by to wherever it was she was heading.

Yes, my younger daughter was born into this and did not know the history associated with this self love.  Seeing it as the norm, she just joined in.

Today, aged three, she still walks past the mirror and stops to tell herself how beautiful she is. I love it!

I love me

 

100% human.  Beware, your actions speak real loud!

Brush away

For a few years I have been planning to buy electric toothbrushes for everyone.  I had heard that dentists recommend them and I really felt that my children could do with some help in this area.  Finally at Christmas I remembered and every one of us got an electric toothbrush.  What a thrill!  I was quite irritated when my eldest son chose the very minute when I was using my electric toothbrush for the first time to ask me a question I had to answer.

‘I can’t believe you deprived me from enjoying my first experience of my toothbrush’  I complained.

He apologised profusely commenting on how exciting he had found his first experience.  I was glad, with any luck all four children would soon be brushing their teeth properly, regularly.

Speaking of regularly, I noticed that my three year old had taken to it like a duck to water; at every given opportunity she was off to brush her teeth.   I did restrict her but was secretly happy that I had cracked it!

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Imagine my horror the other day when having heard the buzzing of her toothbrush yet again, I walked into the bathroom to find her standing there, toothbrush whirling as she watched it.  It was nowhere near her mouth!

It dawned on me: she has probably never even put it in her mouth! Oh my life! Don’t tell me this girl has not actually been brushing her teeth at all!

100% human. 100% clever. Knows what is expected of her and knows how to give the impression she is doing it.  One to watch!

Maybe he will share it….

It’s that time of year where the kids have seasonal fairs and basically I donate items to the school and then give them money to buy a whole load of quite frankly useless stuff as Christmas gifts.  As an ex head of the PTA, I appreciate the value of these fundraising events and in our school certainly,the funds are put to good use but I really have not worked out how it is that despite me donating quality products, my children always come home with either food items (well, I say food, I mean Santa shaped ginger biscuits or bags of sweets) or toys that are broken buy the end of the day.

Last week was the infant school seasonal fair; my six year old was allowed a maximum of £7 so I gave him £7.  He came home with no change and well, I guess the sweets and the paints were ‘quality’ products though I would not have spent £7 on them.   This week was the junior school seasonal fair and my ten year old daughter was allowed a maximum of £10 so, again I kindly gave her £9.80 (it had to be in coins see, and I was a bit short).  She did a lot better, returning with a nice journal for me, a water bottle for one of her brothers, hair clips for her sister, a mug for her dad and of course sweets.

My journal is lovely and I love stationary so I cannot complain but I was taken by my husband’s mug and as I got to see it before she gave it to her dad we had a conversation about it:

‘Oooh I like that!  Very nice.’ I said with blatant desire.

‘I chose it for you first but then there was nothing suitable for dad so I got you a journal instead.’

‘Thank you I love the journal.  It’s a shame there never seems to be enough for men’ I said.

As she headed off to give the mug to her dad I said half under my breath, half out loud ‘maybe he will share it with me.’

I later turned up in our room to find the mug on the dressing table with a note
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Bless!

100% human. 100%female.  Desires to please.  May need to be taught that you cannot please everyone.

 

 

 

Did you enjoy it?

‘Mum did you enjoy giving birth to me?’

I laughed out loud.

Great!  My ten year old had chosen the moment when I was in the middle of preparing dinner to ask me this somewhat delicate question.

Surely she could have found a different feeling to ask about!  No one had ever asked me if I had fun giving birth before….I mean who enjoys child birth?!  You know, actually giving birth.

Was I happy to give birth to her? Was I excited about it? Did I want to have her?…..I don’t know but there must be a more suitable word than ‘enjoy’.

I wondered how bad it would sound if I told her I had not enjoyed it.  Would she then interprete it as me not wanting her?    Her timing was terrible….

‘Do you know that labour is painful?’  I asked trying to get the conversation over as quickly as possible without appearing dissmissive.

‘It is?’

‘Yes darling,  and my labour is really easy compared to some women but it’s still painful.’

‘So you didn’t enjoy it?’

‘Not particularly.  Do you enjoy pain?’

She looked alarmed

‘No!’ She looked at me like I was mad

‘But I knew that after all the pain I would have you; so if you look at it like that, I kind of sort of enjoyed giving birth to you…’

‘Kind of sort of! I like that.  Anyway I get you’  She said and skipped off.

Phew!

 

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What is a real name?

Have you seen the coke bottles that have names on?  Yeah…..well I don’t do fizzy drinks at home so there was never a desire to buy these personalised coke bottles but I did wonder how long it would take before one of my children commented on the fact that their name didn’t exist on them.   Of course I expected it to be my eldest son with some witty remark.
No, it was my five year old son;
‘I wonder how much it costs to get your name on a coke bottle’ he said in deep thought.
As I was about to explain that it costs the same he continued
‘Yeah but my name is not a real name!!!!’

Not a real name??!! I wanted to proceed to tell him just what his name means and how we had gone to great lengths to choose a name with such meaning. How everytime I call him I am making a clear empowering statement….but I didn’t.
I got it. It didn’t matter what his name meant, what mattered was the fact that his name would not be on a coke bottle. He feels that because he has such an unusual name, it’s not a real name!

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So I was very pleased to see his uncle had one with his own equally unusual name on. Apparently I can order it online…..so even though I don’t usually do fizzy drinks, guess what I’m going to do?!

100% human. Thinks a lot. Needs a real name ☺