How did I get here?

>> Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Do you ever have those moments? The moments when you ask yourself "How did I get here?" Not, "How did I get here?" but "How did I get here?"

I do. Most days, in fact, and they usually involve my children - unsurprisingly.

For example. You may have picked up on the fact that my Boys luuuurve their cake. A lot. Given their heads it would be too much, perhaps, though due to my innate ability to resist anything but temptation, we don't have it in the house very often. And when we do, it's usually home-made - not because I harbour any Domestic Goddess fantasies (well, not only because of that) - but because of the nut allergy thing. So, when we have cake, if I do say so myself, it's usually pretty good - and it doesn't last very long.

Now, I remember when I was a child. If there was cake on offer, it also wouldn't last very long. (I may kid myself I'm an OK cook, but my mother was Nigella before Nigella was even helping her mother stir the soup). It would be handed out on high days, holidays, and at teatime on a Sunday in front of a roaring fire and Doctor Who on the tv. There was no ceremony involved. We weren't savages, but cake would be wolfed down behind the sofa or a cushion, crumbs scattered willy-nilly whilst we concentrated on hiding from the daleks, or the cybermen, or whatever monsters the 1970's BBC special effects department had dreamed up for us that week.

So, when I see my Boys, sitting at the table eating cake with a fork - a fork! - I marvel at their continental sophistication and do wonder how I got here...

Another example. I took the Boys out for lunch last weekend with a girlfriend and her daughter; we were both husband-less due to our beloveds' travel commitments. And I sat there with my mouth open as Boy #2 (the 2 year old) perched calmly in his high chair in Carluccio's and, taking a piece of ciabatta with one hand, dipped it into the dish of olive oil provided. And after stuffing it in his mouth, proceeded to say "Yum yum" and repeat the process. For heaven's sake. I didn't learn that trick until I was, oh, around 35...

And finally, a less sophisticated example. Picture the scene. Holland Park sand pit, this afternoon. The play area, practically deserted. It was clearly too cold for the normal yummy mummy brigade (and the wet sand might have scuffed their very shiny boots), so there were only a few diehard English mummies determined that their broods should get their full complement of fresh air and exercise before the rain set in again.

Most of the children were toddlers, younger even than Boy #2, and I stood eavesdropping on a trio of mums with kids of around 18 months. They were agonising over potty training and whether Max and Fenella were still too young to start. Being the mother of a child who is well over 2 and shows no interest in the potty other than to sit on it naked as a delaying tactic before his bath, I kept schtum, enjoying the unfamiliar sensation of - for once - not being the most anxious mother in the play ground, and also - for once - fairly confident that my children were fit to be seen in public.

Suddenly, from across the playground, comes a booming shout from Boy #1.

"Mama! I need a poo! Now!!!!!"

As I said. How did I get here?

Yet again, I've been rubbish keeping up with my blog housekeeping. Firstly, I need to say thankyou to Elsie Button at Flower Fairies and Fairy Cakes for being lovely, funny, and seeing fit to give me this award which I will add to my sidebar the moment I can remember how it's done.

Secondly, I want to thank Carolyn at Laughing Alone in the Dark for this, and for not only being entertaining, amusing (and often complimentary about what she reads here), but bringing the whole BPA debate to my attention. All the boys' Tommy Tippee cups are now out on their ears... (Check this link for more info).

And finally, Dulwich Mum, I haven't forgotten about the meme - but this post has been too long already...


Samurai Beetle 30 April 2008 at 01:25  

Wow, children with great table manners is great and something I aspire to have.

This past week we had a bring your children to work day (it's like a nationally promoted day). I ate lunch across from senior designer's 7yr old daughter who ate a hot cheese pocket by sucking the cheese while pocket was about 5 inches from her face. It was an interesting if not artistic approach to cheese.

Another day, same daughter was in office with her brother and both were eating with elbows on the counter. CEO tried to teach both table manners by instructing them to remove elbows and reorganize silverware. They both looked at him like they had lost the ability to understand English. It was funny to just watch their reactions.

Carolyn 30 April 2008 at 03:56  

Awesome. I'm always wondering how I got here too, but you described it soooo perfectly. Great post.

And thanks for the compliments. Your awards are well deserved. Keep up the good work!

Frog in the Field 30 April 2008 at 12:24  

My children get themselves napkins to wipe their mouths at the table...very odd indeed, though the middle one isn't too proficient in the actual use of the napkin, it's more of an accessory for her.
We ate in a Japanese restaurant when the middle one was three (ish). She picked up the chopsticks and wolfed down her meal like a professional! Thesedays, of course negotiating food to her mouth is usually very hit and miss...misses her mouth and the grub hits the floor!

Jonny's Mommy 30 April 2008 at 14:32  

Ah, that's great. Aren't kids just the most wonderful way for us to be reminded we're not so sophisticated after all? Not like I personally needed any more reminding, but you know, just in case I forgot.

:-) Funny post.

Now, can you come over here and teach my little one how to eat like that.Just eat period. Thanx.

aims 30 April 2008 at 17:00  

As I said before - The Man cowers miserably when I say that in public.....

Expatmum 30 April 2008 at 19:38  

Every time my two American boys high-five each other on their burping prowess, and my American teenage daughter shrieks "Eew, mom - tell them to stop", I wonder how on earth I got here.

Potty Mummy 30 April 2008 at 20:36  

Hi SB, you'll find that when your little cherub arrives, no matter how tolerant you are of it, you will still be hypercritical of other people's children. Because of course your angels will be just that - but everyone else's will... not.

Hi Carolyn, thanks. Again. (Am keeping all fingers and toes crossed for you, btw).

Frog, it sounds like you have them all very well trained. And the chopsticks - outstanding. I dread to think what my two would make of them. Weapons, probably...

J's Mommy, if I had been blogging even 1 year previously you would have seen me despairing that Boy #1 would ever eat anything with colour other than tomato ketchup. So I do know where you're coming from. And the only advice I can give is not to turn mealtimes into battlegrounds. The less phased you appear by their non-eating, the less they can use it against you. Because yes, your 17 month old IS manipulating you... you better believe it. They all do it - it's just some are better than others.

Aims, I can't wait to find out who this Man is. Just a little clue? Please?

EPM, I think it's the cross-nationality thing. Find yourself married to someone with a different set of cultural references and it's always going to happen. In my case it's my boys eating cake with forks and speaking Dutch. With you it's burps and high fives...

Grit 1 May 2008 at 08:29  

i agree! kids are great at undermining and subverting our expectations. the proudly spoken phrase 'so-and-so is very good at ...' immediately brings about the worst behaviour possible, demonstrating to all and sundry that mother is a complete blind idiot.

Potty Mummy 1 May 2008 at 20:27  

Grit, so true. My boys excel at that one...

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