Schoolboy Compliments and 'Wife in the North'

>> Thursday, 11 December 2008

Dropping Boy #1 off at school this morning, one of the teachers pulled me to one side. "Your son is so charming" she said to me happily. "He's always coming up to us and telling us he loves us, and giving us kisses."

I looked at her blankly. My son? Really? I mean, he's affectionate and loving at home, but I hadn't heard this one before - not outside the family, anyway... I left the building a little puzzled, and promptly forgot all about our conversation as Boy #2 did a stunt tumble down the front steps in front of the scary headmistress, no doubt consolidating any concerns she has about him. Click here for the back-story on that... (And fyi, he was fine after his spectacular head over heels - I was the one freaking out. )

Then, this afternoon, a different teacher stopped me. "Boy #1 is gorgeous, you know that? Guess what he did today?" I hesitated. "Uuummmm?" "He came over, gave me a big kiss, and said 'I love you, you're so pretty, you're just like a flower.'"


On an different subject, I just started reading the book of 'Wife in the North' by Judith O'Reilly. You may have noticed that I've got a link to her blog on my sidebar; if you haven't, and you've not read it, I can recommend it. But I have to admit I was sceptical about the book. I mean, making a book out of an autobiographical blog? How would that work? Surely it would lose something in the transition?

I am hooked. I cannot put it down.

Judith O'Reilly has achieved something I'm not sure I could ever do. I could regurgitate some of the blurb on the cover about it's being 'funny, poignant and beautifully written', and it would all be true. But it is the raw emotion of what is essentially her diary that stopped me in my tracks. She describes her emotions so clearly, no messing about, and in such a terse yet illuminating way that I feel I am there with her.

Perhaps I'm so moved by this because Husband and I have been debating making a similarly fundamental change to our lives by moving to Russia, or perhaps it's simply because she is brave enough to do what I'm not, and tell the whole story, warts and all, I don't know. I would love to know if whilst the original blog was being posted her husband was aware of it and of what she wrote. I salute both of them if yes; her for being so bloody honest about her feelings and for writing about them so succinctly, and him for sticking to his guns and persevering with his plans. Though I must admit that if I had been one of her London friends, I wouldn't have been able to understand why she upped sticks to Northumberland, I'm afraid. (What a surprise then that I'm not that keen to move to Moscow...)

In any case, I'm about 30% of the way through. There will not be much laundry, tidying or writing of Christmas cards done in this house until I'm finished...


sharon 12 December 2008 at 01:35  

I know the feeling re the big move. We made ours after a huge amount of soul-searching but that was for many other reasons. I don't know that I could make the move you are contemplating with such young children though. Our 19 yr old stayed in England for another 2 years before joining us (his choice, not ours) and the younger, at 14, didn't make the school transition too well. It worked in the end and none of us regret it, but it had its moments.

Off to read Wife in the North's blog now. If I get hooked and do not finish my Christmas duties it's all your fault!

Frog in the Field 12 December 2008 at 07:11  

I shall get the book immediately if not sooner.
Don't go to Moscow..who will take me out to lunch when I come to London if you go?
Re. boy number 1...hmm, he didn't make comments like that to me (sob)... 12 December 2008 at 08:35  

i agree potty: a fabulous book. I loved it.

Laura 12 December 2008 at 08:43  

Reading Wife In The North prompted me to start a blog in July!

It is one of the funniest books I have read.

On another note ... surely MOscow is even colder then here ...

Anonymous,  12 December 2008 at 09:16  

Your son is going to be a heart breaker!

Moscow: scary, but exciting. And nothing is forever. If it turns out to be a mistake you can always come home.

I am facing a similar choice as my boss is thinking of moving me to KL. We'll see.

Potty Mummy 12 December 2008 at 11:48  

Hi Sharon, you sound brave. The big difference for us is that if we do go it's for a maximum of 2 years (I'm not budging on this one), so really I don't know why I'm worried!

Frog, me neither - but then neither of us are mid 2-'s, with long blonde hair...

RM, glad you liked it too. I guess it would strike a chord there.

Laura, you would be surprised. Husband just got back and apparantly it was warmer than London (though yes, you're right, -15 deg C is the norm in Winter).

Mud, well of course if you do decide to go you will meet the love of your life a week before you leave... But if you don't, I say go for it. The one thing I regret in life is not having done something similar when young free and single. (Though of course I do appreciate with your mum the situation is somewhat different.)

nappy valley girl 12 December 2008 at 14:12  

I shall read the book on your recommendation.

Boy number 1 is obviously learning that the way to get the teachers on your side is to flatter them outrageously!

Expat mum 12 December 2008 at 14:59  

My 5 year old had to be "reminded" yesterday not to kiss girls in school. He then decided he wouldn't kiss again till he was his teenage sister's age, then decided that his dad's age would be better. Fortunately when I put him to bed, he had come to the conclusion that kissing mummies and sisters is fine!

Tattie Weasle 12 December 2008 at 20:24  

Potty taking the big step is SO scary and boy do I know. I witnessed my Mum doing it for 30 years. As far as us kids went it was always magical for home was always where we as a family were and the experiences we all shared -and some of them were a tad bizarre to say the least - were amazing. I would not exchange it for the World!
Mum's tips for doing it were: Always have a Plan B - i.e. a bolt hole home; Explore everything, meet everyone and party; learn a new skill while away.
After 30 years Mum can fly a plane (she did this at 40), ski, scuba dive, speak Malay, knit, ride, waterski, paraglide, survive in the Jungle, shoot, climb mountains and be welcomed in more homes, in more countries round the world than even, dare I say it, Nelson Mandela!

Paradise Lost In Translation 12 December 2008 at 20:32  

it is a hard thing to do, hardest thing I ever did to up sticks & leave everything familiar & move abroad. It does have its rewards though. Someone remarked to me how well adjusted, outgoing & secure my children were, which was the best thing they could have said to this anxious mother of 3rd culture kids! Actually I wd advise you to go for 3 yrs. You're just finding your feet after 2. We were in Sri Lanka for 2 yrs & i'd just got everyone settled & felt happy in myself when we moved again. It was awful.

I started blogging after reading WITN's blog too.

Tara 12 December 2008 at 21:04  

Russia? Russia? Have you not being watching Spooks!

Potty Mummy 12 December 2008 at 22:34  

NVG - he learnt that from his father, obviously.

EPM, it sounds like you have it pretty much under control then...

Tattie, thankyou - and if the move happens (and right now it's not likely to be tomorrow) I will print that comment off and stick it in my diary!

Paradise, thanks for the tip, and I know what you say makes sense. (Though I am adamant I'm sticking at two years... Luckily Husband agrees on that - or is pretending to!)

Tara, OMG, yes, I have! And I don't know about you but waiting another 9 months to find out what happens next to Harry is twisting me up!

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