Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Who is She?

Who is She, this other woman who supplants me between the hours of 7.40pm and 7.55pm each evening if the Boys don't get to bed on time? Because I've got to tell you, she's pissing me off, with her temper tantrums and her short fuse.

For the rest of the day, there I am, (mostly) sweetness and light - or at least, quite reasonable, anyway - enjoying spending time with my Boys, delighting in their quirks, cracking jokes with them, rolling my eyes sure, when I have to ask them for the 5th time to put their shoes on when we leave the house in the morning, but generally fully aware of the fact that they are (mostly) great to be around.

This afternoon, for example, I was 'present in the moment' enough to be able to enjoy it and make sure that I remembered it when my youngest son suggested that if I was going to call for Jesus (following an unfortunate tripping over a crack in the pavement incident on my part), I should make sure to do it loud, so that he can hear me.

And I was able to sit down perfectly happily with both my sons after school and start the lego equivalent of a 5000 piece jigsaw in the full knowledge that we would never finish it today, and that the 'City Police Station Construction Project' is likely to form a core part of our activities for some time to come.

(I should add here that in addition I finally got to make use of what I think is probably one of the best pieces of advice a friend ever gave me about bringing up boys; when you start with the Lego, do so on a sheet on the floor so that when you need to stop / finish / give up because it's time for tea, you can simply pick up all the corners and tip the remaining plastic shrapnel back into the box. Sammie, at the time I didn't know what a gem you were passing on, but now I finally get it; thankyou.)

So today I was aware of how fleeting these moments can be and am now able to sit down and record the memories here, safely storing them away so that I can pull them out at some indeterminate point in the future and turn them over in my hands like lucky pebbles...

And yet, the moment the Boys reneged on our deal regarding an extra 15 minutes of 'Wild Russia' on National Geographic Channel in exchange for not having a book read to them in bed, She arrived. I mean, it's not like they were watching 'Deal or No Deal', for chrissake. This was interesting, riveting stuff; of course they wanted to watch more on how the brown bears like to eat flies on the shores of Lake Baikal. (I know - don't ask). In hindsight, it was perfectly reasonable for them to want to push the envelope and nag me for a story as well after they had previously expressly promised they would go straight to bed. They're 3 and 6 - that sort of double crossing is their job.

Not that She sees that. She felt taken advantage of, exhausted, put-upon. It was all shoutiness and crossness and general childish behaviour for a good 5 minutes. There may even have been a Thomas Tank Engine book flung to the floor when a plastic cup (it wasn't even a breakable glass, for goodness' sake) got knocked over necessitating a swift clear up with a hand towel. Which can, of course, be washed, although you wouldn't have thought that from the huffing and puffing that ensued.

And then, as ever, She left as quickly as she arrived. Two minutes in the kitchen refilling the spilt water glass was enough to bring to me to my senses and send Her packing. She's gone, and I'm left with a sense of shame, a guilt hangover and a resolve that tomorrow I will be a better mother to my two darling Boys.

She should be ashamed of herself. And I am.

It's not all a barrel of laughs, this parenting lark, is it?


  1. And that's why I'm so glad my husband does bedtime. Because by seven I am done.

  2. No, it isn't.

    But way to be aware of oneself, or at least, your physco twin.

  3. It's uncanny, because that woman also comes and inhabits me between the witching hours of 7.30pm and 8.15. She's particularly virulent when I'm on my own with the boys, and all I want to do is put them into bed, cook my supper and have a nice glass of wine....

  4. Your 'alter' only comes out for 15 minutes? At that time of night? I reckon you're doing ok.

  5. OMG - that woman is transatlantic! How does she do it? Time travel? She lives here in Chicago too. In my house in fact. Most bizarre.

  6. Perfectly normal behaviour PM. From the boys too, remember that old saying 'Give them an inch and they'll take a mile'? Proof positive right there!

    And Mwa, my husband mostly did bedtimes too - at the end of some of my days he might not have got any dinner otherwise ;-)

  7. Transatlantic scary Mum also spends a fair amount of time in our house in South Africa! She usually drops by between 6:30 and 7pm although sometimes she surprises us all with random visits throughout the day.

    Don't feel bad PM, we all lose it at times and those mini mights know JUST which buttons to press. Your self awareness about it means you are probably doing better than most.

  8. No one said it was going to be easy. Actually, all anyone told me was how great children are. Zippo mentioned about the bedtime and get-ready-for-school fiasco. Oh well, it's still worth it.

  9. Mwa, oh, if only...

    SPD, thanks.

    NVG, she has a large number of siblings, apparantly. Which is fine I suppose as it makes me feel slightly less awful...

    Trace, well OF COURSE she only appears then. OF COURSE!

    Nicola, as I said to NVG, she either has siblings - or she's like Santa.

    Sharon, I know it's normal - but it's still not great.

    MdP, thankyou.

    Modern, it totally is, you're right. See you Sunday!

  10. She lives in my house too. Comes out rather more frequently than yours does though, especially if I've not had enough sleep (thank you youngest son).

    I don't like her at all. Wish she'd go away. Do wake up most mornings promising to bar the door to her today. Sometimes I manage to, sometimes she slips in.

    I think she's normal. Just wish she wasn't around quite so much.

  11. She's in my house too - makes an appearance from about 7 in the morning until the boy's left for school too, and dinner time and tidying up time and why the hell won't you do what you're told time.
    As for that police station, I think the first time was the last time it'll ever be built. Challenged the husband to get it done over half term and even he shied away.

  12. oh she comes to my house too, evil bitch, I really hate her. And then when they're in bed and asleep she tiptoes into their room and kisses them and says sorry, often weeping as she does so. Useless woman. She should be sacked.

  13. She's here as well! Uncanny! Usually at bedtime but quite often she appears between the hours of 8.00 and 8.30 in the morning as well, when I have to get three children out to school on time. Horrible woman.

    And OH MY GOODNESS that Lego tip is fantastic! Thank you for sharing; shame it has taken me 11 years to hear it!

  14. You're entitled to get very angry, PM, when the boys push all the buttons and forget their promises. They do have to learn, after all. I wouldn't feel too bad about it, nor will your boys. They've got each other, after all, and can find solace in each other's company, while you have to figure it out on your own. Children must learn that they can't have it both ways and that you aren't a push over that they can command at will and that the result will be anger if they try. That's not so strange. 15 Minutes of being pissed off is not bad.

  15. Brit, yes, she does rather outstay her welcome, doesn't she?

    Vic, our police station has already been assembled once. Then I made the mistake of asking Husband to put it up high when we were having toddlers to visit and he chose to interpret that as 'take it to pieces'. Brilliant.

    Pig, oh yes, she does that here too. although often whilst they're still awake.

    Helen, it IS a good tip, isn't it? Can't believe it isn't in the red book they give you when the baby is born.

    Irene, I know 15 minutes is not bad, you're right. Still makes me feel rubbish having done it though!

  16. Ha Ha!!!
    'If you sould call for Jesus'
    I can't breathe, I'm laughing so much.
    I grow horns at bedtime Potty...welcome to my world!

  17. The trick with lego is to get a dog, then the fear of pieces being chewed up by said animal is so huge that lego is put away without parental help EVERY NIGHT.

  18. Frog, oh I know you're all sweetness and light really...

    KM, thanks for commenting and that's a nice idea, but I live in Central London and I just can't bear the thought of carrying a dog's poo in a bag around with me...

  19. She is a good example, according to a child development specialist I consulted once. Kids apparently need to see us angry, since they themselves get angry and frustrated so often, they 'get it' when we do. She told me that being calm all the time doesn't give a kid an example of how they should behave when they are mad. So go ahead, stomp, shout and throw unbreakable things!

  20. GM, thanks so much for saying that - it does make me feel better about it. A bit.

  21. Were you writing about your boys or mine?!

    My little darlings do exactly the same thing and I hurl a kiss at them and feel terrible. When I see lovely mums tucking their children into bed and singing lullabies on television, I feel awful.

    Love the Jesus bit!

  22. Oh, she lives at my house some evenings too... she's such a cow.


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