Two Crazed Mothers (One Of Whom Was Not Me)
30th June 2015
Young people of Minnesota swimming, from the US National Archives
School holidays have landed. What are you guys up to? So far we have had one super-chilled, lazy day here at Rancho Relaxo and one busy drop-off-pick-up put-your-shoes-on-whaddya-mean-you-don’t-know-where-your-shoes are kinda day.
I think I will aim for more of the former but for tomorrow at least, we are still in the bizzy zone. All three of the childrens have different bookings in their social calendars and I have some work to do.
Other than that, all is well. K has been overseas for two weeks communing with the eggheads, but is back now - hurray, hurray. I don’t like advertising on the medias that he is not here, but all went fine. As usual I’m reminded again of what goddesses single parents are.
There are benefits to being the sole captain of the good ship DowhatIsay but it is so tiring, carrying all the weight alone, and there are no breaks in the weather. I don’t like it when all of my people aren’t in the one place, so I’m happier in myself now that we’re all together. Especially when we are together trying to work out Sia’s Chandelier around the piano. Oh my god, power notes to thrill, that number. So high that the only solution is to shriek like banshees.
I took young Pudding up for a visit to pre-school last week. She’s my third child to go to this utterly beautiful little school and I have so many wonderful memoriesof the place. This one, for instance:
Last week at the pre-school pick up, I was chatting to my friend Emma in the carpark when a woman came up, strapped her baby in the car next to us and then suddenly shouted 'My wallet! Somebody stole my wallet!' She ran past us, stopping to shriek 'Watch the baby! My wallet's gone!' as she headed at full speed back through the gates. Emma and I looked at each other. 'That's so weird,' I said. 'No', said Emma, 'what's weird is that she's just put her baby in my car.' Yep, their two cars were identical, down to the ubiquitous crumbly mess in the back seat. This poor harried, underslept mother had strapped her kid into the wrong car and then had a massive hysterical freak out. In a few minutes she sheepishly returned, retrieved her baby, got into the right car and left. I have not cackled and hooted and wept so hard in weeks. It was such a beautifully absurd moment and I recognised myself in that mother so very much, from the nutty mistake to the dramatic overreaction to the final, sheepish walk of shame. She is Everywoman.
I laugh still remembering that. Glorious.
Then today, Pudding and I hit a conversational wall trying to establish whether she was talking about a water-bottle OR a hot-water-bottle and I remembered this:
Like many small children, our three like to spend the hour after they are put to bed inventing increasingly flimsy and desperate excuses to get up again. They all have FOMO. Autumn has brought some glorious daytime sunshine and chilly nights (the best) and so some of our cold-weather rituals have begun: porridge for breakfast, hot-water-bottles at bedtime. They are all sharing one room now and so last night I tucked all three in with kisses, hot-water-bottles and the usual optimistic/hopeless lecture. Within five minutes, three year old Pudding was out in the kitchen casually filling a plastic bottle from the water filter. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked her. ‘Yeah, I just take this to bed, Mummy,’ she said. ‘In what parallel universe?’ I spluttered. There is already at least one wet bed every morning at our place. The washing machine is my constant companion. No way am I letting these kids take half a litre of water to bed! ‘No water bottles in bed! Absolutely not!’ I said sternly. ‘WHAT?’ came dual voices from the bedroom. ‘I’m telling Pudding she can’t take a water bottle to bed!’ I called. ‘Now go to sleep!” ‘But can I keep my water bottle?’ came a worried little voice. ‘And mine?’ piped another. I was incensed. Were they all stashing bottles of water in their beds? No wonder everybody was pissing themselves! And what else was in there, for gods sake? Mars Bars? Greek salads? ‘No water bottles in the beds!’ I shouted. ‘Bring them out straight away!’ With much indignant muttering, Peanut and T-Bone stomped out to the big room and presented me with their hot water bottles. ‘Oh!’ I said. ‘Oh right! Water bottles. I thought you had **water bottles**. You can have those water bottles.’ Back to bed they went. Just another arbitrary, confusing moment in the arbitrary, confusing landscape that is childhood.
GOD life is funny. I know it is bizarre to be referencing myself. Like, pathologically so, maybe. Don’t tell me. But life is just funny.