Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Get that fucking stick out of my fucking face

One of my very gentle natured friends told me recently that the one thing sure to ignite a furnace of irritation in her is the phrase 'Oh, so and so's such a good mother'.  Even though it's said out of goodwill there's the ever present whiff of competitive mum about it with its incumbent insinuation that although you are part of the conversation, your lack of 'top mum' verbal rosette is conspicuous in its absence.

So I dedicate this post to any mother who has given in to their screaming child at the supermarket checkout, pouring sweets down their throat 20 minutes before dinnertime just to earn 5 minutes of silence in which to pay for and load your car with shopping only to listen to someone deliver that smug, trump phrase after observing your parenting.

I have sworn at my children on numerous occasions.  I'm not proud of it and pre-motherhood I would have wrinkled my nose in judgement if I heard anyone do it but that has all changed now that I know what small children do to your blood pressure.

I took all three down to the beach to play on a wonderfully old fashioned swing slung up on a tree in a nearby campsite.  As we drove down, I had an Enid Blyton fantasy of photographing them on the swing individually, heads thrown back in ecstatic glee as they sliced tip-toed through the air and laughed with rapturous liberty at the blue sky and cool air whipping round their ears.  Here is twin2 enjoying the swing in a much lower octane fashion and for a much shorter time than the full length Disney feature film I had spooling through my head.
Lad wasn't interested in the swing, he just wanted to climb.

That's ok though, luckily I'm an easy going kind of gal who doesn't mind if my best laid plans of magical photo opportunities are dashed.  No matter.  There's always the beach.  I nag and cajole them to sit next to each other while I take their picture.  Lad has a stick and wants me to draw his name in the sand.

'In a minute, darling, just sit here for a few seconds and say cheese then we'll do some drawing.'  Twin 2 is collecting shells, twin1 is chasing a seagull.  It takes some time to encourage the girls to sit next to their brother and by the time I get round to taking the picture, lad has remounted his name drawing campaign.  Irritated, I swat the thing away and scream at him 'get that fucking stick out of my fucking face.'

I glance up to see a middle aged jogger grimacing in distaste at me and an elderly couple, horrified, holding hands and surveying the scene of my children shivering in the biting wind while their angry mother swears at them and dashes their healthy, wholesome, innocent fun, all in the name of a photo I could have taken after hurrying them back home in a murk of guilt and propping them in front of the TV with a warm Milo.

OK so I didn't exactly slosh heroin through their veins but I might as well have done with the adrenaline of guilt pounding through me.  We all feel the same every time we swear at them/give them tinned spaghetti for the third night in a row/put on the 4th back to back DVD to hear the end of a juicy piece of gossip.

Guilt is an important part of parenting.  It keeps our instincts well lubricated.  I just think its important to be able to throw guilt a well timed eye roll now and then too.  As the Rudd family motto goes - moderation in everything, including moderation.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Can you smell shit?

The result of cleaning up faecal matter every day for four years is olfactory havoc.  This morning as I chucked a few toys in the twins' room I wandered through a mist of minute shit particles.  Sniffing, I attempted to locate the offending nuggets whilst discerning from the smell whether I would be dealing with a dry pile of pebbles or a carpet clinging sludge.  The aromatic trail led me under twin1's bed where I found a cloud of baby wipes wafting their arse cleansing chemicals into the air.  I looked around for anything more sinister.  Nothing.  The rush of relief was marred by the jolt of realising I now find it impossible to distinguish between the smell of baby wipes and shit.  To be fair, shit always smells like shit.  But now baby wipes smell of shit too.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

paint a red cross on the door

Yesterday I arrived at kindy to see stuck to the door "friendly notice:  head lice are doing the rounds".  Today the same notice is there with the words head lice rubbed out and replaced with chicken pox.  I admire the scribe of this missive and their perky, upbeat attitude but I am struggling to feel the same optimism about having my children picking at welts and scabs on their normally peachy skin and hauling finger nails through their heads collecting the eggs of these little critters then littering them about the house so we can keep the glorious cycle of nit life a-turning in the warmth of our home.

As I type this my head is itchy as buggery.  I don't want to slather my newly dyed red hair (see pic) in anti-nit chemicals.  It will probably turn my hair green.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A master of meditation in one stare

I was going to write about swimming today as lad swam his first few strokes this week.  But I will write about it another day.  This afternoon, surrounded by hundreds of people in our little community, an eight year old boy and his ten year old brother stood beside their daddy at the funeral of their young mother.  Such was this lady's role locally that the school closed at lunchtime so that the staff and most of the children could go.  Although I have never met her I have spent the day wiping away tears and staring at the grey clouds in the sky.  Three weeks ago this vibrant, athletic lady was diagnosed with cancer.  Three weeks.

Just recently I have spent quite a bit of time wondering what it must be like to fly out of the earth's atmosphere and stare through the blackness at our beautiful planet.  Whilst standing on it and trying to imagine our world as one, you are overwhelmed by landscapes, problems, people, billions and billions of insects, political leanings, cruelty, kindness, arguments with your neighbour, love and elation, fish swimming in the absolute dark of the depths of the ocean, drought, genocide, the list is infinite.  But from space, the world is one thing.  Your eye need not travel far within its socket to take in its entirety.  It would probably have the same effect on you as studying meditation for 50 years, all condensed into a silent, silent gaze as you drift across the universe.  We are nothing, in the scheme of things.  And yet we can feel so raging and full of life force with love and loss.

Friday, 10 June 2011

International Oyster Card

I am going to start playing the lottery.  There are only 4 million people in New Zealand so my chances of winning are much greater than when I used to play at home.  My aim is to win enough money to secure unlimited travel between the UK and NZ for my family.  I would like a kind of Oyster Card situation so I just wander into Auckland airport, bleep my card through the gates and hop on the plane as and when I please.  Business class would be rather nice but I don't really mind.  I miss trains, shopping in Boots, pubs, the trees, front doors of terraced houses and plugs with 3 prongs.

My parents fly out here at the end of August but I have started nagging my mum to see if she can slip in a quick visit before then too.  I am playing on the parental guilt thing as I know how powerful it is when my children use it on me.


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