Sometimes (often) I fall so far short of being the mother I want to be.
This morning was one of those occasions. It was Wacky Hair Day at The Boy’s school. It started off okay – I’d bought red hairspray, and managed to use it to mould his hair into a suitable crazy style. But within minutes of me saying, ‘Whatever you do, DON’T TOUCH IT,’ he came downstairs telling me he had a ‘little bit’ of red dye on his sleeve.
A little bit turned out to be a lot. All the way from cuff to shoulder of his shirt, to be precise. And, of course, he was wearing a proper (expensive) crested polo shirt, rather than a cheapo Tesco version. Continue reading
There’s a bit of upstaging going on in our house at the moment. The Boy is busy rehearsing for his first ever drama exam, which he’ll be taking in just under three weeks’ time. He’s totally unsporty and hasn’t a musical bone in his body, but acting has always been his ‘thing.’ He just does it well: he’s natural and confident with a great sense of comic timing, and not at all show-offy about it. Music lessons would be a monumental waste of money for my tone-deaf son, but with acting, he has the potential to do quite well.
Of course, private lessons of any sort don’t come cheap, so when we agreed to let The Boy take them, we extracted a promise that he would work hard and take it seriously. He was quite happy with his side of the bargain, keen as he is to learn the skills he needs to be ‘a proper actor.’ Continue reading
I am so stupid sometimes. So stupid and easily led.
Take Friday night, for example. One of my Facebook friends mentioned that her teenage daughter was hankering after a second set of ear piercings. ‘I can’t very well refuse, as I have five visible holes in one ear,’ she said.
Me too, me too! My first set of ear piercings was sanctioned by my mum, but I also have another four holes in my left ear and three in my right that most definitely weren’t. These days, I only wear my cartilage piercing, but my friend’s post prompted me to see how many of my old holes were still functioning. The answer: all but the fifth in my left ear. Ouch.
Then, yesterday, I washed and dried my hair and thought how awful it looked. My roots needed doing, and my ends were dry, frazzled and split. I spent the whole day fiddling with it, brushing it, trying to make it look okay, and failed. It looked awful.
Then my mind lit upon something I’d seen online a while ago: the so-called Mumsnet ponytail haircut. You pull your hair into a ponytail on top of your head, chop the ends off, take the hair band out, and hey presto, you have a beautiful layered haircut for free. Continue reading
Life has been very hard on The Boy lately. He has been waiting, and waiting, and waiting and waiting and waiting to lose his first tooth.
With a November 2nd birthday, he’s one of the eldest in his class (the third eldest, in fact, as he often tells me). So by rights, he should have been one of the first to lose a tooth. But his gums weren’t listening.
The Boy is approaching the end of Year 2. A couple of his classmates lost their first tooth in Reception, and by Year 1, more than half had bade farewell to a milk tooth or two. Over the past nine months, just about all – in fact, quite possibly every single one – of his friends have been visited by the tooth fairy; even the ones who are still a month or so away from their seventh birthday. But not The Boy. And he was not happy.
When his classmates started losing teeth, he was sure he would be next in line. ‘I am the third oldest in the class, after all,’ he told me. But the months passed, and the teeth stayed firm. Continue reading
It’s early. Even for us, it’s early. But The Toddler is awake.
I go in. I put her back down. I go back to bed.
Five minutes later: ‘Muuuuummmeeeee!’
I go back in.
‘What’s the matter?’
‘I want to get out of this bed.’
‘You can’t. It’s still night time. Go back to sleep.’
‘Go back to sleep’
‘Go back to sleep’
‘Okay, okay, come on then, come into my bed.’
The Toddler: ‘Yes, *that* is what I meant.’
I have this form on my bread bin.
It’s been there since last May. A whole year.
It’s the form that will enrol my daughter for pre-school.
At the time I was given the form, I was perfectly okay with the idea of The Toddler going to pre-school eventually, probably in September 2013, when she’d be exactly two and a half. But over a year ahead of her provisional start date, there seemed no rush to actually submit the paperwork. So I didn’t.
At various times over the past year, I’ve spotted the form while trying to rationalise the pile of paper that accumulates on top of the bread bin, and put it back, meaning to turn my attention to it soon.
It’s still there. Continue reading
Once upon a time, I was a proper muso. According to my biological father, I attended (or at least overheard) my first ever gig (Lou Reed) at just a few months old, on holiday in France. I have my doubts as to the veracity of that statement, but for a long, long while, I felt that a love of music was in my blood.
It wasn’t so much playing it. I learned violin at school, and got to a reasonable standard; I taught myself keyboard and guitar, too. But it was other people’s live music that really got me excited. So much so, that when I was choosing my university options, I decided against Oxbridge, to my father’s disgust, and instead put Cardiff as my first choice, thanks to its impressive gig schedule. I got in, and over my four years there, I saw on average two live acts a week.
When we moved up to London, we still went to a few gigs, but they were expensive and harder to fit in around working life. And once we’d had kids, that was it. Until tonight, it had been over seven years since I – former chief music reviewer for the student paper – had been to a concert. Continue reading
My spare time has been at a premium lately, thanks to an incredibly busy few weeks with work. One of the drawbacks of being freelance is that it’s very hard to turn down a job, not knowing when the next one will come along, and the result is that I’ve been overbooking myself somewhat and pulling lots of late nights to meet my deadlines.
This work glut has made me realise how much I appreciate the time I get to myself, and also how wasteful I am of it.
It’s fair to say that Facebook is by far my biggest waste of time. In some ways, it’s a wonderful thing, as it gives me the adult-to-adult gossip and banter that I no longer get in my working life, having given up my one-time office job, but I know that if Mark Zuckerberg pulled the plug tomorrow, I would have so many more hours in my day. Continue reading
When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I had a fantastic opportunity, through work, to go for a 4D baby scan. This was a proper bonus for us, as we live in one of the few remaining areas of the UK in which you’re not allowed to ask the baby’s sex at the 20-week scan – and we really wanted to know.
So, at 25 weeks, we went along to the private scanning clinic, and there we were told that we were expecting a baby boy.
If I’m totally honest, I wanted a girl. But as soon as we found out, I felt completely resigned to – and happy with – the fact that I had a little boy on board. Sitting in the car afterwards, looking through the scan pictures, I thought, ‘That’s my son,’ and I felt such a rush of love and pride that my eyes filled with tears. Continue reading
I love my family very much. And I enjoy my time with them very much.
I enjoy listening to The Boy rabbit on about the dream he had last night, his future career plans (pilot/writer/artist/train driver/actor/lifeboat crew depending on his mood), and the frog he and his friends found in the school playground.
I enjoy my days with The Toddler, reading Topsy and Tim (or, more accurately, reciting it from memory), building Duplo metropoli, picking daisies and buttercups, and kissing her all over until she’s squealing with laughter. Continue reading