There were supporters along the sidelines all the way around, and it was wonderful to see them cheering and waving, encouraging even complete strangers to keep running. In the last 1k there were volunteers handing out vaseline and jelly babies. I took a jelly baby but was almost too exhausted by that point to chew it. I forgot all about it until I’d done when I burped and couldn’t for the life of me work out why I had such a strong taste of orange in my mouth when I hadn’t had anything orange that day, it took me a while to remember the jelly baby!
When strangers sigh, or roll their eyes because my child has dared to exist in the same universe as them. Or when my kid runs in front of someone or lets out a blood curdling shriek within their earshot and I get the look. You know *the look*, I can’t help but feel that I want to reach out to the stranger in question and caress their scowly self-important know-it-all, judgmental face with my fist. Repeatedly.
Some guy and his girlfriend were about to embark upon their grocery shopping at Tesco this afternoon when they were rudely and shockingly delayed by approximately five whole nanoseconds whilst Toby whooshed in front of the guy as he reached to take a basket.
The reason he was whooshing in such an uncontrolled teeny tiny hooligan way (under direct parental supervision) was because he had just remembered he’d left his new lego toy on the floor of the passport photo booth near the tills.
This guy gave Toby a look like he had just stomped on his puppy’s face, and then me a look like my son had just stomped on his puppy’s face, and then gave his girlfriend (who appeared unaffected by the whole incident) a look like “Can you believe these fuckers are allowed to share the same planet as us?!”
Right there and then I wanted to shoot laser beams out of my eyes and impregnate his girlfriend using the power of my fucking mind and then magically fast forward 2 or 3 years and say “Sorry, what was that look again? I didn’t quite catch it”
Oh yeah, it’s all so easy when you have all of the answers and none of the responsibilities.
Trouble is, it’s not (wholly) this guys fault. We live in a society in which children are seen as a lifestyle choice. An inconvenience to everyone, something to be ‘overcome’ with discipline, baby sitters and school, from an early an age and with as long hours as possible.
They are the sole responsibility of their parents at all times, but on the flip side, if after devoting your body, life and soul to creating one of these little creatures you dare to be proud of your accomplishment then you’re likely to get a faceful of scorn in return for boasting/”one-up-manship” or just generally, taking up people’s valuable (adult) time talking about what is essentially your little selfish hobby. Not to mention clogging up your friends’ timelines with photos of your adorable little rugrat.
Now I’m only going to say this once motherfuckers so listen hard and listen good. Children are not a hobby.
Cross-stitch is a hobby.
If you want to learn cross-stitch, good for you! If you’re a close friend or family member I might be persuaded to be happy you’ve found something you’re passionate about. But at the end of the day it’s your thing, and it has no impact on me or the rest of the world, unless you become like a famous, world-reknowned cross-stitch-er and change people’s minds and hearts with your cross-stitch talents. In which case, wow.
It was indeed my choice to have children but that still doesn’t make them my indulgent passtime a la cross-stitch.
Like or not, you too were all children once. And noisy, precocious, snot-fulled little fiends you probably were too. And look at you now, why you’re positively human!* (*In most cases)
“What now?! Children are people too?!” I hear you exclaim, “well who’d have thought it?!”
Well, err…me, for one. Raising two young boys is not my end-goal, I am raising two men.
The reason you should give a shit about children, even if you’re not one and don’t have any and never plan to, is because what impacts children and families impacts society as a whole, after all, children are the future. No really, they are.
My little snoogly-boos* (*I have never actually called them that in their lives) that are pissing you off so royally by scamping around the supermarket yelling at the top of their lungs or spilling their juice all over themselves whilst you’re trying to have a civilised business lunch at the next table, or whose adorable little chops are gracing your Facebook feed every other day, are in fact going to be the doctors, lawyers, teachers, politicians, scientists, bartenders, writers, actors, musicians, artists, mechanics, sportsman, plumbers, boyfriends, husbands, and potentially fathers of the future.
So you might just wish they’d be quiet, and get out of your way, or learn some table manners and you may think their existence has fuck all to do with you but if you give even one eighth of a shit about life, society or the planet on which we live, then actually, I’m sorry to say- it does.
How a society views and takes care of it’s mothers, fathers, parents, families and children is important because they’re necessary for that society to continue to exist. And more than that, more than existence, we know that so much of what we become as adults starts from childhood. What we eat, what we think, how we relate to people, our health, our beliefs it all begins with family. For better or worse. What family looks and feels like is different for everyone, and unfortunately it isn’t always pretty, but that’s all the more reason to care. The things that hurt children the things that hurt families, they hurt us all. The things that support and nurture children, parents and families, benefit us all.
Now I’m not asking for royal treatment. I don’t need, nor wish for a red carpet rolling out every time I decide to grace the aisles of my local Tesco with the presence of myself and my kids. I don’t want my children bowed and pandered to.
I just want you to treat them like people. Because they are.
Sometimes they’re noisy, messy, tiring, unreasonable people. But jeez, they have been on this earth for all of about five minutes. Those of us who have been here a little longer than that, so understand concepts like the “rules of society”, delayed gratification and “indoor voices”, would perhaps do well to remember that we weren’t always so together and we didn’t always have such a firm grasp of what the fuck is going on in this crazy world (erm, still don’t!) and as such maybe consider sometimes giving those smaller, and less worldly wise than us the benefit of the doubt and, while we’re at it, laying off the judgmental looks too, because one day bitches, I’m going to get me some of those lasers, and then you’ll be sorry. Mark my words.
First, hang on for as long as you can hoping with all your might that your boyfriend might make it home in time to help with the process.
When it becomes apparent that this isn’t going to happen wait an extra 10-20 minutes just to be sure.
Finally, when your youngest child is on the brink of Total Meltdown Extraordinaire due to not having napped all day, decide you have waited long enough.
Enter kitchen which looks like it has been ransacked by burglars looking for precious jewels amongst your crockery and utensils.
Refuse to acknowledge said mess as it will only make you weep and beat the counter with your fists. Instead, turn your attentions to the cupboards which are full to bursting with tasty and/or nutritious delights, none of which actually go together to make a sensible meal.
Rummage through the freezer serenaded by the sweet tones of a 19 month old tantrum and rule out everything you come across as taking too long to prepare ( a whole chicken, entirely frozen) or as having zero nutritional value (ice cream).
Happen across a bag of frozen peas and decide on a whim to base your entire meal on them.
Check on your sad, hot, slightly cross 3.5 year old who is lay on the sofa watching WallE after having had his preschool boosters earlier in the afternoon.
Secure small child in laundry basket adjacent to washing machine on spin cycle which not only entertains him but drowns out his protestations. Provide him with a range of clean* (*optional) utensils, not forgetting, whatever you do, to make sure a wooden spoon is amongst them.
Begin to actually cook dinner.
10 minutes later receive instant chat message from aforementioned boyfriend to say he is on his way home.
Resist urge to throw phone in pan of peas.
Add extra of everything in and hope it will all time up ok (clue- it doesn’t).
Turn around to find littlest rugrat has escaped the basket, has thrown a pile of clean laundry on the floor and is sploshing away happily in the dog’s water bowl, covering himself and said clean clothes in manky spaniel-breath water. Yum.
Clean his hands and strap him in highchair. Realise after doing so that you ought to have worn earplugs for that particular activity and possibly body armour also.
Finally serve dinner.
At which point 3.5 year old will decide he needs a wee.
Begin to eat dinner. Trying not to notice exactly how much rice 19 month old is spilling on the floor. Until it becomes deliberate. At which point confiscate bowl.
Realise 3.5 year old is crying upstairs. On investigation this is because his arm is so sore from his jabs that he can’t actually move it to pull his pants down or up. So assist him with toileting needs.
Return to eat (cold) dinner.
Lament that partner’s dinner is also getting cold. So place it in oven to warm.
Give 19 month old a yoghurt and watch with a somewhat detached curiosity as he treats it like body/hair paint.
Then realise this means a bath is inevitable and feel another tiny shred of your sanity ebb away.
Decide partner’s dinner is probably *burning* rather than *warming* so remove it from oven.
Race upstairs and start bath running.
Return to find DADDY’S HOME!
Congratulations, you did it!
So, I’m feeling a little better about the schools issue since my last entry rant. Nothing has changed but just getting it all out helps, in the same way that filling an A4 side of paper with the word “FUCK!” might provide a cathartic release. What do you mean, that’s essentially what I did? Oh alright, it was a little sweary. And once again I lament my decision not to blog anonymously. It would be so freeing to be able to write whatever I liked without worrying about who was reading it. For the most part that’s exactly what I do but there are some things I can’t tell you, like how frustrating I am finding my job right now, and how yesterday for the first time ever I actually felt like karate chopping one of my own children’s heads off. I didn’t. But I felt like it.
You see Rudy has learnt how to scream. Of course babies are born screaming, if you’re lucky, and they continue to exercise their lungs in this way throughout baby toddler and childhood, but I’m not talking about “waaaaa” I am talking about full-on teen-scream-movie-i-know-what-you-did-last-week-and-now-there’s-an-axe-wielding-known-serial-killer-maniac-approaching-me-up-a-flight-of-stairs screaming. It’s blood curdling, ear-drum-shattering stuff and he does it all the time. ALL THE TIME people. Sometimes it’s born of frustration, he utilises it to alert me to times when his brother may have snatched something from him, or perhaps the dog stole his biscuit, or his juice ran out, or he dropped his toy, or his socks and shoes are on his feet and he doesn’t want them to be or vice versa. But he also does it for fun. Like, you know, in moments of pure joy and giddiness, and also when he’s bored in the back of the car. So yesterday he had done it about 6-10 times per hour from 6am through 6pm and my nerves were shot. I got them both in the bath and poured myself what might be considered a generous serving of red wine and just as my shoulders began to drop and my jaw unclench he started up again, but in the bathroom, so complete with reverb. In a flash I saw myself going kung-fu psycho-mum to make the noise stop. But fortunately I have shreds of sanity left at this point so instead called bathtime to a close (always an unpopular decision) and began the process of getting them both ready for bed chasing them both up and down the landing.
Toby has taken to complaining loudly of things that aren’t actually happening. Like you’ll walk past him and he’ll say “OW YOU KNOCKED ME OVER” Usually still standing at this point, and unable to appreciate the impossibility of his claims. As I gently towel dried his hair he started up with “MUMMY YOU’RE HURTING ME! OWWWW!” so I did what any frazzled-to-fuck mother of two small boys might and suggested he might want to dry himself and get his own pyjamas on if he didn’t like my efforts. This was another unpopular suggestion. It seems I’d grossly under-estimated how over tired he was because I’ll be damned if he didn’t commence the biggest meltdown on planet earth, complete with screeching to give his brother’s a run for it’s money and also, and this is a new one- physical violence, punching me on the arm when I was tidying his brother’s bedroom and therefore not looking and didn’t see it coming.
By this point I didn’t even have the energy for imaginary karate, so I just ploughed on and once they were both asleep I consoled myself with a long shower, more wine, and an evening in bed with my kindle. I even lit candles, which when you consider I’d also washed my hair and shaved my legs makes it almost a date, except that Chris was working. So, a date with myself.
Today is another screechy delight. They’re currently “playing together” (fighting over a hula hoop, not the savoury snack variety) hence me being able to hammer this entry out. Later we’re off to the hospital for my dermatology follow up after my mole removal in January. Then tonight I have work. A notion I feel quite violently opposed to since it will involve me being awake for the next 30 hours at least (Chris is in uni tomorrow so no bed for me until 5pm at the earliest tomorrow).
I keep thinking “I can’t do this anymore” about work and then I get a tiny bit of sleep and it seems more bearable and then I have a week of walking around like a zombie and I’m back to “this isn’t working out” again.
It’s not just the sleep thing, although that does play a huge part, but without anonymity I can’t share too much about work apart apart from to say it’s not the babies, or the families, who for the most part I love and feel honoured to care for, it’s just everything else that comes with it.
Alas, the hula hoop has now been discarded and Rudy is eyeing up the coffee table as climbing apparatus so that concludes this poor excuse for a blog entry.