Friday, 7 October 2011
A bit of background. Littlest daughter has just started big school, I'd been kind of looking forward to/dreading (depending on the mood swing that day) having time to myself.
I don't actually think I have had one day alone yet.
His 6ft frame is there at every turn, loitering, or unloading the dishwasher as I'm frantically trying to make two packed lunches.
I get the tin foil out to wrap the sandwiches in, two minutes later, when I need to use it, it's been put away again.
He goes and gets the girls dressed, one of them comes down wearing a dirty cardigan that had been missing for two weeks, only to reappear yesterday.
'She can't wear that it's dirty.'
'Why isn't it in the wash basket then?' He has a point. But I know it's dirty, and that's enough. I just know; what cardigans are dirty, what to put in the pack lunch box, why I am saving a half packet of crisps behind the bread bin. It makes perfect sense to me, not to him.
That's because he was gone by half seven in a morning and not back until half past six in the evening.
When he was in the office every day I didn't have to justify why I didn't wipe the crumbs off the surface until after I'd done the dishwasher. I mean, this just isn't a conversation you have, yet now I feel I have to justify it because he's telling me I'm a skank for not wiping the surface as soon as I've made a piece of toast.
In fact, I feel like I have to justify my every decision. What I'm having for lunch, why there's no bread in, why I'm on the computer instead of hoovering.
And this, ladies and gentleman, is what is so frightening. Is this what it's going to be like when he is no longer at the office and retired?
Whilst I am dreaming of us relaxing in sunnier climes in our twilight years, he'll be nagging me about not wiping the surfaces and I'll be nagging him about eating a half packet of crisps I'd saved for later.
I can't wait...
Monday, 3 October 2011
My child is pretty 'average' in test terms. Obviously in my eyes, she's anything but average, she's amazing in lots of ways, frustrating in a few ways, but at school she's average. Most of my friends have children who are well above average. They come home with certificates of achievement for an excellent piece of homework, they are in stage 6 swimming classes, you know the type where they wear pj's and dive for bricks. Mine has, after a year, just about managed to hold her breath and move her arms at the same time. It doesn't matter, I shrug to myself, she's still amazing. It's true. Sometimes though, that pushy, competitive mother in me, shoves the hippy out of the way with her sharp elbows, and rears her ugly head. I always feel absolutely disgraced by myself.
But, I'm being honest here. Sometimes it hurts. Really hurts. To see other children run out with their pen licenses and she doesn't have hers, and probably won't for some time. My heart slumped when she got moved down a maths set because she needed to work at a slower pace. It sunk even more when she was so ecstatic about moving down because then she'd be with her best friend. I was so cross at myself for feeling disappointed in her. She is only 7 years old, for goodness sake.
I wonder how it must feel to have a child who is always at the top, or near the top of the class, because I don't yet know what that feels like. And most probably, I won't know, if I'm being realistic about it. I'm not prepared to put her through hours of Kumon and tutoring to get her to the top. Some children are naturally brainy and find things easy, some aren't.
Now I have two children at school, I have double the problem of quashing pushy mum in me down. As my four year old starts full time and I see the little children come out proudly with their reading books, and mine has yet to be given hers, my heart lurches again as she says, 'Let's look in my bag to see if I have a book today!' and the bag is empty, except for a rolled up tissue and a few grains of sand.
Being a parent is hard in many ways, and I think this is just one of them. Managing your expectations for your child. Trying not to push too hard, but just enough. To not feel disappointed when they aren't quite achieving what perhaps you'd love them to achieve. Most of all, it's trying to let the hippy reign, to be happy that they are happy. Peace out guys, peace out...