Wednesday, 9 January 2008

My head is stuck to the steering wheel

So I'm sitting here with my head stuck to the steering wheel, my forehead actually, and it's beginning to hurt. It's a strange place to contemplate life but that's perhaps the only thing left for me to do; there's nothing much to look at on my lap, the two bawling children in the back of the car mean the radio is rendered useless, and there's no magazine to hand. Life it is then.

The obvious question to ask myself is how come I am sitting in a supermarket car park with my head stuck to the steering wheel? I'd like to think that I could ask myself something deeper and more profound than that but my brain just isn't up to it.

It's just one of those days I tell myself, but I don't really know what 'one of those days' is. If my rather generous and broad definition is correct then nearly every day is one of those days. Child rearing full stop is one of those days. Why didn't anyone tell us? Would we have listened? No, probably not, not much gets through into the understanding bit of your brain when it's barricaded by sweet calm images of sleeping clean babies, bundled into pyjamas all ready to sleep a full thirteen hours straight. Ooh I'd like one of those the fantasy/idiocy part of your brain thinks.

It's no wonder that all the best selling mummy mags concentrate mainly on the horrors of birth and the pain relief options. In other words it's going to hurt ladies, a lot, but here's what you can do about it. In fact go for the epidural and you may only feel a slight sting. They know full well that to cover the horrors of child rearing would be to dramatically reduce their readership. There's no kindly midwife with pethidine/epidurals/TENS machines in the big wide world outside the hospital. No, you just have to get on with it with your brain firmly recording and experiencing everything in real time. The only pain relief is to get your husband to dead leg you, and it doesn't work for long believe me.

No one ever tells you that no matter how awful the birth, the best thing about it is there's an end. Child rearing lasts forever, way way past Christmas. According to older parents even when they leave home you worry about your children, (although I don't believe them, the understanding bit of my brain is barricaded by images of a calm, clean, quiet house and holidays in the sun for two). If the children don't call you they're lying in a ditch somewhere, and if they do it's time to remortgage the house. Again. There's a reason why mortgage is called a mortgage, you've got it until you die.

I digress, I'm sitting with my head stuck to the steering wheel contemplating life. Is that where I was? Am? Either way child rearing got me here, it may be one of those days where it all started with banana mush on the floor and I couldn't cope or it may be one of those days where it all started with conception and went downhill from there.

It did actually start with banana mush, I slipped on it as I moved the high chair and then landed in it in my new jeans, Jack then threw up on my new boots and I knew the day was shaping up nicely. I was late to pick Isla up from pre school so she was crying as I arrived convinced I had left her for good, and continued to cry as she rubbed some chewing gum on my face that she'd found on the bottom of her shoe. I had forgotten to prepare any lunch so had to go to the supermarket to buy something nourishing (a pasty), and drove white knuckled round the car park trying to find a parent and child space. It was at this point that Jack joined Isla in a crying competition and itched rather successfully at his competitive gene. That was it, I looked back at them both, eyes screwed, noses snotty and tears pouring down their faces. Oh what a terrible awful life they were having, or I was giving them. No more, if you can't beat them join them as the saying goes. I screwed up my eyes, stuck my head on the steering wheel and set out to win the competition.

Too late I remembered the chewing gum and now I truly am stuck to the steering wheel. It's been about half an hour now and the car is strangely silent, Isla and Jack are confused and quiet. Excellent. That means I won.

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