Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Where There's a Will There's a Way


So have any of you been thinking that I've been a little silent of late? Just a little? Go on, you can admit it, you've missed my comments, my neediness to be read, my general presence in the blogospehere. Or at least I hope you have. I have, for me at least been a little silent of late, not that I haven't been reading you all you understand, just not commenting. It's my own fault, ten days ago I spilt Olive Oil on my laptop, all over the letters hjlkuionmbgt, which as you can imagine are pretty integral to composing a post. I managed to fob you all off a little by reposting a hitherto unread post, but in reality I was stuck. I managed a few messages, hammered out with much frustration, before giving in (I've never been much of a grafter) and allowing you all to do the work and allowing me to sit back and just enjoy. It was quite pleasant really.
Anyway, it's felt like an age, and life is moving on. So what's been happening? Firstly I have a shiny, pink, new laptop, complete with ability to type hjlkuionmbgt which is pleasing. Secondly, I believe Husband and I have finally, painfully, slowly, reached what could possibly pass for adulthood. Forget buying a house, forget having children, forget even consolidating your debt for the first time, we have the ultimate test of adulthood: a will. And we made it ourselves, from a do-it-yourself will pack from WHSmith, in the kitchen. But no empty yogurt pots or double sided sticky tape were used so it looks pretty authentic.
It was quite good fun to start with, we opened a bottle of wine and sat thoughtfully, seriously, thinking about the Big Grown Up step we were about to take, of lives that would be touched, at the thought that our untimely demise would warrant such planning, such preparation, due of course to the importance we play in everyone's lives. It was a sober(ish) moment; one of contemplation and reverence.
Until of course we realised we could write anything we liked. Anything at all! After all weren't we grown ups? Sensible and mature enough to make our own decisions? Yes of course we were, we had all the other grown up things: kids, house, car, nintendo wii fit (unused), so what should we write? We contemplated a couple of scenarios; firstly simply putting All to Edna! and signing it. What fun to watch from the other side as everybody tried to figure out for the life of them (rather than the life of us) who on earth Edna was, and why was she getting our millions, (sorry, thousands, ok then hundreds)? Regard with mirth the Hunt For Edna, the scouring of the birth/marriage/death records for a likely match, the heated, enraged conversations at the dinner table about Edna's whereabouts and likelihood of her handing over the goods to the rightful next of kin. Ah, what a legacy to leave our beloveds; a never ending treasure hunt.
We also contemplated confessing that the jewel heist was hidden at Husband's best friend Matt's house so that we could watch the police prepare their raid, barge the door at dawn and rush in yelling, police! stand back! The icing on the cake of course (although we couldn't state this in the will, it would give the game away) would be Matt caught, boxers down, mid coitus, shaking violently and whimpering innocent, innocent as a stunning woman whom he'd been courting for years looked up, removed herself from the clinch and silently dressed, never to be seen again. Years of courting down the drain. Excellent.
Obviously, we didn't put any of this, why bother when we're not sure at all that we''d get to watch it all? We did though have to make all the surreal decisions about what happened to whom in the event of us passing. It was a pickle I can tell you, the opportunities to offend were everywhere. Every corner we turned presented us with another what if? case scenario where someone we loved/tolerated would be incredibly offended at our decisions. Until that is (cue second wide eyed revelation of the day) we realised that it didn't matter; we wouldn't be there to offend anybody. Ha! What a way to cause trouble with our relatives and get away totally scott free! The opportunities were endless. Pick a relative, any relative and say whatever you like, they can't ever ever answer back! Now that's what I call entertainment value.
In fact, thinking about it, I could have more fun than I ever imagined. I could admit to anything, (anything!) and get away with it. What was My Mother going to do about it? Ground me? No! Ha! No more grounding ever! For me or Husband. At last! A way to rid myself of my sins, cast out the fire of wrong doing and start again, clean and renewed. I would tell her about the time Shirley the-Competition criticised her flapjacks at the Church fete because she'd found a plaster in the middle of one. My plaster. Put in deliberately. Or I'd tell her how I'd always secretly agreed with dad about the kitchen wallpaper - it did remind me of slime, or about the time she found an image of our dog Barry in one of her chrysanthemums and sent me to the post office to send it to the readers section of the Daily Mail. I never sent it. I was too embarrassed to write chrysanthemum with image of our dog Barry on the contents section of the parcel label. My Mother stopped taking the Daily Mail after that. Every cloud.
I could even, even, (huge gulp at the posiibilities of life after death) haunt her, appear in her dreams as a phantom voice, wake her in the middle of the night as a ghostly apparition floating ghoulishly at the end of the bed. Crikey I could even swamp her in ectoplasm a la Ghostbusters and watch as she lamented ever discussing my first period with Dan Hutchin Crush Of All The First Years.The possibilities stretched out like a long, glitter filled road, of redemption, revenge, and best of all no consequences. Life, it seemed was finally worth living. What a bargain; life lessons, revenge, redemption and a new appreciation for the Joy of Living. All for £2.94 from WHSmith.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Losing It*

My friend from school came up to me this morning, and before you laugh, yes, I have a friend, we've bonded over finding the whole talking outside the school thing quite challenging. So in true friendship fashion we sit each morning in our respective (warm) cars and ignore each other and everyone else until we absolutely have to get out. Only then do we chance a quick smile and chat as we usher in our children.
Anyway, she looked worried. Just this morning, she confided through the corner of her mouth, she'd lost it with her boys. Shouted. Screamed. And get this she whispered, thrown all their toys out of the window. The fear was palpable, the light sweat on her forehead belying the cool exterior of the mummy-out-and-about.Fair enough this was good going for before 9am, but really, toys out the window? That's nothing! I've torn heads off Barbies, thrown perfectly good princess tippy toe shoes in the bin, thrown toys out of the car window (there's a lot of throwing it feels really good), made an Easter egg sandwich and thrown (yes) it onto the table shouting 'there's you bloody dinner, happy now?' And before you phone social services, I don't know any mother that hasn't done similar things.It's just what happens, it doesn't do the children any harm (well none that they can't see a therapist about later on), in fact, we tell ourselves, it's good for them to see that mummy has a line (a good line in throwing especially).
I was listening to an awful, pompous man on the radio the other day and he was chatting to a woman who was worried about losing it with her sons, apparently she shouts at them. Shouts. Okaaay, I was waiting for the next bit but there wasn't one. Shouts? That's nothing! I've.. (see earlier list). Anyway the point of this bit is that the pompous I've-never-stayed-at-home-on-my-own-with-the-children-day-after-day-while-other-people-get-to-be-citizens-of-the-world man asked her is if she would ever lose it public, say in Boots? No, she replied, well then he said, you can control it. Sorry? The taste of chalk and cheese stuck painfully in my throat. Boots? But there are so many more options available in Boots. Shelves and shelves of things to accidentally sweep to the floor (I've managed a whole aisle), shopkeepers to smile at as you drag your child away from the teletubby bubble bath into the corner for a good shouting at. In fact you can feel like a good mummy in Boots (and it doesn't have to be Boots either, I've done it lots of times in Thorntons). Look, you are saying as you raise you voice without embarrassment, I'm a zero tolerance mummy, I stand up to my children and Lay Down The Law. Hoorah for me, you won't be seeing me on Super Nanny, (though you're hoping that they didn't see last Summer's episode that you starred in, and have obviously failed at miserably hence the Boots/Thorntons tantrum).
You see, when you're out in public it's not other people that stop you losing it and carrying out bizarre and, let's face it, pretty stupid punishments (it took me ages to glue Barbie's head back on, and Easter egg sandwiches have had to become part of the weekly menu), it's that other people mean company, freedom, space. A good disciplining can be admired, taken note of, I'll try that shouting-in-the-corner-thing myself you can hear people thinking, I'd look really good doing that. At home there is nobody around to admire your handiwork, and nowhere else to go but bizarre. Four walls leave you with no option , when you've tried everything else, sometimes you have to lose it, let it go, take it out on Barbie (you never liked her anyway), do whatever it takes to lose control without actually losing control. It's the only way. And if you don't agree then you don't have children.
My brother in law, Alec, has been staying with us for the last few days and I haven't lost it once. Not because I'm being polite, we know each other far too well, but because I've had some company. I don't mean to insult Isla and Jack here, they're lovely company, but it's been nice to have some that I didn't also have to feed/wipe/bath/nappy (although it's been close, he's not that domesticated). He's been someone to chat to (at), he's played with the children while I 'got on with things' (oh how blissful to actually get on with it all), he's played with Jack to stop him crying instead of me holding him in one arm, pushing the dummy in with the other and stirring the sauce with my toes. He's even read stories, made mud pies, tickled, played 'you can't catch me' for two hours and generally entertained in the manner of Koko the Klown all day. It's been great, everyone should have a visitor that isn't child-jaded (it took him going to South Korea for a year but still). It has, in a nutshell, been blissful. And it's going to carry on for sometime, I've hidden his passport.

*Reposted for Fiona, with love

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Cutting The Ties That Bind


So it's new year, new start, new decisions. And we're still at that old chestnut of a dilemma about Husband's forthcoming vasectomy. It's not a dilemma for me obviously, it's the natural, easy decision to ensure our child rearing is restricted to the two we chose, but it seems that Husband is still undecided. Actually undecided doesn't really do the situation justice, denial is probably the best way of representing Husband's state of mind; denial and procrastination. Excellent.
The thing is, it's almost impossible to discuss it with him, bring the subject up (in all senses of the word) and he cowers in the corner, whimpering like a damp dog confronted with the hair dryer. He then recounts excuse after excuse as to why he should be left intact and as nature intended him (I always point out that he's ginger and nature probably didn't intend for him to reproduce at all, so he's damn lucky he got me and my willingness - within reason - to mate with him). The worst is that his boss had it done last year and has spent the last twelve months regaling Husband with tales of cow-pat-like scrotums and John Wayne walks to the off licence for a ball numbing beer. Husband's fear stems from hearing about the injections where nobody should ever be allowed to inject. I point out that he's very keen for the dog to have it done, and even teases him about how he should make the most of being virile before the vet loads his syringe. But Husband says that dogs were born to have it done, it's responsible, whereas removing his own virility may affect the future population's ability to include ginger in their gene pool. I'm considering conducting a survey to establish whether this is a primary concern for the local community. I'm guessing it's probably pretty low on the agenda, at least behind the spaceship landing area someone has proposed for the local park.
Anyway, Husband has been trying to find alternative ways to ensure us a two child only future but short of tying a knot in it and abstaining completely (I've offered to take a lover should he choose to do this, sometimes I'm all heart) there really isn't anything he can do that isn't ultimately up to me. He came home on Friday in a state of high excitement however. Helpful Boss had told him about the male pill and suggested this as an alternative to the looming purple melon scrotum he was about to have inflicted. Damn. The male pill is something I've been keeping under wraps as much as possible. The male pill involves a certain amount of personal responsibility from its imbiber, at the very least a memory capable of, you guessed it, remembering to take it daily at the same time of day. That's three things to remember: Take it daily, take it at the same time each day, and remember that you actually have to take it. No chance. This is a man ladies and gentlemen who was told by the dental hygienist that he has an infected gum and needs to do a salt rinse every night. He was told this three months ago. He's remembered his salt wash, ooh about zero times, even with a bloody, swollen gum to remind him. How on earth is he going to remember the Pill except perhaps at a time of heightened ardour (when I promise you I at least will remember it, and also remember the fifty two pills he's forgotten in a row). This is a man who routinely leaves one or both of his children strapped in the car on arriving home. Only discovering their absence after he has entered the house, made himself a cup of tea and realised there's nothing on TV. So would I trust our family planning to this Man. In a word, no.
So we have to discuss it sometime, but he won't even let me use the word Vasectomy in his presence. It's been hard going trying to think up an alternative name that is acceptable: your little procedure results in squeals of denial about there being nothing little or procedure like about the Major Testicular Surgery I am trying to get him to have. Lopping your balls off lasted for about five seconds (I thought it was good: precise and to the point and most importantly hilarious. To me.). I can't use snip because it's what Isla likes to do with scissors and evokes visions of child-surgeons and blunt nursery scissors. So I've plumped for when you go for your third child prevention surgery which has been reasonably successful. I think because it reminds him of the logic behind the little procedure (it's my blog I'll call it what I like, and besides compared to childbirth it is a little procedure, crikey the needle's tiny!). It really is the only assured way to a safe, easy, small car owning, two child future. Put it like that and it makes sense, it's the sensible, the sane, the downright responsible choice for sensible, sane, downright responsible families. Wonderful, decision made. Oooh I can't wait to lop his balls off.