My children hate me this week. Daddy is away, and they talk about his reign (a benign dictatorship, vs my despotocracy) wistfully, like it was the Elizabethan Golden Age. ‘No one shouted when Daddy was here.’ ‘When Daddy was here, we always had sweeties.’ My daughter is a particularly meticulous grudge-storer. She would be recording my every misdeed in her Hannah Montana Secret Journal if only she could hold a pen the right way up. No doubt she’ll turn out a nice line in middle-class misery memoirs in 20 years’ time: ‘Please, Mummy, No More Couscous’; ‘Forced to Brush My Teeth’; ‘Tears before tennis’; ‘No Hi-5 for Hannah’… You never know, the proceeds might pay for me to go into a better class of OAP care home, when she decides ‘the time has come’. As it stands, her father and I will be lucky to spend our twilight years at the local donkey sanctuary, given that we have zero savings, and he’s officially ‘job free’ as of December 14th. Santa’s sack will be a whole lot lighter this year…
Tag Archives: children
• When another child comes for a playdate, you sneak a look inside his/her book bag to find out what level of reading book they’re on. Only to discover that they’re reading, ‘The Norse Myths: Signs and Symbolism.’ Roll your eyes and tut a lot at bedtime as your own child struggles through ‘Biff’s Red Cat.’
• When your five-year-old picks up an interesting stone during a walk in the woods, you seize on it as an opportunity to explain all about flint knapping during the Mesolithic period, a lecture that lasts for around 25 minutes or until blood starts pouring from your child’s ears.
• When it’s your child’s turn to have Touring Ted, the class bear, for the weekend, you abandon your plans to visit Tile Warehouse and go all-out to show Ted the best time ever. And then you stay up until 11.45pm on Sunday to glue pictures of Ted riding a jetski into Ted’s ‘Book of Adventures’ while muttering, ‘Top that if you can, class 3. You’re going to have to take Ted to Narnia and ride a fucking griffin,’ and pressing so hard with the Pritt Stick that you nearly break your own fingers.
My daughter’s Christmas list reads like an Anglo-Saxon poem: it’s about 100 pages long and everything alliterates: Pony in my Pocket playpark; Baby Born, Barbie Bicycle set… What worries me is that although she will pine for an item for months, the VERY MOMENT she has removed the last layer of plastic wrapping, the light in her eyes goes out. What, this old piece of tat? It’s, like, two and a half nanoseconds old!
If there’s such a thing as a compulsive shopping gene, she has it. She’ll be the type of teenager who moons over pictures of belts/boots/bags in Grazia, and is able to read the annoying little captions – ‘Gotta have it!’ ‘Add a pop of colour!’ – without gagging. Worse, she’ll probably drag me round shopping malls when I’m too old to resist. ‘You can never have enough shoes, Mother!’. ‘But I’m in a wheelchair!’
I’ve taken to preceding the handing over of each new toy or treat with a heartrending true story of poverty in the Developing World, in an effort to curb her consumerist tendancies. ‘And so, this little boy’s daddy decided he would make more money begging if he was disabled. So the boy’s daddy broke his arms and his legs, so that from then on he could only scuttle like a crab. Now, here’s your new Bratz doll…’ It kind of takes the shine off things.