The Mummy Puzzle

“I’ve lost someone somewhere, not sure how
But I turned and she’d gone – she’s missing now.
I liked her, I think, and I’d like to re-find her –
Can anyone help me, give me a reminder?”

“Hush little Mummy, don’t you cry
I’ll help you find her”, said a butterfly.
“Let’s have a think, how big is she?”
“She’s bigger”, I said wryly, “than she used to be”.

“Bigger than you? Then I’ve seen your lady!
Come with me, over here where it’s shady.”

“No no no, that’s an elephant!
(Though the size is right, that you I’ll grant)
The woman I knew wasn’t a wrinkly hunk
Her skin wasn’t grey and her eyes weren’t sunk.
She didn’t have snot stains up to her knees,
And could pass the fridge without snaffling cheese.”

“Thinner, you say? Then she’s very near
Quick little Mummy! She’s over here!”

“No no no, that’s a slithery snake!
(A fashion faux pas she would never make).
The woman I knew wouldn’t dress like this –
Nor be covered in spit-up, or eau de piss.
She didn’t dress in her wardrobe’s dregs
And on occasion she’d even shave her legs.”

“It’s legs were looking for now you say?
I know where she is then, come this way!”

“No no no, that’s a spider!
(She wasn’t this scary to your average outsider).
She wasn’t disgusting, or hairy or fat,
She never had as many legs as that!
She wasn’t bogged down in a tangled web
And could rise above her lowest ebb.”

“So she lives above? You should have said!
The woman you seek us above your head!”

“No no no! That’s a parrot!
(You’d be better at this with cards of tarot).
She had eyes and tits that didn’t leak,
And her ears weren’t assailed with squawks and shrieks.
She wasn’t tied down- she could spread her wings
And her well-slept steps had plenty of springs.”

“A ha! I’ve got it! She leaps about?
She’s just round the corner, without a doubt.”

“No no no! That’s a frog!
(The woman I seek didn’t live in a bog –
She didn’t much like poo at all,
And bodily fluids used to make her bawl).
Butterfly, Butterfly please don’t joke –
I’m here talking to insects to keep me afloat!
She knew what she wanted, before she got muddled
And pitied the people around her who struggled.”

“She was sure you say, and even serene?
Then just over here, this woman I’ve seen!”

“No no no – that’s a bat!
(It’s asleep upside down, you fluttering twat!)
Why, oh why are you getting it wrong?
Can’t you see that my patience is no longer long?
I did say she had wings – so that’s a good call,
But even in those days she wasn’t that small.”

“So your woman is big – let me think…
She’s down by the river having a drink!”

“No NO NO! That’s the elephant again!
(As a therapist I’m scoring you 0 out of ten)
Butterfly, Butterfly can’t you see?
None of these creatures have EVER been me!”

“You never said the woman in question was you!”

“Of course I did! And I thought you knew!”

“I didn’t know, I couldn’t you see,
I’m just a butterfly – why talk to me?”

“You’re right, my annoying wee fly of butter,
(And clearly round here you’ve monopolised nutter).
Bugger off now and go drink some nectar –
You’re not qualified for the counselling sector!

“I may be a-flailing but I’m not yet full-drowned
I may have lost someone, but something I’ve found –
That my heart holds more love than I knew existed;
That I’m strong in more ways than could ever be listed.
That happiness isn’t a night on the tiles,
And no one’s immune to a baby’s first smiles.

“She’s definitely lost, that woman before –
But I think if I found her I’d find her a bore.

“Yes she had continence, self care and career,
(While I still have bowel hanging out of my rear),
But did she have snuggles and cuddles and gurgles?
Could she interpret what’s meant by the faintest of burbles?
Could she soothe any hurt with merely a kiss?
Was she somebody’s everything, all they could wish?

“She could wee on her own – and that might be nice
She could stay up past ten without thinking twice.
But she didn’t have small hands to hold in her own
Or endless play phone calls to make on play phones.
She didn’t hear ‘Mummy I love you, you know’,
Or ‘Mummy, you’re funny, come on, it’s your go’.

“I’m afraid, on reflection, she must remain lost
That woman I knew, who still coiffed and flossed.
She wasn’t as tired but she wasn’t as blessed –
And maybe that’s why I was put to this test.

“So you did help me Butterfly, after all,
To see some of the good stuff I couldn’t recall.

“Maybe she’ll come back one day in the future
But right now I’ve found being me now is SUPER.
I’m no longer puzzled and I’m no longer lost –
Lepidoptera advice? I’d rather get sloshed!!”

And with that I turned and sashayed to the door,
(An exit marred slightly by the toys on the floor).

Mumonthenetheredge

International Women’s Day – a reminder

So today is International Women’s Day. This year we’re being encouraged to #BeBoldForChange.

It’s hard to know how to effect change, when in the UK at least – in theory at least – women are doing pretty well. And it’s hard to be bold when you’re so fucking busy and so fucking tired.

So in all honestly, International Women’s Day nearly passed me by. And I wasn’t going to write anything about it at all, until my biggest small daughter said something to me that rather shook me.

And made me realise I do still need to Be Bold For Change, in my own life – for her sake.

Post-parents evening, the Big Small and I discussed how important it was to be kind, and to be happy. And how those things – at which she is by all accounts doing fairly well (at least at school) – are far more important to her father and I than her reading or writing – which she’s bobbing along with. (We happen to think it’s much easier to learn the latter than the former).

We also talked about how important it is to look for kindness in our friends. At which point the Big Small told me her Best Friend (a child I am already wary of) was very kind, because, and I quote: “She always says sorry after she’s hurt me.”

This warranted further investigation. And for reasons beyond my understanding, it seems my five year old has adopted the phrasing, compliance and rationalisation of a victim.

And I blame myself. Which is basically the problem in a nutshell. I blame myself, AND SO DOES SHE.

It reminded me, on a rather opportune day, how important it is to teach our girls their own worth, their own value. How important it is to teach them to acknowledge their feelings, trust their instincts, expect respect, express their thoughts, raise their voices, speak out, ask questions – of others and themselves – and support each other to do the same.

It reminded me how easy it is to diminish yourself. To apologise first. To deflect compliments. To prioritise being liked. To take the blame. To be quiet and keep the peace. Self deprecate, play it for laughs, take it on the chin, take a joke, take a back seat, wait your turn. Be grateful rather than demanding. Smile when you don’t mean it – when you don’t feel it inside.

All things I’m afraid I do (that many women do) and that my daughter is learning from me. Just as I learnt it from my mum, and she from hers.

It reminded me how women can be the greatest enemy of women. How sad and unnecessary that is. How bullying starts, and how I need to start watching for it. How they – from so very young – create social hierarchies. And how ‘hierarchy’ is just another way of saying ‘inequality’ – which brings us right back round to International Women’s Day, and why we need it. Why I needed it this year.

I needed those reminders. I needed to remember that parenting isn’t just about making packed lunches, and reading practice, and teeth brushing. There has to be intent, and thought, and vision. And I too often lose that in the day-to-day grind. In the minutiae I lose the bigger picture of what I’m trying to achieve – what I want for my daughters as they grow into women.

I want my daughters to be kind, but I also want them to be bold. I want them to campaign for change, not just accept the status quo. I want them to see injustice, and act on it. I want them to follow the rules, but not do so blindly – to push at the boundaries that hem them in. (Even if they’re my boundaries).

I want them to be empathetic, and I want them to be strong. I want them to be confident but not entitled. To be firm but not mean. I want them to compromise, but not cave. To give without giving anything up. To be themselves – without apologies.

To be vivacious and vivid and vital – not vacillating, not vague… and most certainly not victims.

Basically like pretty much every woman from every generation from every corner of the world, I want my children to have more than me – to BE more than me. More sure. More confident. With more choices, more control, more opportunities.

More EVERYTHING.

But for many mothers, in many places, that is not possible. And for me – a woman of significant privilege – it is obviously still fucking hard to achieve.

Because I need to live that vision and lead it at home. And I don’t. Most days I am too tired to fight, or plan, or even think. I just do. And I worry I’m doing it wrong.

I have struggled often in parenthood with remembering who I am. Who I want to be. The mother I want to be. The employee, the wife, the woman; the example I want to set. I haven’t yet found the balance or the answers.

Today I have been inspired to look harder. So my children don’t have to.

And I can start by celebrating women, myself, and my daughters. By showing them women of strength, of boldness, of change – of solidarity. By accepting the compliments. Demanding respect. Being respectful. Admiring my reflection. Sharing my triumphs. Choosing kind. Not saying ‘it’s fine’ when it’s not. Not starting sentences to workmen with ‘I’m sorry’. Showing them my friendships within family time instead of outside it, post-bedtime, where they can’t see how it’s done. By not humouring bigots and bores. Not feigning interest or ignorance to set people at ease, to keep a conversation going, to avoid an awkward silence. Saying no. Saying yes. Taking risks. Being confident. Laughing loudly.

Because I do know this: I don’t want my daughter to think it’s okay for people to consistently hurt her, just because they say sorry afterwards. I know that way danger lies. And I know it’s a danger that still applies more to women than it does to men.

And whether this is a big issue or a storm in a friendship teacup, it is most certainly a reminder. And above all else it reminded me why today is important, and relevant, whether we have girls or boys. Whether we are mothers or not. Because we are women. And we still have ground to gain and assumptions (including our own) to un-ingrain. We must remain vigilant.

So to all of you, all your tiny women in waiting – and the tiny men who you are bringing up to champion them – I wish you a very Happy International Women’s Day.

Sorry it’s a bit late.

I was busy.

Mumonthenetheredge

xxx

#InternationalWomensDay #BeBoldForChange

The @851 Cafe Angels

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I have always been the world’s very worst stay at home mother – especially when I was off on maternity leave. This is basically because I cannot bear to stay at home with my children.

There is literally nothing I dread more than being stuck within my own four walls, in the company of my own offspring. This is why from very early in their lives both of the small people have been dragged around Sheffield attending myriad baby classes, groups, museums, libraries, parks etc and blah.

The fact is that to this day I remain a far better parent in public than I am in private. This is due largely, I believe, to the fact the routine of social niceties and the momentum of perpetual motion have often been the only things holding all my pieces together – especially on the very darkest days of parenthood.

The poonami days. The reflux days. The zombie days. The screaming days. The desperate days. The days when you’ve failed yourself and your small people over and over and over again.

If everyone is getting on each other’s last nerve, if the baby can’t get out of it’s scream-funk, if you can’t get out of your own head – if you can’t get anyone out of the day’s rotten rut – for the Lord’s sake do yourself a favour and just GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.

And the place I have always ended up more than any other is the @851 Baby Cafe off Ecclesall Road South.

It’s a proper family business run by three generations of seriously lovely women. And it’s so SIMPLE. It’s so simple I can’t understand why there aren’t more of them in every neighbourhood in every town.

It’s just a cafe, with a toy corner, a buggy park, and a whole bunch of high chairs. Now here’s the really genius bits:

  • It’s got wipe clean floors and seats.
  • It’s got parking right outside (two hours only, be warned).
  • The radiators are off the floor away from little hands.
  • They serve kiddie food – simple sarnies, beans on toast, veggie sticks and half-portion baked potatoes.
  • They’ll warm your milk or baby food for you without complaint (I’m looking at you Costa Coffee – get a freaking grip!)
  • They even CLEAN THE TOYS AND THE BABY CHANGE so you don’t have to worry about your little darling contracting impetigo or tetanus from the ingrained grime and crud you find on your average public change table/toy box (radical, isn’t it?)
  • They also serve decent coffee, cake and grown-up sustenance.

None of that is really it, though. The true secret of the @851 Baby Cafe is Joyce, Lisa and Sophie themselves.

  • You will always get a warm welcome. I don’t know how they remember everyone’s name and their baby’s name (not an art I’ve mastered), but they do. And they actually mean it.
  • Although it’s a great meet-up place you can walk in solo and be perfectly comfortable.
  • It is also the only public place I ever felt at ease wapping out a boob. (And if the bf-ing is taking a while they’ll look after you with table service).
  • They will serve your tea or coffee without wobbling it dangerously on a saucer directly over your precious baby’s head (still talkin’ about you, Costa).
  • They will hold your baby for you while you go for a wee.
  • They will source nappies and wipes for you from other kind patrons when you are too disorganised to have remembered your own.
  • They will kindly, firmly (and far more effectively than you) call your ratbag/feral preschooler to order when they can see you are too exhausted to keep fighting them and are just trying to eat your damn dinner (thank you Joyce!)
  • They will re-warm your food for you once it goes cold because you’re attempting to feed the children.
  • They won’t judge you on tantrums (yours or your progeny’s) and will even come over to commiserate and distract.
  • They won’t throw their own tantrum if you bring along the only two foods your eejit-fusspot child will consent to consume (as long as you’re buying something – they do have costs to cover), and yes I’m STILL talking about a chain cafe rhyming with BOSTA.
  • They don’t give a blue goat’s gaboozy if you turn up unwashed, covered in spit-up/toothpaste/porridge, and wearing your cardy on backwards (my look of choice).
  • They will always provide a shoulder to cry on, a sympathetic ear, and basic adult human contact.

My only argument with these ladies is that occasionally they have the temerity to go on holiday. The absolute cheek of it.

They also don’t open on weekends, which is a bummer as Dadonthenetheredge and I would really, really like to go somewhere simple and kid friendly at 8.30am (having already been up for 3 hours) to eat bacon sandwiches and look at our phones while completely ignoring both each other and our beloved children. Otherwise known as the holy grail of weekends.

[The reason they don’t open on a Sat or Sun, btw, is that they do kids’ parties. Traditional party games led by ex-nursery teacher Joyce, plus traditional party food and the odd Princess appearance courtesy of Sophie. Completely effortless for you and fab for younger birthdays].

In all seriousness, the @851 Baby Cafe has been an oasis of calm for me in the storm of parenthood. (As long as I remember not to go at lunchtime on a Friday when it’s insanely busy). I have met and made great friends there, eaten my own bodyweight in cake, cried, snivelled, and laughed my pelvic floor into spasm. I think the Big Small Person even took her first steps there.

As we all know, angels rarely wear wings or halos. And sometimes they wear aprons and a smile, and they’re holding a very strong cup of coffee.

Mumonthenetheredge

 

Want to find out more about what’s on for parents and small in Sheffield? Check out Little Sheffield here.

Want more fab reviews of places to go from another Sheffield Mum Blogger? Go visit the brilliant Trips with a Tot here.

Valentine’s Day

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The last Valentine’s day I remember pre-children was spent working, on my own, staying overnight at a hotel in Bristol. This involved an evening meal as the only solo diner in a room full of couples, food poisoning, the realisation at God-awful-o’clock that someone else had already had a personal explosion in my hotel room toilet WHICH HAD NOT BEEN CLEANED, and a 5am start.

Post-children, it’s basically all gone down hill from there.

Dadonthenetheredge and I have now been together for something like 17 years. I am fast approaching a time of life when I will have been with him longer than I was ever without him.

I’m not saying the romance is dead, but it’s definitely in some sort of medically-induced coma. Either that or it’s gone for a really, really long nap.

(Both of which, by the way, are totally unfair, as napping is now basically all I desire in life – and if there are strong horse tranquilisers involved, I FUCKING WANT SOME).

The fact is that love after children does not look quite the same as it did before.

Love now is much less about dressing up, dining out, gazing into each other’s eyes, exchanging gifts, and dancing the night away before getting in some inventive shagging.

It’s more about dressing gowns, take-aways, gazing at the telly, giving each other an early night, and possibly (if Dadonthenetheredge is extremely lucky) getting each other off as quickly as possible before sleeping the night away – or as much of it is left when you have small, restless, early-rising children.

Because sometimes love isn’t an expensive gift – it’s a crappy handmade card from a playgroup.

Sometimes love isn’t sleeping in each other’s arms – it’s sleeping at opposite sides of the bed and NOT BEING TOUCHED FOR A FEW HOURS.

Sometimes love isn’t bringing home expensive Belgian chocolates – it’s bringing home emergency Cadbury’s buttons after a shitty day stuck inside with the kids.

Sometimes love isn’t candlelight and handholding – it’s sitting at two ends of the sofa bathed in the soft light of your separate iphones.

Sometimes love isn’t sex – it’s an exhausted cuddle (often with interlopers).

Sometimes love isn’t a compliment on your outfit – it’s a compliment on your parenting.

Sometimes love isn’t Shakespeare’s sonnet 18 – it’s Julia Donaldson’s ‘Stick Man’. (Again).

Sometimes love isn’t a love letter – it’s a text to say the baby is nearly asleep so you can start the tea.

Sometimes love isn’t holding in a fart – it’s facilitating a private poo so it can be enjoyed without mini spectators.

Sometimes love isn’t a sparkly piece of jewellery – it’s a sparkly bathroom, CLEANED WITHOUT NAGGING.

Sometimes love isn’t a bunch of flowers to be arranged – it’s a bunch of socks to be sorted.

Sometimes love is just doing the washing-up together, even if you’ve cooked, even if it’s not your turn.

Sometimes love is a nap.

Sometimes love is packing the kids off to Grandma’s so you can both spend an evening looking through pictures of them.

Sometimes love is admitting that perhaps the other person IS more tired than you are.

And sometimes, all of that is OKAY.

Love, like everything else in life, changes. Perhaps one day it will go back to being violins and poetry, instead of recorders and nursery rhymes. But perhaps it won’t.

When we looked at the swollen squishy face of the Big Small after her arrival, Dadonthenetherege and I realised simultaneously that we no longer loved each other above all else; and that we also loved each other more than ever.

We realised we hadn’t really known love at all, until that very moment. And that love was very different to what we’d thought it was. (Very likely, Dadonthenetherege and I were the victims of the traitorous hormones that accompany children into the world –  presumably to prevent their parents from immediate infanticide).

Quite clearly, though, since that moment of oxytocin-fuelled revelation, we’ve not always got it right.

Because while all of this stuff is okay, SOMETIMES, sometimes, it isn’t.

Sometimes, Dadonthenetheredge and I get so caught up in loving the children – and in living the draining, debilitating, deforming work/life/guilt/repeat reality of parenthood – that we forget to love each other.

Certainly we’ve found this happily-ever-after shit a great deal harder than the fairy tales, rom coms and Valentine’s cards would have us believe.

Because an awful lot happens after the ‘The End’, after the ever-after, in this ‘middle bit’ of life. And it happens without the adventure and wonder and momentum and PLOT that began our love story. That begins everyone’s love story.

There is a relatively fine line between giving up on the false ‘valentines’ trappings of love and giving up on each other.

Between being comfortable and being complacent.

Between growing together and growing apart.

Between being tired, and getting tired of each other.

Between keeping the peace, and keeping resentments bottled up.

Between focussing so much on your part you forget to appreciate you partner’s.

Between love being blind, and forgetting to see each other any more.

Between pouring all of yourself into the kids, work, friends and family, and leaving nothing but the dregs for your other half.

Between finding your way through this parenting lark, and losing each other in the process.

Between holding it together and holding back.

Between getting on, and getting through – getting by.

And all parents of my acquaintance – if they’re honest – have walked this line at some point in their relationship.

Some people will fall off. Some will fall apart. And some will fall back in love, all at once or bit by bit.

We are led to believe that love is the easiest and simplest thing in the world; that it will trump all else. We are being lied to. It’s hard. It’s about remembering, and trying, and working, and forgiving, and forgetting, and renewing and getting up each day and doing it all again and again and again.

Life, and love, and living, is a FUCKING SLOG.

So this year, I would like to say to Dadonthenetheredge, that after 17 years, I’d still rather spend 14 February with you than over a pre-soiled Bristol loo. (See? Maybe the romance isn’t dead after all!)

This Valentine’s Day, I promise that I’ll keep slogging away at it if you will.  (I can’t make any promises about the fucking. It’s not your damn birthday).

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone doing the middle bit of life. The hard bit. Keep walking the line.

Mumonthenetheredge

xx

Are my children Trump supporters?

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Here is my evidence so far:

1. Placing restrictions on my reproductive rights
There’s very little as restricting on both one’s ability and will to partake in reproductive activities as expelling a whole human being from the reproductive bits in question, the following emotional and hormonal upheaval – and the consequent chronic exhaustion.

I’m pretty sure my Small People also have an inner sensor for the rare occasions such activities are contemplated, as they invariably choose those moments to cry inconsolably – or worse – visit.

2. Placing restrictions on my movements
I am not allowed, for instance, to move out of the line of sight of the smallest Small Person, who views any transgressions (such as weeing or making the tea) as highly suspicious, and an indication she needs to step up her surveillance levels to ‘limpet’.

3. Dislike of strangers
Neither child responds well to new people, especially if they look or dress a bit differently. They particularly disapprove of beards.

Red suits, sleigh travel and jolly laughter are also frowned (and screamed) upon – although this can occasionally be overcome by present-based bribery.

4. Conservatism and resistance to change
My kids like things to stay the same. Back like it was in the good old days – ie. yesterday. Woe betide anyone who interrupts their precious routine/regime. Miss one of the day’s expected milestones – like snack, milk or story – and you should expect…..

5. Meltdowns over perceived slights and wrongs
Today the Small Small was incandescent over the apparent injustice of my cutting up her fish fingers instead of leaving them whole – and hot enough to give her tongue second degree burns. If she could have taken to Twitter to vent her rage, she would have. She settled for throwing the offending fish fingers across the room and lying face down in the hall crying for 30 minutes.

6. They like building walls
They tell me they build the best walls. No one can build walls like they can. They know all about wall-building, and no, they don’t want any advice or assistance. (Their walls, are, by the way, shit).

Although to be fair to them, once they’ve built their walls they usually destroy them immediately afterwards.

7. They are certain they have all the best words
I am still trying to explain to the Big Small that no one is trying to hurt her ‘by a-liberate’. It’s either by accident or DELIBERATELY. This is a losing battle.

She may also be paranoid – also a Trumpism?

8. Gagging freedom of speech
Or at least screaming over it and/or conveniently refusing to hear it.

9. Approbation of and expertise in torture
I have now suffered five years of sound torture, psychological warfare and complex mind games. The worst thing, however, is their practice of unrelenting sleep deprivation.

On an average day I literally cannot remember my own name or speak in full sentences until I have imbibed at least four cups of strong coffee. I wear my clothes inside out to work. (They’ve stopped telling me out of either sympathy, embarrassment or fatigue – so now I find out halfway through the day when my bleary eyes can actually focus on the mirror in the toilets). I honest-to-God tried to feed the cat Cheerios instead of cat food this morning. Earlier this week I left my purse in the damn freezer.

Please send help.

10. Inconsistency
They back track, change their minds with alarming alacrity, and deny ever having held any other viewpoint despite all of the compelling evidence to the contrary.

“I wanted the pink cup! No the blue one! I said pink! Not that pink one! WHY AREN’T YOU LISTENING TO ME??? Bluuuuuueeee!”

11. Poor spelling
The Big Small is new to literacy, and not a fan. On the occasions she is persuaded to read and write, her phonetic spelling is definitely Trump-worthy. She recently put a label on a stuffed cat that read ‘ckety’ (kitty).

12. Repeating catchphrases
Less ‘America First’ and more:
“It’s not fair!”
“She started it!”
“I don’t like my Mummy!”
“Eeew- Diss-gust-in!”
“Nooooooooo!”
“More Peppa Piiiiiiiig!”

13. Pointing
Usually accompanied by “Dat one. Want dat one, Mama.”

14. They don’t believe in climate change
To be honest, they don’t really get the whole weather thing. If it’s raining out the front of they’ll go check round the back. This is consistently disappointing.

15. They peddle ‘alternative facts’ with aplomb
“I didn’t push her Mummy! I just moved her off the sofa with my bottom.”

16. They zealously protect their own interests
Which often leads to:

17. Indifference to domestic violence
Which they practice on each other at regular intervals. (Before attempting 15).

18. They like to grab me by the pussy
Well, ok, not the pussy, I admit. But the arm, leg, boob, hair and neck are all fair game, certainly. And then they just start kissing me. They don’t even wait. They can do anything.

I’m pretty just an object to them.

19. They believe if they behave in an extreme enough manner for long enough, they will either inure me to their misdemeanors or wear me down so I’m too tired to continue to protest them.
Sadly this belief is not without foundation. See no 9.

20. Wild hair
The Small Small, at least, still has some baby fuzz left. First thing in the morning it looks remarkably like a Trump quiff.

21. Pouting
Let’s just say that if my children were to walk into a wall, their bottom lips would hit it first.

22. They think Trump/s is/are pretty clever and amusing

23. Tiny hands

I rest my case.

I think it’s clear that my children are natural born Trump supporters and I am harbouring closet fascists right here in Sheffield.

Either that, or the President of the United States acts like a huge, orange child, and we’re all completely fucked.

Anyway, I plan to swap out ‘The Gruffalo’ for ‘The Communist Revolution’ this evening, just in case.

Remember, we must resist the children, however cute they may be when sleeping. They can take our freedom, but they will never take our… Never mind. They pretty much take everything.

Mumonthenetheredge

 

Carrying you, carried me

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Your downy head rests in my palm,
Tiny hands curled on my chest
And pressed to me impresses
How it’s here we’re most at rest.

Holding you close, keeping you safe –
Where we know you belong
A body kiss, tucked in tight
We’ve learned each other’s song.

Chest to chest and heart to heart
A beating symbiosis
Skin to skin and breath to breath –
Love’s underived osmosis.

For as I marvel at your makeup,
Inhale your sweet head smell
Trace your ear and count your toes,
The oxytocin swells.

The rush is heavy, heady,
Constricting in my throat –
And wrapping you still wraps us both
In devotion, need and hope.

We’re tied together you and I,
The material immaterial –
Because that perfect closeness
Bonds strong, sure, pure, ethereal.

“You’ll spoil that baby, put her down”,
They said, I heard, I hear.
But I know deep down it’s me that’s spoilt,
That much to me is clear.

It’s hard to find the words – explain –
For they can’t know like us,
The calm, the peace, the rightness,
That can soothe all woes and fuss.

The jig, the sway, the miles we’ve walked
All strapped up together.
The colds, the teeth, the reflux
That carrying’s helped us weather.

Dark thoughts and doubts don’t reach me –
I’m whole again, less torn
When you are with me bound and sound,
Less worn-out when you’re worn.

For wearing you it centres me –
An anchor in my storm,
And with you, I am better
Less flawed, restored; reborn.

I’ve worn you like I’d wear a cape
You are my super power –
And with you I have blossomed,
A mum come into flower.

And now you’re big you don’t require
The comfort of our sling
But it helped us connect, reflect,
And it helped us both to win.

I miss you early, on these last ‘ups’,
Storing up your imprint,
But I’m so glad I carried you
And listened to that instinct.

Carrying you, carried me,
Through dark hours night and day
And holding you it held me, too
In a place I want to stay –
To a me lost on the way.  

 

‘Go Away’ snow

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I’d love to be one of those happy clappy super-fun snow parents, but I’m not. It’s cold, it’s wet, it takes far more preparation than my small brain can reasonably be expected to organise, and it makes my life unnecessarily complicated.

I HATE the snow.

And I hate it more than usual on this particular occasion because it has exposed me as being more than usually stupid.

I didn’t take the predictions of snow very seriously yesterday. I looked at the weather forecast, you see, and saw it said 1 percent chance of snow. Ah hah! I thought smugly. Other people may be forecasting doom, but not so the trusty MET!

Unfortunately I seem to have confused the symbols for ‘percent’ and ‘degrees’. Yep. The actual forecast was for 1 degree temperatures in Sheffield, with a 90 percent chance of snow.

Idiot.

One of the things I hate even more than snow is NUMBERS. I’m a words girl. And lists or rows of numbers (as on a forecast) simply make me panic. Numbers jump about and do frightening things. Like add up, for instance. (Just not for me). I have genuinely once asked my husband why a pub we were in had an under 21s menu. (It was under 12s).

The numbers aside, I have to say that do I NOT find snow fun. I find snow stressful. I am the world’s worst driver – and that’s without extra steering and vehicular control challenges.

Because I cannot operate a car and look where I’m going at the same time, I drive an automatic – and because I frequently scrape and bump into inanimate objects and don’t know which way to turn the wheel in reverse, I drive an ancient rubbishy automatic that Dadonthenetheredge isn’t too distraught about me slowly trashing over a number of years until it’s worth nothing but scrap.

It is not a good car in the snow.

Dadonthenetheredge did get me some snow socks for it, but we both agree that I am more likely to end up running myself over in an East 17 tribute than I am to successfully apply them.

(Don’t worry Sheffielders, I’m wasn’t on the roads this morning. Other days I can’t vouch for, mind).

I also naturally WALK on snow in a terrified little old-lady shuffle, the one style of walk GUARANTEED to make you fall over and break a hip. Fact. I have tried to stride forth as normal, but as I have neither grace nor balance under normal traction conditions, for some reason I can’t make myself do it. My body literally won’t respond to my commands – which is a bloody weird sensation.

Fortunately a year or so ago I discovered those spikes on elastic bands, which have literally CHANGED MY LIFE. If anyone ever asked me about the greatest human invention, I would not dwell even momentarily on the wheel, iron, electricity, DNA sequencing, computronics, etc, I would cite rubber bands with spikes as the true pinnacle of scientific genius.

Even the magic grips, though, cannot help me with transporting the small people around in snowy conditions.

I live on the top of a big hill, above the snow line. The main roads might be totally clear, but getting up and down my hill is a bloody nightmare. Which means you look like a total twat when trying to explain to sea-level school/work why you can’t get in.

The Big Small is now big enough to go on foot, but the Small Small is still an issue. It’s too far for her to walk to school, too snowy for the buggy, too slippy for the sling, and not snowy enough for the sledge (which if it was snowy enough would go down the hill too bloody fast anyway).

How the Dickens are other people doing this??? Seriously, any top tips on moving small people in winter weather would be gratefully received!

Today I offered Big Small the option of staying home with me and the Small Small or going to school with a very kind neighbour. She didn’t pick me, which is damning indictment of my parenting, but evidence of a commendable sense of self-preservation, as we’d have all fallen out by lunchtime stuck at home together.

Let’s all hope the snow f*cks off until next year.

Although – given that it’s only January – I imagine the probability of that is less than 50 degrees….  

Mumonthenetheredge