Posts Tagged ‘The Yawning Abyss of Parental Madness’

The other Sunday, as I was dropping off Mr Justice at a playdate, I found myself grumbling out loud about how I was supposed to be going food shopping next with the other two children and how I resented doing this on the weekend because I could do the shopping with Pixie and Tiddles any day and, any way, weekends were supposed to be different from weekdays, otherwise What’s. The. Bloody. Point. 

Mr C, who politely listened to my little rant, patted me on my arm and gently suggested that I give up the distinction between weekday and weekend because it might make me happier. 

And at that moment, I saw the days stretch out in front of me as far as the eye could see and I almost fell over with the endlessness of it all. It took me back to those early days as a First Time Mother, carrying Mr Justice around a local park, looking at other older children and thinking “The parents of those children survived…” and feeling like I might just not be able to myself because I could hardly breathe through the crush of unrelenting responsibility for this small angry creature from Jim Henson’s Workshop that I was holding.

And that was before I knew the full weight of it. That there would be wave after wave of requests and demands from that small creature – and the others that followed him – for sandwiches without crusts and drinks with heart-shaped ice and a dash of pink food-colouring in the blue-and-white plastic cup and NOT the white-and-blue one, thank you very much, and for comprehensive entertainment programmes for each day without one single minute left unscheduled in case someone actually got Bored for a minute, if you don’t mind, and for new shoes whose soles seem to have worn-through before we’ve even left the shop we bought them in, while you’re at it.

Of course nobody often says those things in italics, but their gratitude is inferred in their smiles and the way that when Daddy comes home they still want Mummy-Books and Mummy-Teeth and Mummy-Huggles, Mummy-Eskimo-Kisses-In-Bed and, of course, Mummy-Poos (which I hasten to add is where I act as Door Sentry while they do the ablutions – oh, why, oh why did I never manage to have just one child who was a Solo-Pooer?).


Nope, I’m clinging to this weekend concept for as long as I can, I said to myself as I drove off with my screaming children in the back into the car. And adhering to the “a change is as good as a holiday” rule, I decided to do my food shopping at a different supermarket.

Nobody can accuse me of not knowing how to have a good time. Nobody.

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The other night, as I was cooking dinner, two alternate scenes kept flashing through my head.

In the first scene, Mr Justice’s little face was all lit up and he was saying “Gee, mummy. This is the bestest meal ever!” while the other children clapped and cheered enthusiastically in the background, all three dinner plates were licked absolutely and utterly clean, and somebody somewhere voted me The World’s Greatest Mum and I got my photo in the paper and everything. 

And in the second scene, Mr Justice was holding his throat and dry-retching, Tiddles was spitting his food into my hand and The Pixie was exclaiming “This is bisgusting!” without even tasting it, while I stood by and prepared to scrape the whole damn lot into the bin and sob myself to sleep face down in my pillow. 

You see, I knew from experience that whenever I try to make something new for dinner and/or attempted to hide vegetable matter in it (like some kind of vegetable-hiding married-to-a-celebrity fool – see “Like Mushrooms for Chocolate“), I always do it hoping for the Best (Scene 1) but thoroughly expecting the Worst (Scene 2). And let’s just say a whole lot of food, untouched by even my children’s forks let alone their lips, gets scraped into the bin.

And, yet, I still persist in trying to extend and challenge my children’s palate. Which is an admirable pursuit, but perhaps not the wisest one on this particularly day I’m talking about, which had seen me almost pushed into the Yawning Abyss of Parental Madness as it was. 

Anyone who has toilet trained a child will know that there are Bad Toilet Days. Even with ostensibly “trained” children, there are still Bad Toilet Days (I shudder to think how many more years I will have to endure those days). And sometimes, like groups of women who know each other really well synchronise their monthly cycles, my children manage to have their Bad Toilet Days on the same day just to give Mummy a Very Special Treat Indeed. 

Tiddles McGee, who is in the initial stages of toilet-training, is having a Bad Toilet Month and has taken to leaving little puddles of piss all around the house all day long. He’s worked out that he’s supposed to pull his training pants down before he pisses, but not yet that he should only pull them down and piss into the toilet and not wherever he happens to be standing at the time. His hot spots, on this particular day, included my favourite cardigan and my husband’s pillow (shhhh don’t tell). And he also made two little “deposits” – thankfully outside – that made Mr Justice shout at him “Tomorrow in class I’m going to have to choose the angry face on the mood chart because I’m angry about all this poo!”. He’s not going to be alone in that, I thought to myself, as I hosed down the pavement in yet another illegal-use-of-a-hose-during-Stage-4A-water-restrictions incident (again, shhhh don’t tell).

The Pixie, in the meantime, suddenly announced she had “done a big fart”. Which was an upbeat way of labeling one of those things in life I really wished had been all hot air and no substance. And so I got to scrub some underpants as well – but hasten to add that the hose wasn’t involved this time, however much I’d wanted to blast them clean with a jet of water from a safe distance. 

And finally, just to top things off, Mr Justice – who has claimed that the Snuffleupagus of spiders is living in the toilet and only comes out when he’s there alone – wanted me to stand in the very confined spaces of the toilet with him while he did his evening ablution. And whatsmore, he wanted me to look at him while he was doing it. Let’s just say it didn’t sit well with me for a whole host of reasons, although, ostensibly he was the one doing the sitting. It’s also hard to smile encouragingly at your child when you’re dry-retching. 

And so, it wasn’t really the best day to go experimenting with new recipes (and ones containing mushrooms at that) but I found that I really truly needed a Big Win in the kitchen to salvage the day – and serving up plain mince along plain pasta just wasn’t going to cut it. So I took the risk. And I’ll be damned if the three of them didn’t scoff the lot down and that Mr Justice really did proclaim it the Bestest Meal Ever and I was saved from falling into that Abyss, yet again. Even the fact that all that food would ultimately turn into poo and wee and I would get to dance the whole merry jig again the next day didn’t bother me one jot. Because at that moment – and that moment alone – I truly was the Word’s Greatest Mum. Quick! Someone take a photo!

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