28 Jan 2011
in Slightly Insane Tags: Books, Guilt, Kindle
Let me count the ways…
- Your light, light weight that fits into all my handbags. Oh, joy. No carrying of heavy tomes, just millimetres of technological beauty.
- The books! The books! 200 books are held within your light frame. 200! And you still weigh less than my right thigh. Awesome.
- Your memory is far better than mine. You remember what book I was reading, what page I was on, and you go there with just one click. How happy I was to dance around a bonfire of bookmarks. Those vile things that betrayed me the minute the book pages accidentally slipped open.
- No more horror on the faces of other humans as I carefully folded a page to mark where I was. Sorry, folks, I hate bookmarks and feel no remorse for folding a page.
- I don’t have to stop buying books. I can get books for free. I can have as many as I want because they won’t be cluttering up the lounge. YAY
- The husband is happy because he no longer has to hastily hide my crappy taste in books with his educated and impressive ones. Star Trek Encyclopedias hastily covered up with The Readers Guide to George Orwell. Or something.
- I can read as many books at once as I like. You remember where I was. Bliss
- I can write notes INSIDE you. This avoids the “Bugger, bugger, bugger where DID I put my notebook, shit, bugger,” that inevitably followed previous attempts at taking notes.
- Bye bye Dust Bunny because these dudes collect no dust. The Kindle does, though. Still, you can’t have everything.
- Instant Gratification. This is the big one. Sitting in the bush in South Africa? Have a sudden craving to get a book on Hippos? NO PROBLEM. Whispernet and 3G have it to me in seconds. At a coffee shop with a fellow mum? She mentions a book that you MUST read? Open Kindle, get book. No forgetting the title the moment you get home, then forgetting to ask her every time you next see her, and irritatingly only remembering both at midnight when it is too late to do anything.
I love real books. I love them. The way they smell, the way they feel. I ADORE walking into an enormous bookshop with books piled higgledy piggledy across the shelves, where I can get lost in the rows, and every second book is something I need to own.
A morning spent in a bookshop is a morning to treasure. Carefully taking out each book I’ve bought and lovingly re-reading the blurb and carefully choosing which one I am going to start on first, is a pleasure.
So, to compensate for the fact that I have utterly betrayed the medium that has comforted, loved, inspired, excited and transported me, I beat myself with my Kindle cable 12 times before bed.
31 Oct 2010
in Bedraggled Mum, Saffa Tags: Child, Guilt, Husband, Knitting, Mommy, Mother, Saffa, South Africa, Squidge, Tired, Zombie
This whole changing of the clocks thing. Can I just state, for the record, that it bloody kills me? When we change forwards (or is it backwards?) Squidge wakes up at a hideous hour for about two weeks and we stagger around like half-dead zombies of doom.
When we change the clocks backwards (or forwards or sideways) Squidge wakes up at a hideous hour for about two weeks and we stagger around like half dead zombies of doom. Good thing today is Halloween, people will think I am wearing make-up.
See the pattern here? It’s not that I MIND being an exhausted parent, you know. It’s a badge of honour! The bigger the luggage under your eyes, the more hardcore a mum you are. Dammit.
It’s the fact that I have no control over this deranged fiddling about with time. In South Africa the clocks remain niiiice and steady. No mad evil genius twiddling about with dials and controlling time stuff there. Just nice and quiet ticking (sorry) along, year in and year out.
Then I moved here, had a kid, and got confused as to which time zone I was in.
Today was spectacularly mad. The Husband has ambled off to a three day bachelor party in a canal barge on a river somewhere. Alone, I waft about the hallways of the home in a white gown, sobbing. Actually, I’m wearing stripy pants that I LOVE (see pic above) and a white t-shirt and am not so much sobbing as crocheting…
I forgot about the clocks. I did. No clue. SO imagine my GUILT when I got annoyed with my offspring for waking me at 5:30am this morning. Only, she didn’t, did she? NO. She woke me at 6:30. A VERY healthy time and not at all bad.
You see, my child never sleeps beyond 6 really. This entire half term of travelling (update post coming soon) she woke me at 4:30/5am every day. For her to have entertained herself for an hour (she did!) and then call me is so good. And I got crabby because I thought it was 6am.
Stupid clocks. Stupid Saffa Mom. Poor little Squidge.
THIS is why Salvador Dali painted those clocks, I’m telling you. His head was done in by this madness.
20 Sep 2010
in Guest Post Tags: Blog, Child, Cleaning, Guest Post, Guilt
Heeeeeere’s Heidi! This hilarious, brilliant and ever-so-accurate blog comes from the mind of a mum whose sense of humour has me rolling in the aisles on a daily basis. Don’t forget to catch more of her brilliance at Mums Rock.
A mother’s love knows no bounds.
I’ve just wasted an entire morning trying to find out who said that, to no avail. Of course, had I thought about it properly, I’d have realised that there’s probably no living record of the sucker who uttered such unfathomable nonsense.
They were probably hunted down by mothers across the globe and tortured to death. I envisage coven-like cackles as they pinned him down (it had to be a him, right?) and screeched “Feel the bounds of this, sunshine?” as they stuck pins in his eyeballs and laughed while he cried for his Mummy.
Phew. Did someone unleash the Kraken in here this morning? Sorry. Mama needs a little more caffeine to start her day with a smile instead of the fury that comes so naturally.
My point is this: the idea that a mother’s love knows no bounds? Well, it’s just that – a lovely idea – but I just don’t think it’s true. What’s more, it’s Stepford-style brainwashing like this that leaves many mothers so wracked with guilt about their perceived inadequacies that they can’t stop weeping over their failings for long enough to recognise that their charges are alive and not in jail, ergo: job well done.
I can say all this with some confidence because only last week this mother was suddenly confronted with the very real limit of her love. Faster than you could say Wow-that-scene-from-the-Exorcist-was-actually-pretty-true-to-life, every shred of maternal instinct upped and left my body.
Yes, my son was parted from the contents of his stomach in an abrupt manner on the drive home from school and yes, I did run screaming from the car and hide in the bathroom whilst trying to figure out what to do.
See? No sign of boundless maternal love here. Now don’t get me wrong. I would take a bullet for this kid, and have happily endured seasons of great heartache and anguish sometimes purely because I had his best interests in mind. He’s my first baby and to this day I don’t believe a more beautiful baby was ever born (except for his brother, who is his perfect match in the beauty department thing).
He’s funny, bright, kind and wise beyond his years, and a heartfelt hug from him is like nothing else on earth. I love him with every fibre of my being. I do not love donning wellies and rubber gloves to wade through several inches of his regurgitated lunch as it sloshes around in the footwells of my car.
I should have seen it coming and if I’d had the fortitude to encourage him to barf at the side of the road before getting in the car, perhaps I wouldn’t have encountered such an epic fail in the motherly love department. I was greeted at the school gate by the sight of him clutching his teacher’s hand, his face so pale it was practically blue and see-through.
“He says his tummy is sore,” she said, with the empathy that only a fellow mother can convey. I guided him gently to the car and deduced from his uncharacteristic silence and stillness that all was not well. Literally. Even the requisite after-school snack failed to rouse him but at no point did he say he felt like he might pebble-dash the back of the passenger seat or leave partially undigested strawberries lurking in the seat pocket.
And so it was that just as we reached the top of the road, the noise I fear most in all the world erupted from the back seat. For a split second I looked to the skies, and then to the ocean on the horizon, convinced that only a tsunami could be preceded by such aural horror. I glanced in the rear-view mirror and had to do a double take.
His brother started screaming in terror as he beheld the traumatic sight beside him and realised that his toy wrestler, which he’d accidentally dropped moments before, was about to be swept away. All the while I uttered soothing sounds of comfort, assuring my son that I would stop the car in a matter of seconds and rush to his aid. Except once we were stationary the first thing I did was remove his stunned brother from the scene of devastation.
It was like one of those gut-wrenching movies in which a mother has to choose which child to save when faced with impending disaster. The solution was surprisingly obvious to me. Take the one you don’t need full body armour and a nose peg to pick up. I placed him just inside the front door and as I returned to the barfmobile I was hit by – well never mind that’s probably way too much information but suffice it to say my own lunch threatened to make an exit in solidarity with my son’s.
There was nothing for it. I turned on my heel and fled. In my son’s hour of need I momentarily abandoned him. Wretching, I ran to the bathroom where I battled as I have never battled before, desperately drawing on every shred of decency I could muster to arm myself to return to the carnage that awaited me.
Within seconds, with new resolve, I ran to the kitchen like the firefighters in Backdraft returning to face down certain death in the name of saving humanity. I grabbed my Marigolds and silently thanked my mother for insistently bringing a pair with her whenever she comes to visit. And then, in a scene reminiscent of Lord of the Rings when the eagles swoop down to rescue Sam and Frodo, clutched from the jaws of death-by-volcanic-lava, I swooped upon my son and freed him from the confines of his car seat.
Stripping him of his clothes in the front garden, I carried him aloft to the bathroom where I hosed him down and showered him with love and comfort before dressing him in fresh pyjamas and making him a nest infront of the telly.
And then I spent an hour and 45 minutes squished in the back of my car where I wept as I confronted my greatest fear.
This mother’s love knows its bounds. That’s not to say that I stop loving my child when he’s dripping with the contents of his partially digested lunch, of course not. It’s just that my capacity to be a loving mother when faced with the v-word is drastically reduced.
Ok, totally compromised.
And if love is a verb – a doing word, as we learned in school – then being loving is what love is all about. It’s not very loving to weep with horror at the sight of your child demonstrating what a powerful muscle the stomach can be.
Give me those newborn nappies full of inhuman tar-like stuff that you practically have to scrape off with a scalpel any day. I think it all stems from a childhood experience when my cat puked in my lap and then preceded to walk in circles around me, continuing to be desperately unwell, until I was trapped inside a ring of steaming nastiness, squealing weakly for help.
It took some time for someone to rescue me, so at least I’ll be able to empathise with my son when he’s in therapy because of the time he was left alone in a putrid mess of his own making in the car while his mother momentarily contemplated running for the hills.
Joking aside, I do really think that image of boundless maternal loveliness is pretty unattainable. I also think its to blame for everything from the sense of creeping guilt that cripples some poor mums, to the manic sense of rivalry that leads others in a relentless quest to outdo their peers in the maternal perfection stakes. I’m not proud that I’m practically phobic about puke but I am proud that I’m getting better at compensating for my shortcomings.
No-one tells bedtime stories quite like I do, and I choose to believe that my kid is going to recall those magical made-up stories long after he’s forgotten the time I panicked in the face of projectile puke. Forget boundless maternal love that pretends it doesn’t occasionally curl up and die just a little bit – the ability to compensate for one’s shortcomings is what makes a mother truly awesome, in my books.
16 Sep 2010
in Bedraggled Mum Tags: Child, Guilt, Mommy, Mother, School, Squidge
Today was Squidge’s first full day at school. For two weeks I’ve battled with 12pm finishes, two hour work days, and crushing parental guilt as I realise I have No Clue on what to do with her for the entire afternoon (of course, that’s an entirely different post).
Today was a day I was quite excited about. She would be at school full time and I would be able to relax in the evenings instead of working to midnight (cue another shower of guilt).
Things didn’t start out well. Last night she didn’t get to sleep until 8:30pm. This morning she awoke at 6am. Correct. I had to stagger out of bed at 6.11am. It wasn’t pretty. I tried reasoning with her – “Please go back to sleep, honey, it is a long day today and I don’t want you to be tired.”
“NO! I don’t want to gosleep. I want MOMMY!”
So off I trundled downstairs. Her mood was already shaping up to be a doozy. She was clearly not rested enough and in One Of Those Moods. Brilliant.
- Fought because she didn’t eat her breakfast. It took the forcible removal of her Jessie Doll (Toy Story) to get her to sit up and eat her breakfast. There was no way I was letting her go to school hungry.
- Fought because she didn’t eat her cereal anyway, and I couldn’t make her eat it because it had dissolved into a revolting mess that nobody should be forced to eat.
- Made a deal that if she ate some of my bacon and eggs she could have Jessie Doll back, and then fought because she broke her end of the deal. Ever tried spoon feeding eggs to a four year old in a huff? Nuff said.
- Fought because she insisted that Jessie Doll MUST come with her to school and stay in her bag. Obviously I said this wasn’t going to happen and that the best I could do was let her take Jessie to school, and then I would take her home with me. I promised faithfully to bring Jessie with me when I fetched her at 3pm.
- Howled over hair brushing
- Cried over tooth brushing
- Argued over outfit
- Ran back to house halfway to school because she didn’t bring her school bag. Like I asked her to.
- Threw an almighty tantrum in the classroom that involved chasing me around the tables, grabbing at my jersey, pulling my arms, screaming, shouting, howling and some actual tongue pulling because I stuck to my word and took Jessie out of her bag to take home with me.
- Continued yelling and shouting (and completely ignoring my pleas for understanding) until the teacher had to forcibly take her from me and bustle me out of the class. Why? Because I was the only parent left and it was 9:05. School starts at 8:50. Embarrassing!
So, as I staggered home from school, an exhausted and pitiful wreck, I wondered why there wasn’t an ambulance roaring up to me with epsom salts and some wine. Seriously. Did I not look as if I’d just spent three hours doing rounds with a four year old? Sod Mike Tyson. After this I can take him on while making tea.
(I also feel guilty for taking Jessie, for being strict, for saying “No” ALL THE TIME at the moment, for being stressed, for not doing enough with her, for not being a great parent, and for getting crabby with her)
Can I have a badge?
19 Jul 2010
in Bedraggled Mum, Parenthood Tags: Guilt, Husband, Mommy, Squidge, Work
When I came home this evening I was rewarded with the most spectacular greeting in the world. Small, chubby little arms reached out and gave me a hug that involved using all four limbs. With her little arms around my neck, her legs around my waist and big , fat kisses on my cheek and neck, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
Like this article from the New York Magazine, this joy was soon shortlived. You see, it was 8pm and my train had been delayed (again), Husband had barrelled out of the door to get to the meeting he was supposed to have been at 30 mins earlier (thanks to late train), and I had another pile of work to get through.
So, as much as I loved my darling tot for her exuberant greeting and kisses of love, I wasn’t too impressed with having to tramp up and down the stairs for the next hour and 20 minutes to the strains of, “Moooommeeee, I need a cuddle“, and “Moooommeeee, I need a wee“, and “Mooommeee, Dolly’s hairband fell off!”.
While I appreciate the fact that the aforementioned tramping is doing wonderful things to my thighs, it is also eating into the last remaining energy reserves I have left in my battered body. I was up at 6am! I signed off a magazine! I commuted! As her cries became more and more whiny thanks to her over-tired state, my levels of frustration began to seep over my neck and into my skull.
Then I recieved a text. From The Husband.
“Squidge so sad you weren’t home. She drew an amazing picture of you on a train. I did the train outline and the dragon driver (on request) everything else is hers.”
Suddenly all my frustration disappeared in a flash. I raced back downstairs to find her fast asleep wearing her slippers, a doll in each hand and a little snore in her mouth. So here I am, sitting in front of my PC, awash with more emotions than one body should take at any one time. Love, guilt (oh, that horrible, horrible guilt), worry, gratitude and joy.
Did I sound grumpy when I told her, “Go to sleep, young lady, it is way past your bedtime“? Did I not thank her enough for her drawing? Did I do enough? Is she ok with this commute, temporary as it is? Is she going to grow up with issues?
Which brings me neatly to this article. The headline really does sum it up beautifully. Parenting – all joy and no fun. When put like that, suddenly I feel better. I feel as if I am not the only mum wrestling with this madness. I haven’t even begun to delve into the meat of this story. There is a lot there to muse on.
Parenthood can ruin a relationship, it can also bring you closer together. It will definitely test your bonds and, occasionally, you’re going to want to kill your partner. One of my favourite jokes when I was battling through the first six months of sleepless hell was this one:
After you have kids, the only time parents have sex is when they walk past each other at 3am and say, “Screw you.”
Does your parenthood lack fun but bring you happiness? I don’t know about you but, for me, the answer is – sometimes. Sometimes I want to walk out the door, down the road and into the bar. Mostly, though, I just look at her and think, “I made this, me. I did it. Wow.”
P.S. The painting is the very pic posted above…