Woman seeks cave

Earlier my Mum and I took my daughter and son shopping. I don’t know why my daughter behaved like a foul ungrateful teenager but the experience was hideous. Nothing was good enough. When she finally found some trainers she liked they weren’t in her size and no she didn’t want to wait for them to be ordered online. When we decided to leave her to browse down one aisle so we could keep baby boy entertained in another then went back to check on her she spat out her contempt that we were ‘checking on her’ and could we please ‘go away’ (although not sure if she said please). She moaned the entire time we looked at clothes for me,( back to work clothes ) and then moaned that she wanted to go home after my Mum had bought her dinner.

My Mum and I realise that we should have just given it up as a bad idea and left with nothing, giving daughter an important lesson in how not to behave. But we didn’t want to ruin her day, or ours for that matter.

Baby boy presented his own issues but only insofar as picking up random objects and putting them in the trolley – but that was his version of little boy entertainment in a supermarket so he did well. 

When my husband ‘had words’ with her later she said she was tired and that was why she was grumpy. Part of me accepts that but part of me doesn’t. It’s just those damned thing called hormones turning my daughter from Famous Five’s Anne to Roald Dahl’s Veruca Salt overnight.

My Mum then said on the way back that I had to make sure baby boy didn’t copy his sister when she was being rude. I replied by saying that parenting at times is too hard a job and that actually I would like to crawl into a cave.

But, in the absence of a cave nearby, I just settled with putting them both to bed, drinking tea and writing this blog post.  

This blog is for UNICEF, thanks for reading. 

Crying over Charlotte

My daughter has just finished reading Charlotte’s Web. Well I should say we have just finished reading it. Being six and a half, my daughter has an attention span long enough to listen to a chapter a night. So every night I have dilligently read each chapter and, in doing so, have rediscovered the pleasure of reading children’s classics. I recall reading the book as a child but the only bit I remembered was that something sad happens to Charlotte – why do we always remember sad memories better than happy ones?

In Chapter 21 Charlotte dies. The prose is very moving as the spider takes her last breath and I am struggling to read the book like someone reading an epilogue of a loved one’s life at a funeral, blubbing all the way through. I turn to my daughter expecting her to be equally moved and she is grinning at me like a cheshire cat. “It’s only a spider Mummy, you are such a baby!”.

There have been few instances when I have cried and my daughter has found it hysterical. We were watching a programme about Zoo animals and the vet “sadly had to put Imogen the giraffe to sleep as she wouldn’t get up once the anasthetic wore off” (I found it hard to believe that that was the only solution but what do you do when a giraffe won’t get up?) Anyway they started playing a sad song and that was it, I was blubbing like a good’un. “Oh Mummy” my daughter said, “She was old and the zookeeper has her babies to look after now, it’s OK”. I couldn’t believe my ears, talk about role reversal. Are we going to be like Saffi and Eddie out of Absolutely Fabulous where she is the Mum and I the child?

Maybe its my age. My daughter does seem to be able to control her emotions rather too well for six. Maybe I should be worried about that?

Anyway,back to literature…..Through my daughter I am re-discovering old classics and I am loving it. At the other end of the spectrum I am reading Peepo Baby to my 10 month old and am enjoying that too. The Ahllberg’s illustrations are enchanting because of the little things – the coal in the back-yard, drying the washing on the stove door, teapots in teacosies, a rainbow rimmed mirror and granny living next door. You can almost hear the theme tune to Dad’s Army as you read it. My son loves it because he can poke his chubby fingers through the peepo holes.

It just goes to show that books are enjoyable at any age and that it is not too early to read to kids. I am looking forward to starting the Harry Potter series soon (I missed out when it was first published) plus the Secret Seven, Famous Five et al. I’m also glad I saved my Classic Adventures series carefully collated week by week in my early teens along with a magazine on the storyline. My dad used to save them for me when I went to his for the weekend. There  must be at least fifty of them – some of which I haven’t read because I didn’t get round to it. They are stored up on the top shelf of our bookcase and occasionally my daughter stares at them wistfully imagining being old enough to read them (the text is a bit small).

I just need to toughen up a bit – Black Beauty is next and I don’t fancy my chances of getting through that without a Kleenex.

I am blogging every day for Unicef. I am aiming to generate £1 a day. If you are able to lend your support, please visit my fundraising page.