Monthly Archives: April 2005

And they call it puppy love…

Last night was an unqualified success.. if this morning’s “Could we do that again sometime?” was anything to go by. I picked up two extremely excited young people from school. If I was contemplating adopting a girl as my third child, I may have changed my mind – when excited they talk even more and with even sillier voices than boys, I discover! But Angel-girl is definitely a sweet child – what on earth does she see in my son? 😉

The best laid plans of mice and mothers are easily thwarted by the cinema changing its programme on a Friday. Valient wasn’t on. In fact, nothing at all was on at 5pm. Disaster! Fortunately Robots had just started and reluctantly they headed in to watch that instead – Angel-girl fearing it would be too babyish for them, Tiddles fearing it would be too violent. It seems they were both mistaken. It was, apparently, brilliant. And I think I have now heard every single catchphrase from the film in stereo about fifty times over. However, in their rush to get into the film, they misheard my final instruction. Instead of them going to Micky D’s before the film and then meeting me in the cinema carpark after the film at 6.30, I told them to go to Micky’s after the film and I’d meet them in there at 6. How they quite got the message “Go to Micky D’s after the film and I’ll meet you in the cinema car park at 5.30” I’ll never know. As soon as the film finished, they raced to get food and rammed it into their mouths in a race to return to the car park. Good job I’d planned to take Smudgelet for a Happy Meal (and me for a grumpy one) at 5.30 and met them there on their way out! All that remained to do then was to talk incessantly to Smudgelet (makes a change from him doing the same to me!) so that he would focus his full attention on me and stop waving and pulling faces and laughing at the giggling twosome on the opposite table!

Looking ahead is interesting. How strange to think that one day there’ll be someone who knows my boys better than I do, whom they must put as a higher priority than me. I wonder how I’ll adjust to that time when that time comes. When my babies fly the nest and my life’s focus alters. I’m glad to know I have plans and ventures I’m still plotting for my freedom years or otherwise the future might look rather daunting. Though Tiddles informed me he plans to live next door to me for ever and take my children to school for me and leave me to babysit my grandchildren. Hmmmm… he thinks I’m spending my freedom years adopting more children and babysitting grandchildren? And Smudgelet intends to live with me till I die too? Hmmmm… sufficient unto the day are the terrors therein … I’ll worry about the future when the time comes 😉

When will I ever learn to take my own advice?

As I put the doughnut into the microwave, I reminded myself of a previous experience of overheating. I’d walked into the staffroom where the rest of the staff were indulging in the last of a plateful of warm and wonderful jam doughnuts, the heat from the microwave nicely stodgifying the dough and gently warming the jam to create a confection of the gods, perfect to warm the cockles of the heart of any poor teacher coming in from playground duty in the middle of winter. Finding one last doughnut in the pack which had not yet been warmed and eaten (a miracle in itself), I asked how long they’d put them in the microwave for. “Oh, a couple of minutes” came the reply. Of course, I failed to enquire whether they were referring to a single doughnut or the plateful of about thirty doughnuts that had been shared amongst them already. Suffice to say, Vesuvius had nothing on the contents of the doughnut I was then foolish enough to try to eat. Luckily the burst of piping hot steam warned me of the eruption of boiling red lava to come and I moved the doughnut away just in time.

A memory, you’d say, that was branded on my brain (if not my tongue), never to be forgotten.

Until yesterday!

My baby’s growing up

Now that’s a first – a new experience for me. Organising my eldest son’s love life.
At the tender age of twelve he is madly in love. I met her for the first time on Saturday as they found themselves sitting back-to-back on the seats in the shoeshop, trying on shoes. Both were extremely embarrassed that their mums and younger siblings were in tow (or should that be, in toe?) at the time…. but their shy smiles said it all.

“I’m going out with her,” he said. “Well, not exactly going out. I mean, we don’t actually go anywhere together, but she’s sort of, well, my girlfriend”. Not that I didn’t know that already!

“So, why don’t you ask her out, then?”
“What?”
“Well, would she like to go to the cinema or something, or come round to watch a video (with Smudgelet safely out of the way at Auntie M’s)?”
“What, you mean like…… a date????? ”

The look on his face was a treat. Mingled terror and delight! The thought that he, Tiddles, could ask her, Angel-girl, to go out with him ON A REAL DATE! But it was sufficient to get a whole evening of exemplary behaviour from him – he even spent two hours doing the garden! Then came the phone call.

Would you credit it? he asked to speak to her mother!!! My sweet little old-fashioned gentleman asked her mother’s permission first! She put him on to Angel-girl and, fumbling his words and writhing with excitement and embarrassment, he finally managed to ask her out. I’m picking them both up from school on Friday and dropping them in town to go to MacDonalds for a meal and then on to the cinema to watch Valient. Then I’m on duty to pick them up from the cinema and bring them home for Angel-girl’s mum to collect her from here.

Do you think he’d notice if I crept into the cinema and watched too? I mean watched the film, of course. You suspsicious lot!!!!

As Angel-girl’s mum said, “This is the first real date – it’s quite exciting, isn’t it” 😀

I was right

Thunder and lightning.

But adequately planned for – the bike was locked in the garage as usual, and when he came to “go to Scouts whether you like it or not, you see if I don’t”, strangely he was unable to find any pair of shoes at all. They appeared to have… .. walked 😉

Nice bit… comment to Auntie M after I’d gone to take Smudgelet to Beavers: ” The thing is, I know Mummy will understand. How does she get to know everything like that. She knows how I’m feeling even when I don’t! And what’s more, how on earth did she know where my girlfriend lives before I’d even asked?” Yes, my baby is starting to suffer the torment of hormones and is all of a jumble inside. But he’s still not getting away with .. shall we call it misappropriation and his second tantrum in two days has resulted in a ban on him going to Scout Camp. 🙁

Auntie M’s a dab hand at giving him a chance to talk it through after the event, though. Thank you God for Auntie M.

Forward planning

Sometimes it would be lovely if you could snip a bit out of a day and darn the remaining parts together.

Within the space of a three minute phonecall the day went from bright and cheery to overcast, with a hint of thunder to come.

Tiddles has been stealing his dinner money again.

I know tonight’s scenario. He’ll adamantly insist that he is telling the truth, that I didn’t give him the money, that the envelope was empty when he got to school. There’s part of me that could almost believe him – that I maybe didn’t give him a full envelope this morning – except that I know that I did. And even the slight doubt I do have is offset by the fact that this is about the sixth week running that he’s turned up at school and claimed I didn’t give him enough money for the week. And that I know is a lie.

He won’t admit it. He’ll look me straight in the eye and lie and become indignant that I won’t believe him, that I never believe him, that there’s no point even trying to tell the truth because I’ll assume he’s lying. And when he realises he won’t be going to Scouts tonight, all hell will break loose. There’ll be shouts and tears, hitting and swearing, throwing of toys and shoes and slamming of doors and kicking of anything within range. To avoid tackling the issue would be so easy – sometimes it’s immensely tiring taking the right option and knowing that the consequences will not be pretty but will be entirely unavoidable. Oh for the wisdom to know how to tackle this without it ending up this way.

At least this time I’ve planned for the tantrum. M is coming to sit with him while I take Smudgelet to Beavers. Usually when the tantrums are on Scout nights, poor Smudgelet is stranded here at home with it because I can’t leave Tiddles alone.

And I had such nice plans for this afternoon, too.

Moments

Nicest moment of the day: waking up when my alarm went off and knowing that I had an extra half hour because I hadn’t got to go round and get Dad up.

Worst moment of the day: the moment of realisation that Tiddles was going to have a tantrum, no matter what I did about it (apart from giving in to him, which wasn’t an option).

Moment of greatest relief of the day: Tiddles’ tantrum, though violent (he smashed his toy cupboard door), was short-lived and he apologised nobly, able to say “I am a fool because I blamed you for the punishment for my tantrum, when really it was me who could have done something to avoid it”.

Emergency of the day: Tiddles falling off his scooter and sliding down the drive on his forehead.

Proudest moment of the day: Smudgelet in his new shoes, new shirt, tie and pin-striped trousers and new jumper, all dressed up for church and looking the bees knees (especially after the admission that he is in love with M’s 7-year-old daughter!)

Most inconvenient moment of the day: Discovering that the beef I planned to cook for lunch had actually gone off (despite being within its use-by date) and having to resort to chicken and cheese on toast for Sunday lunch instead.

Most daunting moment of the day: Writing my first draft of my first proper sermon ready for the service at the end of next month (which I will be planning with my mentor next week)

Most looked-forward-to moment of the day: Putting the boys to bed and luxuriating in a deep, hot bath (complete with new sealant!) in the sure knowledge that the phone won’t ring demanding my immediate attention.

The sower and the seeds

It was with a frisson of excitement (I love that word, frisson, don’t you? Along with “miriad” and “hyperbole”) that I opened the envelope that appeared through my letter box yesterday. It was the preaching plan for the coming three months. And on the list of preachers, at the very bottom under the heading of “Local preachers on note” was the name Smudgie. Well no, not exactly the name Smudgie as I’d have got some rather strange looks if it were, but you get my drift.

It was a strange feeling, actually – excitement mingled with fear mingled with anticipation mingled with a massive sense of having bitten off more than I can chew… a bit like setting myself up on a wall for people to throw tomatoes at and knock me off. I mean, who am I to stand at the front of the church and pretend I know what I’m talking about, as if I were any better than the rest. Yes yes, I know it isn’t like that really, but that trepidation is still there…. mingled with excitement and a tiny twinge of pride.

The worst bit was getting to church and finding that the everyone there had seen it too!!!

taxi service

I decided against taking Tiddles to the early morning swim training session this morning and I’m certainly glad I did. He’s determined to build his stamina by going training three times a week instead of just one, but sometimes you have to cut your coat according to your cloth and this boy seriously needs his sleep. In fact, never mind him, I seriously need my sleep. Get up at 6 on a Saturday to drive him to the pool? Seriously??? You must be joking!

Interesting day. Smudgelet to his swimming lesson (swimming? swallowing and drowning, more like!). He declared proudly that he hadn’t had any trouble with the breathing when they were swimming with the floats. I pointed out that I had been watching and actually knew that they’d been told to keep their heads out of the water at that point.

Next on the agenda was music centre. They have a concert coming up in a couple of weeks’ time. I wonder how they’re getting on – I haven’t heard much in the way of practise going on!

Quick dash home after dropping them off so that I get chance for a quick cuppa with Dad and big sister before they leave for the ferry. Dad’s decided to pack for the duration – my sister was going to suggest she took the luggage in the car and he come by train! They’ve taken his scooter with them so she can try to get him a bit more confident on the thing. Mind you, he and I nearly came to blows over loading it into the car. He cannot let me do it – he has to be in control… but he’s dangerous because when I say “stop, it’s going off the edge of the ramp!”, he just keeps on driving it forward while asking me why he needs to stop! It’s good that my sister sees how awkward he can be, despite what a lovely fellow he is, because she really does appreciate why I need regular breaks from caring for him. It felt odd waving him goodbye, though. I do miss him when he’s away.

Next stop, back to pick the boys up from music centre and ferry Tiddles to the other side of the Island to Young Archaologists. They’re based at Brading Roman Villa for the day, touring the house and garden and building their own little Roman gardens. He loves the activities there .. and is particularly looking forward to next month when they do a demonstration of iron age farming, complete with costumes! Smudgelet was not allowed to stay as he’s too young really – last time they bent the rules and took him along too, he was a pain in the neck (though not for me!) – and besides, I am pleased to give Tiddles a break from being a big brother for once.

It was lovely this morning, actually, when I suddenly looked at Tiddles and realised he’s growing up. He’s suddenly appearing so much more mature – you can almost see the man he’ll become. In fact, I may be mistaken but I am sure I spotted the hair on his upper lip darkening, and he’s got his first proper zit, of which he is quite rightly proud. Where’s my baby gone? I miss him, but I really enjoy this young man whose company I get to share.

While Tiddles was in the villa, I took Smudgelet to get his new shoes… in vain. So, after picking up Tiddles again, we drove back across country to Newport to try the shop there. First we bought a jumper each as they were bravely pretending that it’s spring really, not the middle of winter…. and to my horror my credit card was rejected!!! Not only was this a little embarrassing (and strange, as my statement arrived this morning and I’m actually in credit on my account!), but it was also a bit of a disaster as I only had £32.26 in my pocket, barely enough for one pair of shoes, let alone two. But wonders never cease… we see some perfect shoes in the sale at £16 a pair! The only disadvantage, of course, was that we didn’t get to go to our favourite cafe for a cup of coffee afterwards as 26p doesn’t really take you very far.

Home for tea and early night for them. Early night for me was the plan too, but you’ll notice it didn’t quite work out that way. Honestly, I didn’t scream and shout at them when they pulled the shower rail down in the bathroom. Well, not much. Well, not very much. But putting it up again and knowing that the evening was my own – the phone was not going to ring and summon me next door… I suddenly got the urge to remove all the grimy sealant from round the bath and replace it with a proper sealing strip. I bleached all the grout too. I’m feeling rather smug. 😀

Trouble is, I’m also feeling rather achy. Bed time, I reckon.