Attempting to make it as a writer

Posts tagged ‘children’

Preserving Innocence

“Good afternoon this is the school, I am a year six pupil how may I help you?”   I heard Mini Son answer assuredly.  He took a very important message and wrote it on a sheet of paper I had placed strategically in front of him, then; probably as I was around he gave it to me.

Full of pride I watched my baby now looking after the school office at lunchtimes.    A responsibility all year six children take on for a week at a time.  It gives them a significant role and allows the poor office staff a quick half hour to grab some food.   The children are unknowingly supervised from the staffroom and have training from the previous week’s monitors.

Standing at the counter was a small boy crying hysterically with two children either side of him.

“Jimmy fell over and hurt his head”

Calmly and confidently Mini Son took the boy into the medical room, asked him where it hurt and what happened.  Reassuring the lad he went across to the kitchen to get a cold pack.   His co-year six helper Olivia checked the first aid rota and went to call the staff member on duty.

Olivia returned to tell me the teacher on duty was dealing with a child and who should she call.  Although officially I had already finished for the day, I stepped in to sort Jimmy and the bumped head.   Mini Son already in control had the cold pack round the sore head and was chatting animatedly to a now laughing Jimmy.

We do have a strong first aid procedure in school and had the child been seriously hurt a teacher or mid-day assistant would have brought him in.    Sending him with friends was a code to the inside staff; he was hurt but TLC was required more than anything, a commodity Midday Assistants could not currently afford whilst watching the other 203 children playing.   Staff, also know; inside I have magic wipes to wipe all the pain away.   Opening slowly we can watch the enchantment captivating the sad faces as it starts to work its magic on their tiny cuts and bumps.  I have my big brave stickers for all those brave little soldiers who have need of my medical room and leave without their heads or limbs falling apart.  It is often just a mother’s kiss and rub they need but all we can lavish is attention to focus on them being special rather than the hurt.

It was later in the week that I was dealing with a lady on the phone who again had been passed to me following her initial enquiry at lunchtime.

“I have to just tell you that the boy who dealt with me before was so efficient and good.   He said he was year six but I expect he meant 6th form did he, doing a YTS type thing?”

“No”, I explained our office duty role for the 10 and 11 year olds.

“Please pass on my congratulations to the teachers, he was very good”

“I will” I assured her.  My heart swelling, pushing at my tight ribcage, a warm feeling spread from within till I could feel my skin glowing.   I felt so expanded with love and pride I thought I might really burst.   Wait till I tell Sexy Sporty Dad, he will be so proud as well.

It was later that day I realised that had it been any other child in the class I would have rushed down and told their teacher, but I had taken all the glory and not passed on the message.   Slightly embarrassed I saw Mini Son’s teacher at the end of the day and passed on the caller’s message.

“I am not surprised, he is a lovely child; a very capable role model” she told me as the internal explosion erupted and tears of pure pride pressed their way out.

Unfortunately Sexy Sporty Dad is away at the moment, missed by all of us particularly me.   I know it is only short lived but I don’t actually remember us being apart for three whole nights in all our 21 years together.  Even in the confusing days of him working away before we moved to join him, he would only be gone for two nights at a time.  He returned home to a house of crises and chaos twice a week, before going back to being an important cog in his wheel of governance.

This time, left at home with my three boys to look after me it is most definitely Mini Son who is taking on the protective Alpha male role.  His love of spiders and creepy crawlies has always allowed me to depend on his Arthurian knight skills when met with a hostile eight legged enemy.  A little hug here and there to make sure I am ok.  Little jobs are being done without me even asking and his homework is not a battle of wills, he even asked if he could lay the table.

Why oh why does all this change as they go through the grumpy grunting teen years?

If only I could bottle Mini Son’s innocence and youthful willingness now.  I know like his brothers before him he will always make us proud; I also know he will go through a change and lose some of the sporadic spontaneity of his eager enthusiasm.  Before I realise it he will be coming in with

“whatever”

“dunno”

Or just a shrug with a grunt!

To encapsulate these years of growing up would be every mother’s

Preserving for Posterity

dream.

So far the only way I have found is to write the stories down in my blog.    Not all my tales will be saved but there will be a flavour of past years for me to look back on when these children of mine leave me for families of their own.

I, in my memory laden dotage can relive this passing of time and enjoy these special moments again and again and again.

Tiggy

Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Running Rungs

Do you find there is a certain treadmill quality to life?

I know the seasons rotate in an orderly fashion; months following months, hot sometimes following cold.  Cold, wet winter chases the crisp frosty autumn days, just as blossoming spring precedes the fullness of summer and so on. The full moon wanes leading to the next crescent of new moon as the cycle begins again.

Was it only six or seven weeks ago we were all breaking up for that

Keep on climbing

long balmy summer ahead?   Plans of how we would survive those days trying to entertain the children were being drawn up.   Childcare being divided up between parents, grandparents and unusual educational activities.  Holidays to be prepared for, shopped for and enjoyed, precious days spent with loved ones.  The morning rush eased to permit treasured time to lie in or permission to watch CBBC. It already seems a blur on the fringes of our short term memory.

This weekend found me stepping back to the Rugby club with a new season already upon us.   Youngsters the country over will have been registering with their clubs, learning new laws as they move up an age level, meeting up with old friends they may not have seen since April.

I; too caught up with friends who I have missed over the months. Friends who have stood solidly by me over the years as our children have suffered injuries, lost important games and grown with the game.   There was a certain reassuring buzz of activity, smell of bacon butties and the constant flow of cheap instant caffeine that passes as coffee.

Even the forecasted sunshine kindly waited till the end of training to dry out the drizzle that had arrived on cue to welcome in the new season.   Routine resumed its rightful order as boots were tried out for size, outgrown shorts that had just about lasted till the end of last season were replaced and shiny new mouth guards bought to protect developing teeth.

This rugby heralded the cog in the ever moving treadmill of life; children will this week return to school.  Back from all the holidaying; now only a distant memory, flashing past on the digital photo frame.   The juggling with childcare is finished as we hand our precious children back over to their new teachers.   Some will be moving to new schools, colleges or universities; some will climb a rung on the well-worn ladder of their school hierarchy and some will be out in the world wondering where to go next.

I know this week will bring tears and heartbreak for mothers of reception aged children suddenly seeing their tiny tot in a complete new school uniform, breaking the baby bonds that up until now have been unyielding.  Little people venturing out into a world without their mother’s perpetually protective hand supporting those faltering fearful footsteps.

Other mothers will suffer the effects of their children’s nerves; they will tolerate the self-importance of young adolescence and take a step back as their little one grows independent and superior joining the masses at Top School.   Giving their once infants the space to be a big child in a world of even bigger children and learn to make their own waves in this ocean we call life.

There will be mothers who will reluctantly transport their offspring away to some way off university.   Leaving their homesick tearful teenager in some bleak utilitarian room to carve their own way in the world, knowing this is the final bond to be broken as they allow their child to grow away from them.     Reluctantly, leaving alarmed adolescents with reassurance, resolutions and reliance despite all their own reservations.

I feel lucky this year that I do not have to overcome the emotions of a momentous change in the cogs although No 1 Son is moving into sixth form.  The change for him will not be as dramatic as he stays at the same school; nonetheless he will have to make his own decisions about how much he studies, what he wants to achieve from his A ‘levels and how he will apply them to his life.  It will be a big jump for him to take control of his future; the same future he does not know what he wants to do with.

Middle Son glides up to this final year of GCSEs which he will find harder than before, not only due to the level of work from school but from the level of support for his schoolwork he will receive from his parents.    Here is a boy who could achieve so much if he only focused long enough to acquire the necessary information to apply it.   Had there been GCSE’s in BMXing, X-boxing or I-Padding he would be guaranteed straight A s.  Unfortunately he is going to have to work hard this year to get the grades within his grasp.

Mini Son becomes a big fish in the small pond as he joins year 6, the final year before moving up to big school.   He will be a role model for the younger classes a task he will fulfil brilliantly.  He will be coerced into independence as he learns to accept responsibility and study hard filling in the missing bits of his education before bridging the gap and joining throngs of know it all secondary school children.

I will also return to my job at the school this week, sad to say farewell to the summer that never really materialised in terms of the weather.   Reluctant to welcome those manic mornings trying to get all five of us out of the door in different directions on time with all the remembered kit for the day ahead.  Unenthusiastic to return to the drudgery of routine after my long weeks of freedom from humdrum tedium, I know that it is only a matter of time before the wheel of time turns further.

Before we know it, half term will be upon us with Christmas poking its pointed head in our direction.  The New Year will be here all too soon and then we will be half way through the school calendar.  Exams will be sat and then the long holidays upon us again turning yet another full turn of that wheel.

I shall continue to climb the rungs of the treadmill expecting to reach the haven of happiness at the top but never quite arriving there as the wheel turns again for another season.

Whatever stage of the wheel you are at, keep climbing and keep focused.  It is so easy to fall off the spinning circle but never easy to climb back on.

Tiggy

Check out my cooking blog at Teatime Treats with Tiggy

Dining Out on the Past

It was such a rare event.  In fact I cannot remember when the last time was.  With the latest news coming from the media; about children staying at home till they are 35, I am not sure there ever will be another.

Having deposited our children at various venues; Mini Son on cub camp, Middle Son to a birthday BBQ and No 1 Son out with friends, Sexy Sporty Dad and I were unusually left with no children on a Saturday night.  The week had been the usual cocktail of stress, emotion and effort and this new concept of chillaxing was completely alien to me.

We decided to dine out.   The thinking behind the suggestion definitely came from me in that flash moment of realisation that I didn’t have to cook for the children so why should I cook at all.   With only two of us, a pub meal would not be quite as financially draining as when we have three hungry boys baying for more.

We are really very lucky where we live as we are surrounded by great pubs, takeaways and restaurants; so where to go?  The decision to go out had not been rashly taken; I had realised this during the week, so had been pondering for a while.  Were we going up-market, or pub grub?  Did we want to go international with Indian, Italian or Chinese?  Would we need to organise a taxi home or go close enough to walk?

There is always my favourite restaurant the Fontmell where I know I would get a wonderful welcome and fabulous food.  We would need to drive there and those boys of mine might want to return home. Dreaming of the food I could see it all now; we would be just taking the first succulent taste of pan fried sole or the popular fontmell fish pie and the phone would go “can I have a lift”.  Torn between the parmesan crust or chauffeuring the children, I suspect I would do one but wish the other.

It needed to be closer to home.

We opted for not going Chinese or Indian as we have a regular family date at the end of term with two families where we celebrate surviving to the end.    I dug out my old list of all the pubs I wanted to visit.  Frighteningly the list of those still to visit is quite long, but here was the opportunity to knock one from it.

Individually we went through each one, ticking off their individual merits, there was always a but!  What happened to the spur of the moment, try and see attitude I had in my teens?

Finally we opted for the one at the end of the road where No 1 Son was visiting.  This ticked most boxes and had just been taken over so the new owners could wow us with their culinary capabilities.  It also meant that we could provide the lift home easily without interrupting our meal.

We arrived in baking sunshine and ordered our meals.  We took drinks down to the garden to enjoy the last beautiful rays of the sun setting over the town.  No 1 Son arrived very smartly not wanting a meal but a drink was quickly accepted.   The little beer garden tucked at the back of the car park was laid out with various tables, a group of people around a table to the side.  We sat quietly down in the opposite corner and relaxed with our drinks.

The sun was still hot and the evening breeze played with the wisps of out of place hair.  Cool refreshing ginger beer revitalised the sagging spirits as we recalled life before children when this was a more common occurrence.    No 1 Son texting and waving to the house behind where his friend Stuart was hanging out of the window.   The two dogs from the other group played and chased each other round the beer garden.

As we watched; the two dogs careered round and round the garden laughed at by their owners. One was the reincarnated “Bullseye” from the film “Oliver” and the other very similar but with different colourings and an added “hienz” variety giving him more speed. I was amazed at the speed they both had, after all “Bullseye” never gave the impression of any real agility.  They raced oblivious into one of the spare tables and carried on without even stopping.   They raced under our table and over my feet not even realising we were there; the owners still laughing did not stop them or apologise to us. One crashed over No 1 Son’s bag, from which luckily he had removed his camera and was trying to show us pictures he had taken that day.  The owners having topped their pints up laughed louder and said nothing.

We moved.

We found a seat in the small outside patio near the front door of the ivy clad Dolphin pub and let the staff know where to bring our meal.  Stuart arrived and joined us.   The two of them disappeared inside to buy themselves drinks, a sign that they were really growing up.  The food arrived; good old comfort food scampi and chips.

The sun was going down but still cast a warm blanket over the gardens.  There was little noise despite being next to the road and the food was delicious.  A huge portion which really I should not have finished but I found myself unable to leave a morsel.  I thought of all the old stories I used on the children: don’t waste it – I’ve paid good money for that; think of all the starving children in Africa who don’t get anything to eat;  you can only have one item on your plate you don’t like – so eat all the rest..

My little Notty – rebuilt with baked bean cans and tights!

I, unlike the children couldn’t find anything not to like and was enjoying every mouthful.  I managed to leave my plate spotless just as Stuart’s Dad James joined us.  Another round of drinks ordered as we told the boys of Datsun Cherries, do you remember them and how many people would fit in them.  We laughed about exploding car exhausts which had made the two boys hit the decks thinking they were being shot at earlier in the day.  Don’t you remember when an exploding car exhaust was a common occurrence, now it seems more likely to be a gunshot?  Driving round with a baked bean can on the end of the exhaust because there was a hole in it.   Keeping a spare pair of tights in your handbag; not because you might lose the ones you were wearing but in case the fan belt went; which in the case of my first little car Notty, a fiat 850 was a regular event.  Life has moved on.

In answer the boys told us they had decided to go on a “protein only” diet and were looking for inspiration.   Their breakfast consisted of bacon in a butty; not sure about the protein in processed bread, and they were definitely not convinced that this should be an occasional treat rather than everyday ritual.  They were happy to be eating dry roasted peanuts to fill the need and could not be persuaded otherwise, baked beans were too healthy, lentils or any pulses not acceptable at all.  Sexy Sport Dad appeared from inside the pub with a raw egg in a glass to tell tales of bravery and nutrition.  The peanuts disappeared and the egg stayed firmly in the glass.  The glass moved round the table stopping periodically in front of each person before the thought more than the sight of it caused it to be moved on.

We arrived home not long after Middle Son; who had settled himself down with a hot chocolate to watch a late night film.  Mini Son returned the next day exhausted having had little sleep but lots of fun from his camping trip.  My family all safe and back home but I had cut another string of motherhood a little more by letting all three out of my sight without babysitter for the whole evening.

This week I have managed to find a little inspiration and have written my first draft of the evil story.  It is not easy to get inside someone else’s mind if you really cannot understand what makes them like that.   So a little more work required I think.  My magazine is now out in the public domain.  A few hiccoughs but hopefully none that cannot be sorted next time.

Tiggy

Check out my other blog on http://tiggy-tea.blogspot.co.uk/ and enjoy some tasty treats.

Wicked Mother

That is me not my mother; just in case you were wondering, in the eyes of my children.

I feel that I am quite defensive and proud of my children but there are still times when we do not see eye to eye.  My idea of “For the greater good” is not necessarily their choice of pathway.

Mini son was once an athletic socialite, who could not stay still for one moment.   A footballer for his local team, Saturday mornings would see me drive miles for his matches.  I have stood in pouring rain and sleet cheering his school team on.    He progressed through the levels in swimming not wanting to move from his fabulous teacher who has advanced his confidence as well as stroke.  He is the proud owner of the under 7s “player of the year” rugby trophy which adorns my kitchen unit, and had me again driving all over the county each Sunday morning to watch him tot up tries as he outran all opposition.

In July it all stopped.

We were busy, summer holidays were full of activities to keep him occupied and I was not too upset if he chose to sit out these past times.

September arrived upon us all too quickly and with it Mini Son announced he did not want to do anything.  Now he is happy to miss football training, content to pass up the chance to play rugby and battling valiantly to avoid his swimming lesson.  What has changed?

We did; we finally succumbed, to his pleas and desperation.  He is not a child who wants for much but, he did want a DS because, all his friends had one, both his brothers had one and he was always left out.  The benefits, we thought,  to a long journey if each child has their own entertainment are immense, so it seemed a reasonable request and we acquiesced; buying him the latest model and a couple of games for his birthday.   Since that day in July he has spent a considerable amount of time on his toy.  Naively I thought he was rushing out to play with friends and he was; on his DS which has a link feature and he plays his team games sat on friend’s sofas surrounded by DS playing chums.

Evil as it may seem, particularly if the tears and “I hate yous” are anything to go by.  I have banned him from his beloved DS.   There is however an “unless”; he has to earn the time through some kind of activity, I have not specified which; he can choose.  This week he has joined in with Tag Rugby Club and Simply Football Club after school and splashed and dived for half an hour proving to his teacher he needs to be moved up.  I am happy for him to now play on his DS for the weekend.    He is after all in the school football team for next week’s match.  Not one to gloat too much but the grin on his face as he returned from the clubs and the smile as he once again was allowed without argument to resume his latest DS challenge proves that maybe I am not so horrid.

When are you justified in doubting your child’s motives?

The other day was not really a good day to be stuck indoors learning while the sun was out and the teachers droning on about their boring subjects.  So when I got a text from Middle Son saying he had a headache, I confess I was suspiciously unsympathetic “have a drink” I responded harshly.   The conversation continued via text on the phone he is not allowed in school.  “Come and get me – I will just go to bed”.

I can’t just turn up at the school and say I want to take my son home as he has a headache, and following a few weeks of trying times with some verbal bullying I had my slight doubts as to the severity of the headache.   To be fair he has inherited my propensity to suffer migraines and with the heat and closeness of the atmosphere not only did I too have a headache, I had already sent three children home from my school.

The school phone rang and I answered it.   It was his school, laughing I told her I already knew what she was going to say.  Perfidiously, I asked if she thought he really was ill.

“I have checked his timetable and he doesn’t have science this afternoon, he has just had PE”.  Guilty as I felt, the school were ahead of me and had already checked his timetable; science being the subject with the bullies in.

It made sense that having done PE he probably hadn’t drunk much and probably did have a headache; borne out by him coming home and sleeping all afternoon while his wicked mother went back to work having given him painkillers and penitent sympathy.       Thankfully sleep and quiet is a great healer and he was miraculously recovered when friends came to call after school.

There are times in life when your children make you immensely proud and there are times when you do something to be proud of.   Sometimes they even link together although both of you may not be on the same wavelength.

No 1 Son has been through a long harrowing and painful year of major injury.  His whole life revolves around his rugby and it is a bitter pill when he is unable to play and train with his team.  He has been very brave and patient as his team developed their game and gained success last season.   Towards the latter part of the season he was joining in with the training and even playing the odd training match, but his horrible mother did not relent and allow him to play a proper match.

His consultant finally agreed to allow him to return to his cherished pastime so reluctantly I had no choice but to permit him back on to the pitch.   Under my very protective eye and vocal protestations he played a full match against an unsuspecting opposing side.  I would hope that as he walked off that pitch he felt as much pride as if he had scored the winning try in the world cup final; not because he helped his team to a 40:15 win but because of the personal battles he had overcome to get to that point.

With a relief that only a mother can even begin to imagine I walked away, full of pride and the germ of a story for the local paper.  Pen to paper and some consultation with my new found friend at the RFU and I was able to produce a press release charting his triumphant return to the game.

A child waiting for Christmas day could not have outweighed my anticipation as I waited for the paper to drop through the letterbox on Friday morning.  In my excitement and fear I nearly ripped the paper apart to find it.  Page 105 was a long way through; I should have started with the rugby and sport pages really.

It was there, my article and my photo for the whole of the world to see.

Leading the Tackle

Ok, so they had changed a few words and described his injury in lay man’s terms, added a few extra bits and left out some of my carefully crafted copy and the worse thing of all added a typo to a sentence they added but; it was mine.  They also forgot to credit it to me as they don’t credit any of their stories but I was on top of my world.

I woke Sexy Sporty Dad up as I danced into the room flinging the page at him.  He reluctantly obliged by opening his sleepy eyes, reading and commenting favourably on it.  I forced it under the nose of Number 1 Son who was less than impressed, even to the point of acutely embarrassed.

I was over the moon, another piece to add to my slowly, very some might say, growing portfolio of published writing.   More was to come, my new best friend from the RFU has asked if she can send it into their own magazine “Touchline” for publication.   Do you really think I turned her down?

A wry smile crept over No 1 Son’s face as he told me he was asked “what it is like to be famous?” the following morning at the rugby club.

We sometimes don’t walk along quite the same pathways but parents only do what they see is best for their children; hard and wicked as it may seem in the eyes of their offspring.

Tiggy

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