Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Not waving, but drowning

It is the first week of the school holidays, it is nearly 1am and I should go to bed, as my friend's children will be here at 8am in the morning. I am looking after them for the week. She, like me, doesn't want them in childcare all summer and I wanted to help out. My grand plan was to look after the kids during the day and work in the evenings, up until today it went okay, if a little fraught!

The Menace has been having play therapy, he went today and I sat around with the other two waiting for him. He needed today, I needed him to have it. Yesterday we had what I had been waiting for...

For the last three days I have looked after three of them, lets call them, the Menace, Lauren and Edward. Lauren in the Menace'sbest friend and Edward is here 5 year old brother. I have taken them to the park every morning, to walk the dog, and the Menace has finally learnt to ride his bike. I have also taken them swimming in our local school pool (which I have paid a subscription to over the summer) and we have watched DVD's and had picnic. To be honest I am exhausted and its only the middle of the week - I have then, after that worked all evening!

The Menace has always felt a bit short changed that he hasn't got brothers and sisters. We live in an area where everyone seems to have loads of children! It has been a bit of an eye opener to him, as he has had to compete for attention and not always got his own way! Little things like I can't just swim to him in the deep end, becuase Edward is too young...

Yesterday we had the moment I have been waiting for. They were all tired, and I was preparing tea. I heard them all shouting in the garden, so I went out. Dennis was being bossy and Lauren wasn't happy, as far as I could tell Dennis was in the wrong. I told him so, he burst into tears "I want Daddy..!" My response (as calmly as I could) "Of course you do, but it doesn't change anything, you still need to let Lauren have her turn", then he said the words I have dreaded, in a really babyish voice "Daddy lovely, Mummy horrid!!". I didn't get angry or react, just took him to the kitchen to calm him down and allow him to go back to his friends, but it hurt...

I know that his dad will be immortalised in his mind as lovely, remembered for all the good things and I will gain the reputation for being the disciplinarian, its just how it has to be. I remember telling Kevin this before he died, "you'll always be loved, it will be me who gets the reputation for being a cow!" I didn't expect it quite so early. Perhaps I shouldn't have, but I waited until bedtime and I told him "Its hurts when you say things like that." His response was that Mummies should be nice to their sons. I put him straight, "My job is to teach you right from wrong, Daddy would have told you off too." He will never say sorry (just like his dad), but he did tell me he loved me.

Today I factored in more down time for them all, but by the end of the day they were still getting fractious and I was getting ready for the Mum to pick them up. Just before she did, another curve ball hit, my father phoned:

"Your Mum is in trouble, she has had another bad stroke."


  1. Sorry to hear about your mum.

    I've found that children will always put the parent that is not around on a pedestal. My kids are forever saying that Daddy is better when he's at work and I'm horrid. I'm the nicest mum in the world when I go away and he has them on his own. It's just how it is. I'm pretty sure I did it myself as a kid, as my father was often working late and my mother did the bulk of the discipline. Also, I think they say it, but deep down, they don't really mean it. Sometimes, I think they say it because they know it will push your buttons and they want to hurt you because you've intervened and possibly spoiled their fun.

  2. I'm sure that is true, its just it will always be me and he will always be on a pedestal. I think I just have to accept that. But thanks for the philosophy, it helps to think of it that way.

  3. I'm thinking of you too....I hope that with some time, space & a little bit of work, things can settle to a place where you can both feel balanced at the very least.
    I send my best wishes.

  4. Hey Caroline. I missed this blog post somehow, sorry. It's a really nice post, even though it deals with something that's evidently delicate and heart-tugging. I can't say anything to make it better but I'm sending you my love, both of you. And that crazy bloody dog! Craig x