I have always been very proud of my Mum. Amongst the other things she is fantastic at, she is a fantastic Mum. I am also very lucky to have a Mum who has become such a great friend. However, that still has not stopped me from getting a little freaked out when I have caught myself saying or doing things with my kids like this;
1., ‘because I said so’
I can actually remember getting quite exasperated at my Mum saying this as a child and yet I do say it at least once a day at the moment. I am always explaining ‘why’ to Audrey. There is a constant barrage of questions and she is constantly trying to reason her way out of all the boring everyday things like brushing teeth, tidying up etc and I am always explaining, explaining explaining but sometimes, when I just want her to put her sodding shoes on so we can leave the house and after a perfectly reasonable explanation she still says,
“But whhhhhhyyyyyyyy Mummmmm meeeeeeeeee?”
Which is when I find myself reverting to the best reason of all; ‘because I said so.’ It drives Audrey crazy. Ha ha!!
2., Listing options
One thing my Mum always did with me as a child, probably because I was such a space cadet, was to list all my options, if maybe I had some pocket money in a shop to spend on a treat,
“Right, let’s see then, what have they got? You could have a Mars bar, or some maltesers? Or you could have some some sweeties,look, instead? They’ve got fruit pastilles, jelly tots, chewits? Ooh look, they’ve got curly wurlys. You like curly wurlys don’t you?”
And so on. So what do I find myself doing with Audrey? Crouching down to her level in the kiddies sweet section of the local shop saying,
“Right then Audrey, what are you going to choose? They’ve got lollies, kinder eggs, chocolate buttons, jelly tots? Oh look they’ve got Milky Way stars, you like them don’t you? You could have a bag of those? Ooooooh look, curly wurlies!!”
I tell myself that I’m listing her options to steer her away from all the radioactive, psychedelic looking, giant, mega sours gobstoppers etc but the fact of the matter is, I am just turning into my Mother.
3., The Look
I am working on my look. I am getting quite good at it now. On occasion it actually works. It’s the look that you try to give after you have already warned your child several times to stop hitting their little brother with a punch balloon/ using the back of the sofa as a slide/ shooting you with a nerf gun when trying to breastfeed a baby/ flinging a cup of water out of their bath at you etc. Most of the time, my withering look does not work, but the more I turn into my Mum the better it gets. I don’t really have anything terrifying at the end of it. I tend to just send Audrey to her room for a bit now if she is naughty, but I am finding that the look itself is sometimes enough now.
4., Jacket Potatoes
We had jacket potatoes quite a bit when we were kids. As an adult I would rarely make one for myself, I really don’t see why anyone likes them, but now that I have kids it’s all about the jacket potatoes. Oh, hello dinner that you simply place in the oven and then take out again an hour later! You are a very very welcome part of my life.
“Muuuuuummmm, what’s for dinner?”
“Dinner is jacket potatoes Audrey . . . . and it will be jacket potatoes FOR-EV-VARRRR!!!”
5., Pop Socks
Yes, you know those horrible, sock sized tights? Those ones that just should not exist? Well, I borrowed a pair off my Mum recently when I was going to a wedding and would have been uncomfortable in tights under trousers but also (quite rightly as my Mum pointed out) really could not wear socks with heels and trousers.
“Well, what am I going to wear then?” I asked my Mum.
“Pop socks,” said my mum, “you can borrow a pair of mine.”
“Plah.” I replied thinking I am really really not ever ever going to wear pop socks.
I took them as a last resort but ended up wearing them to the wedding and you know what? They were the most comfortable thing ever! Now I’m thinking about buying my own pack of pop socks.
6., Singing in the face of stress.
I have a memory of my Mum driving me to a swimming lesson as a child. I remember hating swimming lessons. The smell of chlorine still reminds me of a particularly stressful lesson when I had forgotten to blow up my arm bands and I was sinking into the water while the teacher shouted at me and I frantically tried to stay afloat.
On the way, in the car, I can clearly remember my Mum singing (and probably getting us to join in with) ‘One man went to mowwwww, Went to mow a meadowwwww!’ And I have noticed that my Mum often sings to my children and often over the top of their whinging.
The other day as I was getting ready to leave the house with the kids and Arthur was screaming in his car seat and Audrey was crying because her coat button had fallen off and we were running late I had the sudden urge to just shout at them both,
“WILL YOU BOTH JUST BLOODY WELL SHUT UP AND STOP CRYING.”
I paused for a moment and looked at them screaming, took a very deep breath in, and out came,
“If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.” Clap! Clap! Arthur stopped crying and instead just looked utterly bewildered.
“If you’re happy and you know it,and you really want to show it, if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!” Clap! Clap! Arthur smiles.
“If you’re happy and you know it stamp your feet!” Audrey stamps her wellies and starts to wipe the tears off her little face. See, it works.
(Warning: This will not always work)
Well, you get the idea. I am turning into my mother. The more I get used to being a Mum and coping with these two without going mental, the more I hope that I can become anywhere near as good at it as my own Mum, who I am very glad to now have nearby enough to go out for lunch with at least once a week.
“Right what are you going to have Abi? They have sandwiches look; chicken and bacon, BLT, free range egg? Ooooh look they do paninis, you like paninis don’t you? Shall I order us a panini? They do ham, ham and cheese, chicken club, Brie and bacon, goats cheese and chutney, med veg?”
“Hang on a sec Mum. Let me just see what Audrey is going to have first. Right, Audrey, what are you going to have? You could have a sandwich, a toastie sandwich, they do ham egg and chips! You like ham egg and chips don’t you? What are you going to have to drink? You can have squash, water, a fruit shoot, Capri sun?”