Well my ten year old is now my eleven year old. Normally her birthday falls during the October half term, but this year she was at school for the day. I didn’t realise this, but apparently as a parent, if you insist that your child goes into school on their birthday, you are in fact the Antichrist. Or so I was reliably informed.
My gentle reminders about how she had missed school so desperately during all those months of home schooling, fell on deaf and slightly annoyed ears. I think she still hadn’t quite forgiven us for not giving her a horse for the fifth year in a row. There was no excusing it because quite frankly it was obvious to anyone that there was plenty of room to keep it in her bedroom. She’d cleared a space on her bed and everything. In the end she agreed that since we have a dog, a cat and a teenager in the house, there is more than enough wild animal to be getting on with, and she happily agreed that horse posters are the next best thing.
Birthdays aside, it’s been a busy month. Our walking stomach, aka the Labrador, moved at lightning speed when my daughter accidentally dropped her slime (that she was supposedly forbidden to use outside her bedroom), and swallowed a small piece of it. One trip to the vet and £400 later and the slime came out again. Along with a snail shell, a crayon and a small selection of coloured ribbon. To get his own back, the following day he rolled in some fox poo, and had to have a bath.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had to get a 33kg-and-growing Labrador puppy into a bath and somehow keep it there, but let’s just say it was enlightening. He was thrilled to discover a new skill of thrashing around like a whale whilst simultaneously drinking as much bath water as possible, and I got to see him from angles that will haunt me for years to come.
Apart from the dog-related dramas, we had a lovely half-term, mainly dedicated to seeing as much of the grandparents as possible before lockdown struck again. Staying in again has forced us (well, me) into a period of quiet reflection, and I have realised a few things over these last few days:
- The solitary hair I have been plucking out of my chin for the last five years, is definitely not going to go away. Worse, it’s brought reinforcements because there is now a new one making a regular appearance on my cheek. Concerns are running high that I am in fact growing a beard. Only time will tell but I’ve been researching electric razors just in case. My Mum did ask me what I’d like for Christmas.
- I am not a fast learner. After nearly fourteen years of parenthood, I still haven’t cottoned on to the fact that you should never ask your child a question. About anything. The other day for example, when the kids were upstairs and there were muffled screams, I stupidly called up to ask what all the racket was. The reply came back ‘It’s nothing, I’m just trying to force feed her my sock’. Which at least beats the time when I asked my then five year old (who was playing with the cat) if she was ok, and she answered with six words that struck terror into my heart, ‘Mummy, have we got any cement?’
- I should be careful what I wish for. I’ve been hounding my teenager for months about hanging her clothes up. I’ve made her do the washing and ironing herself in an attempt to teach her how much work is involved. And then one day this week, she actually did it! She hung up one of her school shirts. I nearly cried with surprise and joy, and briefly considered writing a book on parenting, until I discovered it was the one that was covered in tomato soup from lunchtime. Naturally it was someone else’s fault.
- You should never let your child make their own lunch. I had a quick peek into my daughter’s lunchbox the other morning, and discovered that she had carefully packed herself one single slice of beef (not in a sandwich box, just loose in the lunchbox), one individual pot of custard and a pack of mini chocolate fingers. The worst part was we were running so late that I only had time to throw in an apple before we left. And the apple came back home again at 4pm after a very enjoyable day at school. Still, I can’t really complain, because they still remember the day that I absent-mindedly packed a can of gin and tonic into my seven year old’s lunchbox. I’m still waiting for the call from social services.
Bring on Bedtime!