26 February 2009

Is It Just Me?

“You must be looking forward to half term” my friend said.

I tried to rearrange my expression which had been well on its way to ‘grimacing horror’, when I’d realised that she was actually being serious. Whether my sudden “mmm” whilst choking on my custard cream was convincing, I doubt.

I vaguely listened as she told me about the bird boxes she and Maya would be making on Monday, pottery-painting on Tuesday, candle-making on Wednesday, blah blah on Thursday. All the while my brain reverberated with the knowledge that there were real, live women out there who weren’t scared of the prospect of a week alone with their children. They were actually excited.

I looked at Chickie whilst my friend provided details of blacksmithing on Friday. He sat grinning atop his castle of sofa cushions. I counted 20 in total. I wondered where Maya was?

“What plans have you got?” she enquired, taking a sip of peppermint tea.

What had I got planned? Besides my stash of 35 Disney dvd’s, 20 packets of Percy Pigs and the Pro Plus? I struggled to remember and that muffled squealing noise wasn’t helping my concentration. “He’s going round some friend’s houses and he’s seeing Bolt on Thursday!” I replied triumphantly. She didn’t look impressed.

I wondered whether to explain that craft projects and Chickie didn’t mix. I had found he had little interest in painting anything other than his friends (and I don’t mean portraits). On the basis he ate ear wax, candle making was probably out. And handing him a red hot poker to play with went against all my natural survival instincts.

Movement from under the heaving pile of cushions sent Chickie tumbling from his throne. He cried heartily as Maya crawled through a small air hole at the bottom of the heap, her hair static and her face purple.

After they’d left earlier than scheduled, I kept seeing my friend’s eyes filled with genuine expectation that a magical seven days of fluff, love and gluing was there for every mother’s taking.

Were they? Or was I missing something? Perhaps I was approaching this week all wrong? I suddenly felt inspired. I’d once subscribed to the idea that motherhood could be a calm, ordered affair all tied up in a big, blue, gingham bow. Of course, that was before I’d actually had a child but she’d made me feel like it was definitely worth trying again.

I entered the week full of renewed hope. I would be that crafty mummy and Chick would spend a contented week carefully gluing sequins and beads onto pieces of felt. Or my tablecloth. And the curtains.

Perhaps a puzzle would play to his strengths? It started well. It ended badly with pieces of jigsaw being snacked on in between discussions about not eating cardboard.

But now pre-school is but a breath away and the twitch that I’ve developed on my right eyelid has begun to subside.
Thank you Walt Disney and Marks & Spencer - I couldn't have done it without you!

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