P

She talks about herself in the third person. ‘She’s too big to go in the pushchair,’ ‘she doesn’t want to go to school,’ ‘she wants a cuddle.’ She has tantrums, oh man, those tantrums that draw people who are practically-strangers to offer their help. Tantrums that – though I am technically stronger and could forcibly strap her into the pushchair, if I really really tried – make me practically-weep with gratitude, yes, please.

E

She is defying middle child syndrome by making herself known, I think. She draws and practices handwriting – swirly curly tails are her current thing – and is great, apart from when she is not. When she screams and screams until I think I am going to pass out. ‘I’ll have my own melodrama thanks E,’ tempts me. As does fleeing the house, asking, what the f did I do to my life? And then, I don’t know, I don’t go anywhere and she brushes my hair or requests another cuddle, please, please, and I’ll be glad, whatever the f it is I have done to my life.

H

We used to drag him from his secret places, climbed into toy chests, behind cupboard doors, screaming ‘no, I don’t want to go.’ We forced him into the swimming pool, aged three, chanting ‘wibble wobble jelly on a plate’ from the side of the pool as stern teachers tipped him off a big float into the water.

‘He must learn,’ we said. We dragged him to birthday parties where he would not do the thing. Go Karts, bouncy castles, bowling. Now he wants to go to it, whatever it is. Football and school and can other people come over all the time to play? Still, at bedtime, a kiss, cuddle, and a pat. 7 years and 51 weeks old.

Family

Before work

P is usually acceptable at sleeping now. But last night, this morning, she wanted her covers off, no, covers on, no, my bed, no, her bed, Tiddler on, goodnight again. We are all a little bit ill and unrested.

She woke up properly at 7,

‘I’ve finished my sleep now.’ She said.

And then, spotting the cat asleep on her bed.

‘Oh! Hello Murray. Can I stroke him really gently?’

*

Work

Today I asked someone (my age? A bit older?) how old her daughter is.

‘8,’ she said.

‘No, not 8, I mean 8 months. 8 and a half months. That would have been a misspent youth if she was 8! Haaahaha.’

‘HA. Yes, ha, imagine.’

*

Home (to my just about 8 year old)

In the other tab of this web browser, it says ‘uneatest school work ever’ because that’s what he Googled this evening. He did some not very neat work today at school and had to stay in for a few minutes at break time to finish it.

‘That’s so mean!’ I thought, ‘I’m going to bloody take him out of that bloody neat freak school and teach him myself, in a camper van, on the continent!’

I barely had a chance to look up Swift Kon-Tikis on Auto Trader when we talked about it and actually, all is well, I think. He didn’t know what he was doing (NOW! This is when you must ask for help!) and then tried to rectify it, then messed it up (highlighter pen everywhere) and started again.

‘If I didn’t have to stay in, I would have chosen to stay in, to get it right.’ He said.

Then we talked about primary and secondary consumers in food chains and said good night. He’s OK.

*

Supermarkets

The self checkout used to say “select from popular items or look up item alphabetically” and they have changed it to say “select from popular items or have a browse”. You don’t BROWSE WHEN YOU ARE ON A FUCKING SELF CHECKOUT? You’ve already browsed, in the shop. OH, yes, self checkout machine with 200 people queueing behind me, let me just have a browse. 

Family