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Tuesday, 5 August 2008

c ya

One of the more interesting things about having children is, no, not catching glimpses of what they might become (though for the terminally bored, F9’s going for world domination, unless prison claims him first; while at some stage in his future T11 will be spotted leaving the country, hopping along in one sock and doing his tie as he runs, a hundred weeping women in his immediate past and a clutch of irate fathers and husbands and sisters in hot pursuit, Rrrraaouuuooh!), not that – yawn – not them, but what they show you of yourself.
For, let’s bring it happily back to ME: oneself is always far more interesting.

So, E and I both hurl the hot potato of F9’s more troublesome traits back and forth.
“Straight down the distaff,” E will say in a ‘that’s that’ sort of way when F9 is to be seen maundering round the garden singing tunelessly and talking to the grass.
“Pure spear,” I’ll shriek when F9, fierce and proud upon the floor, roars his little face red. No doubting paternity there, methinks.

Over the years, E has had to own up to a certain genetic baton passing made gloriously apparent with regard to the strange trouser choice replicated in F9.
Not E’s fault, perhaps, that Leisure Pants are thus dubbed, an item which have become, entre nous, A Leisure Pant or, if bold, A Golfing Slack.
My, how we laugh.
No trip to M&S is complete without a collapse section up against the cargo pants. (It's one thing, Kitty B, lamenting A knicker, involving a mere scrap of over-priced material, but for one thing, when did pants as trousers slide across the Atlantic unannounced, and for another, something that size should warrant the plural.)
F9 favours bizarre black slippery things of a sporting nature. Truly hideous, particularly peeking beneath the swish of a fetching dressing gown, where they are designed to upset, and inherited from someone or other in a bag of mixed stuff – someone who clearly doesn’t like us much.

And sadly, though I choke to do so, I will admit that I do find it the tiniest bit hard to say sorry. As does F9.
The difference being, however, that I have so little to practise on.
For I am simply rarely wrong. Else I would say it, natch, the S-word. Of course I would. While F9, being so much more like his father, resides in Wrong Land for a hefty proportion of his waking hours, but still he will not assay it.
“Suh,” I say, “Try it, Suh-ohh-reee.”
His lips purse and his eyes gleam.
He would argue that blue is pink long after the cows have sauntered home. And God knows, sometimes I find myself convinced. His sense of permanent utter rectitude is exhausting.
Pure spear.

T11 apologises all the time, a rolling alibi to stuff he has done / might be doing / has up his sleeve to do. A child to get away with murder, but with a smile.

Other than that, my only flaw is not liking soup, although I am dutiful at dinner parties and conceal my distaste in a clatter of busy spoon-work. Therefore, I decided to grasp the nettle of this particular failing by making some myself. For lunch, then, we have eaten recently (to the point of over-dose, actually) abso-bloody-lutely the most delicious Gazpacho ever. Delicate, but punchy, it could – and does – make one squeal with excitement, and is rivalled only by the memory of one on a dusty hill in Spain. And that’s probably only fond recall.
I am now, officially fault-free; although wary of looking another tomato in the eye.

One of my many wise moves is refusing to resort to txt-spk. Up with which I will not put. It confuses spell checks and it’s just not nice. Full sentences R Me, and Churchill would approve.
I made adhering to this a condition of T11’s mobile phone ownership: the pitiful pissing in the wind of one desperate to cling to an idea of authority, and I thought - fool - that his obedience was secured, by the evidence of his texts to me. Commas, apostrophes et al. But in a swift scuffle over his bill, I had an outraged rummage through his outbox and found it appallingly full of “l8rs” and “c u at da park 4 tnnis” and and “g2g brb.”
You can just imagine what a painful falling of the scales that was. How hard I had to sit down, gasping. By night I have been catching up on “The Wire” locking into new and random crib-talk (where ya'r'at, bro, yo? most def) and bracing myself against floodgates of swearing, such as render my own attempts mimsy. And now, by day, g2g!
A friend said that when her son texts “dear Mother,” it is mere prelude to demands for cash.

The children might well want to spend all da time at da park, but this is not the stuff from which interesting diaries are built so, it being the holidays, we have had a few days out to places like the Cotswold Farm Park, the sort of place I panic that they have grown out of, clinging embarrassingly to their tender years, but where, once there, all of the children can run off for hours and we mothers can sit and chat.

A few of us agreed to meet at Mrs Northern Posh’s immaculate country cottage and travel in convey, re-distributed to save a car. On this particular day, either I was early (unlikely), or I had got the time wrong (spot on), but I walked up Mrs NP’s pristine front garden (last encountered here) to find a window open and her in full shout at her children. I tipped my head sideways for a good listen.
“Get the fuck off the fucking sofa,” she was yelling. “Shoes on. Now! F’fucks’ sake!”

Ah, how it does a soul good to encounter another so fully out of control, and rapidly approaching meltdown.
I rang the doorbell immediately, thinking it only kind to let her know that I had heard, rather than make her fret either way. Or, worse, hope, that perhaps I hadn’t.
“Problems, love?” I asked. Then, “That sofa’s a bit of a mess.”
We laughed.
Her face was not slippery with the rage I had heard, but its normal smiling self despite that her woeful offspring had dared to bounce on newly-plumped up furniture. Well really. Does it get much worse than that?
Mrs NP wishing to return to a pristine house (something that remains in the realms of impossibility for me) because her parents (fuss-pot, thin-lipped variety) were coming to stay had been idiot enough to try to effect just that. This is not my world, not with half a fireplace and several random buckets on the floor of the sitting room it’s not, but I nodded nicely and felt her pain.

We bumbled in, out, up and down the perfect path, packhorses bearing picnics and rugs and cool-boxes of grub, suntan lotion and fleeces, plasters and wipes. We were, after all, travelling a good ten miles and might be away til four.
“Is that everything?” she asked, her mind not what it was.
“Fucking children?” I reminded her.
“Shit,” she said.

Our other friends were waiting. Chatting at the end of the drive. Car doors open to cool the interior, and irritate passing motorists. I frowned.
Just – what – was – going – on!
As expected, one of our number was impossibly, easily, glam, but the other one had morphed most terribly into a sudden enigma. The capacity to surprise is important, but – the but is big. Heavens I’m not judgemental, but no friend of mine wears that!
For S had turned up in the oddest of garbs. No make up, for starters, and trussed into a strange pinnie-type frock (wholesome), fashioned, moreover, from gingham (gingham!), and bringing horribly to mind Mother Burrr.
Looking for all the world like a well-plumped up sofa, the sort on which no children had carelessly frolicked (tending as she does, towards the traditional build, despite the constant dieting, bless). Moreover, being enviably rich, that apron pocket would be full, and she would dip her paw in ceaselessly all afternoon, a fruit machine of pound coins doled out in obedience to her son’s eternal desires for cokes and ice-creams, toys and sweets, desires to which the rest of us are deaf.
Nothing like a mother who doesn’t know the rules and is clinging to the youth of her third child.

(Although that afternoon I did weaken and bought F9 a squadgy cat. He was being so very sweet. There’s something about a terrible child with skew-whiff hair and fistfuls of fur that softens my heart.
“What are you calling it, sweetums?” I asked, a fiver the poorer, my purse mewling in sorrow.
He replied.
I misheard.
“Oh! Toffee! How sweet,” I trilled.
“NO. Toughie,” he growled. He pinged ToffeeToughie’s nose with peremptory masterfulness: a man in control of his charges; I could learn a thing or two, sharpen up my pinging. “I need bullets,” he said, “For my gun.” He slung the cat in his pocket.)

She normally works full-time all suited and booted does S, and clearly harbours barking thoughts as to what constitutes At Home Mom wear when out on crazy days with our children.
J should be in Vogue, Mrs NP scrubs up fine when she puts down the F word and forgets her sofas, and I was in what I am sadly proud to call my groovy gear. Since this consists of 4-year old Capri pants from M&S you may form your own opinion just how Down With Trinny and Susannah I might be. I fear that Hot Chick is not inscribed through me like a stick of rock. But it sure as hell ain’t there, S, in Mother Burr, so think again, dear girl.
I took a step back, fearful of contamination. (Mother Burr for the temporarily bewildered and enviably unaware, is mother to Li’l Burr, forever wise and calm and tidying up.)
It raised serious questions: it’s not just what it is but what it might be – just what else is in that wardrobe of hers, what shocks lie ahead? A headscarf? A tartan-lined Mac? Slacks? A slack?

“Are we ready to go?” S asked sensibly.
Sartorially misguided thus, like a trucker from Leeds taking the piss, and beautifully in charge, S suddenly resembled a TV version of our joint mother ushering three unlikely siblings, the glamorous J, me and the swearing Mrs NP.

Which of her own parents, I wondered, claimed that particular hot potato, their anxious faces pressed against a window pane, aghast, while studying a sturdy S frolicking on the lawn.
“No, no, not gingham, darling, gingham’s on your side of the family.”
Pure spear.
Most def.

Soz (see! I can say it! teehee) gtg 2 Spain. L8rs.


Eve said...

This has set me wondering where the more psychotic side of #4 has come from.
#1. Imperfect replica of his father
#2. Clearly couldn't be anything to do with me, has an interst in fashion.
#3. Amiable buffoon
#4. ?????possibly the reincarnation of Attilla the Hun or Hannibal.

Expatmum said...

Funny but I was at a friend's party in England last week and the trendiest 40-something of the whole bunch had a Mother Bear (that's how we say it here in Chicago) gingham - yes- sort of pinafore on, over jeans. Perhaps we M&S capri wearers are so seriously not down with T&S that we are missing something?

KittyB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KittyB said...

Oops sorry, can't spell... try again:
Hell's bells what's with these sturdy types and the pinafores? My Unstable Friend wears a denim one - six months pregnant, you'd swear. Mirror, anyone?
And soup - you don't like normal soup (says the person who only ever makes her own, smug, me) but like cold soup? Oh, ugh, ack ack ack.
Is Li'l Burr a friend of the tortoise - Milton, Finlay - no, Franklin, I looked it up. I am still grieving for the little boy who used to enjoy watching these innocent cartoons with a strong moral code. Wither the little blonde moppet who wouldn't know a DS if it landed in a spaceship? Sigh.

Faith said...

You didnt lie about the length of the blog but I struggled on and it was gr8 as always. Reminded me of how my father always called us 'your daughters' to my mother if we did wrong.

Gazpatcho - don't mention it. Husband eats it every day in the summer and it makes his breath stink. I hate it.

Enjoy your hols Milla and family.

Preseli Mags said...

I love gazpacho too - but Kitty's right about the afterbreath! Have a gr8 holiday.

Pipany said...

Eurghhh, cold soup - doesn't suit my chilly constitution, though I would manfully drink the stuff rather than 'fess up. Lovely blog as always Milla. Hurry back with tales of your holiday for a sun-deprived Pipany of rainy Cornwall xx

nuttycow said...

Memo to self: don't serve Milla soup.

I think I was switched at birth since I am *nothing* like either of my parents. I can't be. I refuse to believe that I'm... oh dear. Maybe I am my mother just a little bit.

Exmoorjane said...

Flipping heck....I only dropped by for a quick catch-up and to drip apologies for not having commented for aeons.....I'm exhausted. Can't do txtspk....LOATHE gazpacho (so with Pip there). And to add insult to injury you[re in pucking spain.....
don't even want to think about being like one's parents.....not sure which is worse....
Oh, what the puck, have a great time. jxcxx

Cait O'Connor said...

I'm on a quick catching up spree too and what a long blog this was Milla.... but funny as ever!

Anonymous said...

Dis blog rox 'ticulrly aftr I hd a rst mid-way! Gr8 2 hear am nt only 1 turns up l8 4 things too!

DJ Kirkby said...

Ah what a great way to start my day! Thank you

MoziEsmé said...

You've got the lingo downpat - I really need to do some studying . . .

Fennie said...

Well, you probably are back from Spain now and therefore can put me out of my misery about what g2g brb,........means. Ahh! The very act of writing it! What a catharsis! GOT TO GO!!!!!!! Still doesn't help me with brb..... BE RIGHT BACK??? Am I right? Do I win the M txtspk mdl? But, by the time you've worked it out you could have written the whole thing anyway.

Not that you can do text speak on my phone - you write 'g' and then it gives you an encycloepaedic choice of words. 'g' - gargantuan? it asks hopefully and helpfully - so I just have to spell everything thing out or I may find myself having bought a gargantuan time share villa in Crete without the option. Besides I hate mucking about with words just in case the eggcupful of brain that controls this sort of thing blows up and I can never write a letter again. Alternatively I might be condemened to a diet of gazpacho in penance.
And I hate cold soup - of any variety whatsoever - ditto cold rice dish-thingies that look as though they should be hot but aren't. Hideous disappointment at buffet lunches.

Hasta la visita, baby. Dos cervezas por favor!

blogthatmama said...

I say don't look too closely but cherry pick the best bits and heave the blame for the worst bits in a very different direction. That's what I do, obviously. blogthatmamax

Potty Mummy said...

I just woke Boy #1 up laughing at that post Milla...

LittleBrownDog said...

Tres entertaining, Milla, as per. Now have an indellible image of your gingham friend printed on my brain - I am partial to a bit of gingham myself now and again, albeit only on French bistrot tablecloths and perhaps the odd padded noticeboard (in a pastel colour, mind). But what does g2g mean? Am confused? And L8rs? Pls explain...


CAMILLA said...

Hi Milla honey, just catching up, not disappointed, this is one brilliant blog.

Hope you are having a fab holiday, look forward to hearing all about it on your return Milla.


Mean Mom said...

We have a couple of things in common. I, too, am rarely wrong and I squeal with excitement when I eat soup, although the soup I eat tends to be Heinz tomato, as opposed to Gazpacho. I don't get out much, nowadays, you know.

My sons' good points tend to come from my side of the family and the not so good ones come from my husband's. Nothing is my fault, either. It's my husband's.

Judging from your remarks about your friend's attire, it sounds suspiciously as if gingham is 'in', this season. I'm so glad I saved my old school frock. Hope I can still squeeze into it. I'm sure I can.

Hope you had a good time, in Spain.

Pondside said...

Gingham belongs only on cushions and kitchen curtains (and perhaps in a baby's quilt). I can't imagine a grown woman in a gingham pinafore - but it takes all kinds, as they say, and you seem to know lots of them! Thanks for the great laugh! I loved this - as always.

KAREN said...

I can't do text-speak either. My children laugh at me putting in commas and spelling everything Properly.

iBeunas vacaciones! (Or something)

Edward said...

Don't believe a word of this! F9 is PURE distaff. But her gazpacho is to die for, and since we both eat it, the after effect on one's breath is irrelevant.

Fire Byrd said...

I know why you don't blog often, you write a whole book each time!
Reading this had me howling, loved it.
And I can so identify with the sofa problem, both the recalcitrant children (sorry young men!) daring to sit on them and the swearing. Which it has to be said is not restricted to sofa abuse around here!

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

Catching up, late as ever. Never been known to wear gingham either. Agree that they only use "Mother" when it's cash, or serious! M :-)

Exmoorjane said...

Tapping foot.....c'mon. Home from holidays and all. I know you have curtains to make and perfect pack lunches to, er, pack but really, it's time for a new blog surely?


I went hot and cold once when I was outside the house and heard N effing and blinding, as you do, at the children in the bathroom - I had no idea you could hear so much with the windows closed and thought of those many many nights and days when all self-control has been lost...Social services will be round soon, no doubt.

Hpe u hd gr8 hol in Spn.


Ps, my mother's arrival sends me into a spin too, but I always fail dismally. Maybe I should don a gingham pinny, to look the part if nothing else...? I fear it would fool no-one.

Fennie said...

Aw come on, Milla. I know you've been away but you've got a public you know, hanging on your every episode.
You haven't blogged for almost 6 weeks. Must try harder!

Grouse said...

Have a deep suspicion of anyone wearing an apron.....covinced they posess all the domestic attributes I lack....

Having twins: fascinating to see which attributes of parents each has aquired in a different mix- but still very edifying to know all the good ones are mine.

Anonymous said...