So, I’m lying on the couch, the poor, fake leather couch which is spilling its foamy guts all over the living room floor, bits of yellowy sponge occasionally ripping off and reminding me of old folk’s homes’ ancient uriney interiors, ripped open because it is a) cheap vinyl, and b) the children jump on it every single day, even though we shout
US: “Barnaby/Noah/Casper/Ned/Otis STOP JUMPING ON THAT POOR BROKEN COUCH WHICH ISN’T EVEN OURS BECAUSE (OBVIOUSLY) WE HAVE MORE TASTE AND WOULD HAVE BOUGHT ONE FROM THAT SHOP CALLED ‘MADE’ OR ‘LOAF’ OR EVEN SOME CLEVER EBAY REUPHOLSTERED NUMBER”
and they keep jumping, we repeat, they jump again, Mark says something like
“If I have to get up from my chair, then, well, you are probably gonna GET IT BAD”
and then they say
“We aren’t JUMPING, we are SHIMMYING” and they carry on, satisfied that they have won the little showdown through their sheer mastery of unexpected synonyms. Anyway, I was lying down on the couch, hoping not to breathe in too near the foam, because of the likely urine/toxic fumes/etc, and my eyes start to close and I think about this excellent article I read on the interwebs a few weeks ago about how to do parenting when you are lying down, with your eyes closed. And so I asked them to brush my hair, and to be doctors and to examine me for an irregular pulse, and then, the very best thing – to write on my back their full names, dates of birth, three secrets about how they were feeling on the inside, as well as dinner requests. And it was a total EPIPHANY because I realised I could get a bit snoozy, while showing my interest in both how their handwriting was coming along, get some fresh ideas for their tea, AS WELL AS TAKING THEIR EMOTIONAL TEMPERATURE by engaging with their innermost feelings!
So I thought it was worth passing along. The technique isn’t perfect, because their spelling is patchy, and Ned got his small, hard plastic Hulk to give me a ‘punching massage’ instead, and then they all asked for money afterwards because they felt ‘exploited’ and ‘misled’ once they worked out the whole thing was more about me than them. But whatevs, kids. Welcome to the rest of your life.
Anyway, thanks for all of the lovely thoughts and sensible words of advice after I told the world the terrible truth about our marital impasse in my last post. It has thawed a bit, mostly because it was getting boring and lonely, so now we are just not talking about it. Mark is going to go to New Zealand for a few weeks to hopefully get it out of his system, to arrive and be crestfallen at the rain and mosquitos and the poverty and the terrible TV and literally FALL OVER at the price of ground almonds and imported cheese, spluttering at the house prices and the corrupt government and the people who don’t wear shoes in the supermarket. Or, he will get so excited and find a job and fall in love and will start the process of changing our lives in a big scary way, and hopefully I will cope and not get all passive-aggressive and resentful, carrying around a bitter poisonous stone in my heart which may blossom into a depression or general discontent for years afterwards, turning me hagged and mean-looking well before my time. I’ll keep you all posted, obviously, because there are no secrets with me, and I can only deal with enormous profound issues by telling everyone I meet all about them in detail.
And look! We had a kid turn 11 today, which involved this cake encased in hardened chocolate poured over rapidly deteriorating unseasonal fruits. Cutting into the cake was like cracking into an easter egg, with the soft, oozing, rancid fruits reminding me that sometimes, looks aren’t everything. Yes, it looks too fabulous. But it had a rotting core. A BIT LIKE ME.
And here he is, birthday child liking the cake for its simple cakeness, not knowing that I would manage to turn the cake into a dramatic, tragic, and overblown personal metaphor, sounding a little bit vain in the process and making it all about myself AGAIN:
But, you know, I’m a little like that. And this is what he was like when he was three, all soft and curly and uncomplicated:
Argh. I hate how the kids get older, though the alternative is an early death, so I’d best be thankful and learn to like them as they are and not mourn for those early years of scrappy tiredness and desperate toddler manhandling. It all seems like it was so much fun though, which I think might well be the ageing and desperate biological workings of my inner womanly core, screaming for one last baby. *I hear you, screaming desperate womanly core. I’ll do my best!*
So, back to London on a Wednesday night. Celia waited in line on an unspecified Monday morning for an hour with very enthusiastic pensioners for extremely cheap £10 tickets to see Dominic West and Janet McTeer in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, where we got front row seats, close enough so that I had to swerve out of the way when McNulty did a sword fight with another guy, and I could see the veins on Janet McTeer’s gorgeous uplifted bosoms. £10 and a fifteen minute tube ride. And you all wonder what keeps me here? And beforehand we ate at Peter Gordon’s Kopapa and we had these:
Tamarillo cocktails. So, yep. And Peter Gordon was there, and then we got coffee from Monmouth, and swanned around Seven Dials and both of us said that living here was the best place to live, even better than Toronto and Milan. And both of us have to leave here, sooner or later, and it really bites.
More Reasons To Be A Happy Londoner
Westminster Council do a whole lot of subsidised programmes for the intercity unruly youth, which my boys are, and they get to go boxing at this very old school boxing gym JUST LIKE ROCKY BALBOA DID IN PHILLY, and it only costs £3 and you drop them off for an hour and a half:
So that’s our new thing on a Saturday, while Mark, Otis, Magic and I go wandering along the canal, being all very urban:
And here are Magic’s lips, too perfectly labial and furry not to include here:
There is no neat conclusion here. So I urge you all to find ways to get massages for free, ideally from enthusiastic supple little fingers, and to make cakes and eat unseasonal fruit before it rots and to kiss dog mouths and drink tamarillo cocktails and get your kids boxing like Rocky and go see a play. And find (and share) parenting hacks, because they are awesome.