I’m all for normalising things – bringing things out into the open. Longtime readers may remember when we went to marriage counselling and I wrote about it? And no lightning struck me down. In fact, Marriage Care got in touch to ask me to be their literal poster girl for newsletter fundraising efforts. Quite the proud moment as my Linkedin profile photo went out into households to ask for donations. I hope it worked.
In that spirit then, I can say that one of the kids is now seeing a therapist. I fought against this for so long, thinking if I asked for proper help, I would have failed. I would be admitting I was a bit of a shit parent. I really hate showing any sign of weakness, and this has felt a little like one. I like to be bold and brave and insist on things being under control. But we had a small incident, after many other small incidents, and these add up to one little kid being not very happy, but not really knowing how to say so, in this small flat of relentless noise and people and stuff.
I can see I haven’t been very good about accepting feelings that don’t fit with my overarching view of stoicism and optimism. I thought you were supposed to give no airtime to bad behaviour and I think I’ve extended that to giving no airtime to anything that is a bit hard. I am the Queen of Ignoring. Of the Middle Distance Stare, of Disengagement. Ugh, I must be a cold, cold mother to kids who need reassurance. Kids who are needier than I would like them to be. Ugh.
Anyway, it’s early days but it seems that giving this one kid a space to talk, without us in the actual or psychological room, is at least a start. It shows this wee kid that his parents might learn to listen better, and that we acknowledge there are other ways of feeling about things, and that that’s ok. And he gets someone to himself who has some space for him, finally.
To cheer me out of my regret-induced melancholy, here’s a kid I haven’t yet shut down, although arguably it looks like it:
The job-front has been great from a freelance point of view – there hasn’t been a week where I haven’t had something due, and quite a bit of it has been properly well-paid. As for the other jobs that might or might not happen – the full-timey ones – well, I am waiting and waiting and waiting and trying to stay enthused. The world of full-timey work, working for proper corporate places, seems to move at a glacial pace. I am hoping that’s what’s going on, anyway. It’s either that, or I am just too rubbish to bother replying back to. Argh – job hunting is a true test of character, is it not? Putting yourself out there, hoping to attract some talent acquisition person/algorthim with the right set of words in your CV? Thinking of ways to make your bitsy nichey ‘portfolio’ career look like you planned it that way. It’s enough to turn a person into a 4pm negroni-swizzling lush. Erm….
So my days have been partly working, partly hanging out with the smallest baby Remi who is actually not a baby anymore. He is a big three year old who likes hummus, chips and apple juice. He doesn’t meed me for anything really, although he is still having breastmilk of an evening and a morning. Bit weird I know, and the nipples are well and truely shredded, but he’s the last baby, etc etc. I cannot let go of the last baby thing. Though I may well very soon(ish) if these nips don’t heal up. It strikes me that even if you keep having baby after baby, they still grow up and away. It cannot last.
Here’s Remi at Comptoir Libanais this week on a drizzling day out with his mother. We scootered through Kensington Gardens, stopped to look intently at worms, puddles and rubbish bins, and ate lunch. He very much likes pickles, so that’s how I got him to agree to Comptoir Libanais. It was the pickles. He calls them ‘pinecones’ and that’s reason enough to take him out to eat them.
Then we went to the Natural History Museum to get thrillingly scared by the T-Rex. It was a magnificent day, topped off by pancakes for dinner. I mean – what is not to like?
I also attended my first poker game night on Sunday. There was an actual croupier there who was excellent at shuffling, dealing, following conversations while watching the game, working out the bets and helping me not make a total dick of myself. I had some Larazus moments, she said, and was the second person out of the game. Could have been worse, all told. I also misread the vibe a little – one of the players had made stem ginger and chili brownie and I just munched through three pieces of it, one after the other. It turns out some of the other players may have liked a piece too.
I think that’s one of the many things about living with and in a big family. You have these rules, ill-defined maybe – and they relate to managing yourself in a group of people. With food, you have to at least call everyone to the table, but once that’s done, you better get in quick. So I see a plate of really great gooey-but-crunchy brownies and it’s been about half an hour and no one is polishing them off, so I do. It seems obvious to me. But the other players may have wanted to stagger their culinary experiences. They may have wanted to wait. Anyway, it was a sharp reminder not to be greedy and to read the room. READ THE ROOM, LADY!
Here we are, admiring a very nicely-executed card sweep. A proper card table and everything. Everyone concentrating on the game and behaving like restrained grownups. Me with chocolately fingers and shamed eyes.
For the record, I’m intending on becoming a better poker player and a better guest. Perhaps a better mother too. Baby steps.