Sunday 17 June 2018
Woman At The Helm
Hello dear ones,
Following on from my last post - and thank you all who commented with suggestions, solidarity and the wise shaking of head at my naivety - I am pleased to report that Samuel was seen putting out the recycling, Alfie made his own bed and emptied his own waste paper bin and Olly cleared away some of his toys. It may not seem like much, but these are huge strides here. I'm pleased as punch. Samuel even washed up after himself following a late night pasta cooking session. I was so overwhelmed with joy, that I forced myself to overlook the burnt on food over the oven top. I can't have it all. No-one can.
Alfie came home on Friday, with a smile form ear to ear. The reason? His very last GCSE exam in the bag. A physics paper to boot. Did anyone enjoy physics at school? Did anyone have a science teacher that bought this world alive for you as a teen? I wish I had. Mrs Ramsey and Mr Moggeridge never inspired me, I have to say. It's such a shame really. These fascinating subjects should come alive, and hold the children rapt. In the same way that science does for them as younger children. Anyway, Alfie is now free from the shackles of school; his uniform has already been donated to my friend's boy. Some of us just loathe school, and Alfie was one of them. His demeanour has already improved, and we aren't butting heads. At the moment at least. But I'll take this interlude of calm. It's just so nice to see him happy.
This week Olly spent a night away with the school, sleeping with sharks. He was most anxious about it all. The trip involved a visit to The Eden Project, tea at Pizza Hut, camping out for the night at Plymouth Aquarium and ice skating the following day. How fantastic is that?! They played games and looked at all the animals in the aquarium and slept beside the big tank full of leopard and nurse sharks. He was full of it when I picked him up the following day, recounting in great detail all the things he'd seen and done. His teacher high fived him as he left, saying he'd been a superstar. He's been having a few problems at school, so it was great that the trip was such a positive experience for him. It ticked all of his boxes, and although I know the teachers like my quirky little boy, it made me feel better that they got to see this amazing side of him too; his enthusiasm and embedded knowledge of the world around him, and how it animates and inspires him. He doesn't always socialise well with his peers. He finds it exhausting navigating the queues and signals another person displays, and very often can't read them properly. This sometimes leads to difficult behaviour, and lots of walks of shame for me. So hoorah for a school that gives their pupils these amazing experiences. And hoorah for my boy, who dealt with it so well.
I have to say that I sometimes feel like throwing the towel in with this parenting lark. For long periods it seems like a never ending round of frustrating appeals to get them to do stuff; homework, clearing up, being polite, going to bed, brushing their teeth, eating their tea and all the rest. And it's all so tedious and no fun at all. For them as much as for me. I'm often playing the role of bad cop, and it's a tiring part to play. It's no picnic, for one thing. And I'm caught in the crossfire of this back and forth negotiating that renders me tearful and exhausted. It's all very well being told that the trick is to be proactive. To always be one step ahead of your children. I'd like whoever wrote these books to spend a week with my three strong willed, intelligent, canny boys, and see how proactive they can be then.
But there are these magical moments that happen. Seeing your angst ridden teenage son smile for the first time in forever. Knowing that secondary school has been hideous for him, and seeing the relief that he feels at it being all over. Being able to share a joke with him for the first time in an age. Having him sit downstairs with you, instead of retreating to his Kurt Cobain pit of a room. Getting a hug and a kiss. Watching your eldest sort out and organise his trip to the States, his application for his PGCE and his confident and handsome demeanour, where once stood a lad that lacked all confidence in himself and his abilities. Knowing that your youngest rose to the very real challenge of being away from his Mum and his home, and returned happy and full of wonderful memories that will be banked forever. The joy I feel inside when I witness these gemstone moments more than make up for any amount of dirty dishes, cross words and sky high food bills.
I'm a woman at the helm, guiding my ship in a hap hazard fashion and trying to get to the various ports along the way. Sometimes the anchor is required, especially when there is inclement weather on the horizon. Sometimes the waters are calm, and I can see for miles. Often I'm having to fill in the ship's log and attend to a multitude of tasks. There's never a dull moment aboard this ship of mine, and there are times that I feel like abandoning ship. But I have a duty to my crew, and I will see this journey to its' end. I'm told that there are huge rewards for staying the course, and unloading my cargo intact. And anyway I signed a contract, which I'm told is nigh on impossible to get out of. Something to do with motherly love. And all the wine gums I can eat.
Have a lovely week, fellow helmswomen.