I knew memories of my childhood were elusive, like little wisps of air that hover just beyond my reach but I thought that if I actually took the time to think about it, events from my past would start to reveal themselves, but no, I can honestly say that I have little recollection of my own childhood, which is a little disconcerting to say the least.
I’ve been trying to limit my children’s time in front of the TV since they were knee high. I know it’s bad for them but I’m not sure why, something to do with brain development. And I’ve tried, believe me, not to succumb to the gentle and mesmerising promise of a half hour’s peace at the end of a hectic day.
Five years ago as a mother-to-be, I hoped and prayed for a son, a golden boy who would carry his father’s genes and name into future generations like a gallant captain of destiny. To my utter delight, two years later I had a hot-headed, tantruming toddler with a penchant for sucking everything that came within his reach, including his playmate’s dummy and any old soggy fag butt that he came across on the street. I also had another six-month-old who giggled at every move the two-year-old made.
Opening the front door I’m confronted with a sight that could suggest we’ve been burgled. I keep my eyes focused on the middle distance to avoid looking at the detritus at my feet…
I remember a time before we co-habited that I would almost burst with excitement to tell my then boyfriend about every detail of my day. We’d chat about everything from what we had for breakfast that morning, to the state of the education system, and then we’d make plans for our future together. These days …
As a parent who worries way too much about whether I am overwhelming my kids with too much choice, too many toys, and too many events, this book was a gift from heaven (well the bookshop!). Just reading the first few pages gave me that sense of comfort knowing that I was in the hands of experts who know exactly what I needed to give me perspective on how I was raising my kids.
Is money the focus of your life? Some of my friends, and I’m mentioning no names, are so concerned with money that they will crawl over their own children to get it. They constantly compare themselves to others with a bigger house, flashier car or whose kids wear the most expensive designer clothes. So, why am I friends with these people?
I sit down, cup of tea and laptop in front of me, and I start tapping away. Usually I’ll begin with the novel I’ve been writing for about five years, thrashing out a scene between two central characters, which, invariably, I will later remove from the manuscript. So far, so good.
We’ve moved house recently, and I have to say that, without a doubt, it was one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done. The expectation of how it will be (like clockwork – smooth and stress free) was dramatically outplayed by the painful reality (hair pulling-out distress) not helped by the four of us coming down with possibly the worst ever case of the flu
At a recent trip to a toy store I witnessed a G-force-strength tantrum over a Woody doll. The mother was attempting, and failing, to wrestle her whirlwind offspring into his buggy while around them other parents stared aghast at the poor woman’s attempts to pacify him. “Perhaps you can have a Woody Doll for your birthday darling.” She says as she tries to strap him in. He screams louder. “Shall we ask Grandma for one?” She tries over the din. That doesn’t work either so she quickly grabs the toy from the shelf and marches to the till.