Tuesday, 30 March 2010

10 things I like about you....

Whenever I feel the dynamics in our little family are wavering I make us all think about 10 things we like about each other. By 9 or 10 we are usually getting pretty desperate and have to refer to things like 'I like your top' but it makes us laugh anyway!
Last time my son said as no 10 for me: 'you're good with your brother'

We had Easter early this year. Mum decided we would have Easter dinner last Sunday so we could all be together. She'd planned this for a while. Just as we were about to go over she rang and said my brother wasn't coming. He was refusing the leave the house. She suggested we could take all the dinner there and have it on our laps.
'I'll go over and get him' I said
'No, your dads been there trying to get him up for an hour and a half. No-one could get him out yesterday either'
'Well I'll just go and try then'
'There's no point in you having to go over twice. We may as well take all the food'
I could tell she was disappointed.
'I'll go and try' I said again.
'Well don't say that I sent you' my mum said
As I drove over not for a second did I consider that I wouldn't be bringing my brother back with me. When I turned up my dad looked shattered.
I dragged my brother out of bed twice, hugged him, sang to him, tickled him, distracted him and made him laugh till he was in my car. After a false start when he tried to escape while I was driving, he calmed down and was fine.  We had our early Easter together just as mum planned it.

I don't spend as much time with my brother as I used to. Last year I was round nearly every day, when the carers couldn't cope with him and my mum was ill. I had plates thrown at me, I had to break up fights when a group of lads misunderstood his psychotic roaring, I'd go and see him in hospital and when he wouldn't come out his room I'd break the rules and just go straight in. I've been to meetings and argued with professionals when they say he's fine, I've tried to find him voluntary work, I've taken him to festivals with me, I've taken him for days out with my son. I've never given up. When my mum was ill and I was on 'suicide watch' at their house I accidently read an email she'd sent that said how proud she was of me for breaking all the rules just so I could see him. It made me cry. My mum loves a rebel.

Last week on the way to badminton me and my brother sat in the front of the car dancing away to Tinie Tempah turned up full volume while my son and 'Grandad' (my dad) sat in the back begging us to stop and turn it down!

I am good with my brother.
Or I am good at being stubborn!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

That time of the month...

It's that time of the month again and I'm a complete emotional mess! Maybe I need to see someone about this - I'm not sure its normal any more! I've taken to just being open about it. 'I'm on my period' I declare to my male work colleagues just in case they notice anything different. They seem to appreciate the heads up! My brain is mush. My moods are all over the place. I cry for no reason....
'Why are you eyes all red?' my son asks
'Oh, I'm fine, not upset, just being all emotional. Silly really. It's a girl thing...'
What a stupid dumb ass thing to say I realised when he responds with
'So why do I get emotional then?'

I give him a big hug. He can be a sensitive soul at times but I never want him to see this as a weakness. Last week I let him look at my 'letter to my pregnant self'. I thought I'd leave him alone to read it while I went to make a cup of tea... A few seconds later I hear him calling me and I go up to see him standing at the top of the stairs with tears in his eyes. 'Mum! I do think you're cool' he wailed!

He had obviously read my 'P.s. Even though you are young you will never be considered 'cool' in the eyes of your son'.  TBH when I saw that in print I regretted putting it. But its what I always get asked, 'I bet your kid thinks you're so cool', like I'm some kinda cool big sister. I'm still his mum FFS!
Then when my dad read my letter he said that was the 'best bit' because it showed being a young mum wasn't all positive! Gee thanks Dad-ever the emotional one! (My mum wasn't much better. She laughed through reading it. Other parents CRIED when they read their daughters' letters you know. No wonder I have issues!)

Anyway my son has taken objection to this line.
'I think you're the coolest mum in the world' he said, half sobbing. I hugged him tighter.
'I know you do darling... I just meant that I'm still a bit embarrassing sometimes.' That he seemed to agree with.

I guess it's easy to blame emotions on periods and 'being a girl' but maybe I shouldn't. Yes I've been a total freakazoid the last few days but there have been some bloody good reasons. So maybe in a few days these reason may seem less paramount to my daily life, maybe 99% of the time my son doesn't really think that I'm the coolest mum in the word, but emotions are as real as they feel at the time..... and this is what I should be saying to my son...

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Can't be arsed

I like the drive to my son's guitar lessons. We often have some interesting chats.

Today after a prolonged silence my son said 'Mum.....you know how I'm nearly 14 now....'

'Mmmm' This sounded dangerous.

'Am I allowed to say the word 'arse' around you?'

Say what?

'It's not a swear word'

Well,  I guess. I pride myself on never ever swearing around my son except for one occasion a couple of years ago when, out for meal, he asked what another word for really good was and I suggested 'the dog's bollocks'. This was met with complete shock from him and my boyfriend that I could think this was an acceptable term to suggest! They have gone on about it ever since! ("Mum, remember that day you said the dog's .....")

'Ok, I guess I don't mind'


'Yeah sure. Hey, why don't you shout it really loud?'

He looked at me suspiciously, smiled, went to shout, then stopped,

'Nah, it doesn't feel right around you....'

'Ok' I said. I was flattered he felt I should be protected from any foul language!

As we got out the car and walked up to the guitar teacher's house he looked at me and said 'Mum, I'm looking forward to this Easter. It's gonna be the dog's...'

Monday, 22 March 2010

99% of the time...

...my boyfriend annoys the hell out me

1% of the time he manages to make up for it

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Diary of a 15 year old

I seem to be doing a lot of reflecting lately - It's all terribly self indulgent and quite embarrassing really! Maybe it's being 30 and feeling like I should know a bit more about myself - Even typing that makes me cringe!

So I've just been up in the attic and found my diary from the summer of 94 (age 15) to the summer of 95 (age 16) when I left home. During that period my life changed more than I could ever imagine. The thing is I'm too scared to open it! I know it's sounds really stupid and I really can't explain it. The key has been lost but I still daren't open it! I know I'm being over dramatic but I think I might just leave it a while...........

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Irrational purchases

Today I spent £1.79 on 5 plastic ducks.
I told my son I bought them for him. 'You know me so well' he replied sarcastically!

I used to buy things like this for myself all the time. I loved buying things just because I liked them. When did I stop? What happened? When did I start to feel that every purchase has to be part of a rational decision making process?  It's not even a money thing - It's simply a justification thing - maybe it's partly a not-wanting-to-turn-into-my-mother-with-a-house-full-of-trinkets thing too. But rational doesn't make you happy - it just makes you boring!

So my very late new years resolution is to make as many irrational purchases as possible....

Boyfriend: what the hell are these ducks doing in the bathroom?
Son: There are ducks? In the house?
Boyfriend: Not real ducks, these bloody stupid plastic things!

Oh yes....that's whats happened

dear me, letters to my pregnant self

Friday, 19 March 2010

Oh My Fussing God

After first applying in July 2002, I have finally this week receieved my FIRST 5 POUNDS through the CSA!! Yes thats right a WHOLE 5 POUNDS - Whoop whoop, I feel a crazy shopping spree coming on. No, I should be sensible - I should save it right? - Ok done - has been transfered to my son's savings account. Phew that was close. I can't believe I was tempted to blow it all! I think it was just the shock. Wow, all those frustratingly long phone calls with incompetent CSA staff over the last 8 years all seem worth it now......Don't give up girls!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

I stole these words..

...from The Manifesta to Young Women and Girls:

Everyone's making everything up / There is no one in charge except for those / Who pretend to be / No one is coming / No one is going to / Rescue you / Mind read your needs / Know your body better than you / Always fight back.

Ask for it / Say you want it / Cherish your solitude / Take trains by yourself to places / You have never been / Sleep out alone under the stars / Learn how to drive a stick shift / Go so far away that you stop being afraid of / Not coming back.

Say no when you don't want to do something / Say yes if your instincts are strong / Even if everyone around you disagrees / Decide whether you want to be liked or admired / Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out / What you're doing here / Believe in kissing. 

                                          (circa 1986)

....But then Eve did steal my little speech about 'muchness'


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Options day

This evening I am going to Options Awareness day with my son.

It's always good to have options and it's even better to be aware of them.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A day to remember

This time last year Jade Goody died.  This time last year I was in an ambulance with my mum on the way to hospital after she had taken an overdose.  It wasn't her first attempt. Thankfully none were successful.  I don't like talking about my mum's mental health.  I don't want people to judge her.  She, on the other hand, will quite happily tell anyone about her stints on mental health wards, occasionally crossing paths with my brother.  Maybe it's that I don't want people judging me.

I know this Mother's day I should be celebrating how different things are now to how they were a year ago.  But I'm glad of that every day.  Today only reminds me of how bad it once got.....

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Alice in feminist land

Yesterday I went to see Alice in Wonderland with my son, my daughter from another mother, and her mother.  I couldn't have asked for better company.

Alice in Wonderland was a story about feminism. Alice keeps being told she is the 'Wrong Alice' and she doesn't even know if she is the right or wrong Alice herself.  Until she finds her 'muchness' - which she somehow managed to lose some time ago.  In the end, when she finds her muchness, she realises that she was the right Alice all along.  She then tells everyone what she really thinks of them. Simple.

I'm a bit of a crap feminist.  At 30 I still try to act cute and girly, and sometimes a little pathetic, to get my own way.  I hate things like 'womens day' and 'womens awards' and 'women-only shortlists' just for the sake of it.  I don't want some stuffy fuddy-duddy woman to get ahead just because she's female.  Do I want to be looked after by a man?  Hell yeah! Would I really like it though?  Errrmm, yeah, sometimes I wouldn't mind it actually.  Feminists would hate me I'm sure.  But to me feminism is just about being able to be yourself. And being happy with who that is.  That's it.  If it wins me any points (although I don't think it does) I think a lot of men are pretty shit.  Particularly the ones who try to stop you from being happy with yourself.  The ones who somehow make you lose your muchness without you even realising it.  Because your muchness is what makes you who you are. Your muchness gives you the confidence to tell everyone exactly what you think of them.  Well, in your head anyway.

When I hear stories about men who have been vile though I always wonder how it happened.  How did they get like that?  These men all had mothers right?  So where did they go wrong?  And maybe that's the thing. Whether we have it all, or even want it all, we still somehow feel responsible for it all. Responsibility isn't something you can really delegate easily.  And sometimes it can be overwhelming. Sometimes feeling responsible for everything and forgetting about yourself can make you lose your muchness without even realising it.  I don't know what the answer is.  I don't know who will listen. Because it seems it's often not until you re-discover your muchness that you realize it was ever lost...

Maybe things like Women's Day aren't so bad...I'm just concerned that there aren't enough awards to go round....

Monday, 8 March 2010

Happy Women's Days

'Happy International Women's Day!', I chirped as I arrived in work today (25 mins later than planned-damn). No one knew it was women's day.
Is it a national thing? they asked.
INTERnational, I said proudly.
Not everyone will be celebrating though will they, said my work husband, cos some women are always moody.

Hmm, I thought, so what's going on today to mark such an occasion? Oh, there are some young women doing some activities to 'prevent pregnancy', activities such as arts and crafts.... Oh, Ok.

This was to celebrate how much women have progressed.

What? So much that we are forced to do arts and crafts to stop us from thinking about making babies?

How odd.

As I left the office (don't worry, I did some work in between) I saw the purple haired lesbian who always gives me evils crying and someone comforting her. I was slightly taken aback. People don't often cry at work-It's not that kind of job. It's not like I don't know that lesbians can cry...

I still don't really get Women's day. But maybe I get that we shouldn't put women in boxes.

Well, unless they can decorate them as part of an arts and crafts session to distract them from being broody.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

World Book Day unnoticed

World Book Day passed us by in our household. I don't know if schools just don't bother with it beyond age 10, particularly at a boys schools. I guess the idea is that reading is not considered cool for 13 year old boys. I don't really get why people think this. My son reads every night; not because he's a geek but because there are some bloody good books for 13 year boys (The Cherub series, Andy McNab's boy soldier series, the young bond books etc). Most of his friends have rediscovered reading when they have found these books too. Occasionally I'll read a chapter to him and can instantly see why to gets into them. His latest obsession is a series of 25 Raymond E Feist books. Thankfully I have a friend who is now my nominated 'library' as he has a similar taste in books to my son, meaning he always has something to read without it costing me the earth. Naturally, my son wouldn't be seen dead in a real library! I once took him to my university library, thinking he would be inspired, and he said it was like hell - 'death by books' I think were his words! But this is no reflection of his love of reading...

He is sad when he finishes a book because he misses the characters. If it's a particularly good book he'll bring it down in the morning and read it while scoffing his cereals till the second he has to leave for school.

Can I just re-iterate my son is NOT a geek - he just loves reading.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Bad timing

My time keeping is really bad. Every week I am late for football, guitar, badminton, the list goes on. Thank god for flexi time at work. I don't think anyone realizes I actually aim to get in 45 mins before I roll up each day. For any event I am always way beyond fashionably late. I am always in a rush getting ready to go anywhere because in my head it always takes much less time than it actually does. I'm also really badly organised. I never have my son's football kit ready the day before like I'm meant to. I always leave essays till the very last minute. I just seem unable to plan ahead. So far I've always just about got away with it. If I know that I can get away with being 15 mins late max then that is the time I will turn up. Not a second before. People have come to expect it from me though. The football coach actually tells me a time to meet 10 mins before the time he's told all the other parents! My son said that everyone cheered when he actually brought his football kit back on Saturday last week....so clearly it hasn't even gone unnoticed to 13 yr old boys who normally don't notice anything that's not plugged into the telly.

Unfortunately though I think I really need to start doing something about it. Every week I say to my son 'next week I will be more organised' but this time I really really mean it. Being unorganised is not as easy as it used to be now that the boyfriend is working. I can't just ring him from work and ask him to put something in the washing machine or post something for me. Also, my son has GCSE's coming up over the next few years and I really don't want him to be like me. I've already noticed that he's started doing his homework later and later. It's only going to get worse and I know I will only have myself to blame. So my plan is:

1.get things like clothes ready the night before
2.finish the washing up before I go to bed rather than before work the next morning
4.early bedtimes
4.get to work BY 9 o clock which means I can then leave earlier which means we can then get to guitar and badminton on time
5.wash my son's football kit straight after training
6.remind my son every day to check what homework he has

Ok so now I just need to stick to it....