Big Boy, Little Boy


How did it get to this time? I am sitting in bed writing. Feeling very unwell. Not sleeping. Negative thoughts going around and around in my head. Am I paranoid. Perhaps I am. The cycle of non sleep I know is destructive and it does not make for clarity of thought. Maybe I am ill. Is this depression. Probably. Feelings of inadequacy. Nervousness. Hands shaking. Yesterday sadness when I broke a plate that Sydney had painted. A pan fell onto it. The pan came crashing down on the birthday cake that I had made for  Patrick and the beautiful plate that Syd had made. I can mend the plate with super glue. I can mend it like Yoko Ono. I can mend the plate, I try to mend my head and I try to make the world a better place. Through small actions perhaps we can mend the world ? (High Concept, Yoko Ono discusses her work, John Robinson, The Guardian, April 23rd 2005)  I am not able to concentrate. I am not able to get through a list of things to do. Bloody bad timing black dog, Black dog always comes out when you least expect.

House a mess, but I don’t feel guilty. I know it will get done when it gets done. The caring of humans is more important. Looking after me so I can look after them. Keeping sane. Keeping up with the creativity. Keeping playing in the now. Being kind to my children, trying not to get impatient and frustrated and angry. I know when I am swinging from totally calm patient mummy to shouty mummy that I haven’t got a handle on things. It will pass. All bad things pass. Least I am aware of my mistakes of the triggers and the anxiety and how to cope, how to make do.

I was impatient with Naoise in the bath when he needed his hair washing and was pretending that his head of dry hair had been washed. Its sweet looking back at it now but at the time I just felt angry and annoyed with him for being clever and devious and cheeky. I did wash his hair but it was a splashy scrappy throwing water affair. It could have been so different. Should have calmed him down, could have left the washing of hair, Naoise is right hair does not have to be washed everyday. I should have listened to him. I just had this idea in my head that as it was assembly today at school and all the parents would be there that it should be washed. See I was thinking of stupid things. I was thinking of pride, I was thinking of me and not of him. How silly of me. I am not perfect though. Just let it go Helen. These things are probably forgotten. Children do need to comply sometimes. I am done with dissent and stubbornness and sleepiness in the morning. Thank goodness it is the holiday today. I need one Naoise needs one. We need lie ins. We need to rest and to play and to have fun.

reallytiredbreakfast22:05:15 table22:05:15

Naoise went back to bed three times this morning. We just made it in time. The class were lining up for assembly when I dropped Naoise into the class. Oh the looks of judgement, oh the looks of annoyance. Its hard. I don’t expect understanding or sympathy from them. I no longer care what they think. I care about my child and I am done with conflict. I did well to get him in when I did.

I moved a chair to the front row and sat with my friend. Last assembly I had to make do with peering through gaps in heads and basically could’nt see a thing. It is lovely to watch your child in an assembly. So sweet. His face looking at mine for recognition. His eyes meeting mine. His smile. My smile. He loves singing the song. He sang it to me in the bath the other night. A song about beans and peas and barley. This sounds very sentimental. Its ok. Its ok to hang on to the love. Its ok to talk about the joy. I have to cling to the joy, to the moments of pride. To the love of his little hand leading mine down to his classroom to show me his work. The pride of my child as he kindly stands against the door to keep it open for everyone else. He is a kind, thoughtful, sensitive child.

He is neither ungrateful or rude as the teaching assistant described him last week. He is neither of these things, I will never forget his little tears and sadness from last week. I will try to learn that what you say to a small child really can cut deep and hurt. Don’t get me wrong he can be very rude and very cheeky and very nasty and very cruel but rude is not a word to describe his character and neither is he ungrateful.

I am babbling. Try not to babble I had thought that I was going to write about the dream that I had this morning. A dream. I actually dreamt something. I dreamt of a luscious green pasture and watching two tawny owls, two otters and two red squirrels. I woke up with two boys in my bed. A small boy and a big boy.  bigboylittleboypants boyssleeping21:05:15

I slept very badly last night. I was up in the night with  Naoise, as he had an accident so he needed a shower. This bowel problem is really getting to me. I am going to have to go back to the lactolose. Poor Naoise and his painful swollen belly and his poo accidents. Poor me having to help him out in the early hours. Not surprising he is tired, not surprising I am tired. We are caught. We are caught by his digestive system not working properly. Around and around. I could jump inside the washing machine too, spin dry my brain, wash out the crap. Some good days then many bad days. This cannot be normal. He is simply not growing out of the bowel problem as the GP said he would.

Syd is going away tomorrow for a whole week. I hate it when I know that I will not be seeing him. It makes me sad and anxious. Always pressure to make do with the time with have, to make it special, to make it full and happy and exciting. Lack of time, of feeling time falling away quickly, panicking. I still feel that he is being stollen. It does not get any easier the older he gets. It is still a parting.  It is still a parting that I do not choose. Its a parting that is everything to do with Syd and his Dad and nothing to do with me. There is a total disconnect between Syd’s dad and me and this is a painful, difficult situation.

Me and Syd are wrapped up in each others love and company. I adore my eldest son. He is the loveliest of teenagers even when we do have disagreements about washing up and chores and boring stuff that just has to be done.

…….it is hard, he is lovely but he is typically moody and argumentative and difficult. I confess, I did loose the plot with him last night when he simply walked off when I asked for help with the washing up. I did shout when he tried to slop off another four times from completing th  drying up. I will not have a son that cannot do domestic work. I will persevere. I want him to grow up to be a good man who can cook and clean and bake and care for others. He needs to have these life skills. I struggle to understand why he hates helping me so much. I loved helping my mum, mainly because it meant I got her attention and could have a chat with her. I have fond memories of being at the sink with my mum and my dad too.

If we are really to have an equal society I need to stop mothering so much. I need to stop picking up the pieces. I need to stop shouting, stop behaving like a victim and get them all to muck in. I am not an ideal mum, I am bad mum. I am happy to be bad mum.

My family needs to muck in with the mess. This mess is not a mothers mess.

Mess is not mothering. Mess is not gendered. Mess is mess. Care is not just a mothers care. Care is not gendered, but it is still mainly women that care, mainly women that mother, we need men to mother too.

And sometimes, sometimes all of this seems trite and silly and that none of it matters. Who am I. Why am I writing this. It can seem petty and silly lacking in substance. But this is my reality. This is where I am. I have  thumping headache and I am exhausted and it hurts but not that much. I need to get a grip. Its not good to get depressed, no good for anyone. I need to be strong and angry and vocal and creative.

Lack. Gain. Family. Home. Health. Here. Now.  Its good to remember how lucky I am. I am ok. My children are well and happy and healthy and I have a home and friends and love.

An article  that I read the other day about a migrant boat is haunting me, an image of a man who had been beaten up, he had deep scars from a hammer that had hit his back, this man, this victim,  spoke of a family an entire family mother, father, son or daughter I cannot remember which had been killed and thrown overboard.  Despicably cruel way. An entire family thrown away at sea. This is a cruel world indeed. What to do next ?

Find the article. Post it. Confront the haunting. Learn.

‘They hit us, with hammers, by knife’: Rohingya migrants tell of horror at sea, Kate Lamb,  The Guardian, Sunday 17th May, 2015. 


1 comment

  • Christina MacRae

    Helen, I do not always manage to read your posts as the weeks tumble past, and I often think if Helen can find the time to write them, then I should find the time to read them. But with all the noise that clamours in around my messy lives at home and at work I do miss so much. And as usual reading one of your posts leaves me lost for words and very moved by your honesty and the way that certain emotions and moments echo moments i have witnessed or experienced. I hope that the sadness lifts, and I love how you write it like it is.

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