16 Sept 2010

Hestia...and the fire-breathing dragon

My Frabjous Day disintigrated at about 3.30pm yesterday afternoon. The parental amongst you might recognise this as the time small children come crashing through the door with tales of playground derring-do, wicked teachers and inedible packed lunches

Sonshine had a small friend with him, a lovely little bespectacled meerkat of a child whom I adore.  He eats everything.

We started our post-school routine:  We had snacks together (muller rice and a glass of diluting juice); we did the poetry comprehension homework together and all was going swimingly well.....until I suggested that we walk down to the town (about 5 minutes away) so that we could buy some stuff to turn my excess blackcurrants into a crumble and for chook boobs so that I could make their favourite tea - chicken noodle soup.

Sonshine's face fell: 'But Meerkat is only here until 7 tonight!' he pouted.

'And that's a whole THREE  hours away,' I pointed out with a tight smile.

'But Food shopping is SO boring.' he moaned, his bottom lip starting to protrude sulkily.

'Yes, it is boring.' I admitted. 'I find it boring too, if I'm honest.  Say, how 'bout I buy you both an ICE CREAM out of the Pokey Hat? Blue Bubblegum, eh?  BLUE BUBBLEGUM??!'

I was sure that I was onto a winner. Small boys love ice cream.  Especially the parent-frightening e-number riddled electric blue ice-cream notionally flavoured as bubblegum.

The Meerkat started to move towards his shoes.  Sonshine put out a hand to stop him from moving any further.

I bristled.

Sonshine picked up his Lego space ship and flew it towards Meerkat: 'Nah. I don't want to.'

The Meerkat said nothing but blinked at me through his specs, sniffing imminent trouble with his meerkat senses.

I had nothing else to wheedle with, having blown my Big Ticket with the offer of blue ice cream.

'But I NEED to buy some things for our evening meal - come on get your shoes on, boys,' I trilled brightly.

'No - we're not going mum. Can't we just have something out the freezer instead?'

I followed them into the playroom, 'Come on guys - I need to go out and I can't leave you behind. Come on!'

Sonshine fixed me with a blue gaze of bored disinterest.  Something cast my way fairly often by his father and, it might have been pre-menstrual, it might also have been pre-menopausal, but a red mist descended like low autumn cloud and I knew I had to Get Out Of The Room.

I backed out of the playroom, shut myself in the back sitting room and am ashamed to report that I went into total meltdown.

I took Sonshine's schoolbag and whacked it against the kitchen door, again and again.  I then kicked it all around the room before slamming it into the cupboard where it should have been put after school.  Then I spied a corncob husk sitting on the windowsill - a treat for Nibbles - which I'd patiently asked (several times) to be put into the kitchen bin.  I flung it as hard as I could against the opposite wall, just missing Tertarus's favourite painting.  There's not a lot of weight in a corn husk and it wasn't a very satisfactory hurtle, so I grabbed my heavy handbag and smacked it on to the kitchen table. Repeatedly.

I wish I could tell you what was going through my head as I did all that, but there wasn't really anything, just an uncontrollable urge to be physically violent.  It didn't last long, probably just a few minutes.

The rage subsided and I slumped down at the kitchen table.  I felt preternaturally calm.  Odd.  Disjointed.
After a while, I simply stood up, cleared up the mess and got on with making the dinner.  I'm sure that's not healthy.

I soon got back to feeling normal and by the time Sonshine came into the kitchen to hug me and apologise for 'being so selfish', I was pretty ashamed of how I'd let rip.  We hugged for a moment and I kissed the top of his head.  Then, a scant two breaths into our embrace, he asked whether he and the Meerkat could play the Wii

Obviously a very sincere apology then.

I said yes.  I don't want the Meerkat thinking that I'm utterly psychotic.  Off they ran, happy as only small boys with no problems can be.

I started to wash the dishes and then stopped.  I pulled off the yellow rubber gloves and sat down at the kitchen table.

For nearly an hour I sat there.  Not doing anything, just sitting thinking - trying to burrow down to the root of why I'd totally flipped out.  This was so NOT me. Where had this anger come from?  I tried to look at it objectively - Was this really about B not being willing to go food shopping? Was it about something else? That look in his eye? Was this somehow all to do with his father? With MY father? oh fuck knows....

My handbag lay in the cupboard where I had tossed it after my outburst.  I fetched it over to the table to see if I'd done any damage to the contents.  The left leg of my reading glasses had snapped off at the hinge.  I taped it back together with Duct Tape and am now sitting here typing away to you like a computer-literate Jack Duckworth.

I'm not proud of what I did yesterday, but at least I didn't do it in front of the kids.  I'm still not sure whether making this a blog posting is a good idea - putting this sort of information Out There about yourself, well, it might earn me a visit from Social Services or a doctor who 'just happens to be passing'.

I'm not mad. I'm fine, honestly. Aren't I?


  1. Absolutely not.The times I've smiled though gritted teeth when my lot have taken liberties,in front of their friends because they know they can get away with just that little bit more.Because their guests are there...

    Sorry,I laughed but I did see myself in there.
    I like a good crash around sometimes,its liberating.

  2. No, you're not remotely mad. Just very very normal. I suspect most mothers have had meltdowns like that - they're just not honest enough to say so.
    Bringing up children is SO tough and sounds like Hestia just had a little Artemis break-out going on..... :)

  3. Oh I've had moments of pure rage like that and I don't even have kids! My brother (who sadly I work with) wound me up so much one day that I stabbed his orange with a bic pen. No one knows about this I hasten to add ha ha. Felt silly but better afterwards though.
    Boys eh? Can't live with them.... can't live with them ha ha

  4. This is a normal part of parenthood - the part where you know you've just lost the battle of wills and it signals the gradual decline in your parental control... and it really, really pisses you off because they are far too young and ignorant to be able to defeat and defy you this way... and you're not allowed to beat the crap out of them, so inanimate objects will have to do.
    Can you tell I've been there? :)

  5. Oh how you have all cheered me!

    Ania - think you might have nailed what's going on here!

    Butterfly - I laughed aloud when I read about you stabbing his orange with your ballpoint!

    Jane - love the idea of a little Artemis escaping! Do I get an owl?!

    NS - so glad that you could see yourself in there too! Where is your eatery located btw?

    Really wondered about my wisdom of hitting 'publish' this morning after I wrote up the blog post, but am glad I did. Nice to know that there are lots of us out there grinning and bearing it - there's safety in numbers right enough lol!

    Ali x

  6. Several parenting fails here: 1) Meerkat goes home, Sonshine, unless you do as you're told - and Hestia MUST stick with it regardless of tantrums 2) following on from that: wheedling = NO ! you are the Alpha, leader of the pack 3) throwing things: don't you know anything ?? They must be loudly breakable for best therapeutic effect; this is the reason for shops like Wilkinsons and QD ie cheap china 5) one must swear the vilest words evah at top volume at the same time as smashing things ...one must give the neighbors *some* entertainment :-D

  7. Viv - Meerkat could not go home, parents buying bathroom suite on mainland.

    Alpha status: have you met Tertarus? He makes Sean Connery look like a GIRL? That's the Alpha status in our house. He has enough testosterone to start a war in a cupboard on his own.

    I am simply the baboon that picks the fleas off everyone else :-)

    Throwing things: Don't worry, I HAVE indulged in the smashing things (see: mismatched crockery an absence of wedding china) and effing and blinding and slamming doors, but only PRE CHILD. But not done it recently.

    Neighbours already think I'm mad, what with the Tarot cards and jogging.

    Ali xxxx

  8. Don't worry or try to anyalse it all too much. In future just try not to meltdown when Sonshine has friends round incase they go home and tell their parents you are nuts! LOL. I would also try and go to the supermarket during school hours in future! I guess I can see why Sonshine didn't want to go...

  9. Mrs Fab - the kids didn't know that anything had happened. Although I did tell Sonshine what happened this morning when he discovered that his juice bottle had burst inside his schoolbag.

    Ali x

  10. Ali,
    You're fine. Everybody gets frustrated. The thing was, you didn't take it out on the boys.

    Love you,


  11. I don't know if this is going to help because obviously you know I am mad - but - I couldn't tell you how many plates I've smashed (slamming them down from a height on concrete outside the house is highly satisfying) and not too long ago I threw a chair and unfortunately it didn't stop before it hit a wall....and now we have to replaster...

    I totally know the feeling, there is something about 3.30pm. My two are at their crabbiest then and for some reason I'm at my lowest point too and very prone to getting ratty.

    Sometimes you just have to 'DO SOMETHING' to stop you 'DOING SOMETHING' and then you look at the broken pieces of plate, or feel the real ache in your hand from slamming doors or kitchen cupboards closed repeatedly, and you feel silly and then it's time to pick up the pieces and start again.

    I often now, having picked them up from the bus or school, switch the telly on and get myself away to a quiet place (usually my bedroom) to have some quiet time - listening to a podcast, or a relaxation tape or reading a book. It does us all some good....I tell you 3.30 is a low point in the day, I'm sure a scientist could tell us something about biorhythms......but sometimes the rage comes and as long as it passes pretty quickly and you're not hurting a human (including you) I don't think there's anything to worry about.

    ps. don't tell the men in white coats or the social services where I live will you.........

    Tempest xx

  12. Dear Ali, I feel for you. All my friends with children, bar none have complained that they have absolutely had enough of their kids during the holiday.

    I think that's why I've avoided having them for so long. By the time I make my mind up I think it'll be too late!

    I drove my mother to distraction and would hate to have a mini me to deal with! Far too stressful.

    I hope you feel better now you've let off some steam.

    I also love the way you can turn anything into a funny story. I do too. A great trait to have to keep us sane in this life! xx

  13. Hi - just found you thru conversation pieces...I am now scared for that lovely teacake bag!!!

    My week had been so grrrrr that I was heading towards a rash splurge online(needed something useless, huge and pearly from graham & green), but got engrossed in catching up on your posts instead.

    So, thank you, from another not-really-so bonkers 47 yr old mum. My bank balance is still intact, and my heart is lightened! x

  14. Trashsparkle - thank you for stopping by! Do not worry about bag, it will not be slammed onto a table but cossetted and hand-fed peeled grapes!

    Christina - you just have to realise that no matter WHAT you do, you will make an arse of it in some way. It comes with the territory. All you have to be is Good Enough. There is no Perfect in parenting :-)

    Get breeding!

    Tempest - I hear you! I promise not to spill the beans on your new location. *whispers* Don't worry, your family will never find you!!!

    SB - thank you!

    Legend - but you ARE mad :-)

    Ali xxx

  15. I always feel guilty when I remember how much I shouted when the kids were home - I would have to say that I never shout now, I think it is a combination of frustration and hormones perhaps - when it is just the hormones you can tkae yourself off for a hot bath or a jog and ease it off, when it is kids and communication it's a lot more difficult - you sound just like I was when mine were small - I dont think we should feel bad - mine love me all the same xx


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