Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Mad mothers and drawing angels

Ted's behaviour has not remained as wondrous as that one fabulous day. He has, on the whole improved, but last night was an all time low as I looked up from my magazine (it was the end of the day and they were peacefully watching Ben 10 so I was taking ten minutes off - don't judge - it doesn't excuse his behaviour) and realised he was colouring in the carpet with angry black pen marks. I screamed, naturally, threw him on the naughty step and started ranting to the other children about having pens in the living room. They all ignored me and Ted sneaked off the naughty step and went back into the living room to carry on watching TV whilst I was banging cupboard doors in the kitchen. I came back in and flipped out again to discover that he hadn't just coloured in the carpet. The upholstered chair had also received some considerable attention. At that point the TV went off and all the children trembled. I don't think it is actually possible to physically explode but I am fairly sure if you had taken a picture of me it would have looked exactly like someone spontaneously combusting with anger. I sent them all upstairs and even Ted looked scared, which is rare. I didn't talk to him for the rest of the evening which I feel bad about on reflection but I think it may well have been in his best interest. Especially as I have scrubbed and scrubbed at the black marks on the arms of the chair but they will not come out - although they are now faded.  Now they match the faded black marks on the arms of the cream sofa which Ted decorated last week. I can at least remove the sofa covers and put them through the wash, but nothing seems to get rid of this particular black pen. And more worrying still, I cannot find the bloody black pen to bin it for good. Ted, being the evil genius that he is, clearly has a secret evil storage space somewhere in the house and must have crept off the naughty step and hidden it whilst my back was turned.
On to happier events, today was Bea's nativity. Bea was an angel complete with tinsel halo et all. It was actually an incredibly pleasant experience overall as a very helpful friend looked after Ted for me so that K and I could watch uninterrupted as Bea pranced and sang and (excitement) played her recorder for the first time in a school concert. Although I was very concerned during the first half an hour as we sat and waited for the concert to begin. Having been ill yesterday, Bea wasn't in the first run through of the performance, and when the recorder teacher started putting out the recorders at the front of the hall before the children came in, I couldn't see Bea's red recorder and I started to become oddly paranoid that she had been forgotten. My anxiety grew as all the other children slowly began to fill the hall until it seemed that everyone was in place. I am ashamed to say that at that point I became ridiculously over concerned as to her whereabouts and I actually stood up and asked her teacher where she was. He is very understanding and pointed to the staff room door at the back of the hall where the Wise Men, Kings and the angels were preparing to exit. I sat down and tried to make myself feel better - there must have been many instances in the past where children have been entirely forgotten for a concert, either locked in a loo, left in a classroom, still eating lunch somewhere or even asleep in an overlooked corner and so it was totally normal for me to be so concerned. Especially as she was missing from the performance yesterday - they may have got used to it without her and therefore her absence could easily have gone unnoticed - it was lucky I was there to double check.

Once she had entered the hall and we knew she was not forgotten I relaxed slightly but I then became very anxious that her recorder teacher had not included her in proceedings as by now, everyone had hold of 'their' recorder, and it was clear having seen her that Bea did not. K was not joining in with my paranoia. Although when Bea signed to me that her recorder was in fact, still in her book bag in the classroom, he did agree that we would stop paying for recorder lessons if Bea did not perform as this was NOT ON. Of course, this too turned out to be unnecessary speculation as she was handed a recorder that wasn't hers and proudly played Good King Wenceslas and Jingle Bells when instructed. Not note perfect, but she did get to the end which was a relief.

Having endured around fourteen years of various music lessons myself, I had assumed I would be the ideal parent to pass on musical expertise to my daughter. However, it turns out, that much like her inability to spell reliably (she is potentially dyslexic and struggles with word formation) she is also not that great at reading music and I am ashamed to say that I find it totally unfathomable and I become totally and irrationally angry when she gets it wrong. I have NO patience. Which is odd, because I do have patience. I can stay calm during the most ridiculous of tantrums, I can wait on a cold pavement for minutes on end whilst Ted hides behind bins, stands still, insists on going 'the other way' home, I can even change the DVD in the player up to ten times as people change their minds over and over again without blowing a fuse, and yet when it comes to teaching Bea spelling and the recorder I am appallingly impatient and grumpy. I have on numerous occasions, called a calm end to the recorder practise only to take the recorder from her and chuck it against the wall. It is totally not her fault. She is doing her best. It is me. If, on the third or fourth attempt, she still doesn't hold a note for long enough or plays the wrong note yet again, I do find it totally impossible to keep my cool. A few weeks ago I wrote an angry note to the long suffering recorder teacher to tell her that we would no longer be playing the lower notes of Good King Wenceslas as she couldn't play them reliably and it was causing too much tension at home to keep practising the music as it was. Mercifully it worked and she re-wrote the part without the lower notes.

(I felt a bit like my mother - who wrote a note to get me out of having to do pliés during my ballet lessons at primary school. I am not a natural ballet dancer in physique or manner. I am clumsy and clompy and have always, always held more weight around my stomach than anywhere else and I hated bending my knees. I have no idea why.)

Back to the nativity - after the recorder performance Bea played her part of a dancing and singing angel beautifully (naturally) and the whole show was rather fabulous. It was an all singing, all dancing version of the traditional nativity story and I loved it. Especially as we got there early enough to get a seat on the second row so we could see everything. Wahoo.

Before I go I must just tell you that today I discovered my new phone does not alert me when a voicemail message has been left. I finally realised this afternoon and managed to listen to the ten messages that were waiting for me. Predictably four were from my mother, one from K's mother, one from the shop at the end of the road telling me the ballerina outfit for Bea does not come in her size, two were from K (one fully explaining that he would be late home that night, and why, which totally explains why he couldn't understand my anger when he got in at 9pm), one from a heavy breathing child with a number I cannot attribute to any adult in my acquaintance and one from a company I owe money to who would VERY much like me to get in to contact. I think that nicely summarises my life.

(BTW I am not enjoying my new iphone. It doesn't do facetime like it promised and that speaking man in the adverts is no way near as helpful as they make out. It is far easier to do whatever you want manually. And to top it all off it doesn't even tell me when someone has bothered to leave a message. If I wasn't extremely lazy I would ring Orange and complain.)

In an entirely unrelated matter to anything - what on earth is the average life expectancy of a gypsy? I am watching 'My Big Fat Gyspy Christmas' and I cannot believe how much they drink. It is a wonder they make it to 50. Especially as the women are usually great grandmothers by that age and have been doing hard labour for about 45 of their 50 years. It is a total mystery.

This is a very disjointed post. I am not in my right mind. Clearly. I assumed my daughter's school might have forgotten she existed and stood up to ask her teacher where she was and I didn't speak to my two year old for half an hour for drawing on the fixtures and fittings in the living room. I have totally lost the plot.  My New Year's resolution is to gain control of my inner madness. It could spiral out of control if I don't. Although I'll have to try and contain the madness tomorrow - George has a line to say in the early years production of 'Chilly Milly'. I have to hold it together for that, especially as I'll have Ted with me. My patience will most definitely be called upon.

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