So I was determined the children were not going waste half-term watching You Tube tutorials on how to make slime and eating the contents of the ‘packed-lunch-cupboard’. I took them back to Manchester. Me and my cousin planned a wonderful day visiting museums and galleries. They saw poisonous frogs, thousand-year-old mummies and every stuffed animal you can think of. They stroked foxes and badgers (stuffed but still real) and they made things out of clay. They did an Easter egg hunt and made beaded necklaces. They fed swans and threw pebbles in the Mersey, ate ice creams with sherbert on and piping hot sausage rolls out the bag. I pushed them on a giant swing and bought them things from gift shops (that soon broke).
Their favourite bit of the trip? Standing at the front of the double-decker bus so each time it stopped they smacked their heads against the window. I’d love to say it knocked some sense into them, but it didn’t. I should have just bought a £9 family saver ticket and spent the whole day on a bus round Manchester. My life is like constantly hitting my head against a window, then having to clean it after.
Isn’t it always the way with kids? You try and show them something really interesting, like a crab in a rock pool, but they are fascinated by a boy eating a hot dog. I showed them a wonderful sculpture and they were more interested in a kid who was wearing a similar coloured coat to theirs. The husband is no better. I’ll be telling him about an article I read, and he’ll respond with ‘Why don’t you ever see white dog poo anymore?’
To be fair, I switch off whenever he starts talking to me, mostly because it’s about sports or what colour my pants are. I’ve been wearing beige pants for months now (Marks and Spencer tummy control) and he still thinks it’s hilarious to pretend I’ve got no underwear on and call me ‘kinky’.
He never wears underwear and I wish he would. I do wear it and he wishes I wouldn’t. Maybe this is the fundamental difference between men and women?
All I have to do to make him smile is flash him some flesh. To get me grinning he has to sort the recycling, walk the dogs and replace broken lightbulbs. “But you don’t like doing it with the lights on” he says, trying to weasel his way out of it. I don’t know what his problem is with replacing bulbs. He only put a new one in the bathroom after my dad came to stay and trod in the cat litter on his way to the shower, then cleaned himself with CIF.
I know I could change them myself. I am a strong, independent woman and can do anything, but that doesn’t mean I want to. When my husband reads this, he will remind me I ran out of diesel on International Women’s Day this year and phoned him up crying for help.
I’ve said it before, but marriage used to be about love, now it’s about praying your spouse will trip over, or cut himself with the new knife he bought from TK MAXX; the one he told that me I was not allowed to use as it was for a ‘proper chef’. Some of my best memories involve the time my husband called someone by the wrong name or went the wrong way after declaring he had ' built-in direction, like a homing pigeon.’
This is not one-sided. He lives off the fact I used Crisp and Dry on the log burner after my mum told me my brother used it to clean his. She meant olive oil, on the stone hearth. I coated my entire log burner in vegetable oil. To be fair it looked brand new, but the smell, oh my God the smell. Every time I make the kids chips he says ‘Hey, remember when…’ I get the posh knife out before he can finish and he shuts up.
I think it’s important the children see conflict resolution.
They resolve their own conflicts with violence or name calling. Yesterday Bliss flushed Daisy’s drawing down the loo because she called her a ‘Fat head’. Gracie smashed Bliss’ Lego to pieces because Bliss wore her t-shirt. Daisy used all the sugar to make slime with Fairy Liquid so I couldn’t have a cup of tea. Bliss decided to have a ‘car boot sale’ in the hallway with every toy in the house, then got bored and drew all over herself with a Sharpie pen.
Am I sad they are back at school today? Not really no. Obviously, I pretend I’m gutted it’s over when talking to other mothers, better mothers. It’s a competition to see who can look the most upset that half-term is over. It starts with tuts and laments of ‘how quick it went’, ‘too quick’ and ‘not long enough’ then it ramps up a gear and people start claiming they ‘can’t wait for the next one’ or they ‘wish it was last week again’. To win you have to be the first to cry and it has to be proper tears. Mine are tears of happiness and the grin gives me away.