We enjoyed preparing for Mother’s Day, didn’t we children, starting with the screams and howls as the TV was turned off, so you could both write your prayers to read out in church during the Mother’s Day service the next day.
Writing a prayer is quite a big concept for small people – so it’s fair enough that there were a few wails about not knowing what to write. We talked over a few ideas: being grateful that you had a mummy to look after you – blank looks; being sorry for children that might not have a mummy – slight frowns of concern as small chubby fingers stray towards the TV remote to see whether mummy will notice Phineas and Ferb is blaring out once more. Oh, yes, Mummy will notice. TV remote is put on a high shelf. Hmmm you’re thinking, maybe not having a Mummy would not be all bad ?
Ok let’s focus on a simpler idea, after all Alexander you are only just five. Can you list what you love about mummy? Oh dear, judging by your expression, not immediately.
“I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE,” you scream again as I gently remind you that you have only got as far as Dear God.
Eventually I decide following in the oral tradition is going to work better and so you leap round and round the room shouting the reasons why you love mummy while I type. Admittedly this does not take long.
This is what you come up with:
Thank you for my mummy.
I love mummy because she made me a chocolate cake for my birthday without any help and it had smarties all over it.
And because she took me swimming yesterday.
And because she loves me.
My daughter meanwhile lies on her stomach on the floor, writing her own and using her fuller knowledge of chruch services at school. She composes something a little more prayer-like – using the concepts of caring for others. I’m worried that I might have suggested the last bit!
“Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for giving us our mummies
Thank you for our mummies and how they care, love us and are helpful.
Help all the children who don’t have a mummy and let us be grateful that we have our mummy.
About five minutes after he’d finished his prayer (in his mind clearly a lifetime ago), Alexander split his milk on his pyjamas.
As I raised my eyebrows in a mixture of irritation and exhaustion, he decided not to wait for any telling-off that might come his way and go on the attack.
“You’ve only taken us on one activity today,” he shouted (he shouts quite a lot). “And that was swimming. You never do anything nice for us.”
This Saturday however I felt there could be no complaints. We went to Bramley’s Big Adventure in the morning; I bought their favourite sandwiches, crisps and a fizzy drink (only allowed at weekends) and we had a picnic in the communal garden; we played “tennis” with the play racquets our lovely neighbour had left hanging on the gate for them; then off to a party with a disco, magician, birthday cake in the shape of a castle, party bags, balloons and then – because they were disappointed that Daddy wasn’t around this weekend – I foolishly decided to take them out for pizza for a treat.
The squabbling started almost immediately: child A wanted to go to Pizza Express, child B wanted to go to Metro where they have yummy meatballs. We parked near both, they were still squabbling. Child A noticed we had parked opposite her friend’s house. Why could she not come too? Child B didn’t want Child A’s friend to come. Child A didn’t want to go unless her friend came – she’d had to spend all afternoon with her brother’s baby friends etc etc. Child A has tantrum on the pavement. Child B refuses to get out of the car.
Dear reader: I am sorry to say that I lost my temper, bundled them back into the car and gave them a long lecture about how ungrateful they were, how I had spent all day doing things so they had a fun time, and did they really think I enjoyed sitting in noisy play areas listening to hundreds of kids screaming.
“You don’t love us at all, you don’t love us at all,” my daughter sobbed furiously.
“We never do anything nice,” chimed the son. “Give me the phone I want to text Daddy!”