Thursday, 2 February 2012
As I chased Snookie down the road on his way to school just now, I shouted after him “Come back you pint-sized pirate!”
I stole the nomenclature from Captain Hook – or the Disney version at least – but it fits our Snooks well. He scooted away in his skull and cross bones bobble hat as fast he could, ensuring we reached the gate just in time. Sometimes he rumbles these subterfuges and drops anchor half way there insisting that he is ‘too tired to go to school’. I have been known to carry him, and the scooter the rest of the way. But he loved my frustrated rascal, as I’m sure did all the construction workers and council road-cleansers we encountered along the way.
It’s a far cry from yesterday, which was my birthday and so technically should have been full of cake and candles and jollity.
Instead both Snooks and I slumped into a wretched mood shortly after the 7am present opening and remained thus until a good hour after the Engineer had returned home from work. We were finally restored by steak frites and some excellent music at our favourite birthday haunt where Snooks ate lasagne, chips and bread and then lay down to sleep across three dining chairs.
The wretchedness arose from a cocktail of high expectations and adrenalin overdrive which Snooks and I both enjoy whenever a ‘good time’ is in the offing. And this explosive combination generally amounts to the following; he thinks a celebration means no one has to obey instructions; I think a celebration means he will miraculously start to obey instructions. He is disappointed; I am disappointed. We both hate being disappointed.
I know how it sounds. He is three years old. And I am … one year older than I was yesterday. Who is supposed to be the grown up here? Well quite. And get this.
After I had stretched and stretched to try to bring birthday fun to the daily face washed, teeth brushed, dressed, combed, supermarket shopped, lunch eaten, face washed, re-dressed, hair-brushed, dragged to school battle, I finally snapped. I shouted in fury into his terrified and confused face because I cannot have a pee in peace. Having dropped him at school, I wanted to run back and bring him home and make it better. Instead I wandered around feeling wretched, on my birthday. No amount of cards or cake or candles or calls from friends seemed to make it better.
Then Snooks returned from school and seemed his usual self, until he called up the stairs to me that he wanted to tell me something.
I stood at the top as he sat at the bottom and looked up at me and said: “Mummy when you shouted at me, you hurt my feelings.”
I have no idea where he found these words. I know it cannot have come from me because no one in our family has that kind of emotional maturity. Did they teach him this at school? Is he channelling Oprah? Has he secretly been going to therapy? Already?
Astonished, relieved and repentant, I came down the stairs, sat in front of him and apologised for my behaviour.
They say with age comes wisdom.
Perhaps next birthday I’ll get it the right way round.