Tag Archives: anger

PM Essay

I’d like to start with a small apology to all the gentlemen who might be reading this (yes: both of you!)  This post will touch on the topic of – ahem! – hormones…

Most times of the month, I’m a fairly patient, laid-back, easygoing sort of person.  But, twelve times a year, I transform into a short-tempered, moody, destructive maelstrom.  Like a werewolf, but the sort that gets weepy watching superannuation commercials.

I’m a bit that way at the moment.  I’m feeling rather down on myself at the state of my house.  Two weeks of school holidays have taken their toll and the house is dysfunctional with mess.  It’s all dishes and clutter and Lego and loom bands and crumbs and random artefacts that look important yet seem to belong nowhere.

And clothes.  I think Strega Nona must have broken into my laundry and stirred my washing basket with her magic spoon.  Now I have so many dirty clothes, they’re spilling out the door.  It won’t be long before they take over the village…

Strega Nona with her pasta pot

I’ve been going a little nuts about it all.  Mr Knightley’s delightful-but-Type-A friend came over today and while I knew I couldn’t get the house to the level that Type A would consider ‘tidy’, I wanted at least to lift it out of the state of embarrassing neglect that made us look like the victims of a sock-and-duplo explosion.  As a result, I spent the morning venting and vacuuming and shouting and sweeping.  I bit everybody’s head off several times and, internally, I was biting my own head off (“What is WRONG with me?  WHY can’t I keep a tidy house?  How is it POSSIBLE that this many items can fit in the space under one couch?”) . I barked at Matilda for leaving her hardly-worn clothes on the school-room floor (she’d changed her mind on what to wear today, it would seem), roared at Christopher Robin for leaving his shoes all over the house, snapped at Harry for singing an inane song ad infinitum , wailed at Annie as she painted the table with cornflakes-and-milk, and ranted at the house in general about how hard it is to be me.

Mr Knightley, who had quietly wiped down the kitchen stove and benchtops, convinced me to stop for a minute and then swiftly administered coffee and chocolate.  It worked for a short time, but, really, I was beyond help.  It wasn’t long before I was again storming about the place, sometimes muttering darkly, sometimes screeching like a car alarm.  At lunch time, I snapped peevishly at Matilda, “that’s my seat!  Can’t you see my soup’s there already?”, but then I realised she was putting a note in my place.  Here it is:

Note from Matilda

If you can’t make out her handwriting, this is what it says:

“1 FREE NIGHT AT THE SPA

To Mum,

When you said “I was going to have a nice relaxing bath tonight but it’s too messy”  (I did say that last night, in another PMS-fuelled rant) I thought I’d give you this to say thanks for letting me have nice relaxing baths when I’m tired and worn out.  So I’ll clean the bathroom and you can borrow one of my Pippi soaps.

Love from

Tilly”

I felt rather small.  I had been awful to everyone all morning and my nine-year-old daughter still had the grace to treat me with generosity and understanding.  I gave her a fierce hug and cried copiously and surreptitiously into my soup.  But I’m fine, really I am.

Just don’t show me any superannuation commercials any time soon…

 

Summon Fail.

I was ready to go home now.  I’d had enough of the Birthday Party Factory.  Christopher Robin and nineteen other Grade Preps had been ushered from nine-pin kegel bowling, the name of which was a constant reminder to the mums to exercise their pelvic floor muscles; to arcade games, where the little boys got to shoot at things with guns; to the food table, where children were issued with regulation chips, nuggets and bright red frankfurters.  They had sung Happy Birthday cheerfully and eaten a spoonful each of their icecream cake before abandoning it to play in the enormous play room.  Meanwhile, the other parents and I had drunk our allocated lattes, nibbled at the bonus dip, and chattered politely about their home renovations and the various reasons why their husbands annoyed them.

I should probably take this opportunity to apologise for the opening sentence of this blog.  I know it’s not grammatically correct, but I can’t think of any other way to say it.   “I was ready to go home” doesn’t fully express what I’m trying to say and “I am ready to go home now” is all wrong because it happened last week and I’m just not in the mood for any present-tense, stylistic, place-the-reader-in-the-moment nonsense.

Anyway, I was ready to go home (now).  I had given Christopher Robin a ten-minute-warning twenty minutes earlier.  The playroom was filled with a large quantity of multi-coloured tubing twisted into a labyrinth of slides and tunnels and little helicopters.  Do you know the sort?  Just imagine your standard fast-food child-conditioning playground, but on steroids.  It was pretty bewildering.

I had gathered all my bags together and bid farewell to my fellow hostages.  All I had to do now was extract him from the baffling plastic jungle and we could go home.  I started out with a few rallying calls aimed up at various sections of the immense structure: “Time to go now!”, “C’mon Christopher Robin, the party’s finished!”, “Let’s go!  Hurry up!”, but these got me no response.

My next strategy was to stake out the slide exits, so that I might catch him before he was again swallowed up by the plastic monster, but, while many children came speeding down the slides, Christopher Robin was not among them.  He was too smart for that.  I noticed one of the helicopter rotors spinning defiantly high above my head.  Grrr.

I enlisted one of the other children to go in and find him for me.  The little boy nodded and disappeared.  Now I’d lost two boys!

It was time for some threats:  “It would be a shame if you missed out on a lolly bag because you took so long getting out”,  “Christopher Robin!  This has gone on too long!  You get out right now or you’ll get no screen time for a week!”,  “Christopher Robin, I’m going to give you a countdown.  If you’re not out of here by the time I get to one, you will have NO SCREEN TIME FOR A WEEK.  Five.  Four.  Three.  Do you really want no screen time for a week?  No computer!  No TV!  That’s what you’ll be getting.  No screen time for a week!  TWO.  I mean it!  TWO  Come on!  TWO  All right – ONE!  You’ve got NO SCREEN TIME FOR A WEEK.  I’m VERY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU!”

In the farthest section of the tangled monstrosity I could hear loud giggling.  My blood boiled.

Then the little boy I sent in to find Christopher Robin came sailing down one of the slides and approached me (he looked a little frightened).  “I couldn’t see Chris in there – I think he’s hiding”

How on earth was I going to extract my son from this many-coloured beast?  I really did not feel like wedging my thirty-two year old body through a series of tubes built for the under-tens.  I rolled up my sleeves and sighed (after yelling something more about “SO MUCH TROUBLE!”).  It was then that the pile of children’s shoes at my feet caught my attention.  There were lots of different shoes scattered across the floor, but there seemed to be a notable absence.  Where were Christopher Robin’s black sneakers?

Hmmm.

I backed slowly out of the door in my first murmur of self-doubt and cautiously glanced around the room I found myself in.  The other room.  There was the party table, all laden with melting cake; there was the air-hockey machine, with five children jostling for a turn; there were the kegel bowling lanes (snicker); and there, playing happily on a Daytona race car machine, well out of earshot of anything that might have been going on in the playroom, was Christopher Robin.

Oh.

“Time to go!” I said, in a strangely strangled tone that was meant to approximate upbeat cheerfulness.

“OK, Mum”  Christopher Robin jumped down off the machine and walked dutifully beside me to say goodbye to the birthday boy and “thank you for having me” to his mother.

And as we rolled out of the Party Factory assembly line, I saw a new group preparing to go in.  Children excitedly clutching presents and parents smiling nervously in misguided optimism.  As I looked at them, I realised things weren’t so bad after all.

I could have been those people.