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Thursday, 27 October 2011

No fools, Noddy gets lost, bad Mummy and voting

YOU CAN PLEASE ALL OF THE PEOPLE SOME OF THE TIME...........there is a discussion in the car on the way to school about Christmas.  All three  young people have been giving the matter some though, as it turns out. The boss and the boy have already done an in depth study of  electronic stuff in the Argos catologue, decided which  items they want, cut out details of same   for my information, and want to know if thats alright with me. (ie will I deliver the goods)  The first daughter emerges from her cloud of abstraction to say that she too  has decided on a very fancy phone indeed.  "But ..ah .. yes...but! we have not actually had halloween yet."  "Christmas is  only two months away Mum, gives you time to get organised!"  "And ..ummm...we have to look at our  budget " (it does seem like an awful lot of  stuff). "Thats all been worked out, mum," says the boy, "you and dad can get all the items between you, and its within the  range of the usual amount you  each spend" .  "Oh ...ah....(oh stop fighting a loosing battle )... um right so" I offer, to smug smiles all around.

YOU CAN PLEASE SOME OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME, ......I settle down to watch the road when the boy announces that the boss has called him an amadan  ( a good Irish fool) and what am I going to do about it?  Do about it? Yes, because if it was him, he would be  heavily sanctioned  for this.  It is true that the addressing of anyone as a fool, an idiot, and eejit, or imbecile, is a crime rather than  a misdemeanour in our universe, and he has lost television viewing time, and been dispatched to his room more often than his sisters for this,  as he is delivers himself energetically of the most insulting invective, in his dealings with his sisters and I strongly  dislike the conviction and contempt he puts behind these words, in particular.  I  even got biblical on all three about this  "Who soever shall call his brother a fool  shall be condemned to the fires of hell") (Its astonishing what you can recall, badly, from a catholic childhood) ( and can quote at your eye rolling children) .  Adults, and particularly teachers  didn't  hesitate to call children fools, or even stupid when I was a child, I suspect because there was a poor understanding of childish brain processes and indeed, what might be  involved in a learning curve.. Also, children had to be cowed, as a preliminary measure. Now, children have license  to say most things and do, freely calling  each other spas, gays  and worse, without a clear understanding  of the words meaning or implication.  Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, ....comes darkness assimilated from more guarded parental prejudice, intolerence and fear.

"But" say the boss, slyly, "You never forbade me to say amadan." Over   howls of protest from the boy, I tell her that, for future reference, she is forbidden to calll him a fool in any language . She asks me if I know the word in other languages for an idiot, because "you would have to know before you could get  that you had been insulted, wouldn't  you?". (I don't).  She apologises profusely to the boy, and both sit back satisfied, she with a speculative look in her eye.

BUT YOU CANT PLEASE  ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME.......... The first daughter has been listening to all this, as it turns out.  "I would like  something to be done about HIM" she throws out, " HE stuck his bum in my face and... and  farted  last night and got away with it . As usual.  I want something done about him." Huh,? it turns out that this all happened the night before, when the boss constructed  a haunted house in the play room in honour of halloween, (Which she did, most imaginatively and scarily  with  shadowy tunnels cunningly constructed with the use of blankets and furniture and christmas lights draped around corners to give an eerie glow, ) and summoned all three   to come inside AND PLAY HEH HEH.  This involved a great deal of crawling and   an shrieking to the great entertainment of all concerned.   Now I did hear delighted howls  and roars, and observed that they had all regressed to about three years old, but it turns out that there was a blazing row bwtween the  older two, in the end. So,  what am I going to do about it? Well I tell her, the   statute  of limitations has  run out on this one , its a long time since last night  in terms of arguments, discussions and general fooling around, I think she gave as good as she got, and I am going to do nothing  about it other than drive this car and deliver them each to their respective schools. And arrive at work in a relatively calm condition,  ie,  no further adjudications, where the adjudged have infinately more energy and  passion than you have, and are  loudly severe if YOU ARE BEING UNFAIR.  She preserves an offended silence, as she exits the car, and  I watch her walking  towards her school, hair swinging, back stiff with protest, emanating her favourite  aura of lost  princess, being inadequately reared by peasants.

AND YOU SHOULDN'T TRY.............The boss of bosses is offended with me.  This is manifested in  a slight diminution in the free flow of her chattiness, an interruption in the  habitual and   lucid vocalisation of her stream of conciousness. There is  also a slight crease on her  brow. (subtle). I have said No, to her taking on another evening class (in singing this time), and I am now trying to sidestep  her reasoned and guilt inducing  reproaches. The truth is that I am in and out of the town, a distance of 12 kms or so,  almost every single evening, having  already ferried all of us  to various  schools,  work, and then home again, and I am beginning to feel like Noddy in my little car, bobbing   up and down the road all day long, at a steady pace (don't forget the speed vans), though  unlike Noddy, without  benefit of fares from my passengers. (I think  Noddy got two shillings a time). The evening trips have built up over time, to cater for  drama classes, singing classes, music, and social outings for all three. It was all very manageable at first, but I realise  I have a problem, when I occasionally find  myself, in transit, wondering  (for a nanosecond)  where exactly I am going,  I mean , which trip is this?  She does not see the problem "like its only fifteen minutes in, Mum" but there's out as well, and   the collateral damage, where dinners have to be hurriedly cooked and eaten, and the driver must either hang around town,  pale'ly loitering, or go home and come back again.  And of course, when we return,  to deal with homework, the debris accumlulating in the kitchen sink, and the need for some imput on the laundry assembly line. Now, when I am home, I will do these things at my leisure, and delegate to  the fearsome three, having broken the news to them that they are not hotel guests.  I can  even enjoy the change of pace and being at home, but that all goes by the wall when the available time  to deal with the myriad of domestic tasks contracts, and you don't have the time or the energy to galvanise the children  (an inevitable faceoff  with  iron willed and pasionate individuals who will not do it if its NOT MY TURN). Basically you are down to multitasking, doing your famous peeling off into two people act, whilst humming the theme tune from Noddy (little did I know, as I watched the show on TV with my toddlers) in your poor addled mind. So,  I have taken myself aside , and given myself as good talking too. I have left nothing out, including the fact that they are unlikely, all,  to become world famous and renowned musicians , singers, actors, or indeed, if they do , it will  be  as a result of an irrisistable talent from within, and  probably inspite of  any imput of mothering. . Also, it will be of more value for them to have  a non babbling and demented mother, to see them to adulthood. As to socialising, there is a lot to be said for all of us being, simply, at home. Particularly when you take into account that most of their time is spent in school anyway. So, occasional outings then.  And my parenting will be so much more calm, measured ,  considered even, in this  brave new scenario.  So , we are cutting back drastically  on extra curricular activities. And  I will have to sit out the boss's formidable disapproval. .  And now, all I have to do is maintain my own determined selfishness, the trickiest task of all. (My   greatly valued homeopath likes to say that it is very good for children to learn about self preservation and selfishness  in mothers , by example .)

Thursday was presidential election day. I planned to exercise the democratic right (and privilege) later on in the day, when I could squeeze it in. We had a dash to the shops for the boss, to purchase black and white make up, nail varnish etc  for her undead goth wild child halloween party persona, the make up  to be shared with the sister    who is  going for a bad angel look. All this embracing of polarites is interesting, light and dark, pretty and bad, beautiful and interestingly deviant, incorporated.  Anyhow, I had to factor in the bad angel's singing class in the evening, and delaying discussions about the choir's being filmed for TV the next day. I stood beside the car beforehand,  considering when I would make a dash to the polling station. "You are going, aren't you Mum, the angel said stern ly, "You know  that people have been shot so you can vote"!  "Like who," asked the boss,  "like surely Emily Pankhurst (her hero) wasn't shot. ?"   "No, no, no, said the impassioned angel, I mean Michael Collins, and the men of 1916, and the least SHE can do is go down and vote.

I assured her I was off directly, and I was. I brought the boss with me. She had taken part in a simulated vote for president in her school the day before, and seems to have grasped the workings of the proportional representation voting system.  I'm getting her to explain it to me on the way.  Dana won their election, she told me,  with David Norris a close second.  "Why Dana"? "Cos she is a girl, and she is nice, and she was unfairly treated" she says firmly. As to David Norris, he is funny, he knows lots of stuff and would be able to talk  impressively to other important visting people, and its not the point that he is gay. And the other girls voted for Dana cos she is a girl, and David Norris cos they copied the boss, not knowing any of the other candidates. (And not cos he's a girl).

I'm not decided til I have the stubby pencil in my hand, about the president. The two referenda are easy. Decreasing Judges's pay....yes, yes, yes.  giving powers of investigation to elected representatives in matters of public interest....emphatically NO. I swerve from Michael D  to David Norris and tick. I think the  (empty) office is an anachronistic hangover from our dated constitution, and a wicked waste of cash, the candidates nearly all  hubristic seekers after a sinecure, but, if we must have it, and I must vote (and people have been shot),  I' m having David Norris because it does my heart good to, at least, vote for a witty urbane eccentric gay man for president, in place of the chosen ones of monocultured ,repressive, cowardly, ruthlessly self interested  power elites who run this shop (they havn't gone away you know.)  Burdened as we all are with guilty knowledge of the magdalen launderies, the torture of children in  industrial schools,  the savage inhumaity to the mentally ill and other vulnerable people, since the founding on the state and within living memory; to elect Norris would  truly mean the past was another country. And it is true that  we have most recently  had the magnificent marys, Robinson and MacAleese, and I would not gag at the prospect of President Michael D, ( to whom I gave my number two vote)  as I certainly would at the rest. (sorry Dana).