We used to spend Saturday mornings at swimming lessons. It was pure torture, five small children, including Norman and Marvin, sat at the side of the public baths fighting with pool noodles for an hour whilst a woman dragged each one of them in turn across the five metres of pool and back, trying to avoid being kicked by each of them. Needless to say, we stopped paying for that humid hell after only a few months worth of lessons.
We now spend Saturday mornings watching Norman at football training. Actually, to be more accurate, I spend Saturday mornings trying to avoid getting dressed in the hope that Mrs S, who is much more motivated than I am, will organise Norman and take him and, in an ideal world, take Marvin too and give me an hour to myself! Occasionally she obliges!
Unfortunately though, she also works full time shifts which means that some Saturdays she is busy fixing other peoples’ small people instead of wrangling our own. Last Saturday was one such day, so it was down to me to take both boys to football. It didn’t go well, and here’s why:
Getting two small boys out of the house for any reason, especially our two small boys, is akin to herding cats. It takes persistence, twice as long as you think it might, and you have to be somewhat crazy to even attempt it. The result is that we were running late, meaning that I forgot to pick up the rugby ball that I had brought for Marvin to play with while Norman trained. Not such a problem you’d think, but you’d be wrong.
Marvin refused to say hello to any of the other children and ask to play with them, so I spent the first little bit of time trotting around after him whilst he terrorised others and tried to snatch their toys. I should have stood still or sat down like the other grown ups, which would have prevented the first bad thing from happening. As one child’s football came towards me, I went to kick it back, but suddenly felt my leg go from under me and, as I fell to the floor, I heard somebody exclaim “I think she slipped on the sign!” I looked up to see Marvin standing over me with a look of disgust, as if I were the most embarrassing parent ever to grace the earth. It got worse when one of the other mums rushed over to help me up as if I was elderly and thus incapable of getting back to my feet by myself. Worse still is what was written on the sign:
I spent the next few minutes attempting to hide my shame, pretending I wasn’t in pain even though my ankle was throbbing, and trying to sneakily check whether my hand was bleeding after falling onto loose gravel. The good news is that it wasn’t!
The next bad thing happened about ten minutes later. Marvin, having given up on snatching from other children – I can only assume he was also avoiding eye contact with others due to his shame at my fall, as was I – had decided to play his own version of Spider-Man, which involved flinging himself at various fences and climbing as high as he would dare before leaping off at me and expecting me to catch him with my very painful and rapidly bruising hand. All was going well until he misjudged a jump and ran face first into a fence. I suppose even Spider-Man has his off days! I, of course, did what any other parent would do in such circumstances: I laughed. Out loud. In front of all of the people who had seen me hit the deck like a sack of spuds just moments earlier. I also comforted Marvin, who was certainly not laughing, but was thankfully unscathed by his ordeal.
For obvious reasons, he decided that the Spider-Man game was no longer one he wanted to play, and so recommenced terrorising the other children. Boredom soon took over again, and so he then decided to run away, out of the gate, around the fence and rather rapidly towards the golf course which is nearby to the football pitch. With visions of him coming back with a golf ball in his eye or some other horrific injury – after all, experience had already proven that we were not having a lucky day – I demanded that he should come back immediately. He said no. He says that quite a lot at the moment, and when he says it, he means it. I tried various parenting techniques – cajoling, ordering, bribery… none worked. Chasing Marvin, especially with a twisted ankle, was not an option, I discovered within a week of meeting him that chasing him just makes him run faster. Incidentally, I discovered that whilst lying on a muddy floor with a sore hand, which was the last time I fell over.
I pretended to ignore him whilst edging closer to the gate slowly, knowing full well that this was a game to him, he has no sense of danger (or else he embraces danger, I’m not entirely sure which), and that he would creep closer to me to try and get my attention. When he was within a couple of metres of me, I pounced! I went to grab him but missed, and he ran! I had a choice to make, and not very long to make it, the chase was on… so I did the only thing I could think of and swiped his legs from under him. In my defence, he was on grass and I was worried for his safety if he ran away. He has previous form for getting into tricky situations when he runs off, no regard for roads or strangers or golf balls!
I can’t be sure, but I don’t think many of the other parents at Norman’s football training will be looking to befriend me any time soon. After showing myself to be an incompetent mother three times within the space of an hour (four if you count the fact that I paid Norman little to no attention and completely missed the goal he scored), I was was half expecting Social Services to come knocking, until I realised that they’re currently avoiding us after failing to deliver the support they promised nearly six months ago!
That’ll be the last time I forget to take something for Marvin to play with during football training!
What’s on the needles?
I’m a process knitter really, finishing things isn’t always top of my agenda as I’ve usually got numerous projects on the go. But recently I’m proud to say that I’ve finished a few things!