Like most mothers, I always swore that I would never use the myriad of phrases and sayings on my children that my own mother repeated to my sister and I, on a daily basis. Inevitably, this conviction was short lived, lasting just beyond the crawling stage of Middle Mudlet which was when the first of them materialised, unbidden but with a familiarity that made me cringe even as I uttered the words:“I’ve told you not to do that so don’t come crying to me if you hurt yourself!”
Where had that come from? From years of hitherto unsuspected indoctrination, caused by frequency of use in my formative years, was my startling conclusion and once I had used the first, the rest seemed to flow freely from the Pandoras’ box I had, inadvertently opened.“Would you jump off a cliff if she told you to?”
This is used in response to a Mudlets’ explanation as to wrong or silly doing because the other Mudlet had told them to.“I don’t care what your friends are allowed to do, you live in this house!”
Oh boy, the number of times I heard that as a child and it drove me mad with the perceived unfairness of it all.
School day mornings, however, are truly when I sound most like my mother did when I was the same age as the Mudlets. With constant nagging that:
- the breakfast table is not a playground and can you please eat your breakfast quickly and without making a mess;
- excuse me but I’m not your slave and you are both quite capable of carrying your own dishes back into the kitchen;
- don’t run (invariably directed at Little Mudlet) because you will fall and hurt yourself; (and this is usually almost immediately followed with)
- I told you that you would fall if you ran because you always do.
Next follows the saga of getting dressed which is another test of my, by then, fast dwindling reserves of patience and calm, before the daily debate as to whose turn it is to get their hair done first which can get quite heated as neither Mudlet relishes this particular part of the day and so both deny all knowledge of who went first yesterday.
By the time teeth have been done, shoes and coats are on and we’re out the door on the mercifully short walk to the school, my nerves are in tatters and I feel as if I’ve run a marathon.
But tomorrow is the weekend and I can have a rest ….. well, after I’ve taken Middle Mudlet swimming for 8.30 am that is!