Thursday, 11 July 2013

Feeling the Fear

At my friend's suggestion, I'm steering clear of singing Disney songs for a while - frankly it's getting ridiculous.

I've not had much luck with woodland folk of late.  Last week, a small bird plopped down our chimney (destroying our carpet with the accompanying soot and debris) and stared darkly at me for some considerable time before calmly flying out into the garden.  Then a few days ago, as I valiantly tackled some gardening while the children played, a frog (or was it a toad?) hopped on to my flip-flopped foot.  I screamed.  First because I thought it was a huge snail, and then again when it hopped off and I realised it had been something amphibious.  Eeeeuch.  I was on my own for the bird incident, but for Frog/Toadgate the boys were there to witness my reaction.  And what a reaction it was.  In that moment, I forgot I was a Mummy and reacted purely as me.  She who is afraid of spiders.  She who is a little afraid of the dark.  She who thinks frogs are slimey and yukky and...bleuurrrrrrggh.

The boys seemed quite bemused by it all.  My eldest stopped to enquire whether I was sure it was a frog (I had to admit I wasn't) and my youngest needed a wee, and wondered if he could possibly go al fresco.  It was a tiny reminder that actually us grown ups aren't always as interesting to our children as we might think.  Since becoming a Mummy, I have felt obliged to demonstrate fearlessness at all costs.  There's a huge spider in the bath?  Pah, not a problem!  In fact, isn't it a cute little thing? Look at all those hairy little legs.  Oooh, yes, he's a goodie, let's just pop a cup on him so that Daddy can see him when he gets home from work... (and yes, I do then watch the cup nervously out of the corner of my eye, to see if Spidey is moving it around with those aforementioned hairy little legs *shudder*)

I think it partly comes from a desire to avoid the trap of strong brave boys, and weedy Princessy girls.  I feel a sense of duty to raise young men who think women are awesome too.  Even if my youngest does add to my grey hairs regularly by delighting in telling me he only likes the naughty girls at nursery...

I think it's also partly because I feel the role demands it.  Being the only grown up on duty most days makes me feel as though I can't let the side down and rush around squealing - surely it's my job to make everyone feel safe?  Can I do that if they know I'm quaking in my Havaianas?

It was partly this thinking that led to the creation of Mummy's Adventure Board in the kitchen.  It features photos and souvenirs of me on assorted adventures.  My rule is that they have to be me in my own right, achieving some sort of goal or ambition.  As much as getting married and having these two gorgeous boys is a huge adventure, I want the board to depict other aspects of me, if that makes sense.  I'd say at this point it's about 50/50 between seeing the board as a way to inspire the boys and remind them that girls can do cool things too, and also as a reminder to myself that there is more to life than cooking a mean Bolognese.  I'm conscious that it's been a while since I've added to the board actually.  Time to think of some new adventures.  Mind you, if these woodland creatures keep turning up, I could be lassoing squirrels or riding muntjack before the week's out.

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