Irn Bru wi’ a teat

This poem was inspired by two separate tales from friends; seeing a mother feed her infant a baby bottle of Irn Bru at 9am on the bus one morning, and an even sadder tale of a mum on another Edinburgh bus, smacking and cursing at her two young children (so much so that my friend called Childline but by then she was off the bus and they couldn’t do a thing. You might want to note that they recommended that in such cases you telll the bus driver, who can stop and hold the bus closed – if he dares – until the authorities arrive).

Anyway, it should be recounted in one of the less gentile of Edinburgh accents (think ‘Trainspotting’):

Ma wean’s a holy terror
An’ she’s bin that way since two,
I cannae rouse her from her scratcher
Till she’s supped her Irn Bru.
An’ even then, when breakfasts handed out
The crabbit little swine’ll
Never eat her Frosted Shreddies,
She just lobs ’em on the vinyl.
If she disnae get her Frazzles
For the number twenty-nine
Ah can only get her movin’
Wi’ a kick in the behind.
An’ if she disnae have a Tooty Frooties
Packet in her mitt
Ah have tae skelp her cheeky, wrigglin’ arse
Tae make the bugger sit.
An’ at dinner it’s another clap
Tae make her eat her beans,
‘Cos she’s a devil wi’ the veggies;
Likes her greasy chippy clean.
So whit’s a ma tae dae wi such a lass
That wilnae eat her tea?
Keep gie’n her smacks an’ fizzy drinks-
She might get better when she’s three.


Green Grass Everywhere

Persistent inner monologue last night over the potential of work refusing to let me come back part-time (four days a week).  It occurred to me this morning I’m being somewhat inconsistent, as not two months ago the complaint was having to go back at all. At least if I’m refused this flexible working we know we can’t afford the childcare and the decision is made for us; I’ll have to give up my job.  On reflection, though, that prospect doesn’t seem quite as attractive.

What’s the problem then?  On the surface I bleat about wanting to stay at home with our kids, how my parents never had money to burn, how we didn’t move to a bigger house until we were far older than B and G are (four and nearly one).  But, when faced with generating zero income I’m absolutely terrified.  The idea that every penny spent would come from my husband is daunting; not least because he’s far less gung-ho with the purse strings and all those little treats and luxuries for the kids (and for me, yes) would have to stop, but also because work gives you an identity separate to that of your family. After all, women fundamentally change who we are at several points in our lives, but none so marked as the day we give up the name we had for twenty or thirty years to take on a new one, unfamiliar on the tongue and seeming to belong to a stranger.  I recall a skiing holiday my cousin and I had when I was still childless but she had two.  Midpoint in the week, she burst into tears – perhaps aided by one or two vinos – and revealed it was so overwhelming to be just her again and not ‘Mrs M’, extension of Mr M and the two little Ms [the M & Ms, ha ha].
I now understand that sentiment and am loath to lose the last bastion of my individuality, but I am also plain scared of having no money. On the other hand, G is already nearly one and it’s passed so quickly. Perhaps I should just embrace poverty and my kids, and enjoy the latter before they turn into teenagers.

I’m in danger of persuading myself now that I do want to stay at home, at which point my line manager will phone and say I’ve got what I asked for and I’ll burst into tears…!

Must sign off.  Just noticed G is eating dirt from the houseplant again.

I say potato, you say spreadsheets…

I’ve just come from visiting a friend who’s 4 months pregnant with her first baby.  Having been made redundant in her first few weeks, she was expressing some concern about her unhirability…ness, and fretting over her lack of future income. My other friend pointed out that she has savings plus rent money coming in from a flat she owns, however this to me wasn’t the crux of the issue.  I don’t believe the drifting apart arises from one party bringing in the bacon and the other not. The problem is that while we’re at home with the kids – whether as a working mum on maternity like me, or a stay-at-home mum – we’re knocking our pans in from the early hours of every day: running around like  blue-arsed flies, starved of adult conversation unrelated to our or other people’s children; sick of the sight of the local park; cooking, washing, and tidying endlessly; cutting, pasting, colouring, baking, playing, organising and never finishing a single bloody cup of tea off and certainly never in peace.  And this doesn’t stop at 6pm.  It is ceaseless till we fall into bed and often continues through the night, depending on the ages of our children.  He, on the other hand, goes to work and yes, no doubt he deals with stressful and taxing situations but at least with other grown-ups (largely) and with a hot, fulfilling Starbucks in hand.

His take on the above however, is as follows.  He works. You don’t.

And that’s where the drifting of parental continents begins.  We are so many, many miles apart in what we’re experiencing on a daily basis that communication breaks down. Let’s face it, I don’t care if Sally in Marketing is incapable of operating her opposable thumbs to run a  basic report and H doesn’t care if B dragged dog shit into the front porch (provided it’s cleaned up before H gets home).

All the financial independence in the world would make no difference to our separation, if I was still spending it on soft play and groceries.