Friday, 27 April 2012

Ode to a Pear

You are Queen among fruit
Adored by baby
For squished, delicious ripeness
Cherished by me
For you are beige
The colour of carpet, walls, face
You do not stain
Like strawberry
Or persist
Like pumpkin
Or demand attention
Like avocado
You are peaceful, innocuous
At one with your environment
And for that
I love you.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Sorry, what was your name again?

I've just returned from a breastfeeding support session, held in the local SureStart centre. I don't know what it is about this particular social situation that makes me feel as though I've never had a conversation with another human being before, and everything I know I learned from Google but haven't yet had a chance to put into practice.

I forget the names of women I've met countless times before. I sure as heck forget the names of their babies. I have to stare hard to figure out the gender so I have at least one conversation starter. This baby is wearing purple. What does that mean? (Says she who dresses her boy in anything but blue if she can help it, jeans excluded of course. I'm anti-gender stereotyping but not when it comes to other people's children. How am I supposed to start a conversation without it? Ah - pink headband. Phew!). So, how old is your little girl now? Nice save.

I'm so busy concentrating on The Rules of Polite Conversation, i.e. turn-taking, asking questions without blurting out my life story, smiling and nodding, that I forget what's already been said. I repeat myself. It wasn't even interesting the first time around. I start a sentence, change my mind about one tiny little aspect, then finish awkwardly so as not to say it at all.

All the while trying to smile serenely, desperate to look as though I fit in, and that I am A Natural Conversationalist. Clock-watching and calculating when it would be socially acceptable to leave, seeing as I've only just arrived. In the end it is M who dictates. He's too distracted by all the excitement to feed, I'm afraid. What a shame! I'm going to have to go before he gets shirty. See you again next week?

Friday, 13 April 2012

I'll meet you at the coffee shop.

Apparently I look like the outdoorsy type. I can't think why.

I once asked my husband if he would like to go camping some day. (I don't understand why I asked. I certainly had no intention of following through). He replied that yes, he would, but not with me. For a split second I was offended, until I realised that this arrangement would suit us both. I dread to think what number and manner of gadgets would make a camping trip bearable.

This coming from a woman who was once a Girl Guide. Admittedly, the only badge I ever earned was Entertainment, which was procured by choreographing and performing a dance to John Farnham's Take the Pressure Down. (Don't mock me. It was 1988). None of the other badges appealed, for some reason. After being publicly chastised one evening for not being able to present a piece of rope for inspection, and then a flying fox incident at camp, I called it a day. I think we all knew it was the right decision.

I have been known to fake a cheery, outdoorsy air to good effect, when it mattered. Like, for example, when volunteering as a leader at kids' camps. (More than one. Again - why?) Can you lead a group game on the beach? Why, yes! Give me a moment to fetch my baseball cap and megaphone! I didn't dislike the experience. But my point is that I'd much rather be drinking coffee somewhere civilised. I like the tea room at the end of a (short) walk. I like the gift shop at the exit of a family attraction. My tat filter is temporarily disengaged and I marvel at overpriced novelty pens, pan pipe relaxation CDs and shiny books depicting animals/people/places I care nothing about and never will, whilst the rest of my party are tapping their feet impatiently waiting for me to emerge.

My problem is this. My son will, presumably, want to go outside at some point in the future. I mean, properly. To do stuff. Outdoors. This will require my encouragement and supervision. If I don't want him to end up like me, it's the only way. I'm going to have to fake it. Of course, I might accidentally enjoy it, but that's a risk I'm willing to take.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Walking the talk

There are several items on my list entitled Things I Will Wait For Someone Else To Do Before Committing To Doing Them Myself. Checking the oil in my car is one of them.

It's not so much the checking of the oil which bothers me. It's what this may lead to, namely identifying a need to top up the oil. This requires various searches on the interweb for instructions only to be faced with smug posts containing patronising comments such as, the fuel cap is under the bonnet. Until I remember that I own a car manual and maybe Google shouldn't always be my first port of call in a crisis.

All of this to-ing and fro-ing annoys me greatly, because surely someone else should be taking care of it. Someone else who is used to this sort of thing. Someone else who is a man. Never mind that I am in possession of an intellect and a capacity to follow instructions in a logical manner (unless sleep-deprived) and if I need to, an ability to figure it out for myself.

I believe in equality for men and women. I believe in healthy relationships between men and women. I want to be a positive role model for my son who, hopefully, will grow up with an outlook that is unrestricted on the basis of his gender. And yet, I'm still waiting to be rescued like some Disney princess. I still don't get it.

Having retrieved the manual from the glove box it took all of 30 seconds to confirm the position of the fuel cap and proceed accordingly. The whole thing was over in substantially less time than it would have taken to pack up the boy and drive to the nearest garage, pleading ignorance. Ridiculous.