> Mushypea, Sprout et al: August 2012

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Memories of Summer

First off, apologies for being a misery of late.  I've been suffering from the malady that is head up arse and have felt a black cloud covering my world.  I am prone to these from time to time, they creep up on me when change is afoot and envelop me to the point where I'm suffocating under the heavy veil of dark, sombre thoughts.  Change makes me reflect and reflection often carries with it the need to be better.  Anyway, time to step out from the darkness and move forward.

Summer has held little meaning for me since I started working.  I worked, and go back to working, in a place where there are no windows and thus should the end of the world be happening I wouldn't have an inkling.  Come rain or shine it makes no difference, I have the lovely florescent lights that tell me nothing about what time of year it is.

When I was a child we had great summers, in the six week summer holidays we would take day trips once a week to somewhere new.  I am the oldest of five and the five of us would go travelling all over the country.  We would make food to take with us; usually sandwiches, chicken drumsticks, crisps and drinks to see us through the day.  Come early morning my Mum would take us to the train station and see us onto the train before she went to work.  Those were the days when she made sure I carried plenty of ten pence pieces to ring her from the phonebox when we got there and in case we got stuck for whatever reason.  No mobile phones when I was young which gives you an indication of just how old I am.

One time we were hungry before the train left the station and so started diving into the sandwiches once seated.  I remember the guard standing outside watching us with the most amused expression and the five of us waving and grinning like it was the most normal thing to be doing.  When I think back now, my youngest sister could only have been 2 or 3 which made me 13 or 14 at the time, so yes, looking back I can see why he had that expression.

We went to Oxford on a day trip and had been told by our Dad to go visit the college he had attended.   It was quite a distance from the train station but we didn't realise that until our youngest sister complained that she was tired of walking.  Two of us took it in turns to carry and piggyback her for what felt like miles.  We got to the college, peeked through the gates, clicked the camera and that was that; mission accomplished!

If there was a tour bus we would always go on those as it took us to places we couldn't walk to.  It also served the purpose of giving us a rest when we were tired.  There was many a time towards the end of a day where we would be sitting on the bus going round and round the tour loop until it was time to catch the train home.

My second sister's birthday is in August and for her sixth birthday we had a party for her.  My parents had never done the whole birthday party thing so when we were old enough my first sister and I organised a party for her.  We were giving my sister something we never had when we were growing up, we had a party with just the five of us; it is one of the happiest memories from our childhood that we all share.  Sprout has told me often that it is the one moment in time that we have all talked about on separate occasions.  We had saved some money for party food, decorations and even had party bags to make sure her experience was a full one. We had burgers, played games and although other details have been forgotten I know we all had great fun.

All my memories of happy times and fun are always those moments I shared with my siblings.  The five of us are close, very close.  My Mum worked hard to provide the roof over our heads and put food on the table but in doing so she missed these moments but she had no choice.  As a parent myself,  I now look on those times and feel sadness that my own parents didn't play a part in those memories.  With Munch I want to be a part of his most happy memories;  to experience his wonder at discovering new places and to learn from him what it is to see the world anew.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Words - we write them, read them and speak them.  We use them having given much thought and conversely, with no thought whatsoever.  Since becoming a fully fledged Mum with the arrival of Munch I have probably taken many to heart.  I don't know what it is but there have been words thrown in my direction that have either opened the flood gates or really got my defenses up. 

"It's not about you."
"Why don't you give formula?"
"You're making a mistake and you'll change your mind."
"I'm so tired."
"Why don't you do ..... , you have time."
"I go to work."

There are many more that I could add and have been said by all manner of those around me.  I swallow my own words as the torrent of verbal abuse that runs through my brain in the split second that follows is unreal.  If unleashed I know they would cut to the core and I am not one that likes to be hot headed when it comes to using my words, for once they venture forth from my mouth there is no way I can ever take them back and living with regret is not something I like to do.

It often makes me wonder whether people think before they speak.  We all have heat of the moment reactions and Sprout has always said that the words spoken in those moments hold some truth to them.  If this is true, then in my case I don't think much of those around me.  My first reactions are always extreme; my first reactions are always cutting my nose off to spite my face; my first reactions are always viscous, below the belt and I would be an utter bitch in the things I would say.  I know this about myself and stop.  I like to have time to calm down, re-evaluate the situation and think - this usually manifests itself in complete silence on my part, not helpful I know but for me it's better than the alternative.

Words can hurt and leave scars on us all.  I remember the phrases above because they hurt at the time.  They hurt because they showed little thought; little understanding; little compassion; little sensitivity; little tact and little diplomacy.  I am not faultless when it comes to using words.  I am poor in communicating my deepest feelings and often wonder if it is because I am afraid of the reaction once I put them out there.  Maybe I am overly sensitive as a new Mum seeing as my self confidence has taken a dive.   Do all Mums take comments as personal slights?  I need to toughen up and probably tell people to shut up and back off; maybe I need to stop thinking before I speak!

Monday, 6 August 2012

To be a gentleman

For those of you who have read a few of my posts, you may have noticed that I am a worrier.  Being a parent has made me worry more so as I do not want to screw up; I will never be perfect but I try to do my best to give our son the well rounded upbringing that I think is vital to help him succeed in whatever he chooses to do.

I read an article today on raising gentlemen and I agreed with all the qualities the author lists as what they see a gentleman to be in their home.  Towards the end of her article she discusses how she is going to raise her boys to be gentlemen.  The one that has made me write this post is her first point:

"Set a positive example. My boys are fortunate to have a gentleman for a father, but it also means surrounding them with positive male role models. They see their grandfather, uncles, and dear friends as examples of how to live with integrity."

I am sat here thinking and thinking about positive male role models that exist in our son's life.  Men that we come into contact with that we consider to live their lives honestly and with integrity.  Other than Sprout there are very few males in our lives that I want my son to look up to; I can count the many positive male role models we know on one hand!  I look at the males in Munch's life and think to myself, do I want our son to grow up and be like you?  This of course also applies to the females in case you were wondering.

I know that he will come into contact with many people of differing types and that we cannot have 100% control of that.  Some, he will be subjected to because ... well, because they are family and how do you rock that boat?  I cannot stop all contact with some individuals despite the increasing uneasiness I feel as he grows and develops.  How do you ask someone to stop being who they are because you do not want that type of attitude and negativity aimed at and around your child?  I have no idea where I would start that conversation so the option that I am happy with is to limit our son's exposure to it.

So, to start on this journey to raising a gentleman we'll start with two things - honesty and manners.  They cost nothing yet can prove hard to find at times; those are the building blocks we'll start with.  We can only make sure we put the groundwork in but as the quote says, " ...being a gentleman is a matter of choice."  In years to come that choice will be Munch's - we, his parents, will have to wait and see.