My children seem to have reached a difficult age. Everything, unless it involves eating sweets or an excursion to a park or friend’s house, is a ‘no’.
ME: I’m just signing you up for gymnastics after school.
THEM: No. Don’t like it. It’s horrible.
ME: (weary) Music then.
THEM: No. WE. DON’T. LIKE. MUSIC.
ME: (melted) Well you’re flipping going to Irish Dancing then and that’s the end of it.
The shouting and the wailing and the foot-stamping that goes on, because God forbid you’d like them to do a wee jig. It’s not as if their Irish Dancing teacher is unpleasant either, unlike my experiences. I remember as a small child being trailed to dancing and the woman was a notorious old bint who shouted and guerned at us non-stop. ‘Hop two three, hop two three: No your OTHER foot. I said your OTHER FOOT are you stupid?’
‘No, I’m four years old and I’m pure terrified,’ (you auld bastard). Mum tried to bribe us with a trip to a café, but this was the eighties so that was obviously a massive disappointment too. The coke was warm and the coffee was cold ( I can still recall my mum’s face) and the buns weren’t even home-baked, just a few Mr Kipling’s French Fancies which must have been lying out as they were dry as a f**king stick. It was gloomy and depressing and mournful music played in the background.
I was also sent to the GB (Girls’ Brigade for the benefit of my Catholic readers) which I absolutely loathed. Three whole years I had to stick that malarkey, and even the Mothershsip who forced me to go, said: ‘Would you mind if I gave the display a miss this time, because it was VERY long last year. I had my coat on ready to go when the leader said she was looking forward to the second half.’
We used to be sent, my wee friend and I, on a Friday night. Since we were both shit at the P.E. we did extra scripture or crafts as a delightful alternative. We made baskets out of margarine tubs and such likes, while listening to the definition of what made a ‘proper’ Christian. (‘Jesus in your hearts, have you asked him in yet? Now put the pen lids back on tightly please.’) Afterwards, by way of compensation, our mums would take us to Papa Capaldi’s on Queen’s Parade for ice cream. One night I was SO looking forward to my two scoops of honeycomb with fudge sauce and a wafer, but my friend’s mum arrived to pick us up looking very harried. ‘Quick,’ she said, ‘the minister has just called and I have to go back and make him a cup of tea.’ My disappointment was acute, but that was nothing compared to my friend who had wanted to watch TV but instead had been forced to join in family prayers, holding hands round the pool table in their games room. I still can’t decide whether she made that up or not, but she said he stayed for ages and the laugh was, none of the family ever crossed the door of the church. Maybe that was why he lingered.
Readers, I tell you, isn’t it a wonder I’m as sane as I am? And don’t my two wee blighters have it lucky, with their Kaffe O and their Al Gelato and Parkrun and no GB? There’s the Monday moan over for the week. My next post will be up-lifting, I promise.