Look at my beautiful boy;
I love him soooo much and it physically pains me to see him as downcast as he is at the moment. There’s been a bit of name calling and meanness from a group of older boys at school. The fat word has been used a lot along with a bit of push and shoving. He seems generally a bit adrift, falling out with friends in his class, coming home subdued.
I’d describe him as sturdy build. The paediatrician we see twice a year says he’s not obese, that he’s tall for his age, his feet are a size six, he has most of his adult teeth already. He could have less of a tummy, he seems pretty active to me, he eats healthily but really really well. I try not to worry about it or obsess about food. Steve and I are overweight, we’re both greedy and lazy. Ida is stick thin and the twice I’ve had her weighed has been in the bottom 5 percentile. I don’t want to pass on an unhappy food legacy.
Fatboy, Fattie and Fatso are not a new name-calling experience for Z. I think an element of playground meanness is inevitable. Usually it is water off a ducks back. I am racking my brains to think what’s different this time. This morning when Steve asked what he wanted in his sandwich he asked for just pickle because cheese is fattening…and no yoghurt…and he’ll have just an apple for breakfast.
This breaks my heart. He’s an eight year old boy – why does he know about calories? (believe me – it’s not from me!) We sit down and have a chat about important foods for building blocks and growing and energy. He has a cheese and lettuce sandwich, two bits of fruit and his yoghurt. I promise to look for turkey for tomorrow, apparently that’s “good” food. They do it at school. Good food…and probably how obese people are the new junkies and causing the NHS to fail and the financial crisis and cancer and the end of the world.
I resolve to move serenely on – make sure there’s loads of fruit and veg and go swimming more. I expect it’s a storm in a fat-free teacup. We’ve talked before about the best plan being to build his confidence so he can deal with pushing and shoving himself. To try to give him the tools to resolve stuff for himself. Because, negatively – people don’t get kinder and positively – this builds his emotional intelligence.
It just hurts my heart.
On a happier note Mum and Dad were here for tea. They promise Z some logs for his pond project and Mum wants to come with us on Saturday on our plant hunt – Aha! nothing like mooching around a garden centre with someone else who likes flowers. She promises to restrain me if I start filling the trolley with new perennials – all the flag irises will be in bloom…I’d love an apricot one… Talking of irises, here’s today’s favourite shadow..
BT’s, the anemone is nearly gone, we’ve planted out all the snapdragon and lupin seedlings. It may be too early but we’ve got other seeds to sew and we need the trays. The pumpkin seedlings are coming up. There is excitement all round. Clean sheets tonight and a new book. Small pleasures but potent ones.
It’s a good day, I’m buoyed by a happy (non sewing – oops) sewing club. I have successfully fought my corner over expensive wool – who can resist the stripes? and the kids seem exhausted from lots of bouncing.
I treated myself to some cheap irises from the supermarket and they make me feel ridiculously happy. Today they are my favourite flowers.
Zeph is constantly wanting us to compile top five lists of things on the way home. Our favourite books, food, films. animal etc etc. I find this all very trying as it’s almost too painful to commit ( committing not being a top skill of mine, now being committed – whole other story) I get round it by saying – TODAY my favourites are…
Just so lovely – really sculptural – and the petals are like scrumpled silk tissue paper.
There is the most enormous spider living in the sandpit. Ida is totally unbothered by it and I try to be rational and not recoil when it runs over my hand while I’m trying to put the cover back on. I’ve left it for Steve, and not mentioned the spider at all. Cowardly. Just my style.
This is what happens when seven hungry children get hold of a cantaloupe. It went down as quickly as fairy cakes. I resolve to be more fruity.. (I hope everyone has noted my restraint re carry on style oohs) (it doesn’t count if it’s in brackets)
(natch) (although I don’t actually know what “natch” means – I’m just not hip enough)
Todays top BT, arriving home to find a box of chirping crickets on the doorstep. I tell Ida they’re for Sticky and she rushes into the house to show them to him. He pokes his head out from his burrow in genuine interest.
I’ve just spent half an hour picking skin off Sticky’s toes. Well the ones he has left. He’s not very good at getting the last bits off which results in horrible glove toe where the dried skin tightens around the poor digit which then falls off or gets nibbled off… you can’t make me feel more guilty then I already do.
Thank god the kids toes don’t fall off when I leave it a bit long between nail clippings. Which I inevitably do – how quickly do kids nails grow? When Zeph pores over his Guinness Book of Records being wistful this is the one area I feel he could really stand a chance in. I used to have to cut his nails in his sleep he hated it so much which always made me really tearful and trembly. I was terrified he’d wake up and NEVER trust me again. Ida is a lot more co-operative but also VERY controlling as she’ll only submit if I cut them in the order she dictates. Seems to take a lot longer this way and often a talon slips the net.
Sticky did not enjoy his mani/pedi. He glares at me balefully and plans cold reptile revenge. Like a jack russell with delusions of grandeur he thinks he could eat me given half the chance. He recovers in the safety of Steve’s hands and poses loftily for a couple of pictures.
Of course Steve’s hands are the safe ones because it’s always me who gets to be the mean one. The one who picks out splinters, pins them down for the inoculations, imobilises them for the X-ray. (that’s the kids, not the gecko)
Sticky is a leopard gecko, misnamed by Z who didn’t realise as a desert gecko he had little claws instead of pads. We did try to rename him but Sticky had stuck.
Z saved up for him and his tank. He’s always been hugely interested in lizards and begged and begged for one. I agreed he could if he saved his own pocket and birthday money to pay for it. You could have knocked me down with feather or bit of discarded lizard skin when he actually did. He is an incredibly conscientious gecko keeper which makes me proud. Also makes me cautious about agreeing to his next request.
Awww – look at them, just babies….
Ida loves him too; and she’s really gentle with him. Although Zeph is always quick to point out he belongs to him, and will be going to university with him. Only if I’ve won the lottery by then love.
Lots of BT’s today – kids and gecko’s galore. Also there is talk of a cup of tea and some biscuits… *looks hopefully in Steve’s direction*
Z asked this morning if I could deflate his new basketball a little, “it’s too pumped up for good dribbling…” as I was doing it he mused on how it was weird that it was better when it was a bit saggy, “like Bagpuss..or you Mum..” Hmmm. Not sure how I feel about this.
I now know a lot more about Portugal than I did, surely a good thing?
The narcissus bulbs my Mum gave me for Xmas are beginning to flower. I feel as though spring isn’t that far away. Contrary to expected lore I always feel depressed in springtime and can actually feel the dread press down on my shoulders. It feels like a long haul ahead to my birthday in April.
Sticky, our leopard gecko is shedding. He looks very catlike as he arches his back, rubbing against his log. Very hard to resist the temptation to help him by a bit of judicious peeling. Once it’s off he’ll eat it with great relish, desert creatures don’t waste a thing. Unlike me. I have put a few things into the bin that should really go into the recycling. The eagle-eyed recycling police, (Zeph) have noticed and issued a stern warning. Abashed (and slightly resentful) I have promised to try harder.
Earlier I caught Ida drawing on her plain wooden dolls house furniture. I reprimanded her and she just held it up with a big beaming smile and said, ” I make pretty.” On closer inspection the crayon swirls are very pretty. Steve points out that I’m constantly embellishing our stuff. In the face of all this evidence I can’t think why I was reprimanding her at all and feel silly. We have a big bear hug, with growling.
I remember at the beginning of a long ago philosophy (unfinished) degree sitting in a lecture about received ideas and applying it to myself and feeling a bit shocked at how thoughtless my opinions were. I still try to ask – why do I think that.. but instead of firming up my world view I just seem to end up with more questions. I like to consider the what-do-I-think as a work in progress. It seems the sanest way.