Recently I’ve been messing about with some poetry. It’s probably not a good time for messing about as I’m supposed to be finalising my MA manuscript, however it’s been fun to write in a more compact way. I’ve written several daft poems about parenthood including this one:-
Life after Kids
as we know it.
Yesterday I spent the morning making a birthday cake for one of my boys. I told him that he could have whatever he wanted (mistake number 1) and that he could print off some cakes from the internet (mistake number 2) for me to look at. He picked the fabulous cakes here and here (second cake down). I didn’t explain that his cake wouldn’t have three or four or even five tiers. I took it for granted that he was imagining something on a slightly smaller scale. It took me all morning to make the cake below. I thought it was quite good. It had a monster as requested and was also castley as specified.
‘I hate it,’ he said.
Initially I thought he was joking.
‘You can’t be serious?’ I said, like John McEnroe.
‘I hate it,’ he repeated.
I was subsequently torn between the desire to tell him not to be such an ungrateful toad and the urge to pick up the grey lump of it and chuck it in the bin.
I’ve been trying very hard over a number of years not to censor the children at home. It seems that there has to be one place in the world where they can say exactly how they feel. I find however that I don’t like their honesty. I find I would prefer a polite lie, the kind of lie that I use when thanking them for potted plants on Mother’s Day.
I stood next to the cake, prickling with disappointment. His face quivered, wobbling around various expressions, searching for the best one to strike – somewhere between anger and surprise at having been so simultaneously brave and rude.