Life as we know it, is short. Let’s face it, there aren’t many of us who will live beyond 100. The age of demise is rising and yet some of our older relatives slip through the geriatric net, surviving their peers by miles ans surprising us all with their tenacity to live.
And yet many people feel the need to add to the pool of life. Bringing more mouths to feed onto the planet as each day passes. People like me. I came from a large family so I suppose it was only natural that I wanted to attempt to recreate a similar life. So, a few years passed after we met and we were very lucky as two became three and then three became four. That was enough though. Three ‘men’ in the house and one toilet. Enough said.
How can two children be so completely different?
Some couples decide to add to their unit to continue the family name (although deed poll has a lot to answer for) making sure the clans of Scotland rise up over and over again, regaling stories of ancestors that stir the blood in their veins as they toast one and all. Massacre’s are forgotten as triumphant battles are the talk of the town over the roasting pig on the fire – I exaggerate, but you know what I mean.
We create life not knowing what our fate is but once you make the decision to add a nest of DNA in the form of another human to your family tree, there is no turning back. Your wee tadpole on the trip to giant egg-dom hits bulls-eye and huge, silent fireworks are let off within as the atoms crash and collide against each other, desperate to cling onto anything they can hold onto.
And that dear children, is how babies are made.
Seriously though, we have two sons. They are two years apart (yeah, I know, what can I say, the feisty Clan Cameron tadpoles were wearing their kilts that day) and yet they are poles apart in personality. We have a running joke in our house about who we are going to get at the breakfast table each morning. Will it be:
1. The Grunter – not enough sleep has passed their eye lids and they have nothing. Absolutely nothing to give. Eating their cereal feels like climbing Everest. I drink coffee and observe the mutated noises coming from within them both.
2. The Chatterbox – ‘Mum, did you know’, is usually the start of EVERY sentence, followed by ‘bottom’ or ‘pump’ or some other rude word or body part they think they can get away with at that time in the morning. You can also set your watch as more questions like these will come thick and fast until we need to leave for school. Mumbled questions will be spoken even when brushing teeth commences and chin goes up to put tie on. You should try that – it’s not easy to put a tie on and blether at the same time. My children have apparently mastered that job. My ears silently bleed as I nod and agree in my sleep-deprived state. Ringing in my ears usually commences about 8.15am
3. The Day-dreamer – I do wonder if the boys have a hippy sitting just under their skin, rearing his thought-provoking idealism across the table as we ponder how many oranges died to fill our cups with nectar, or did it really hurt the cows to produce the milk for our weetabix? So many questions, so little time at 7.45am.
4. The Hyperactive – all you parents out there know EXACTLY what I mean. Sentences are disturbed with snorts of laughter, howling comes from within their tiny frames as they screech with excitement and oh, the hilarity at all the unfinished jokes, brings out the completely unnecessary rolling on the floor. It’s nice to see, but not at that time in the morning please.
5. The Sombre Death Chat – A few things have happened in their short lives which means, sadly, we have already had the ‘death chat’ in our house. Grandparents mainly but also one of their friends. We spent a long time talking about that particular incident and especially with our eldest, he wanted to know if he was going to live longer than us as he didn’t think he could live without us. There are times when the water in the shower after these chats isn’t always from the mains. Tears can spring up at any time during these morose conversations. With them being so young it has sometimes been difficult to talk calmly and assuredly that early on in the day, but we discuss everything, I don’t want them to be scared to talk about death or life. I take the questions on the chin and answer as best as I can, usually muttering there is something in my eye.
6. The Love-In – our boys come down stairs, turn all gooey and squidgy and begin to stare meaningfully into my eyes, batting their outrageously long eyes lashes at me. This happens when a) they would like something that I would normally say no to or b) their Dad said they could watch Dr Who’s weeping angels and they know I’m not going to like them doing that. Smooches while I’m spooning cereal into my mouth are grand, in a ‘only a mother can love’ kind of way. Un-brushed teeth with cheerios stuck to them, however are not so grand when kissing me in the morning. As are snotty noses. Nothing beats a sloppy kiss from a child with a green, hulk-like river sitting precariously on its top lip. Maybe not. Toleration levels are running high at this point.
7. The ‘Why me’ – why am I so rubbish at everything, why don’t I know my 86 times table, why can’t I run as fast as Bolt (‘Usain’ or ‘the super dog’ can be inserted here as you see fit). I sigh and stroke their cheek and say something tender and meaningful such as ‘but I love you just the way you are’ and true gems like ‘I bet Usain Bolt can’t get dressed as quickly as you can’. Quickly retaliated by my off-springs words of wisdom ‘but he gets Olympic medals for it though Mum’ . I smile. Again. I will apologise to them in years to come. I admit defeat and I know that I am absolutely useless at this until at least 10am.
So there you have it. Our little pool of genes will wake up in about 9 hours time, we have no idea who to expect personality-wise for breakfast but I can assure you the combinations of the above can make or break the most important meal of the day.
Genes play a huge part in their make-up and we continually notice little bits of each other in the way they laugh or tell a joke or get annoyed. They turn a certain way and look like my Mum, who they never met, or they frown in concentration and look like their Dad. Every day is a school day when it comes to deciphering who got what from us both.
Jeans, they may have had a hand in it. Conflicting messages from health professionals at the time of ‘tadpole duty’ were such that it REALLY mattered what pants you wore, cuppage was of the utmost importance. Which meant trousers or jeans were scrutinised too and needed to be ‘loose’. Yeah, we laughed A LOT back then. Well I did. Mr GreatBigJar however didn’t find it that funny. Grandad jeans with briefs 1 Levis with boxers 0.
Genius is a word used to describe a person of supreme intelligence or a magnificent event or act committed by a person.
I like to think that we are all geniuses in our own right. And not in a procreative kind of way of’ ‘aren’t my kids the best’ but in a way that celebrates who we are, regardless of where we come from, how much money we have, what school we went to or what car we drive. These material things are not important to me. To coin a clichéd phrase ‘It’s what’s inside that counts’ – a message I continually bore into my children’s brains hoping one day they will remember it when they make their way into the big bad world. And yes, they are the best. But I’m their Mum, I’m allowed to be biased.