When a 6 year old asks you a question, sometimes, it makes us think. We begin by explaining it to her in the simplest terms possible, and in doing so, sometimes we realise that what we’re explaining, ISN’T as complicated as we grownups like to think it is...
“What is a Bully Mammy?”
“Erm…A bully is someone who needs to make others feel bad to feel good.”
“That’s not very nice Mammy.”
“No it isn’t.”
“Are bullies not very nice?”
“Well some bullies are nice but they’re just a wee bit sad.”
“Why are they sad?”
“I don’t know pet. Some Bullies don’t even know that they’re sad or angry. But they are and so if you are happy or excited, they don’t like it because it makes them feel more angry and sad. And so they think they should stop you from being happy so that they can feel happy.”
“That sounds silly Mammy.”
“Yes. Yes it does.” (Actually Darling. It sounds utterly ridiculous…)
“Why can’t they just be nice?”
“I don’t know Honey. Sometimes they can be nice, they can even pretend to be nice when they’re not really.” (And they’re the ones you need to watch…)
“Because it makes them feel better about themselves.”
“That’s just stupid.”
“Yes. Yes it is.”
“What’s their problem like?”
“I don’t know pet. But remember that if someone doesn’t like you or is being mean to you, it’s not your problem. It’s their problem…”
And there, just like that, I have turned into my father.
“Remember who has the problem Darling” he has always said. And do you know what? As usual, he was and is right.
Whether you’re 5 years old in a playground, or 16 years old in a locker room, or 23 years old in a flat-share, or 32 years old in a staffroom, or 43 years old in an office, or 56 years old in a committee meeting, or 67 years old in a group or club… or 87 years old at the bingo, other people will sometimes have issues with you.
Other people will always have problems. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. You don’t have to be.
But remembering that the issue or problem is THEIRS, not yours, helps.
I hate that I can’t protect her or her sister from Bullies. I hate that I won’t be beside her everywhere to show her the false smiles or to point out the ulterior motives of some people. It makes me sick that she might ever feel how I did for many many years in secondary school.
But while I can’t be there and she will of course have to deal with other people’s “problems”, I CAN and I will arm her with the understanding that she is in control of one thing.
She is in control of HER. Of HER feelings and HER self-worth and HER behaviour. And while she will make mistakes and poor judgement and absolute feck-ups, by God I hope that she will always be kind to others.
She will applaud them for their achievements rather than resent them for her failures.
She will congratulate her teammates even if she lost the game.
She will not put people down for being different.
She will not allow others to put someone else down in her company.
She will recognise that if someone else’s success annoys her, that it’s HER who has the problem, not them and by being bitter, she is gaining nothing but her own downfall.
Other people hold up a big mirror to us.
The person who gets to go on 3 holidays a year, reminds us that we don’t.
The person who wins, reminds us that we haven’t.
The person who has lost weight/bought a car/gotten married/been promoted/changed jobs etc., often highlights to us that we want something and haven’t yet got it.
Rather than belittling them for it or being angry at them, try realising that if you really wanted it, you would have it. If you really want to make something happen, who’s stopping you? Because surprisingly enough, it isn’t THEM who has the problem is it?
Bullies are to be pitied. Many don’t even realize that they do it. Many would be broke to the bone to think that their behaviour or comments have upset you.
But then, there are others who wouldn’t give a shit. And they are not worth your energy.
Remember who has the problem. If it’s you, that’s your problem. If it’s not you, why are you wasting your energy worrying about it?
(Today’s Thoroughly Modern Mammy column
“When are you going again?”
The Royal NO NO!)
So the royal family are expecting another Baby.
Good for them.
I’m as happy for Kate as I would be to hear of ANY pregnancy, but Holy Gemima, if I see ONE more headline or comment about how she’s “completing her family” or she’s now got “the magic number”, I shall scream.
Now, of course as an international celebrity, she will have every moment of her pregnancy and birth and life scrutinized and spread over the interweb and newspapers. That’s part of the job she signed up to isn’t it? And I don’t mind the reports of her pregnancy. It IS a matter of interest to our neighbours in the UK, and I’ll bet the Fashion bloggers and maternity shops are rubbing their hands in glee at the guaranteed content for the foreseeable future.
But like all things Mammy related, people are far too quick to jump to assumptions and conclusions, assuming to know inside information and writing anything to gain clicks and sales. To the journalists who wrote such rubbish as “Her family will be complete” and “Three is the magic number”, I ask some questions.
Will it really? Will her family REALLY be complete with 3 kids? Says who? How do you know that she will only have one more child? How can you guarantee that this little child will even be born? How do you know that she isn’t carrying twins? How will you cash in on this theory is suddenly her magic number is 4!? How do you know that she planned this one? For all you know, little Prince/Princess was a little heart attack for poor Willy and Lovely Kate.
Such statements and assumptions beg other questions too.
Why do people insist on telling you that you should “be going again” or “getting a move on”?
Why do people think it’s OK to assume that everyone wants to have more Babies? Or actually, even A baby for that matter.
Why, oh WHY, do people think that it’s OK to ASK why a couple aren’t “going for number 3, or 4, or 8?
Here are 6 reasons to NOT comment on a couple’s NON pregnant state:
1. It’s none of your business.
2. You don’t know their situation. You don’t know if they’ve had a miscarriage recently. People don’t generally go around announcing that do they? In fact, we good Irish still fall into the trap of thinking that we aren’t allowed to tell anyone until the sacred 12 week mark, and so when things go wrong, couples often have no one to share their grief or help them through it.
3. 1 in 6 Irish couples currently struggle with fertility. How do you know if the person you are innocently teasing about “going for another one” or “getting a move on” isn’t one of those couples? You don’t know if they’re trying everything and being constantly heartbroken. You don’t know if she’s injecting herself to try to help matters. You don’t know if he’s struggling with the fact that his sperm count is low. You don’t know if they’ve put every penny they have (and don’t have) into rounds of treatment, over and over again. You don’t.
4. Not EVERY couple WANTS to have a baby, or another Baby. For their own reasons. That they don’t have to explain to you.
5. Maybe that couple are in the process of adoption, or surrogacy. Maybe that couple are at breaking point, physically and emotionally and maybe…
6. …it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!
Of course people mean no harm when we joke about “filling that big house” or “getting them a wee brother”, but like all things Parent related, innocent comments and harmless questions can cut through people like a bolt of lightning. We shouldn’t comment. End of.
So when the headlines tell us that because the Princess, (or Duchess or whatever she is), is now perfect because she’s having another child, we should try not to let them convince us that what they think is perfect, is right.
Because it’s not. YOU know what is right for YOUR family.
I like Kate’s style and her hair and her shoes… but will I be following suit and having number 3 to make my family “perfect” or “complete”?
We’re “practically perfect in every way” already thank you very much, not that it’s anyone’s business! 😂
It is Feck-it-up FriYay and Mammy has done a wonderful job of fecking ALL of it up today. 😂
Mammy has been asked some very difficult questions today.
In the car, enroute to the paint shop… (because Mammy has realised she is going back to her OTHER full time job in 3 weeks and so doing all of the jobs I have put off for the past 2 years must obviously begin! 😂)
“Mammy, When are you going to die?”
Mammy chokes… “Not for a very long time I hope!”
“Are you going to die before me?”
(Christ alive I do hope so!) Erm, yes Baby, because I’m older, but not for a verrrrrrry long time.
“But who will look after me when you die?”
You’ll be all grown up by then pet. Now let’s talk about something else. What will we have for tea?
“Are Rhinocerouses dinosaurs in real life?”
Erm… No, sure the dinosaurs are all extinct and rhinocerouses are still alive…
“Nocerouses do NOT STINK Mammy. Dat is NOT very nice.”
“Where is Heaven?”
(Feck it.) “Do you not think rhinocerouses stink then?”
“Mammy! Answer me. WHERE is Heaven?”
(Fuckitty fuck fuck fuck…)
“Erm… Some people say it’s above the clouds. Some people say it’s all around us. I’m not really sure…”
“Can I bring my stuff wif me when I go?”
“To Granny’s? Of course!” (Phew!)
“No Silly, to HEAVEN!” (I can feel her rolling her eyes in the backseat.😅)
“So do you just go to sleep and wake up in heaven then?”
Sometimes… Baby these are very hard questions to answer and you really don’t need to be thinking about thisstuff today. Now, what will we have for tea tonight?”
DISTRACT, DISTRACT, DISTRACT… 😂😂
(Oh God get me to the paint shop…)
“How do giraffes lie down?”
I can’t answer THIS obviously. (Is it even a valid question?) But I CAN revert to my favourite answer “I don’t know, but we can look it up when we get home OK?”
And at least if we DID look it up, there’d probably BE an ACTUAL answer! Unlike the other questions.
Who said we should tell our kids the truth?
WTF do you do when you don’t KNOW the answers?
And even if I DID google them, there’s a pretty good chance I still couldn’t give her answers. 😂😂
So yup. Add a “Friday-Fablis-Freezer-dinner” to my USELESS attempts at answering her questions and you’ll see that it wass INDEED a successful Feck-it-up Friday.
Therefore, Mammy feels that it is utterly acceptable and justifiable to pour some grapes… 🍷🍷🍷
How did you Feck-it-up today? 😚😚
Oh and YES I googled it…
Oh it’s been a deadly week.
Or even Deathly…☹☹☹
“Mammy why do people die?”
“Erm, they just do Darling.” (Yes… Even as I say it, I know THAT is not an answer and I need to follow it with something else.) “Sometimes people’s bodies stop working and they die Darling.”
(Not bad for off the top of my head as I navigate merging in the town’s spaghetti lanes of the one-way system that was possibly designed by a party of drunk monkeys.)
“But why? Why does they die?”
(Fuckitty fuckitty fuck…)
“Because that’s how it is pet. Sometimes people get old or sick or something happens so they go to sleep for a very long time.”
“And where do they go?”
(Christ on a stick. I’m so not ready for this. Note to self, find out who has been talking to her about dying.)
“Erm, they leave here and go to Heaven and then they can help look after us.”
“Awwwwwwwwwww yeah yeah yeah. Like Granda Pops?”
“Yes Darling.” (I love that she remembers my Pops.💙💙💙)
“Aaaaaawwwwww yeah, and like The Dinosaurs? They disappeared too you know?”
(Well that sentiment was nice while it lasted I suppose.😂)
“Do you wanna listen to Frozen?”
“YAAAAAAAAAAY…LET IT GOOOOOOO!”
“What happens when EVERYONE in da whole world DIES?”
“That won’t happen Honey.”
“How do YOU know?” (It’s started already. My word is no longer gospel.)
“Because people will always grow up and have babies and then those babies will grow up and have more babies.” (Unless Children of Men happens, in which case, we’re fooked.😂)
But why come the dinosaurs stopped having babies and all went to Heaven? What if dat happens us? ”
(Feck you Andy of the Adventuuuuuuures.)
“It won’t Sweetheart. Will we listen to Frozen?”
“Gwanny are you old?”
“Well I suppose I’m a BIT old.”
“Dat means it’s nearly your turn to DIE YOU KNOW.”
Poor Gwanny. 😅😅😅
Silence between school gate and car.
Sad face, shaky lower lip and one single tear.
“What’s up Darling?”
“Hemenahemena’s cousin died?”
(Oh fuckitty fuck fuck. One of the kids must have had a death in the family…)
“Who’s cousin pet?”
“PRINCESS POPPY’S COUSIN! Branch is DIED.”
(Oh you have GOT to be shitting me…)
“Branch from Trolls? How did he die? Sure he’s still in the movie, perfectly safe…”
“No. He got knocked down outside dacimena (the cinema) last night and he dieded!”
“Ah pet. It’s ok.” I let her cry for a few minutes and then put on Frozen which eventually distracted her.
Then we got home and she opened her schoolbag and produces this. 👇👇👇👇
The image apparently includes:
🤐 Princess Poppy
🤐 Branch lying dead outside Dacimena☹
🤐 A scrapbook which Poppy is not allowed to scrap in anymore because Branch is dead (note the x through it.)
🤐 a sad face with tears falling out (see close-up) 😂
🤐 a broken heart… literally… a heart with a crack on it.
I’m not sure whether I should be impressed or disturbed.
“The death has taken place as the result of an accident outside the Dacimena of Mr Branch Troll. He is survived by Princess Fuckin Poppy Troll and a gang of big grumpy Berkins. Removal from Dreamworks-in-the-tellybox, to repose in the imagination of Miss Mini-Me, with the fricken dinosaurs. Wake is private please as theres no actual fecking way to visit the remains of an imaginary dead troll os there? And internment will take place at some random point in the future when she remembers that hims dieded or when she decides to become obsessed by a different movie. No flowers please. Donations in lieu to Mammy’s grapejuice fund.”