Wednesday 25 February 2009

Chocolate whispers…

Why is it so easy to give up something you don’t have to start until tomorrow? It makes you forget yourself and become quite rash.

I have given up chocolate for the duration and everywhere I go I can feel it and it whispers sweet nothings and I start to salivate and my tummy grumbles – it’s not a pretty sight.

I have just been down to the kitchen to get myself some tea and there it was, or should I say they, right next to the toaster – 12 McVities Jaffa Cakes and 12 chocolate mini rolls. All present. All correct. And all counted by The Boy.

I should never have tried to explain Lent and the reason why we have Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. I got carried a way by my own cleverness and have now been hoisted by my own petard.

It all started out so well on our drive to school…

Me: What day is it today, Boy?

Him: Tuesday

Me: Did you know that today is a very special Tuesday? It’s Shrove Tuesday!

Him: What’s Shrove mean?

Hmm what does Shrove mean?

Me – not answering the question: On this day we have a big feast with pancakes to remind ourselves how good Jesus was

Him: Was he good?

Me: Yes of course he was and no more so than when he went into the desert and said no to the devil’s temptations.

Him: What’s a tempertation?

Right OK a temptation, how do you explain that?

I flicked a glance in the rear-view mirror and spied The Littlest staring intently at me and inspiration flowed…

Me: You know when The Littlest is being really annoying and you want him to stop and he wont and you feel like shutting the door on him ‘cos you know he can’t reach it and you can and you know you really shouldn’t because that would be mean. That feeling is a temptation. A temptation is doing something you know you could but that you know would be wrong or mean.

My explanation is met with a wall of silence. This of course could be a good thing but experience has forewarned me that it only precedes a further onslaught.

Him: What’s the devil?

Oh Lord! Theology was never my strong point!

Me: A bad, nasty being who wanted Jesus to rule the world with magic instead of with love but Jesus said no even though he could have done it if he wanted to.

More silence

Him: So why do we eat pancakes? Is it ‘cos they are nice and so was Jesus?

Me: Absolutely.

I felt fine after this interlude, actually quite buoyed up and on returning home set about making pancake mixture in anticipation of a fun filled teatime.

As I said it all started out so well – The Boy and The Littlest in due course returned home and pancakes were at the ready, there was a lot of mess and a lot of laughter and then…

Him: Mum what are you giving up for Lent?

I nearly missed catching a pancake, as these are words I don’t like to hear and my immediate thought after the word “Chocolate” was that The Boy was spending far too much time than was good for him listening in lessons. However, my conscience was working overtime and because I was caught left field I blurted out: “Chocolate.”

Him - awestruck: So you’re not going to eat any chocolate until Easter!

Me – desperately backtracking: Well I’ll try, ‘cos were not all as good as Jesus and (oh joy I remembered Sundays off!) you can do what you’ve given up on Sundays. So Mummy can eat chocolate on Sundays but only then. That’s why Sunday’s are special.

Him: So I can have Sunday off too?

Me: I suppose so, what have you decided to give up?

Him: Being Naughty

I suddenly had a vision of what Sundays would be like for the foreseeable future. No more lie-in and a screams emanating from the four corners of the house…

Him- seriously: Giving up being naughty is going to be very hard.

Me: Don’t worry Darling I’ll help you. It would be no good giving up something that was easy. It wasn’t easy for Jesus.

There was a long silence as he finished eating his pancake, which was covered in chocolate sauce.

Him: I know, I’ll help you too. I could count all the chocolates then you wouldn’t be able to eat any….

I love my children, I really really do!

Monday 16 February 2009

How to explain the unexplainable...

How do you tell your child you have depression? How can you tell them that when you are wishing the whole world away - it’s nothing personal?
Yesterday morning I did my usual – I shouted at them both because I was tired and coming down with a cold and I wasn’t organised enough and I just wanted to delete the day before it had already started. And as soon as I uttered the words I immediately wanted to turn back time. Every day I wake up and I plead with God to help me be nice to my children.
“Give me strength not to shout at them, not to be mean. God help me get through the day and still let them love me.”
Once the shouting starts it is very difficult to stop although it rarely lasts very long before I put into action all the safety measures I use to protect them. I am furious with myself for doing it and then I strike out figuratively at those I love – but these ones are so vulnerable because they don’t understand. All they know is this is how Mummy behaves. The Boy at 5 I can tell not to talk to me, not to ask questions and to just get on with his breakfast in silence while I try to bring myself under control. The Littlest just watches, no smile playing at his lips. I ignore them both or else leave them to it. As soon as breakfast is over I will put them in front of the telly while I finish my breakfast in peace, calming myself down trying not to let the guilt overwhelm me.
It doesn’t happen everyday but certainly every week sometimes more especially if I am tired. I know everyone shouts at their children from time to time, but I feel I do it more than most and I find it terribly difficult to stop. I roar in my frustration, which must be terribly frightening.
Sometimes I have to escape before I explode but it never seems to go away not truly because all the while where it is safe to explode I can’t because they are there in the house on their own and I worry for their safety.
Well yesterday after I shouted and after I had calmed down. I apologised as I do every time. I explained Mummy was tired and that she found it difficult to be nice and that her behaviour was not good. I told them, as I hugged them both at the top of the stairs, how much I loved them and said that they must not ever behave like Mummy.
“Mummy is a bad person to do this and you should look to Daddy. Daddy doesn’t shout and rave like Mummy.”
I am terrified that my behaviour will colour theirs and so I warn that people don’t like people who shout and are nasty like Mummy and that nasty people don’t have many friends and are not loved.
In despair, I hang my head and aloud I wish that I were gone from here. What damage am I doing to them? Wouldn’t it be better if I left them? It sometimes feels the only way to protect them.
“I love you Mummy,” says the Boy “and The Littlest loves you and Daddy loves you. We all love you.” And he wraps his arms around me. And I feel so sad. He shouldn’t have to be doing this; he should never have to face this. I know he is worried that I will go away and never return, I’ve obviously said it far too much in fact once I just had to leave him in the house and hide as the enormity of everything descended upon me and for a time I could not cope.
It was terrifying enough for me. For him I cannot imagine. Luckily he was able to find J and J looked after him and stayed with him until I was able to return. I remember watching The Boy come out of the house looking for me and I stood silently by the moat hidden by the horse chestnuts. Thinking to myself that he was safe as long as I could see him. But I did not go to him even though he was crying hard. I could not trust myself. J heard and calmed him saying I had just gone out for a walk and would be back. I thought such faith! For I felt as if I could never go back. I stayed out for a couple of hours and I have a feeling that J knew where I was and he had enough belief in me that I would return. For I love my boys.
So back to how do you explain? Well I tell him that when the Black Dog is near Mummy gets sad, tired and then angry and that the Black Dog is difficult to see.
I tell him it’s the Black Dog that makes Mummy shout and that it’s not him or his brother. I tell them over and over again and I pray they believe me.
The Boy says he’ll kill the Black Dog. I say maybe when he’s grown up.
For any of you that read this - I hasten to say that when I feel it getting bad I call in the cavalry usually in the form of J, Dear Charlie and my Mum – mostly J deals with the immediate problems as he’s on the farm. I advise everyone with Black Dog to install a J. He is one very special person.
(This was first published in the Private Forums at Purplecoo - the folks there were incredibly supportive and continue to be so. I decided to put it up on the blog as it is part of my life - a big part and I wanted to come out as I hear too many stories of others who get in a mess with Black Dog. I did try to start a separate blog but it never really works. You can't pigeon hole your life! Today has been a good day as there has been no shouting and all is calm. I don't know what tomorrow will bring...)

Wednesday 4 February 2009


The wonderful Mud in The City has tagged me to show the fourth photo in my picture file on my computer - it was surprisingly painless.
I would like to say I was honest about it but I would be lying and suffice to say I'm a bit shy so will hope instead that this from the fourth folder in My Pictures will suffice.
It was taken when the puppies (L to R: Molly, Pica, Shadow, Mia and Gemma) were five weeks old or thereabouts. A moment of calm when they had probably been fed and were just falling asleep. Puppies like children are at their most endearing at this stage in the day.
For those not in the know and for whom puppies like babies all look a like these are whippet puppies and were Tattie's first and more than likely only litter as she's going to be seven in March and I feel that, well, like me, she's in Middle Age and should not have to deal with the sleepless nights anymore!
However, her daughter Gemma, who is now three, is off for an assignation on St Valentine's Day no less and I hope a week before the Flora London Marathon to really annoy my husband by saying whoops sorry dear the dog is about to whelp and I've got a 20 mile training run to do . So if you don't mind this one's on you... well I wasn't allowed to get out of it with my own kids. In fact all he did was loiter with intent in the corridor while I did all the work. Maybe that's a bit harsh, I think I actually suggested he leave but not quite in those terms. It was more forthright I fear at the time.
I tend to do a lot of husbandry on St Valentine's Day. Before I was married it tended to focus around neutering, I'd like to say that those days are long gone but Dear Charlie failed to inform me that he would be out tonight ...
Rules of the game are to tag a further four, so in turn I would like to tag the following (having never done this before many apologies in advance...)
MOB at
Pondside at
Pam at
Elizabethm at

Go on you know you want to...


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