Tag Archives: bad mother

How to break a child’s heart in one easy ballet step

30 Oct

We’ve just returned from holiday. In the days leading up to the journey home there were the inevitable groans about our imminent return to cold, grey reality. The 4-year-old didn’t want to go back to nursery. The 18-month-old didn’t want to leave our hosts’ endless supply of Swiss Chocobits cereal. I knew that an English supermarket could probably sort the latter, but what to do about the former? Obvious answer: give her something to look forward to when we got home.

And so it was that for several days before our return I buoyed my daughter up with the prospect of her Monday ballet class. As expected, this resulted in the tongue-rolling, dress-lifting, wriggling excitement that normally only a Disney princess can elicit. Pat on the back to Mummy. I was on to a winner.

Back at home on Monday morning disaster struck. A faulty gas supply left us without heat and hot water and the prospect of a day stuck in the house waiting for help to arrive. As the plumber (yes, the same plumber as in that post) got steadily more grumpy and the hours ticked by the likelihood of getting to ballet started to dissipate like the waft of gas from a dodgy gas pipe. Like any good parent, I deliberately didn’t mention the impending trauma to my daughter lest by some miracle all should come good.

An hour before the class and things weren’t looking promising. Tears, tantrums and utter devastation loomed. I called Mr Crumbs & Pegs in the hope he’d be able to pop home from work for an hour thus releasing us from the purgatory of infernal waiting. Success! We were back on track.

Half an hour before the class and I got one very excited little girl into her ballet outfit. All was progressing as normal – the usual explanation of why she must wear her skirt pulled as high as Simon Cowell’s trousers rather than skimming the bottom of her buttocks like a gangsta, the foot stamping as locks of hair escaped from her hair band, and of course the frenzied tumbling into the car when we discovered we were running late. No surprises then when we pulled away from the house with one/some/all of us fraught and in tears. That aside – we were on the way to ballet!

Under stress I seem to have the knack of turning my daughter into a blubbering and uncooperative wreck. (Four years in and I am yet to learn that shouting does not make children go faster. Some red underlining is clearly required in the Bad Mother’s Notebook of Things I Must Do Better. ) Dragging two children into an empty leisure centre reception area I stopped in my tracks. Where were the pushy mammas in their boots and skinny jeans?  Where were the siblings who were usually sprawled across the corridor playing Top Trumps and tripping up the attendees of the Blind Badminton class? Hell no! It was half term. No ballet class.

The receptionist looked at me with pity (or was it disgust?) as I made the walk of shame back out the leisure centre doors, crying ballerina and confused toddler in tow. Guilty doesn’t do full justice to how I felt as I explained to my daughter that her mother – who was obviously always right – had got something terribly wrong. In the car I proffered a trip to a café by way of an apology but was told that her “tummy hurt too much from crying to eat cake”. Make it worse why don’t you.

A day later I am still apologising. A day later, when reminded of the incident, my daughter still looks at me like her heart has been broken by an idiot. A complete idiot. Welcome to parenthood.

The crack police

10 Apr

Call it what you will – intergluteal cleft, vertical gluteal crease, bicycle park, builder’s bum – we’ve all got one: a bum crack (or butt or ass crack, if you will). There isn’t a pleasant name for it. As a meeting point for the buttocks, it doesn’t have a specific purpose other than perhaps as a quasi pair of velvet curtains to drape the least pleasant exit point in our body. Such is the personal nature of the bum crack, we tend to keep them covered up. Even the skimpiest of thongs gives a nod to the sanctity of the bum crack.

Of course bum cracks do occasionally make a bid for freedom and unless the offending crack is hairy and sweaty this generally raises a giggle rather than disgust. I assumed this was a universal reaction. On a recent trip to the US, however, I was amazed to discover the existence of what I can only call the Crack Police. Upon arriving at one of the Disney parks, poor Mr C&P was taken aside by a security guard:

“Excuse me sir, but I … errr … thought I should … errr … let you know that you are showing your … errr …crack. You might want to … you know … just in case … you know.”

He was obviously embarrassed but clearly not embarrassed enough to stop him pulling someone aside and having a serious word. Is showing your bum crack down there in the Disney Rulebook alongside not taking Mickey’s name in vain and not mentioning Donald’s speech impediment? And “just in case” of what? The mind boggles.

An amusing one-off? Well, no. It seems there is something in the American psyche that finds bum cracks enormously troublesome. A few days after the above incident, Mr C&P was carrying our daughter on his shoulders when we heard quickening footsteps behind us. I turned to see an elderly lady signalling to us and I expected her to be clutching a dropped hat or toy. But, no, she was an undercover officer from the Crack Police:

“Your little girl is showing her bum crack. I wanted to tell you just in case people … you know …”

Just in case of what??! In case 1 cm of her crack ends up in a photo on a dodgy hard drive? Hell’s bells – some perspective please! Just as Mr C&P was made to feel like a wannabe flasher, I somehow felt a bad mother. My daughter should be wearing industrial trousers pulled up under her armpits and fastened with a padlock. I’d not packed these – I’d only packed skimpy summer stuff for the baking heat. Bad BAD mother.

Florida is one of the most conservative states in the US. Topless sunbathing is illegal so maybe showing an inch of crack is perceived to be the start of a slippery slope to whipping your boobs out in the local 7-Eleven. If anyone can shed any light on this ‘interesting cultural difference’ that would be cracking.

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