‘We should do one of those letters. Y’know. That people send at Christmas,’ suggested Mother.
Father’s expression was blank.
‘You know. Those ’round robin’ things. Where people write about all their successes over the last year.’
Father still looked confused (to be fair, he frequently looks confused, as if the challenges of life are continuously perplexing him.)
‘We can share all our great news. All our achievements,’ she continued, becoming increasingly animated.
Father shrugged. ‘S’pose we could,’ which Mother took as firm and clear encouragement to proceed.
Only, as she started to write, she realised that there was very, very little which she could show off about.
‘Ridiculous idea,’ Mother tutted, minutes later, screwing up the piece of paper she had barely touched with her pen. ‘Such a silly idea,’ she added, peering in an accusatory manner at Father, as if his tacit agreement had, in fact, meant that the whole thing had been his idea.
It got me thinking though. Perhaps I ought to write a letter, on Mother’s behalf? Outlining exactly all the failures of the last year; the REAL truth behind those smug pictures she posts on social media……
As the year ends, I thought it would be an opportunity to look back over the past months, reflecting on what has gone before.
I’ll be honest. Apart from our absolutely incredible and amazing baby, for the most part, it’s been a cornucopia of lowlights, of errors, of humiliations, of mistakes.
Not least when it comes to the parenting arena. As you know, we are new at this, but I’m not sure that’s any excuse for the utter idiocy we have frequently demonstrated. Especially concerning nappy malfunctions. Who knew that the nappy was only supposed to go on one way – or that an ill-fitted one could result in the most disgusting of outcomes? And don’t even get me started on the ensuing panic when you realise, at 3am, that you’ve run out of nappies…. Top tip, friends, always make sure you have a spare pack in the cupboard!
We also can’t look back with pride on our continual misinterpretations of our daughter’s attempts to communicate. For example, the time we excitedly celebrated our baby’s first smile – which turned out to be trapped wind. Similarly, I personally cannot help but cringe at the memory of my utter overreaction at the noises our little one made when she was having a poo – I seriously was on the verge of calling the emergency services at the sound of all those squeaks!
To be honest, overreaction is a hallmark of our style of parenting. If there is a minor issue or concern, we are guaranteed to turn this into an epic drama. Like, for example, the time our baby had her first sniffle. Fair to say our approach was to panic first, panic later. Still, it all turned out ok, once we called in the cavalry (parents).
We can also be ashamed of the fashion choices that we have made on behalf of our little girl. Fortunately, she’s got a lot of panache and can carry off a pumpkin costume or a Christmas jumper in ways that many others (us, mainly) wouldn’t be able to. This is not entirely our fault though, given that we ourselves are completely devoid of any sense of style. I am heading up a one-woman campaign to bring the pop sock back in fashion (though I’m not sure it was ever really ‘in.’) Meanwhile, hubby has been offending people with his newly-acquired penchant for hats; rather than looking like a hipster around town, he looks like he’s sporting a cat on the side of his head.
There have been other mistakes too. Like the time that I had a *minor* incident when parking the car. I will maintain, however, it is not my fault, that that sign just jumped out at me. And, my culinary skills continue to be on a par with my driving skills. We still shudder at the memory of the ‘Prawn Surprise’ which laid us low with sickness. As hubby said, ‘that’s the kind of surprise I could do without.’
I also managed to show myself up massively on our family holiday. Firstly, by my behaviour during take-off when I knocked back a Limoncello for ‘my nerves.’ That, though, paled into insignificance when you consider the accidentally flashing in my too tight swimsuit – but I’m still not admitting that I’m anything other than a size 12!
No, 2016 has been nothing but a series of embarrassments. Thank goodness then for our daughter; even so young, it is obvious that she is far more intelligent, sensible, and thoughtful than us. It’s too late for us to change now – if anything, our idiocy is increasing – and so we are pinning all our hopes on her. After all, it would be lovely to have at least one person in the family who isn’t a complete fool.
Merry Christmas, and may your 2017 be filled with joy!
Mother xx (NB I don’t actually know what her name is. In an entirely nauseating move, Mother and Father only ever refer to each other by their parental titles).
Right, I’m off to the post box….