As I mentioned before, my internet is down. Again. So better get some writing done while I hop on my friend’s internet during a babysitting session.
I had a rather testing skype call to my mother the other week. My husband came home just as I logged off and immediately figured how my afternoon had been spent:
Mother: What is he having for his tea tonight?
Me: Oh some manner of beans with spaghetti. We are calling them snakes.
Mother: Vegetarian again.
Me: Yes. I don’t cook him meat.
Mother: I worry that he doesn’t get enough meat. He won’t grow muscles properly without enough meat.
Cue son carrying heavy toy around in the background and moving furniture.
Me: You have seen your grandson, right? I mean, he is not exactly wasting away. He is fine.
Mother: Well, you need meat in your diet otherwise you won’t grow right.
Me: (deep breath) he gets a perfectly fine diet. He is big and healthy.
Mother: Well what about his iron levels.
Me: Iron levels have nothing to do with muscle development, protein does. protein as in ‘found in beans’ and iron as in ‘found in dark green vegetables’ and the enzymes to absorb minerals into the body, such as sprouting beans, seeds, nuts; all the things he gets on a daily basis.
Mother: but how do you know he is getting enough? He should have more meat.
Me: there is NOTHING wrong with his diet. If you are that bothered, the last time he had a blood test for something, he was fully vegetarian and had perfect levels of everything.
It also reminded me of this conversation we had on a car journey:
Mother: Oh he eats a lot of dried fruit.
Me: Yes, it is sweet, he likes it. Much better than chocolate.
Mother: And he drinks a lot of water, must be from all the dried fruit he is eating.
Or the recurring potty training one:
Mother: How is potty training going? (to son) do you want to sit on your potty?
Son then has a tantrum because he hates his potty.
Me: It’s not going. We don’t use the potty, we are going straight to the toilet, which he sits on when he wants. We’re not forcing it, we don’t mind. He will do it in his own time.
Mother: Oh don’t worry he will get there in the end. The thing is not to worry.
Me: I’m not.
Mother: But you need to make him sit on his potty.
She then tells him to sit on his potty a few more times that he bursts into tears.
Finally, without a doubt on every skype call, she will try to discipline him. I don’t think my mother understands that my son gets bored during long calls and because she likes to ‘watch him play’ (another Mother-ism of ‘doesn’t he play well?’ translates into not interacting with him but reading the paper instead while he gets bored playing on his own), we are on skype for a hefty amount of time. Inevitably, he gets annoyed by this and so to get attention, acts up. His favourite being to throw large toys across the room at my head.
We are going for a certain way of disciplining him, my mother watches on while I calmly explain to him that he musn’t throw toys as I will hurt and he needs to apologise or lose the toy. He says sorry and gives me a hug, we are all fine. They we get this:
Mother: You are being a very naughty boy. That was very naughty. Yes, very naughty. Wagging her finger at the camera.
Me: Mum, this is dealt with, please stop.
Mother: It was very naughty what you did.
Me: Mum, the word ‘naughty’ is banned from the house. It holds no meaning for him and doesn’t explain why what he did was wrong and besides, I dealt with it, I discipline him. Please stop.
Mother: What are you talking about?
Me: Stop telling him he was naughty, stop using that word and stop telling him off. It’s not needed.
My mother turns to my step-Dad: ” what is she on about?”
Off camera my step-Dad tells her to leave it and change the subject.
Every. Single. Call.
My mother does not listen. Actually, I know I said that was the last one but it isn’t all subject to my son. There was this discussion about my upcoming 30th birthday some months from now:
Mother: What do you want for your birthday?
Me: Nothing really, I will think about it.
Mother: But it’s your 30th you have to have something. How about an ipad?
Me: that is a generous offer, but I don’t need an ipad.
Mother: Well you don’t have to need something to want something for your 30th.
Me: ok then I do not want an ipad. I would rather have something to keep, like a record. You know, something I am interested in.
Mother: But an ipad is expensive and we got your brother something big for his 30th.
Me: That’s up to you but I would rather not have an ipad. They are too disposable. I would much rather have a record that I can keep and remember that you bought me it for my 30th every time I play it. Something on rare vinyl if you want it to be that special.
Mother: But if you had an ipad you could put all your music on there and you would have less to move next time you move house.
Me: I don’t like digital music, Mum. I don’t want an ipads simply because everyone has them. I like my battered old laptop that has sticky keys until the silly thing stops working entirely.
Mother: Well I don’t like ipads either but you could have something new that works.
Me: My laptop works! You are talking to me on it right now! Besides, you don’t like ipads, I don’t like ipads. Why are you so set on getting me something that neither of us like?
Mother: I want to get you something special for your 30th.
Me: An Ipad is not special. A record is. To me anyway.
Mother: But I was just thinking that an ipad…
Me: Thank you for the kind offer Mum, but no.
We have this conversation most weeks but with ipad replaced by a new laptop, driving lessons (you could get your Aunt to teach you), or more disturbingly a new dishwasher.