We all like to think that we are good parents with good kids who are a credit to us and our parenting skills. Let me tell you about my day.
My husband is a keen sailor. Two summers ago, he joined the Shropshire Sailing Club and bought a Flying Fifteen. Two of my daughters, Taylor and the 13 year old have taken RYA training courses and show a real aptitude for the sport. My husband is delighted to be able to share his passion for sailing with his step daughters and hopes that the two children he has with me will grow up to follow in his nautical footsteps.
When we woke up this morning with autumn sunshine streaming through the bedroom window, it seemed like too good a sailing opportunity to miss, especially as it was likely to be the last chance before putting the boat to bed for the winter. In a moment of sunshine fuelled optimism, my husband decided that this would be an ideal moment to introduce the 2 year old to the joys of messing about on the water. I knew this was likely to end up as hard work for me but I didn't want to be the one to burst the bubble of his paternal fantasy. We made a bucket load of butties, wrapped up for the chill factor and set off for the lake.
The 2 year old does love adventures. She was out of the car and at the waters edge before I had time to even gather my thoughts. The girls set to work getting the boat ready, my ever helpful husband was lending an ever helpful hand to all and sundry and I was left quite literally holding the baby (the poor little mite was so wrapped up in cosy layers that he could barely move but took it all in his laid back, good-natured baby stride).
The 2 year old decided that 'water's edge' was not adventurous enough for her. She wanted to run out onto the jetty. This is where the fun really started. They don't call it 'The Terrible Twos' for nothing.
Picture the scene; tranquil lake, gently rustling leaves, sails flapping in the breeze, water foul taking occasional flight or landing on the sun rippled water, 2 year old screaming her head off because she doesn't want to put on a buoyancy aid! She worked herself up into an inconsolable frenzy so I wrestled her back into the car to try and reason with her. It would have been easier reasoning with an excitable pit bull terrier! I took her boots off to stop her doing too much damage with her kicking. She promptly hit me over the head with one. As my son-in-law-one-day-to-be would say "Call for Supernanny".
One thing I have noticed about being a mature mum who has done it all before is that I tend not to get overwhelmed by the moment. I can keep my eye on the bigger picture knowing that tantrums soon burn themselves out to give way to smiles and hugs. My snotty, red-eyed, hoarse little girl finally calmed down, put on the life jacket and was soon happily running up and down the jetty.
Then came the moment to introduce her to the boat and hopefully take the first step on the road to a lifelong love of sailing. The paternal fantasy bubble burst. She was having far too much fun on her jetty to even entertain the possibility of an alternative activity. Conceding defeat, I manhandled her and the baby back into the car to leave the sailors in peace to enjoy themselves.
My plan was to drive into town, take the little ones to the park and maybe even go on a shopping quest for treats but by the time I had parked, the 2 year old was fast asleep. So there I sat, in the car park, scribbling down in my book of crossword puzzles the words that would find themselves here in my blog, feeding the baby and listening to the odd snore from the blonde angel slumped in her car seat behind me.
So as I reflect on my day, was it a showcase for exemplary parenting? Hmm. Will I ever be able to show my face at the sailing club again? Probably. Am I glad that the sailing season is over? DEFINITELY!!