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Jackie Little: Reasons To Be Grumpy

My Life As A Domestic Ogress - Reasons To Be Grumpy

Jackie Little, ponders the absurdities of modern life.
Sunday 15th July 2007

A little while back I wrote about a rite of passage for my eldest son detailing some of the lump in the throat emotion that goes with each disappearing phase of childhood. I believe I got quite maudlin on the subject.

Well, I have found the perfect antidote to such sentimentality - it's called the school holidays.

It is the last day of the hols. and everything seems to have conspired to put me in a thoroughly disagreeable mood.

The last of my brood is to start school on Monday , the last nervous little five year old I will ever wave off as I abandon him to his classroom fate.

Just at this moment that sounds rather more inviting than traumatic.

It is not the boys' fault of course and we have had some great fun over the past couple of weeks, but there has, as you may have noticed, been a lot of wet and miserable weather resulting in a fair amount of house confinement.

Three young lads in each others enforced company in a relatively small area is always a bit of a powder keg and if I hear just ONE more eldritch screech of "You IDIOT!!!" (the inevitable precursor to full scale warfare) I fear I will lose the final vestiges of my sanity.

They find the most ridiculous things to fight about and have developed a terrifying vocabulary from play station games and the like, so that I find them chasing, empurpled with rage, through the house, vowing, amongst other things, that they are going to take each other out and I don't think they mean for a glass of fizzy pop.

They have disowned each other as brothers, sworn never to speak to each other again (if only - the blessed silence that would result!!) and even begged me to adopt out the youngest, between meting out some highly original and high volume insults.

Invariably they have forgotten what the fracas was about long before my head has stopped pounding from the stress of leading the domestic equivalent of the UN and are pals again, but it is exhausting stuff.

And it is so irrational. Last week, their dad heroically spent his day off accompanying the two eldest to the movies and enduring three hours of some action mayhem, called, I believe, Transformers.

Junior, who has spent the last two weeks fairly incessantly complaining that the boys won't share, exclude him from their games and hog the computer proceeded, practically from the moment they left, to torment me about when they would return. Barmy!

Also these holidays I've had to contend with numerous electrical appliances going kaput - they seem to be ganging up on me. Consequently even when being a responsible mum and leading a bonding cookery lesson with my young chefs, I am exasperated at every turn. (And the Chocolate Delight, when it turned out, tasted of baking powder)

We were supposed to be adopting a dog from the SPCA, but that plan was thwarted by the partial collapse of the back garden fence (they send out site inspectors to ensure you have an enclosed section.) The fence can be easily enough mended but in the meantime we have found ourselves adopted by a ravenous cat who with uncanny timing turned up out of the blue two days ago and refuses to budge. I don't like cats.

Adding to the cumulative sense of frustration (at one point one of the boys overheard someone on the TV remarking that her stress levels were rapidly rising and brightly pointed out "she's just like you Mummy"!) is incipient hypothermia.

At the height of the dire weather I paid through the nose for a load of "firewood" which turned out to be almost entirely flame resistant - you can just about coax a faint glow from it if you spend a couple of hours feeding it bits of kindling, blowing on it and fiddling with the position of the logs. Most rewarding..

And to cap it all, some joker from the programming department decided to thwart my guilty lunchtime half hour escape by suspending Eastenders for the duration of the holidays. Someone, as any of the 'Enders themselves might say, is 'avin a larf.


Jackie Little is a Scoop staff reporter who has recently returned to the paid workforce.

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