Wednesday 23 January 2013

Mummy on the Edge - Familes NW Jan/Feb 2013

I started writing Mummy on the Edge in 2006 when Mini-Me was 4. Over the past 7 years, I have borrowed (some might say, stolen) quite a selection of intimate vignettes from our upside down life to share within these pages. Some high points, some low points; some proud moments and very many embarrassing ones. When I wrote my first column, it was an experiment and I was not sure how it would be received. I was thankful when the then editor asked me to make it a regular thing. At that time, Mini-Me had just started learning to read. Admiring pictures of herself: that she could manage. However she had not yet discovered the thrill of deciphering the mad ramblings of her mother within the pages of a publicly available periodical. So, without an interested party to elicit guilt and thereby block my creative flow, everything was fair game. Never once did I consider that this would return to bite me in the bottom.

Fast forward 7 years and Mini-Me (whom I should actually call Midi-Me, she's nearly eleven!) is finding her own literary voice. And using it to plonk bits of our lives into her own stories. Nothing that bad has surfaced yet. Last week it was a story about a kid who had vomited on his mother's bed and been treated with love and care by his mother, instead of expected reprimand. So far, so complimentary. However I fear it's only a matter of time before I read something like: “Jimmy set up another game of chess to play with himself while his mother, wrapped in two layers of moth-eaten cashmere, wearing odd socks and surrounded by empty Ferrero Rocher wrappers sat motionless in front of another episode of Real Housewives of New York.”


This school year is Mini-Me's last at primary school. It's only a matter of time before I am reduced in her estimation from “Cool Mum - who runs her own business and writes for Families Magazine” to “Great Embarrassment - will you please stop writing about me, Mother”. So I figure I may as well go for broke here: The aforementioned puking incident occurred a couple of Saturdays ago while Northwest London was in the grip of a virulent puke-diarrhoea lurgy which had afflicted lots of people from school and caused several absences from my Sing and Sign classes. I was in abject fear of catching the lurgy for several reasons: 1) that my mum had had an operation and was in hospital with her defences particularly low; 2) that I would have to take time off from work which is difficult because I have no one that can teach my classes for me; 3) who would deal with Mini-me? 4) I just didn't want to catch the bug, okay?


I dropped Mini-Me off directly after her Saturday morning activity to the school fair, where her year were supposed to be running the games room. She was taking this responsibility quite seriously and had been going on about “My shift” for days. “I can't be late for my shift, Mum” and, “I'll be singing in the choir after my shift”. She was clearly quite anxious to be at her station at her allocated time so as not to let anyone down. Having taught my classes that morning, I was equally anxious to go home, put my feet up and eat lunch undisturbed in front of a recorded episode of Real Housewives of New York, Season 5, so I gave her some money and told her to buy herself something innocuous to eat, meaning chips or a sandwich or something, NOT as she chose, chicken curry and rice. I would be back by 2 to watch her in the choir and spend a silly amount of money on fruitless raffle tickets.

We came home in anticipation of a busy evening. Mini-Me had a sleepover to go to and I therefore, had arranged to go out for dinner with an old friend. And then it happened. All over my bed and duvet and suedette headboard and her fringe and eyebrows and self, generally. Terrified that it was The Lurgy, we battened down the hatches and I prepared for a further puke-storm. It turned out though, that it wasn't The Lurgy after all because she was totally fine after that. In any case, to her annoyance, I fed her very little rest of the weekend JUST IN CASE. I concluded that there must have been a secret ingredient in the school fair chicken curry that just hadn't agreed with her. Oh well, at least it provided inspiration for one of her scintillating and gripping compositions.

And that's what counts, right?

For more Life on the Edge with Angelina, visit Angelina runs Sing and Sign award-winning baby signing classes in Harrow, Bushey and Rickmansworth. More info at