The word ‘grooming’ suddenly has sinister new connotations. But this post is just about trying to make yourself look your idea of half decent.
The other morning, I caught my son, 7, growling into the bathroom mirror. He’d just got up, and had a pretty standard dose of what’s now commonly known as bed-head. His attempts at flattening said syrup with a brush and some water didn’t work and he refused to let me or his (bursting for the bog) wee sis into the room. Eventually he calmed down and settled for a skoosh of my at-least-half-a-decade-old hair lotion stuff. I take a very ‘wash-and-pin-up’ approach to hair styling, hence an almost non-existent arsenal of hair produce. I have since convinced my son that his pom-pom hat will flatten the hair before he gets to school. But I liked that he was giving a stuff about his appearance. His dad and grandad always make the effort, whether that’s preening their sidies or always wearing a tie, even to Morrisson’s, aged 84, to buy bring home the bacon (and cabbage).
I therefore wasn’t surprised when my boy specified that he wanted ‘no brands or cartoon characters’ on his trunks for the about-to-commence school swimming lessons. Out went the Star Wars kit and in came plain black trunks. Less is more is always a good look.
‘Have you ever heard of “please”?’ asks my son, lobbing me a Sour Squirms snake. He’s off sick. Not boaking, barfing, or doing any other untoward bodily functions that require a mop, bleach and a seven-loads-in-a row go on the washing machine. He’s just under the weather, not even swinging the lead, and we’re having a splendid time, downing tools. Swapping the need to think about making calls about junking the MOT-flunk or doing fractions for a day of Horrid Henry watched in pyjama tops and denims. Once we had dropped wee sis off at school (in said sartorial set-up), we battened down the hatches for a day of unadulterated sloth, telly on, treat box out. It’s not often that mother and son get to bond over sugared reptiles while the snow billows past our window, shielding us from the harsh reality of reality. Well, until 15.15, when we have to stick coats over the pyjama tops and collect wee sis from school. Until then, I prescribe back-to-back Almost Naked Animals washed down with Ribena.
The title of this blog comes from something I regularly say to my not-husband as he riffles in the crisp cupboard. “Take the prawn cocktail!”. Yes. Of all the parenting ‘sacrifices’ we may or may not have made in the last almost eight years, having to eat the remaining, crap crisp flavours has been the hardest. Forget loss of flat guts and shut-eye, social life, sanity. Food sacrifices are way harder to, er, stomach. Growing up, I always felt so sorry for my martyr-like folks, having to eat the chicken legs and sacrifice the breasts to me and my big sister. I didn’t think I could stand to be so selfless. It might explain why I came late to motherhood. But then again so did my parents. They presumably were too darned busy sticking themselves full of salt ‘n’ vinegar crisps to be arsed.