Mummy-Gazing

About those moments when you reap the rewards of all the crap you put up with as a parent, and enjoy a good gaze at your child…

Mummy-Gazing

I watched you as the sunbeams danced
like fairies on your butter cheek,
my heart was plied, my will was weak,
the clock-hands whirled – I gazed, entranced.

I watched as scary pirate tales
turned real in teetering cushion dens
as through your home-made eyeglass lens
you spied the Jolly Roger’s sails.

I watched you as new thoughts unfurled
and grew like magic beanstalks do.
As each became a part of you,
I thrilled at your expanding world.

I watched you concentrating on
your buttons – oh, a challenge fit
for any knight who’d rise to it!
You overcame. My heart was won.

I watched your earnest little face
tell tales, all sweetly mispronounced,
then watching stopped, as in you bounced…
head-first into my glad embrace.

 

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Measure the Children

The increasingly Orwellian nature of education in this country inspired me to write this. Despite the best efforts of some wonderful teachers, it seems that the emphasis  is firmly on conformity and performance – as if our children were washing machines off a production line.

If it helps by the way, I picture “the meddlers” as being little oompah-loompah-crossed-with-Michael-Gove figures  – but please don’t have nightmares about that!

Measure the Children

The school was a cauldron of mischief and learning,
and children were children, their impish minds turning,
until, at the will of political men
came an army of meddlers with rulers and pens
squealing “measure the children, measure them!”

“Let art be abandoned! Let music be killed!”
cried the meddling ones, “There are forms to be filled!”
Then they pored over stories of magical horses
impatiently counting subordinate clauses
to measure the children, measure them.

“More!” they screamed, hurling out brain-popping sums
while the tape measures tangled small fingers and thumbs,
“Forget curiosity! Curb innovation!
We’re sending your teachers for recalibration…
Measure the children, measure them!”

We strive for a future where oneness prevails,
but there’s no place for play on the measuring scales,
and as tables and tests burn the light from their eyes,
we say “Hush, little citizens, think of the prize…”
and measure the children, measure them.

 

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Bobbing Mummy

Is anyone else more than a little bit broken from PICKING SHIT UP?!

Bobbing Mummy

If you knock something from the shelf,
No need to pick it up yourself!
Just leave it there upon the floor –
Whatever else is Mummy for?
Bobbing bobbing bobbing Mummy,
Bobbing bobbing Mummy.

What joy, a new construction set,
With bits that are the smallest yet!
Mummy’s here! It doesn’t matter!
Open box, prepare to scatter!
Bobbing bobbing bobbing Mummy,
Bobbing bobbing Mummy.

Got a wrapper in your hand?
Don’t worry! Drop it where you stand!
Perhaps your paper missed the privy?
Don’t despair! You have a skivvy!
Bobbing bobbing bobbing Mummy,
Bobbing bobbing Mummy.

Mummy has an education,
Wild ideas above her station,
Visions of equality,
I know right? That’s insanity!
She’s bobbing bobbing bobbing Mummy,
Bobbing bobbing Mummy.

 

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We Girls

“Sugar and spice and all things nice” was not written about REAL girls. I know, because – spoiler alert – I WAS a girl. Here I am look – aaah. Yeah right.

This poem’s about all the little girls who come home scratched and grass-stained, sniping snd whining, with a crown of daisies and  one pigtail undone. I trust that today’s “pink culture” has not obliterated this fine breed entirely.

We Girls

Each daisy’s a piece of the moon,
Strewn on the welcoming grass,
Waiting for fidgeting fingers to pass
And weave it in bangles and bows,
Those are not alleys, they’re dens,
We seize them, we lose them, we take them again,
And dance as our dynasties grow,
Pavements and bollards and walls,
Are obstacle courses enthralling us all,
Hop-trip with our quickstepping feet,
Sweet is the call of the slopes,
As laughing we log-roll and slip-slide and hope
To emerge with our kneecaps complete,
Meetings in hedge-huddled homes,
Stones which are amulets,
Sticks which are witchety wands,
Bonds that we form as we talk,
Chalking graffiti and hopscotch wherever we walk,
Home with the set of the sun,
Running, at one with the fun of our world…
We girls skip to a time-honoured tune –
Each daisy’s a piece of the moon.

 

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Growing Boy

In “George’s Marvellous Medicine”, eight year old George’s gruesome Grandma declares that growing is  “a nasty childish habit”.

Now as the one who has to fund the growth of an almost eight year old boy… well… let’s say she had a point.

Growing Boy

He is not even eight,
But he eats like a bear,
Pile it up on his plate –
In a blink, it’s not there!
So I hide all the snacks,
(He’d consume the whole pack),
But I cannot, I cannot keep up!

As his belly peeps out
Of his nearly-new tops,
And yet MORE ankle sprouts
From his trousers, I shop
Like a ninja on speed
For the clothes that he needs…
Yet I cannot, I cannot keep up!

And those telescope toes
Punching holes in each sock,
Mean I’ll pay through the nose
For more shoes… Should I lock
Up the fridge, nice and tight?
Feed him shrink-pills at night??
For I CANNOT, I cannot keep up!

© Nina Parmenter 2018

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Photo by Enrico Mantegazza on Unsplash

Unsheath Your Sword!

I’ll let this one speak for itself!

Unsheath Your Sword!

I share my house with two small boys,
Who’ve wearied of construction toys
and bicycles and felt-tip pens,
And simply want to FIGHT LIKE MEN!
And so, all though the living room,
With shouts of “Fie! Await your doom!”
“On guard, my lord!” and “Tally-ho!”
The battle rages to and fro.

“Unsheath your sword!” cries number one,
“Disarm, foul wretch!” yells number two,
“Stand down, or I will finish you!”
And thrust and parry, through and through.

The dress-up clothes fly left and right,
Until a Power-Ninja-Knight
emerges, snarling, poised to fight,
“Behold!” he yells, “and fear my might!”
Then snicker-snack! His vorpal blade
streaks round the lovely home I’ve made,
I scream, “Just leave your brother be!”
But guard the telly bodily.

“Unsheath your sword!” cries number one,
“Disarm, foul wretch!” yells number two,
“Stand down, or I will finish you!”
And thrust and parry, through and through.

Too much! It’s getting on my nerves,
I hide the swords – but fresh reserves
are roused – the bits of pipe, the sticks,
The pistols made of lego bricks;
The Dark Lord, who is nearly eight,
exclaims “Accept your fate!” But wait…
A mortal wound! A hurty thumb…
The Dark Lord’s crying for his mum.

“Unsheath your sword!” cries number one,
“Disarm, foul wretch!” yells number two,
“Stand down, or I will finish you!”
And thrust and parry, through and through.

And so, the Ninja claims his prize,
“Bow down!” come his triumphant cries,
The Dark Lord staggers, bruised and spent,
And kneels, tear-stained and penitent,
Meanwhile, I count at least a score
of weapons strewn upon the floor,
My house is not a home, it’s more
the aftermath of Agincourt.

“Unsheath your sword!” cries number one,
“Disarm, foul wretch!” yells number two,
“Stand down, or I will finish you!”
And thrust and parry, through and through.

 

© Nina Parmenter 2018

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There Are Days

There Are Days

There are days… when each moment crushes
While everything rushes
To some futile end

There are days… when every voice mocks me
My solitude shocks me
I’m blind to my friends

There are days… when I feel luck has played me
And choice has betrayed me
For giggles and thrills

There are days… when my ceaseless fixation
With self-reformation
Just worsens my ills

There are days… when fear shakes its rattle
Each step a tired battle
Of me versus me

There are days… when perhaps it’s all worth it
My mess is as perfect
As screwed up can be

 

© Nina Parmenter 2018

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My Garden, July, 7pm

My Garden, July, 7pm

As today’s performance nears its sticky close,
And the clement shadows enter from the wings,
Honey sun throws one last spotlight on a rose,
While in crowd-pleasing finale, blackbird sings.
Props lie strewn: abandoned clothes, a bug-smeared glass,
Garish toys form grubby rainbows on the grass…
And as hosepipe soothes my garden’s weary brow,
Daubed with dirt, my little cast take one last bow.

 

 

© Nina Parmenter 2018

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Toddler Tantrum

Here’s the latest in a long line of “parenting stuff I worked out a bit too late”.

It has taken until my second child reaches three-and-a-half to work out that a child having a tantrum (a proper one, not a fake one) is NOT generally a child that can be reasoned with. No, a child having a tantrum is a bewildered trainee human, confused and overstimulated by a overloaded, malfunctioning lizard brain.

You wanna reason with that? You go ahead, supermum. For now, I’ll just stick to giving him space and cuddles.

Toddler Tantrum

Your brother pushed the button at the crossing,
The bowl you want is blue; you got the red,
The world dissolves. And suddenly you’re lost in
A cruel new place, uncharted in your head.

This world is wrong; it threatens your survival,
Raw panic meets bewilderment and rage,
These primal feelings brawl and churn and spiral –
It’s all too huge to process at your age.

Your skin turns red, you scream, emotions wheeling,
Your chubby hands curl tightly into claws,
You hit the ground, you pummel out those feelings,
That seem too big and scary to be yours.

I meet the stares from passers-by with shrugs.
I’ll give you space, brave boy, then give you hugs.

 

©️Nina Parmenter 2018

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Gotta Get Out The House

Ah… quality time at home with the children.

I’m sorry, what?! There is quality time with the children. And there is time at home with the children. And, for our family, the two are pretty much mutually exclusive. Home is about mess, fights, funny smells, nagging, exasperation, and a lot of arguments involving the word “screen”. The good stuff happens outside the house. IF ONLY WE CAN GET THEM OUT….

Gotta Get Out The House

Gotta get out the house, gotta leave,
My sanity needs some reprieve,
That two little boys,
Could make so much noise –
You’d have to be here to believe!

Before, I’d no concept at all,
Of the phrase “We are climbing the walls” ,
But now it appears,
We are wall mountaineers,
Trying to flee from the mess and the brawls.

We’ve tried castles, museums, a wood,
Hit the park way more times than we should,
Our purses are thickets,
Of passes and tickets,
Cos not being home is soooo good.

Our bank account’s screams are dramatic:
“No more lunch! No more fuel! I can’t hack it!”
“No more bribes!” (Yes – they’re wrong –
But they move things along –
And we call it “being pragmatic”!)

So into the car and away!
The safari park’s waiting today!
To the monkey house! Yes,
It might look quite a mess –
But OUR house will look worse if we stay!

 

©️Nina Parmenter 2018

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