Saturday, 7 May 2011

Mama culpa

Dear Mom,

I'm sorry. Years late, I know. Perhaps it will bring you comfort to know that your granddaughters are currently locked in a vicious intergalactic war with no exit strategy. I'll explain.

As Ana sees it, her little sister is Zuul, destroyer of worlds, habitat-thief and crowing monster. She is like the evil penguin in The Wrong Trousersthe one who takes all of Gromit's stuff and then convinces the Wallace - allegedly the responsible household adult - to behave like a complete tit and a bit of a criminal.

From Ali's perspective, Ana (who is actually just a giant hairball in need of vigorous hair-pulling) should adopt a more relaxed attitude. Ana's toys need a lot of breaking, because they are more fun broken, especially balloons. And if you rip the pages out of books, you get to make up your own story, right? Crowing to high heaven helps to drive this point home.

Their perspectives are clinically insane and totally irreconcilable. There is simply no way to communicate to them in Babish, their native tongue, that 'favourite' is a pretty dumb word to include in the same paragraph as 'I love you both more than the cosmos and would gladly go under a bus for you tomorrow - yes both of you - if only you would just stop squabbling about who gets to push me under.'

You see, all I really want is a little quiet. And to sit down. And for the bickering to go out with the tide, or on the breeze, or with the rubbish - I'm not picky about how it leaves. I suspect you know this feeling well.

Mom, I am guessing that you had a pretty relaxing life before my sister and I landed from Mars. Maybe you didn't enjoy separating claws from scalps on a daily basis for a decade and a half. Maybe the necessity to always have TWO OF EVERYTHING ALL OF THE TIME because we were too primitive to share ANYTHING drove you completely batty and left you with little option but to ABuse the CApslock FunCTION. Maybe as you went to bed each night, just the thought of waking up in the morning made you feel profoundly beat, because you knew we'd be up by 6 and locked back into our demented prizeless tussle by 6:15.
Keep your friends close and your frenemies closer. 
It's a sick cosmic joke really: kids do the most damage to their captors in the early years before they are even capable of forming memories. It's a watertight defense - better than insanity and innocence put together. Which is why prior to having kids I never even realized that I owed you such a huge apology for all the million awful things I surely did to you in my pre-school years that I can't even remember.

Mom, I wish I could return to you the years of lost sleep and peace. However, rest assured that your revenge is currently being enacted by two very talented horsetoddlers of the apocolypse. Their dedication to the job is admirable, and you'd be proud to know that they have both been nominated for a Nihilist of the Year Award - they are currently trying to out-campaign each other, Miliband-style. They are clearly worth every fruit shoot you (or Zuul) paid them, and more.

'Would I fire my sister? No, but I'd sell her for ice cream in a Night Garden minute.'
Take solice in this: your years of exhaustion paved the way for a great life-long friendship - seriously - Tanta is my best friend. She is not even paying me to say that, although she will certainly dash off and pen something even nicer about me, and then we'll be stuck in a bitter flying compliments war that could last for weeks - who knows, maybe years. But seriously, I haven't clawed her scalp in over a decade and I don't know what I'd do without a friend like her. Or you.

With much love and thanks on this and every Mothers' Day.


*Not that I know what the word means. Seriously, is it Greek?


  1. Love this post (sisters rule) and love all the spotty tights. Little girls really can't wear enough spots and stripes on their legs can they? Now, I must call my sister today.

    Have a good weekend.


  2. I love this post. We have exactly this but with 4! No wonder my head feels like it's going to explode some mornings.

  3. wonderful post and images! Happy Mother's Day for tomorrow

  4. I Love this too - and I so wish I had a sister - if only because my brothers hair was too short to pull :-)

  5. what a great post to your mum and thanks for the reminder that its mothers day else where in the world...

  6. What a fun and funny post, truly delightful! Happy Mother's Day to your mom! "Matera": Greek for "mother", but I suspect something more familiar as with " mama" in Spanish.

  7. awesome post R. Happy mother's day to you! Is it mother's day in the UK? I'm betting your Mom doesn't remember the hair pulling tooooo much :) - or she misses it

  8. Oh my gosh! I love this. I totally feel the same way. One second my two darlings are hugging dancing the cha-cha the next they are trying to kill one another. And it takes me back to my brother and I doing the same thing.

    I'd apologize to my mother but I don't think I need to. Because she already knows that Kharma is a ----, lol.

    Hugs from me!

  9. Hello you - sorry I've been AWOL. Had a mad few weeks, hence amalgamating easter, the royal wedding and a bbq all in one over at my gaffe - come back and visit! Claws and scalps - a daily if not sometimes, hourly, challenge. Am so with you there. It's less of a worry when they dig their claws into each other's scalps and not those that belong to other people's children. It's only happened once (in my futile absence), but even still. A really great post, by the way. You so often manage to be both hilarious and poignant which is a hard double act. I'm only sorry that I intermittently feud with my own sister (we are seven years apart) and pray that my girls who share the same birthday will always give each other a hug and make up, as they do now. Oh and I'm with Bibsey Mama on the spots X

  10. Not easy on moms, but maybe it will make you feel better to tell you, that now in our 50's, my sisters are my best friends.

    You did good, mom.

  11. My mum once went to a clairvoyant about me in my formative years, enough said (poor woman!) Wonderful post as always, love the pictures too! Also, like Jenny said, my sisters are now my best friends too!

    Emma :)

  12. Oh this is just delightful (as always) Rachel. I'm sorry I've been a bit rubbish in the blogosphere lately - been taking a lot of time out to chill so I'm trying my best to catch up with all my fave blogs.

    My Sister turns 40 this July and I turn 37 in October so about a 3 year age gap similar to yours. We got on well apart from a rocky patch in our late teens/early 20's when she used to to take my clothes without asking (you would think it would be the other way around) but my sister is like my best friend.

    A really heart-warming post :)


  13. Lovely post! Now Im wondering if I should be writing a similar post to my mom...

    When I was an adolescent my mom said to me 'My mama told me when I was your age tat she hoped I had a daughter as stubborn as me so I'd know what it was like. Well, here you are. And now I don;t know if I should wish the same on you or not.'

    She must have, because I got one.

  14. awesome post R. Happy mother's day to you! Is it mother's day in the UK? I'm betting your Mom doesn't remember the hair pulling tooooo much :) - or she misses it