This site has now been live for a whole 41 days, and in that time, a disturbing trend is emerging. Your fascination with my personal disasters. You see, big sister is watching you from a little box on the work press dashboard: the ‘site stats’ box. And what it tells me is that when I post a well researched, erudite and informative article on relocation, it gets a mere flicker of interest. By contrast, when I post anything involving personal injury, parenting failures or me looking foolish, viewing figures skyrocket. And if I can manage all three at once, à la It Started with a Kick, boy, are you all happy bunnies.. You should be ashamed.
Luckily for you, I have inherited an obsessive need to please from my mother, so I am catering to your whims. But to add an element of excitement to the mix, I’m not limiting myself to my own parenting catastrophes. I’m sharing the love. After lengthy discussion with my sibling, here’s the first of what could be a very long line in Parenting Fails..
1. Homemade clothes
I may be about to sound ancient, but things were different in my youth. Jeans were hand-me-downs and had multiple rings in the ankle region where they had been let down repeatedly; shoe choices were: school shoes, sandals or wellies (rainboots), and the only nods to fashion were different colored legwarmers or something bought from Carew Market which lasted about 10 minutes before the seams unravelled. So when an invitation to something that involved a higher level of grooming plopped through the letterbox, panic stations ensued.
In our world, this meant the unearthing of the sewing machine. My mother had an incredibly heavy industrial one, capable of removing limbs. In these current enlightened times, it would be classified as a Weapon of Mass Destruction; any damage not inflicted by the machine itself was quickly remedied by the garments produced. Most notably, the outfit produced for my sister, for a long distant wedding.
Your teenage years are not necessarily a high point in terms of personal judgement – this is where your parents come in. So what possessed my mother to think that my sister could carry off orange trousers and an orange, green and white striped hoodie is beyond me. My only explanation is that my sister must have royally pissed her off in the run-up to the wedding, and that my mother is still enjoying the last laugh every time she looks at the wedding portrait on the mantlepiece. God only knows what offense my sister committed to deserve having her legs encased in pumpkin hued, steel wool textured fabric so abrasive that it required a lining just to allow the wearer to walk without third degree friction burns. Add the striped hoodie, an unruly mass of frizzy hair, glasses and orthodontic braces, and my sister looked like a reject from the Jackson Five.
One can only feel sympathy for the poor bride, whose photographic memento of the happiest day of her life looks like it has been invaded by the Muppets. Imagine the bile that rose to her throat when she realized that she not only had invited the blots on the landscape, but she was going to have to pay the photographer for the privilege of being reminded of her mistake in perpetuity.
The tragic news is that my mother has the only copy, and getting hold of it would entail owning up to this post. So I’m striking a blow for sibling solidarity, and posting this one instead. Explains a lot, doesn’t it??