A short story for you:
It was Aaron’s bedtime. Mummy cuddled Aaron in his bed whilst he snuggled under his blankets, leaning into her body listening to his story. It was Friday, the week had been a long one and Mummy was grateful for this precious time with her four year old son but equally grateful for the time with the glass of wine and her husband that was to follow after. Mummy was just finishing the story and she could practically taste the Sauvignon Blanc as she read the last line…
“…and so, they lived happily ever after” said Mummy finishing the story of Trolly Wolly and Delusional Perfect Family Life.
“Mummy?” asked Aaron
“Yes my gorgeous boy?” answered Mummy as she gazed adoringly at Aaron, he looked squidgy and beautiful at bedtimes, Mummy loved her son very much.
“Can we make a story up? Together?” Aaron asked sweetly stroking his special blanket against his perfect skin.
Mummy, impressed by her 4 year old’s ingenuity agreed wholeheartedly “Of course Aaron, I think that’s a marvellous idea! Would you like me to make up a bit and then you make the next bit up?”
Aaron nodded “You go first Mummy”
“Ok” Smiled Mummy “Once upon a time there was a little boy who lived in magical woods. He lived in a tree house with his mummy, daddy and baby sister…”
“And a dog” interrupted Aaron.
“…And a dog” added Mummy happily “One day the little boy…”
“What was the dog’s name?” interrupted Aaron.
“Um, let’s call him Rover” said Mummy
“I don’t like that name” said Aaron scowling
“Ok” said Mummy “how about… Woof-Woof?”
“No Mummy. That’s the noise they make, not what you call it” Aaron pointed out to his silly Mummy
“Oh, yes. Right” Said Mummy raising her eyebrows a little, glancing at the clock “What would you like to call the dog?”
“Toilet” giggled Aaron
Mummy pulled the ‘now that’s a silly name’ face at Aaron but decided that this was not a battle she wanted to pick at this time in the evening, and besides the white wine was already poured for her downstairs and she didn’t want it getting warm. “Ok” Mummy agreed “They lived with a dog called Toilet” Aaron giggled and squeezed his special blanket in delight “one day the little boy went for a walk in the magic woods and he found a…”
“Can Toilet come?”
“On the walk with the little boy”
“Yes” said Mummy
“Say it again” instructed Aaron
“Say what again?”
“The bit about the little boy walking, but say it with Toilet this time”
Mummy was beginning to pine for the glass of wine, she then wondered if it were possible to actually ‘miss’ wine and then decided it was, so she took a deep breath in and did as she was told for the sake of peace on Earth, and for the wine. “One day, the little boy and Toilet the dog” Aaron giggled, Mummy ignored the childish behaviour coming from a child and continued “went for a walk in the magical woods and found a…”
“What did they find Mummy?” Aaron asked excited to find out what happened next.
“Well, now it’s your turn to tell the next bit of the story” Mummy told Aaron. Despite bedtime running a little over its usual routine Mummy thought that perhaps hearing the beautiful and innocent imaginations of her child was worth it.
“Oh, ok” Aaron sat up grinning with a little too much alertness for a boy about to go to sleep. A flicker of ‘oh dear’ crossed Mummy’s sober mind and she instinctively glanced at the clock.
“Why do you keep looking at the clock Mummy?” Aaron asked
Bugger, thought Mummy, but instead said “Because I want to keep an eye on the time”
“Why?” Asked Aaron
“To make sure it doesn’t get too late, it’s your bedtime you know, it’s nearly time for sleep” Mummy reminded Aaron hoping her words would somehow make him sleepy again.
“What happens if it gets too late?” Asked Aaron
“Well, you’ll get very tired” Mummy pointed out to Aaron
“But that’s ok isn’t it Mummy? Because when I’m tired I go to sleep” Aaron pointed out to Mummy
Mummy ignored the potential conversation about late bedtimes because she couldn’t help but feel she was on the back foot with it, so instead she tried to hurry the beautiful imaginations of her child. “Just tell me your bit of the story. I’m really looking forward to hearing about what happens” she said partly forcing a smile.
“Oh yeah!” Aaron remembered and sat up straighter than a tired boy should “Ok. So. The little boy and Toilet” Aaron giggled and Mummy clenched her jaw “were in the woods with the magic…” Here it comes thought Mummy, the first story from her boy, the first of many, bugger the wine! The Booker Prize was only a few steps away! Aaron smiled with delight as the words fell out of his four year old mouth “…and then the little boy pooed his pants and wee came out of his ear and out of his mouth and then he ate his poo-poo and then he ate his wee and then he ate the toilet, the poo in toilet not Toilet the dog, and then poo came out of Toilet the dog’s head and Toilet’s head fell off and turned into a wee-wee poo and then the little boy went home. The end.”
Mummy’s eyes were a little wider than usual “Right. Well, ok. Well done, that was very… imaginative” is all she could think to say. The Booker Prize picture in her head had popped and had been replaced with the image of her drinking her glass of wine downstairs on her sofa with her husband. She glanced at the clock again, shit, it was getting really late. She dropped the hope of a story telling genius son and grabbed her opportunity to leave “Now then, time for sleep. Night-night my darling” Mummy stood up enthusiastically to kiss her son with the intention of leaving.
“I need the toilet” Aaron whined
“He’s not real darling” Mummy said, as she gently smiled tilting her head to one side. Mummy had been thinking about her sofa and her wine and hadn’t been listening properly.
“Nooooo!” Whined Aaron again “I need a wee”
“Oh right, sorry darling. Come on then, let’s go for a wee, actually I could do with one too”
Mother and child went to the loo, both not wanting to go to sleep although one was far more tired than the other and the other just looked far more tired. After both had had a wee, Mummy tucked her son back into bed. “Night-night my gorgeous boy” Mummy whispered to Aaron as she pulled the blankets back over her son, making sure he had his special blanket. She gave him a kiss and turned to leave.
“Mummy” Aaron called quietly from the comfort of his bed “What would happen if your head fell off?”
Mummy stopped her confident walk toward the light switch and sent a telepathic signal to her glass of wine asking it to stay cold and not go anywhere, such as down her husband’s throat, and turned back around to answer her son’s badly timed question. Deciding not to tell him the truth and give him nightmares for the next ten years she attempted to quickly brush the subject of heads falling off under the carpet “It would probably hurt a little bit, now forget about heads and give Blanky a kiss and go to sleep”.
Aaron was obviously not satisfied with this answer so he didn’t kiss Blanky and he didn’t go to sleep “How do you put your head back on? Would you need a plastic mast like Daddy had on his arm after he fell over at Aunty Debbie’s party?”
“It’s a ‘plaster cast’ my darling, but yes, that’s right, you would need a plaster cast to put your head back on.” Mummy was pleased with how she had answered that question and swiftly moved on to leaving again “Now, night-night love” Mummy managed to get to the light switch and even touch it before Aaron spoke again.
“Yes” Replied Mummy involuntarily showing a little bit of gum.
“Will Daddy’s head fall off next time he does a dance?”
“No my darling”
“Because it’s a very rare thing for heads to fall off when you dance”
“What does rare mean?”
Mummy took a deep breath in and thought she might cry when she breathed back out “It means not very often”
“So, how does your head fall off? Will my head fall off?”
“No darling, it won’t. Head’s don’t just fall off”
“Because it’s attached to your neck” Mummy said very quickly
“What if my neck fall’s off?” Aaron asked with a wobble in his voice
Mummy realised she could soon be nursing a crying child because he was worried his neck was going to fall off or she could end up going through ever part of the body reassuring him that ‘it won’t fall off’ and end up shouting at the child, which would end up with him crying and she would be nursing a crying child anyway. So, facing a slippery slope she went gave it her best shot “Your neck won’t fall off! Have you ever seen anyone’s neck fall off? Everything in your body is attached to everything else so nothing just ‘wines off’ ok? So please don’t worry about it”
“What do you mean?” Aaron asked confused about what his mummy had just said
Mummy breathed in and her shoulders stiffened “Well, your body is made up of lots of bones and muscle and…”
“No Mummy” interrupted Aaron “You said ‘nothing just wines off’ what does that mean?”
“What does it mean?”
“Um, I don’t know” Mummy was stuck
Aaron giggled “Silly Mummy”
Mummy smiled “Now, come on, it’s time for sleep. Night-night, I love you”. Mummy didn’t wait for an answer and quickly turned the light off.
“Mummy!” Objected Aaron sharply
Mummy turned the light back on and said equally as sharp “What is it Aaron?”
“You didn’t kiss Blanky”
Mummy Usain Bolte-d her way across to Blanky, kissed it and Bolte-d back to the light switch. She was nearly there, she was nearly downstairs and nearly drinking her glass of wine. She touched the light switch again “Mummy?” said Aaron. Mummy clenched her jaw and switched the light switch off anyway “yes?” she answered in the dark.
“Why have you turned the light off?”
“Because it’s bed time”
“But I can’t see your face”
“You don’t need to see my face, it’s bed time”
“Mummy!” Aaron was getting a bit cross
Mummy whispered “For fucks sake” quietly under breath and switched the light back on “What is it Aaron?”
“What did you just say?” Aaron asked
“Nothing, I didn’t say anything Aaron. Now what is it you want?”
“You did! I heard you. Don’t lie, lying’s not nice. What did you say?”
“I didn’t say anything, I just said… I’m tired”
“You just lied again!”
“No I didn’t!”
“Yes you did! You said you didn’t say anything and then you said that you said you were tired. SO you DID say something Mummy! You lied!”
Mummy wondered if her wine’s expiration date would run out soon. Aaron started to squeal her name in the dark, she had to remedy it and quickly “Shall we go to the sweet shop tomorrow?” she asked.
“Yay!” Said Aaron. She couldn’t see him but she could hear the grin on his face and forgetting about Mummy’s lies he asked “Can I get the long rainbow one? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?”
“Yes. Now good night” Mummy started to shut the door
“Mummy” said Aaron.
“Yes, Aaron” she replied opening up the door again, Mummy felt close to screaming obscenities into the sky.
“Will Blanky’s head fall off?” Aaron squeezed Blanky close to him.
“No. He doesn’t have a head. Now go to sleep. Good night, l love you.” Mummy started to pull the door closed again but Aaron said “Can we make Blanky a plastic mast tomorrow? Like Daddy’s?”
“Yes” At this point Mummy would have promised him an elephant for a pet as long as he went to sleep. “Now, good night, I love you” and she finally closed the door.
Downstairs her white wine sat in its dewy glass on the kitchen worktop. She picked it up, it was still cold. She smiled and carried it through to the living room where her husband beckoned her over. She sat down on the sofa and snuggled into him, she raised the glass to her lips and “Mummyyyyyyyy!” Aaron screamed from upstairs “I can’t feel Blanky’s head, Blanky’s head’s fallen off! Heeeeelp Mummy! Muuuuuuuuummmmmmmyyyyyyyyy!”
“Shit” said Mummy