There is a weird thing that happens as one’s children age (We don’t of course): Our role in their lives seems to change from guardian, nurturer, vanquisher of nightmares, stern disciplinarian and provider of wisdom and education, to figure of fun and apparently the source of much entertainment.
Just yesterday my fairy child who used to become paralytic with giggling fear when she knew she’d crossed a line (which was often – she has no filter) declared that I am ‘Hello Kitty cute.’ Cute? Seriously?! What happened to scary Dragon-Mother? I must be losing my touch; gone as soft as my non-existent stomach muscles.
It’s my own fault I suppose. I do make the odd error occasionally, like telling them that Engelbert Humperdinck (Yes we went to his show and it was fabulous) covered Eddie Sheeran’s ‘Thinking out loud’ … well I am sure his mother calls him ‘Eddie.’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gW3cw2jodg
But ‘cute’? No, surely not. Worrying that my parting words to Michael before he left for the UK were ‘Stop playing with the door lock; you’ll break it!’ and not ‘I love you’ is normal mother-guilt. It’s not sweet or quaint! Why should they be amused by that? Young folk have a strange sense of humour.
I am a serious woman: I do not fist bump or high five. I use full sentences when I text (even if my fat fingers stray to the wrong keys and I type non-standard words from time to time). I should be taken more seriously. I can still sweep Liam off his feet, using my karate know-how, if I can catch him. I can still do a mean double pirouette and even a fouetté with my right leg. I am NOT cute.
I have perfected the do-not-smile-before-Easter teacher’s glare. Grown men I have taught cannot call me by my first name in deference to their school days. Yet my own children call me ‘cute.’ And not just eccentric-cute or unusual-cute, they say it is mushy ‘Hello Kitty’ cute. What happened to vicious tigers, unlucky black cats or witches’-familiar cats at least? No, the hoyden in question chose the image of a sappy, pink-clad feline with no mouth for me! No one who knows me could agree with THAT! And really, I would NEVER wear a bow like in my hair.
The sparkly outfit is fitting I suppose.
Everyone is a critic. Liam is a world expert on everything, including stuff he doesn’t know anything about and according to now third year Accounting student Caitlin, it is a miracle I have managed to stay afloat all these years (actually it is, but not because I did not have her expertise at my fingertips), let alone have managed to do my taxes without her help. Shannon informed me (as if her cat caricature of me was not enough) that it is entirely inappropriate for me to have Instagram (but when she wants hearts I am called to colour that one in) and I really should not even think about getting Snapchat.
Today in Clicks I heard them panicking that they had lost ‘her’ as if I were some old fart who needs supervision. They smiled pseudo-benevolently when I gestured to them that I was quite fortunately not lost in the cosmetics aisle, but in fact hiding away from them. And now I am ‘cute.’ It’s a slipperly slope to Shady Pines I tell you.
But let them have a bad dream, a large gogga on their bedroom wall or a nasty illness involving projectile vomiting, then I believe I am still copacetic. Then I am still the Amazonian hero of their childhood.
In the meantime I may have to resort to gym to rediscover my abs and my intimidating mojo. If they are going to compare me to a kitten, I need to sharpen my claws. I’m NOT wearing pink (well perhaps shocking pink is ok) or going anywhere in butterfly-shaped bows!