Sometimes I do grown-up tantrums. Things get kicked and swiped and I do a little stamp dance. Nobody gets hurt. But still. I’m not proud.
I guess at the root of it are significant issues: stress, lack of time for myself and stuff in my life that isn’t quite right at the moment. Like how work gets the best of me and Maya is left with the burnt-out dregs.
I love some bits of my job teaching English to adults from around the world. After twelve years, I still learn new stuff every day.
Like did you know that in some parts of Eritrea, if you visit a mother with a new baby girl and you don’t finish the food she dishes up, you are guilty of jinxing the child’s financial future?
Or that, on religious bank holidays in Iran, some holidaymakers heading for the mountains wear fake beards to get themselves waved through Revolutionary Guard checkpoints with a boot full of moonshine?
I reckon everyone knows something cool that I don’t and I love it that I learn stuff while I’m working.
But. There are times (quite a lot of them) when I juuuuust have to fake the enthusiasm. I think my students think I am the most naturally joyful person in the world. I am not.
By the time I get home, I just want to stare at a wall and glaze over. But there is a child to feed, bath and sedate with unicorn-based literature. Then it’s tidy, wash, sleep, repeat.
I like to check in with my irritability before dawn if possible. This is easily done with the help of the squeaky floorboards that draw an audio map of my route along the landing to the toilet at 5am, thus ensuring that a child wakes up and the day gets underway nice and early.
Or, if that doesn’t work, I can always absent-mindedly turn the hot tap on to rinse my hands and grimace as the combi boiler fires up at the volume of a jet engine. That will also do it.
So downstairs I go.
Early in the morning, coffee is my only salvation but for me it means 15 minutes of dreamy excitable joy before bad angry Mummy shows up.
Nobody likes her.
In her world, absurd and erratic fuming can be incited by all manner of inconsiderate people and objects allegedly hellbent on sabotaging her day. Here is a list of things she can’t abide and which cause her to tut, exhale sharply with disapproval or stub her toe on a skirting board:
1. The morning dishwasher that someone forgot to turn on last night
2. The dishwasher which was turned on but has been busy collecting all the greasy funk from the plates and pans and sticking it to the glasses forever
3. The dishwasher door that some IDIOT has left open and which I’ve now tripped over in a backwards direction because they were too lazy and thoughtless to sh….oh, yep. That was me. I remember now.
4. Stupid thin white kitchen bin liners. What is the point of you? Why in the world would a supermarket wish to anger its customers by being too tight to cough up for bags made of proper plastic that doesn’t buckle under the weight of two apple cores and an uneaten dollop of mashed potato? Because of you, I have drizzled stinking bin juice all over my freshly tighted feet and will have to change into the bobbly ones with the hole in the heel.
5.The pool of water on the bathroom floor (see tights issue above)
6. My shambolic handbag and the bits of crisps that get under my fingernails when I dare to rummage around in it. I eat crisps twice a month. Where are they coming from?
7. My shambolic handbag, which readily propels tampons up, out and onto the floor in front of my students but will not give up my keys when I’m actually looking for them.
8. The underwear drawer whose socks and knickers are impossible to find because they’re sharing their space with three random birthday cards, belts from four dresses I no longer own and seventeen price tags I don’t want someone else to see.
9. The child’s bedroom drawer that won’t shut because it’s overloaded with tights and dresses for a three year old who is now a four year old
10. The bus pass that has stuck itself to my Nectar card using friction that cannot exist and can’t be prised away.
11.Tampons everywhere because who knew it but they are amazing toys and totally suitable for children.
12. The wonky clothes horse that won’t reveal the source of its tilted gait and refuses to be righted. Stand up straight, my friend, or prepare to never rise again.
13. The three tiny damp socks that have worked their way off the above clothes horse and onto the floor, scrunched themselves up into balls and started to smell of mildew. I can’t put them straight back in the basket because their moisture has attracted hair and fluff, which must now be painstakingly picked off before they can go in the washing machine. It’s fine. I’m glad. I wanted it this way.
14. The wooden caterpillar that I step on with the arch of my bare foot. Owowowwww.
15. The broken window handle, the half-sanded door frames, the shelf that still hasn’t been put up, the bit where the metal carpet edger is missing
16. A pre-schooler who just loves unclicking her seatbelt once I’ve started the engine. Isn’t she clever?
17. The selfish numbskull who has parked right up to the white line to the left of their parking space in the car park near nursery. Time for another boot exit. So it’s good that Maya can unclick herself after all. Oh. Nope, now she can’t. Or won’t. I’m going in. Oh fricking nuggets. I’ve laddered my tights on the towbar.
18. My iPhone keyboard. I swear I am hitting the right letters but it gets a kick out of pretending not to know which ones I’ve touched. Especially on the bus.
I’ve typed ‘t-o-d-a…’ So far. What could the next letter be (I’ll give you a clue: it’s the one my finger actually touched). No, it’s not ‘t’! What the hell would ‘todat’ mean?
If we were at Wimbledon I would question your umpiring skills you stupid pedantic handset and get Cyclops to take a look. My digit was on the line!
19. The person on the 8.14 who smells like he’s been on a bender and is filling the vehicle with his boozy breath
20. No tampon anywhere
So that’s it. A few examples of the many many things that can result in a fully grown adult whining and stamping like a baby under stress. They are shamefully inoffensive really, but better to shout at a sock than right in the face of a wilful and indefatigable four year old (even when, quite frankly, she’s asking for it).
Do you lose it with the little things to let off steam about the big things? What gets to feel your wrath?