When Fraboo was little, even when I squinted and scrunched up my eyes, I could never really persuade myself that she looked like me. She has my nose and lips, and (to Mrs L.’s delight) my eye lashes, but to be honest, she does favour her mother, and thank goodness for that. I mean, given the choice, who would want a daughter with receding hair, more than one chin (and I mean many more) and a patchy beard which is more than compensated for by lustrous nasal hair? I’m hoping that her eye lashes don’t migrate to her nose in a similar fashion to mine. Unfortunately, it is almost inevitable she will inherit the Longdon eyebrows though. In my case, they are so thick (and long) that I am thinking of pioneering a new hairdo. It’s a variation of a favourite style at lawn bowls clubs the world over, the combover. For me it will be a comb back!
As time has gone by things haven’t really changed a great deal, Fraboo has fortunately retained her mother’s good looks and is beginning to look more and more like Mrs L. as the weeks and months pass.
While I have watched her grow up though, her personality has started to develop, and I can recognise myself in her. In the same way though that she has inherited a few of my facial features, but the whole ensemble is more similar to Mrs L., she has taken on some of her mother’s traits or habits, some of which curiously overlap with mine. If there is a strand of DNA which governs picking one’s nose, she has got that one from both of us (it could almost me described as a hobby for her).
Unfortunately, she also seems to have received a double dose of the untidy gene. Tidying up is not something that either Mrs L. or I are very good at. We have to make time to do it and it certainly isn’t an activity we do with a joyful heart.
I have to be honest, if it were left to me, we’d probably happily live knee deep in dirty socks and undies, until I can’t find a vital document (“ I know it’s around here somewhere”), and then have a manic tidying up session. For her part, Mrs L struggles with this aspect of home making too, although she is more dedicated than I am. It just isn’t something we are good at.
We are currently trying to encourage Fraboo to help us a little bit around the house. We haven’t given her a specific set of chores, but whenever we are trying to clear up we ask her to help us. This usually takes the form of her cleaning up her toys. Whilst she does enjoy her playthings, I think that she has added an additional source of amusement to her playtime. I’m fairly certain that she gleans the maximum possible amount of pleasure from her toys, by scattering them absolutely everywhere. Whilst I adore Lego (even as an adult), it has the uncanny ability to turn up in all manner of bizarre and unexpected places. And I wouldn’t mind betting that most parents of primary school children agree that there is a special place in hell set aside for the inventor of loombands! Those things turn up everywhere.
Fraboo doesn’t seem to understand that as she made the mess, she should be responsible for it being put away. I have to be honest, I felt very similar when my parents made similar demands of me! After all parents were put on this planet to clear up after their kids! Weren’t they?
Turns out, no they weren’t! If I were able, I would apologise whole heartedly to my Mum, for not tidying up my room when she asked me to, or for leaving my Star Wars figures in the middle of the room (in fairness, they did look really cool where they were!).
For me, the difficulty is this. I am really not one for blaming my misfortunes on others, especially if I can see that I am at fault somehow, and so for me to blame my daughter’s untidiness on some quirk of fate or her genetic makeup, flies in the face of this. I have to accept responsibility for my errors, however trivial they may be, and to try to learn from them. The same is true for those behaviours I have of which I am not so proud, and being, as my mother would say, a dirty little muckworm, is probably one of them.
There is an anti-smoking advert which is current on New Zealand TV and it depicts a Mum nipping out for a crafty cigarette. Meanwhile her kids are inside “play-smoking” with their crayons. The tagline for the ad is along the lines of “They do what you do.”
I realise that being untidy is not as damaging as smoking is, but the habits we teach or at least allow our children to adopt, will follow them around for the rest of their lives. I really ought to model better behaviour to my children, and I will, but first I need to feel better about myself, so I’m just going to watch a few episodes of “Hoarders; Buried alive” and reflect on how I really don’t have that much to worry about.