The other night my middle son said to me: ‘mummy, can I take my Lego pirate ship on the journey to Somewhere Abroad and can I carry it all the way there?’
My reply was: ‘Yes of course.’
I was dreaming. In my dream we were going abroad together. I’m not sure why. And in the dream I’d willingly allowed my son to take his Lego pirate ship (he doesn’t have one in the real world) on the way. Predictably he’d dropped it on the floor and Lego scattered. It had taken me ages to pick all the pieces up. Although a story of my subconscious, this dream reflects my reality quite well. My weird thought half an hour later on the toilet was: I’m not able to fulfill one of the most important of all parenting roles: Being A Kill Joy Parent. Why is that? In other words, why am I incapable of being the parent who sees the illogical in all the things the child really, really wants to do?
A good example happened a few weeks’ ago when we went to visit my dad and stepmum and I allowed my youngest son to take some Lego with him on our pub lunch. We hadn’t even left the garden before he dropped it and we were scurrying around for bits of Lego in the grass (very much like in my dream).
No normal parent, one with common sense that is, would have allowed their child to take a big pile of Lego for a walk (or on a plane journey).
I’m not very good at being the parent who says ‘No, you can’t wear wellies in July’, or ‘No, you definitely can’t go play on the M54 today’. It’s not because I fear the resulting tantrum or that I want to be their best friend, it’s because to me it seems a perfectly reasonable request.
So this got me realising that all my life common sense, or lack thereof, has been my enemy and this has got me into a lot of pickles. It was a lack of common sense that had me hurtling towards London with a boot full of food (see blog entry about roundabouts). This same lack of common sense means that I freeze on the beach in November or I have to take off four layers of socks, boots, and leggings just for a paddle. It also means that every time I have a bath I have to balance on one foot, with one hand on the sink, precariously leaning over to reach the towel thoughtlessly thrown on the floor earlier, using my book as an extendable arm. And it also caused me to lose an entire car park in Warwick. This lack of common sense packs my iPhone at the bottom of a bag full of other stuff. In fact it cannot work out how to pack a car boot when going on holiday. It also allows my children to take 14 books on a sleepover.
I wish I had more common sense. I wish I could buy some, on eBay or somewhere.
I’ve decided that the title of my autobiography, when I’m famous and old, will be Common Sense Was My Enemy.