In which I prove my unreadiness to be a mother, amongst other things.


Recently, I tried to explain to a group of friends that using a whistle and treat system to train a just-learnt-to-crawl six month old child not to pull things off the bookshelf, was entirely reasonable. I mean, it seems way more efficient to whistle to get her attention, and give her a treat when she puts the books down, rather than having to use words to explain why she shouldn’t do it. It’s not like she even understands words yet!

I’m pretty sure everyone hopes I never have children now. Ah’s not like it’s on the cards for any time soon. After all, the best offer I’ve received from anyone has been to be “pen friends”.. Which reminds me of writing to Jake at East Marden Primary School who seemed to think that I care that he plays soccer with his little brother. Mind you, I’d probably only stopped eating glue long enough to tell Jake that I like to read so was in no position to judge his epistolary skills .

Speaking of which, (reading that is, not eating glue) there are a few authors who make me want to crawl inside their brain and live in their imagination forever and Neil Gaiman has recently joined this list. For anybody who finds reality somewhat overrated but likes their fantasy to exist somewhere on the I-almost-recognise-that-world spectrum, his books are perfect. He has the ability to put words together in ways that make me clutch his books to my chest in appreciation. I’m going to resist raving about them, but know that any child who pulled his books off my bookshelf would not be receiving a treat. Ever again.

The imagination shouldn’t ever be underestimated. It saves my sanity from cracking under the pressure of a terribly boring and almost entirely pointless job. When you can sit in your cubicle and imagine you’re anywhere but there, nothing can break you! Not even colleagues who make it their mission to press your rage button in every conceivable way before lunchtime. Somebody recently called me a ‘zen master’ due to my apparent ability to stay calm at work. They failed to grasp two essential facts (a) I can be determinedly apathetic when required and (b) I am largely unengaged with reality most hours of the work day. They also dubbed me “Rafiki” for my supposedly wise and calm demeanour. Little do they know that in my mind I’m more like Scar plotting the downfall of the executive and imagining marshalling all the other staff into my own private arm..ahem…never mind.

I’m off to train my imaginary children with whistles and treats so they know never to touch Mummy’s bookshelf. Or they’ll be taken to Neverwhere and Islington will deal with them.


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