"Mummy, Did Daddy Really Used to Have A Six Pack?"

Oh I am so ridiculously excited as have just found an old notebook from a holiday we took in Corsica five years ago with the scribbled title of 'Mummy, Did Daddy Really Used to Have a Six Pack? And Other Short Stories.' Oh the beautiful giddying height of excitement I have reached on finding this! I'm cursing myself on the one hand for not having continued with this theme of short stories but loving myself with the other for having ever started the collection in the first place - all that blogging material lying there waiting to be discovered!

Now, I'm a little spoilt for choice on which to share first but am settling on the following about a scene in a beautiful quaint little restaurant on a harbour front in the town of Calvi, Corsica ...

"Oh my God, I so have swear word in my head that I want to call you right now!" hollers Child Number  Two at Child Number One. All in response to Child Number One sitting on my lap explaining to anyone who will listen, but most definitely aimed at Child Number Two and Child Number Three, that "obviously Mummy loves me the most because I've been in her heart the longest" with such a tone that implies that there is no counter argument so don't even try ... an 'I am the oldest, so there' kind of vibe that only oldest siblings appear to have the right.

It is such an emotionally charged statement from Child Number One and she knows with certainty that it will undeniably rile Child Number Two into such a frightening pent up rage ... hence Child Number Two's announcement of her stored up bank of swear words. I dread to think what they are and find myself doing a mental check of whether I could be to blame for any such words she may have stored ... I don't like the answer. A quick glance at my husband confirms that he, too, knows where she may have heard such expletives ... shit! Damn him and is purer than purer approach to fatherhood. Damn those slightly amused raised eyebrows!

So, given that we are sat in a beautiful restaurant, I'm pretty certain that Child Number Two, won't let me down and will keep whatever word she has in her head safely there but that was before Child Number Three pitches up with "I bet you don't even know any really bad swear words even!" His ability to goad her astounds me. Has he never listened to me say, categorically, that you must never ever, ever threaten Child Number Two because the consequences are, even by my standards, truly unimaginable. But, before I have time to silence him, he's at it again "I bet you don't. You're just saying that to make out you know naughty words. I know naughty words too." Oh God ... and, before I can stop him "I know the 'C' word." I hold my breath ... I look at my husband ... how can he look so relaxed in these situations? It infuriates me. I give him a questioning look ... marvelling at how much can be said without speaking ... to which he says "It's fine, it's fine, all little boys have heard the word crap ... come on!" But what happens next is horrific ...

"It's not crap, Daddy." I wrack my brains. Surely, surely, surely there must be some other 'C' words that he has heard other than the one I am dreading. I try to put a stop to the conversation, "Oh poppet, I'm sure it is." And this is where I went wrong, "I don't know any other bad words beginning with C, darling." And, there it was, handed to my son on a plate, "Don't you, Mummy? You don't know C$@%?"


He even looks quite pleased with himself. Child Number One and Child Number Two don't know what to do with themselves, they are squirming in discomfort. To laugh would be to admit that they, too, have heard of the word. To reprimand him, as I can see Child Number One is itching to do, would also admit knowledge of the word ... but to act as if they had never heard of the word would be giving Child Number Three a kudos of cool that would be so hard to hand to him, particularly for Child Number Two!  I look at Child Number Three, almost gallant in his use and knowledge of such a word. I look at my husband ... he is smirking. What does that smirk even mean anyway? Proudness of his son's boldness? Or, more likely, a mocking 'so you gave up work two years ago to raise beautifully well-behaved, eloquent children and this is what you've achieved?!'

I glance at the table next to us as we prepare to leave, who make no pretence of their absolute displeasure at the behaviour of my children and their evident pleasure in our departure, and I mutter under my breath "Oh my God, I so have a swear word in my head that I want to call you right now!"

Disclaimer: My children have never heard me utter said discussed 'C' word ... just saying!





helen sandle