So it turns out that my blog is turning ten years old next week.
You might imagine that in ten years of blogging, I would have shared some amazing insights into parenting. Maybe some useful recipes, or hacks to make home life easier.
Mostly, I’ve shared ridiculous stories of things that didn’t turn out quite the way I planned.
So today, I thought I’d share my ten favourite embarrassing stories that I’ve shared as a parent blogger. As a reminder that my life often exists to make you feel better about yours.
Along with some shameless sharing of my favourite photos from my blog archive, because…
Well, I don’t need a reason, do I?
Never EVER Name your Sixth Form Crush
One of my first blogging life lessons was that you should never, ever, EVER use anyone’s real name in a blog post.
Especially not if you’re writing about the boy with the Merchant Ivory sweaters and floppy fringe that you were a bit in love with in sixth form.
Because one day, Gr@nt G*llespie will be Googling his own name (as you do), and he’ll find your blog post and send you a cheery email.
What makes this story especially toe-curling isn’t my old crush reading the confession that I went to Glasgow University basically because he was there (giving him another four years to never realise I was alive).
It’s the fact that I got to experience that feeling all over again when he asked me what my “school name” was.
THE SAME AS IT IS NOW, GRANT, THANKS FOR REMEMBERING MY YEARS OF SILENT DEVOTION.
The Leaf Blowing Incident
Mostly in life I try to do the right thing.
Like that time the road cleaners were out removing leaves from my tree-lined street. I thought I’d do the right thing, and move my car out of the way.
Except when I tried to attract the attention of the man holding the leaf blower, he turned around, and… blasted me head to toe with leaves, mud and dirty water.
We were both 100 percent English about it, and made a silent agreement to pretend absolutely nothing had happened. Speckled head to foot in who knows what, I got in my car, moved it ten feet, got out, and went back into my house without a word.
Dignity. At. All. Times.
Giving Flea the WRONG Puberty Book
Regular readers will know I’m all about the excellent parenting. Part of this includes being completely open and positive about my daughter’s body, and related issues.
That’s why I bought her an excellent puberty book when she was nine.
I gave it to her in the bag, and asked her to talk to me if she had any questions.
Which she did. Specifically why girls also had wet dreams. “I thought that was just boys,” Flea said.
Turned out I’d picked up the boy’s version of the excellent puberty book.
I predict quite a bit of therapy in Flea’s future.
The World’s Most Awkward Foot Rub
Divorced parenting isn’t easy at the best of times, but perhaps this post was a true low point.
It started when I was on the sofa at home watching a TV show, cuddled up with Flea.
Flea’s Dad arrived to take her out, but offered to wait until the TV show finished.
The three of us were sitting on the sofa watching the show, Flea cuddled up next to me. After a minute, she started absent-mindedly rubbing my feet.
Aah, bless. She’s so affectionate.
Slowly, I realised that my daughter’s arms were wrapped around my own arm.
It was not Flea rubbing my feet. I REPEAT, IT WAS NOT FLEA RUBBING MY FEET.
My ex thought he was being affectionate with his daughter but instead was giving me a foot rub.
Propositioning the Dentist
Long-time readers will know that I have — issues — with teeth.
This means that visits to the dentist are emotionally trying at the best of times.
But a real low point was the time I went to a new dentist and he weirdly spent most of the visit staring at my boobs.
Super inappropriate, I thought.
Except it later turned out I’d spent the whole visit lying in his chair with a big, bright pink sticker on my breast. It was emblazoned with the words FEEL ME.
Yeah. That could have gone better.
Why We Switched Supermarkets
When Flea was five, she was just starting to read. One of her favourite things to do was read out the names of packages on the supermarket shelves.
Being a very positive sort of parent, I definitely encouraged her love of words.
“Look Mummy, it’s NUT-RISS. We have that!”
“So we do darling, well done.”
This all stopped the day we were in our local supermarket and Flea was busy spelling out words very loudly. Old people were smiling, fondly. Then…
“DUREX, Mummy, we have DUREX in our bathroom!”
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, she followed up with:
“Except ours is a bigger box.”
Smear Test Incident
I’m a big believer that smear tests are important and you should make every effort to go. Even if that means you have to take your nine year old daughter with you.
But probably you should explain what’s going to happen before you go in. That way, you’ll avoid your daughter loudly asking, in a crowded waiting room, “Why have you been bludgeoned in the vagina, Mummy?”
Also when you explain the concept of menstruation to your nine-year-old in a hushed voice, she won’t scream in horror, “I did NOT need to know that!”
Not Recognising my Own Child
Every parent knows that school photos are rarely the best photos.
But I might be the only parent who had a whole conversation with their child about that cute new child in the class photo.
We chatted about her name, what house she was in (“She’s in the same house as you, baby, look!”) and why Flea didn’t seem to remember there was a new girl.
It was Flea.
The teacher had just brushed her hair and I didn’t recognise her.
In my defence it was a very small photo. *cough*
That Time Someone Hated Flea’s Name
One of my very first posts on this blog was about how a guy called Ben had radically taken offence to my daughter being called Flea.
It was the first time I got to see first hand how much the Internet loves to get upset.
Ben (might not be his real name) said I’d committed my daughter to a miserable childhood because of the ridiculously vindictive name I’d saddled her with.
I think my favourite bit of the email was where he said, “This is one of the most evil and vindictive things I have seen from an otherwise aware and intelligent mother.”
Just for the purposes of clarity: Flea is a nickname.
Because the Internet is full of weirdos.
Flashing the Headmaster
Last up, let’s all take a moment to remember the time I accidentally flashed Flea’s head teacher.
I feel like that sentence might sound bad. Let me explain.
Flea’s head teacher lived next door to us.
I’d got out of the shower and was drawing the curtains in my bedroom. I must have pulled too hard and they came clean off the wall.
Taking my towel with them.
Leaving me, illuminated in the window. Naked.
At the exact same moment the headmaster was outside getting out of his car.
Not my finest moment.
So there you have it.
Ten times I embarrassed myself – and shared the story on my blog. I hope you enjoyed. Or at least you now know the parenting pitfalls to avoid!