Notes on Raising a Genius (or, how I learned to stop worrying and accept defeat.) Part 1 of TBC

It often goes like this, for example: gets Rubik’s cube for Christmas; immediately solves 2 sides of the Rubik’s cube; fascinated, dismantles the Rubik’s cube; is then unable to reassemble the bloody Rubik’s cube, because, I’m not sure if you knew this dear readers, but they’re not actually supposed to be taken apart (see also: vcr’s; cell phones; torches.)

Your genius will then be inconsolable at the loss and no amount of rational discussion or empty threats/promises (which ever you have more energy for) will rectify this. Prepare to be emotionally exhausted for the rest of your life. For this I have no advice besides that which is applicable to all parents, and should be the only things written in all those bloody parenting books: try not to lose your shit.

All the soft toys in your house will have elaborate names. And phone numbers. And interests. We have a hedgehog here who goes by Mr Prickle Wiggley-Pants. Or Max, for short. Max doesn’t want me to disclose his contact information on the internet, but doesn’t mind if I mention that he was a semi-professional soccer player in his homeland of Spain. He also enjoys sleeping under the couch, because it’s the only place in the house that’s quiet. I have some theories that he may be in political exile. The guy gets a lot of hushed phone calls, you know? Then there’s a lobster named Bubba who appears to have embodied the spirit of James Brown. I could go on.

You will be woken regularly with questions which you have no idea how to answer, but must, because this is your life now. And also, because if you do not answer, the question will just be repeated incessantly until you make something up. I do not advise this, however, on account that one question will invariably lead to 6000 questions and it’s only so long before you will find yourself trying to explain relativism with an orange or concepts of theology on a magnadoodle.

Raising a genius will make you smarter, out of sheer necessity. Nothing will make you regret not finishing your English degree like having to resort to google when in discussion of submerged similes. With a 4-year-old.

Christmas Questions #2

Theo: ‘The Christmas Man loves snow! When will the snow come, Mama?’

Alice: ‘Well, darling, we live in the Southern Hemisphere, down here. So it is Summer for us at Christmas time.’

I gesture wildly at the Globe.

Theo: ‘But…The Christman Man needs snow to fly!’

Alice: ‘He does?’

Theo: ‘Yes! I need snow for Christmas!’


Oh, good. I’ll just add that to the list of things you won’t be getting for Christmas.

We Make: Christmas Buntings.

Get woken up by your eldest child at 4.30am to be questioned about Santa’s current whereabouts. Fail at negotiations to return to sleep. Drink a pot of tea and stumble about in your pyjamas. Remember when 4.30am was the time you and your girlfriends would call it a day and a half after an evening of dancing like you wanted to get arrested, buy a pie and ride your bicycles home with your high heels in the basket. Be brought back to reality by ceaseless demands for breakfast, each more fanciful than the last.

Due to your early start, by 9.30am it will feel like lunchtime. Au contraire, mon petit chou! You still have hours and hours of this shit to go. Decide the only thing for it is to orchestrate a wholesome activity of family togetherness. For you to share with the internet.

Seeing as your morning has been so Christmas themed, decide to make festive bunting with the children in preperation for the arrival of The Tree. Allow them to select fabric from your hoarding. Provide them with only 2 options you have already pre-approved. Won’t this be fun! Source lengths of ribbon from wherever it is you stash it and find an uncluttered surface to get to work.

On realising that there is not a single uncluttered surface in your home, set out your project on the kitchen floor. Those of you concerned with such matters may choose to wash and iron your fabric before beginning. Or to work on the kitchen table, or in your purpose built craft room. There is no need to show off. Find a piece of card to create your template.

Bunting 1

Not all of their drawings will be worth millions in the future, I promise. Cut out a triangle you find pleasing in both shape and size. You could measure your ribbon and do division, but the more you insist on going on in such a fashion the less I am beginning to feel we would get on at dinner parties. Allow the children to assist you in tracing your template onto the wrong side of your fabric. This way, all of their expressionist gestures will not be visible. You could, of course, make the bunting with a back and a front, sewing the sides together to form a neat little flag, but really, I am beginning to find your overacheiving very taxing. When you have managed to guide their markers into enough believable triangle shapes to fill the length of your ribbon while leaving 5-10cms free on either end, trick the children into leaving you alone long enough to cut them out. Attempt to take a photograph that does not reveal the state of your floors.

Bunting 2

Have a lie down. Wonder when you last had a lightbulb in your bedroom.

Bunting 3

When you are feeling refreshed, move the loads of laundry from the kitchen table and set up your sewing machine. This will garner great interest from the children. Use the promise of helping you sew to get them to tidy their bedrooms. When this is done attempt to sew the bunting with an enormous child on each knee. Consider this your workout for the day. Be constantly amazed at the tasks you can now do while holding children. You may choose to pin your pre-cut triangles on to your length of ribbon, but I do not, mostly because my interest in this activity is waning by the minute. Line up your sewing machine over the ribbon, set over the triangles, and feed them through at your desired spacing. Let the children help as much as you feel comfortable. If that is to let them stand on the other side of the room so they cannot hear you ruing this excercise, I support you.

Sew triangle after triangle until you run out of triangles. Or ribbon. Whichever comes first. I actually had the perfect amount of both, but that is mostly because I have so much experience in winging it that I am now considered a professional in the field. Motherhood is the necessity of invention.

You are now finished! Praise the children for their efforts. Now send them into the garden with a sandwich so you can busy yourself with the task of arranging flowers and hanging the bunting.

Bunting 4

Bunting 5

Bunting 6

Bunting 7

Now find something else to fill the 9 hours left to go before bedtime. Good luck.