1.Why did you never think you would have a husband, sons and a cat? I’ve met you and you’re lovely! I would have predicted that you’d have all those sorts of things.
The little blurb at the top of my blog really harks back to the joyous teenager I once was. I'm not saying that I thought I would never find someone to marry, more that I was once absolutely adamant that marriage was so-o-o-o old fashioned that I would never be so crushingly dull and conventional. As far as the sons are concerned, that was a straightforward case of not liking children. At all. I never really played with dolls as a child, never did the babysitting thing as a teenager and by the time I was working, mine was the office that new mums bringing their babies in to visit their work colleagues simply missed out entirely. If they approached me with their new born bundle of joy, I would back away in horror as if they were offering me a bucket of anthrax. Babies made me squirm. Toddlers made me nervous. When Husband and I got engaged, I agreed I would keep an open mind, but made no promise beyond that. By the time I gave birth to First Born, I had held a baby precisely once. For about a minute when I visited a friend in hospital after she had her first. Boy, that was a steep learning curve! And last but not least, the cat. Very boring - I had never had a cat and a pet would interfere with my lifestyle jetting about the world doing something terribly important and worthy. However, Husband loves cats although he is allergic to them but we got one anyway (practice for children, perhaps?). Catface (yes, that was her name) was lovely and was later joined by Schieffer who is prettier but dumber than Catface ever was.
I think what the blurb is really getting at is that my life has turned out very differently to what I would have wished and predicted when I was, say, 18. Thankfully.
2.How similar in personality are your boys to each other? Give details.
For the most part, chalk and cheese. First Born is all up front. What you see is what you get. He is bouncing-on-the-spot happy when he is happy and when he is disappointed, he looks like a cartoon drawing of disappointment. He wears his heart on his sleeve and then surrounds it in flashing neon. He is affectionate, charging up to you for impromptu cuddles (and nearly knocking you over in the process - he is nearly 11, and solidly built!). He doesn't give a hoot about how he looks and would wear the same clothes every day if left to his own devices. Showering is a dreadful imposition on his freedom dreamt up by adults to torture him. He has a temper which is spectacular to see but it blows over quickly. He doesn't make friends of his own age easily but adults who know him tend to love him. He is not sporty but he is creative and could talk for Britain. He tends to have obsessions which take over his waking life (probably his sleeping life too, I would guess, but I can't vouch for that.)
Second Born is a more calculating animal. He thinks a lot more about things and considers the angles more. If you were being harsh, you could say he can be devious. He is sharp and witty, the king of one-liners. He will cuddle you, but only on his terms and only when it suits him. He is very conscious of his appearance - seriously, he is an asset on a shopping trip. He likes to pick his own clothes and usually makes a better job of it than I would have. He also has an eye for a bargain (he founds jeans when we were on holiday in Canada a couple of years ago for $3 a pair!) He will change outfits several times a day if he is allowed to and will voluntarily shower twice a day if he has the time. His dearest wish is for me to buy him hair gel. He is stubborn. Oh my goodness, is he stubborn. He will adopt a position, even if it is diametrically opposed to what is in his own interests and will. not. budge. If he has a temper tantrum (and he often still does at the age of 8) he has to be ignored and allowed to storm off and then slink back unnoticed. Any attempt to - God forbid! - TALK to him during this period will be met by more histrionics. He can be very kind and thoughtful. He will buy little presents for Husband or FB with his pocket money. If he is in the mood. And he loves LOVES the cat and is loved in return. He is sporty, makes friends easily and swims naturally in the pool that is school, throwing out the occasional lifebelt to his less agile elder brother.
If you believe in reincarnation, you would believe that Second Born has been round the block a few times, he is an old soul who has seen it all and done it all before and knows all the tricks. First Born on the other hand, is brand spanking shiny and new, fresh out of the box. This is his first time round and it is all interesting, all exciting and most of the time he hasn't a clue what is going on. Life is a mysterious and unfathomable thing to him.
As brothers do, they fight and argue constantly, but are so close that the worst punishment I can threaten to inflict is to separate them. I hope they stay that way.
3.What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
It really really doesn't matter what other people think. And all those people who are giving you such a hard time just now and whose opinion you so value? In 2 years time you will no longer know them, and they won't matter. You will meet one of the "Queen Bee" girls again in about 5 years' time when you are working in a solicitor's office and she comes in as a junior typist. You will be too busy to notice much and certainly won't have the energy or inclination to gloat. Oh, and you are going to get married and you are going to have kids. Deal with it.
4.You write very amusingly. Tell us about a book/film/tv programme/etc that you yourself find funny.
Difficult to answer because it depends on my mood. Silly films make me giggle - think Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, or TV shows like Police Squad (which we have just introduced the boys to and they think is hilarious). Stephen Fry can do no wrong. Eddie Izzard's stand up makes me laugh. In terms of books, again it depends on my mood. I sniggered to myself through most of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series of books. Christopher Brookmyre's books also make me laugh because his humour is just so Scottish - and I mean Irn Bru and a bridie from Greggs Scottish, rather than tartan and shortbread Scottish. I would say the same about Iain Banks's non-science fiction books. Oh, and Saki's short stories. Love those. And I defy you to read The Uxbridge English Dictionary (from the wonderful R4 series I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue) without snorting up a lung.
5.You’ve been marooned on a desert island by a pirate but fortunately he’s allowed you to choose one (non-useful) luxury. What is it?
Do books count as a luxury? I can't imagine retaining my sanity without something to read. If it had to be just one book, I might just go mad trying to decide which one to pick, mind you. Maybe one of those groovy electronic books with an entire library in the memory? Is that cheating?
As always, feel free to join in if you want to! (I am always happy to pester people I barely know with questions!)