The one with the fantasy dance

This may just be me…

Being a mum has rendered me a social retard and recluse equally. I very rarely go ‘out out’ as Micky Flanagan would put it. But, my active imagination goes out often…very often. In fact, in my mind I’m quite the legend on the Cardiff scene.

This recurring daydream of mine occurs most regularly in the car, usually when Justin Bieber or that new Spanish song comes on the radio – so, often. I have the rhythm and talent of a member of Diversity. I bust moves MJ would be proud of, all perfectly timed with the beat. I do this hovering foot move that is inspired, I’m telling you. When I eventually make my return to the dance floor, none of these moves will come to fruition so why is it that in my thoughts I have become a world renowned mover, I wonder? Do I reminisce about the times when the thought of a hangover and sore feet from completely impractical shoes didn’t fill me with dread? Hell, yes. But am I that disillusioned that I believe my new post- two- children body could mix it up with twenty-something, virile partygoers? Hell, no.

Perhaps that’s why I no longer feel the urge to hit the town – I would be such a let down to my optimistic Flash Dance brain.

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The one where I make inappropriate references

Influences are specific, I get that now. What influences me is specific to my current predicament, or circumstances if you prefer. I know now that not everyone is a child of the eighties, not everyone has been exposed to the television programmes that I have, and therefore you cannot assume that people will understand you when you talk in Friends catchphrases or begin singing Lionel Richie when someone asks who you’re looking for.

References make up about forty percent of my social ineptitude. It’s worse now that I’m older (not ‘old’ per se) and for the most part I am surrounded by people who are from a different millennium (!). Every time I shout “Fine by me!” at random strangers and laugh manically I see the confusion and fear in their eyes, I imagine their labels for me – weird, odd, strange – she shouted at me!

Recently, I’ve found a new low in catchphrases – I’m now so out-of-touch with what’s new that it’s comical for people to hear me saying or doing the new things. “Miss, dab again, will you?”

“Say ‘on flic'”

Occasionally, I do get something right. It’s usually a remake of a song or one that’s just too cool to go out of fashion and then I’m a legend for a day. Most recently ‘Zim zimmer, who’s got the keys to my Beamer’ went down a treat – thigh slapping commendation and everything. In these situations I’m like Truman before he realises he is in the television programme hi-fiving people, everyone’s best friend…until I mention Truman and then that’s it, back to square one.

I rate my social encounters out of ten for awkwardness, one being least, ten being most awkward. I’ll give you an example – the “Fine by me” exclamation is probably between a two to a four depending on how severe the reaction is. However, shouting “Ogi, Ogi, Ogi” at the top of your voice on Sports’ Day only for tumbleweed to roll through the athletics stand is anywhere from a seven to a ten.

Again, I’ve come to accept this trait and how it renders me socially awkward, although I do fantasise about a world where everyone understands my references and there I’m really funny.

The one where I screw them up

You’ll have to excuse the language in this one but in the words of Philip Larkin:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad, They don’t mean to, they just do.

I’m currently in the middle of fucking up my own children, spectacularly.

I feel I already know what my children will berate me for in their adulthood, however I console myself with the knowledge that as a mother there’s not a lot we can do that is considered ‘right’. I am very rarely (never) congratulated for my parenting prowess or thoughtful explanation but I hear those condescending stares and pitiful glances; I read the articles that instruct you not to tell your child to “be careful” it may stunt their creativity and natural curiosity for danger, but what is that mother doing watching him fall from that climbing frame? You must, of course, warn them of the dangers of social media whilst blogging about their every move and posting pictures of them worldwide. They mustn’t watch too much/ have too much screen time, but then how many jobs that they will apply for even exist now? They don’t want to be out-of-touch. We must shield them from vulgarity, the definition of which differs only through period of time – weren’t people once scared of Elvis’ hips? It’s all relative.

I offer my own snippets of golden advice to unsuspecting expectant mothers, such as ‘do everything your own way’ and ‘you must buy this’. Of course, they take heed, secretly knowing they’ll certainly not buy that one because they are so well prepared – they have read The Idiots’ Guide to Parenting – they’re sorted.

My children will be (are already) overly affectionate- next door are horrified, audible within a 400 yard radius, and naturally socially inept. They are petrified of strangers – Santa is a demon, wary of conversation that involves more than one person – direct questions freeze them to the spot, and over-reflective on their mistakes (“I’m such a baaad person” 😭).

E is currently making a den. She has twice told me that I am “giving her a headache” (that’s my phrase) and that if I “just give her five minutes we will leave the house much quicker” (all me). She is extremely frustrated creating said den, shouting at her brother and talking to herself – I should never assemble flat pack. I’m not sure how good it is for her state of mind but we should let them explore their creativity, shouldn’t we? Or do we want them to follow instructions, I’m not sure? 🤷‍♀️

When all is said and done, Mr Larkin, you are right.

And so my gift to you children is social ineptitude – you’re welcome (sang like a Demi-God).

The one where she wins Rock, Paper, Scissors

Clearly being a well-rounded mother of two impeccably behaved children (cough), I have a plethora of effective and assertive parenting methods. However, it was to my disdain that this morning E, at five-years-old, thwarted my early-years’ fail-safe. She won Rock, Paper, Scissors.

It all happened so fast…we were amid discussion about who should shower first. Of course, H was our first decision but she was the obvious next in line. “Rock” I said smugly. “Paper” I barely even concentrated, she always goes paper. “Scissors.

You’re in”

“Look again, Mummy.”

“Scissors win.”

It was when she corrected me quoting the density of rock as opposed to my pathetic pair of bony fingers I realised my A game was redundant. Time to bring out the big guns – best of three tomorrow.

The one where I analyse

Am I overthinking that? Yes. Can I stop? No. Is that technically hypophora or is it not because technically I’m expecting an answer to the question and therefore is it deemed rhetorical? Why is hypophora not recognised? Did I make it up? Am I overthinking this? Yes. Can I stop? No.

Analysis – you have a lot to answer for, my friend. I blame you (I never blame myself) for the person behind this blog. But, without you, where would I be?

It’s the nit-picking, scrutinising, painful tendency to analyse and re-analyse and never put to bed the mental torture of social (and now anti-social) interaction that breeds a socially inept being such as myself.

It’s four a.m. the children are sleeping and will be for another three hours at most. This is my time to shine, isn’t it brain? So, good morning world, how are you? Time to start wondering how that comment was received on the internet today, hey?!

The question is, will someone find it offensive? Worse still, will they find me offensive? Let’s edit, shall we? That’s a cool thought, let’s blog about that, shall we? Are there too many questions in this blog?

When I started this blog I felt like I’d met the friend I’d always wanted: non-judgmental, available 24 hours a day, and primarily concerned with listening, not reacting. There would be no uncomfortable silences!Therapeutic – certainly, addictive – emphatically, analysis-inducing – adamantly, damn it! Escaping social ineptitude (I now realise that this doesn’t quite cut it as a description of this newly adopted persona of mine) is not achievable but accepting it is. I like this. I think I’ll end there and overthink that tomorrow.

Peace out – too street? I can’t get away with that, can I? Who will read this anyway?…

The one where I retrieve the rugby ball

Family Fun Days at the local rugby club – need I say more?

When Bank Holidays do sunshine they do in spectacular fashion. Our wedding was one of them, today was another. Basking in the beautiful British tradition that is the rugby fun day complete with live band and hot dogs I hadn’t a care or socially inept faux pas in the world. Enter H man.

My son is at a glorious age…he knows no barriers, he feels no shame, he likes rugby balls.

Funny thing at events like this, there tends to be a few rugby balls lying around, they tend to be either in use or nonchalantly chilling, legs splayed very near fifteen or so confident, bronzed and brazen young men adopting the same pose.

H wanted a ball, H went for a ball.

Now, one could pick up the ball and return it to the hands of one of the above, but why do that when you can kick it? I think we all know what happens next.

The scene is palpable. Fifteen pairs of strong abbed eyes, one ball, one foot never to be fated to meet, a snigger, a guffaw, a waddle back to the family area dragging a less than pleased H and leaving dignity where his beloved ball still lay.

It all started so well.

The overly enthusiastic new mum

So, here it begins, the journey that is motherhood. You’re a new mum, a fledgling in a world of eagles, golden and proud, boasting of their successes; seasoned and primed, carrying bags that hold bottles, spare socks, nappies, various ointments and this is just for them. They are armed, you are naive, oh how naive. And as you chirp unnecessarily about how you managed to venture out of the house that morning, they cup you with a giant wing and inaudibly cough at your ineptitude. You’re a failure little chick, sit down and let us take it from here.

You know the scenario, you’ve been there, you are on the brink of ineptitude too. So, you won’t be unfamiliar with this thought

If I just say something funny, that’s it – immediate acceptance.

You spend the next twenty minutes of baby club or Goo Music, whatever unfortunate franchise you have bought into, practising the delivery of this hilarious phrase and fantasising about the hilarity that ensues. Everyone will love me!

The group leader pauses. You sense an opportunity.

Who said pushing a cantaloupe through a button hole was easy anyway?

Pah! Is that your top teeth protruding or did your cheekbones just change position? Have you suddenly metamorphosed and become the goofy stereotype from that movie? Did you just make a very bad euphemism for giving birth in front of several strangers? Did any of them laugh?

And then you feel it…the first taste of what is to come: the first sense of fear, the first embarrassing squirm, the first moment that will plague your self-assurance for the foreseeable future, the first step in the journey towards the declaration of total social ineptitude.

Awkward!

I’m not entirely sure when the transition from socially capable to socially inept came to volition but I am sure it has something to do with the darlings that lay in bed above me right now (upstairs, not suspended in some sort of hammock, although that would have been appealing when my first was born – more on that later).

Anyway, it occurred to me recently that others may feel my pain and … dare I surmise, may actually witness the same maladroit mum syndrome that I do. So, with the prospect of having a laugh at myself and (hopefully) amuse some others along the way, I have decided to document my embarrassing encounters here (lucky you).

Now, ineptitude is a strong word, not one to be bandied around, however, it will become clear how daily intercourse with strangers leaves me declaring in no uncertain terms “I am socially inept”. I have made my peace with it and despite uncomfortable human interfacing am quite content with my lot.

So, with trepidation I shall attempt to blog my way through uncomfortable encounters in the hope that through this I will gain; gain therapy, gain optimism and gain writing experience.