Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The story of South Tottenham

This isn't a post about the riots or anything to do with London or its history.  It's really about my son's love of all things train and train station.  So much so that when I made him a sock monster (at his request), he decided to name him South Tottenham.  This is his story...

Jake picked out the socks from which to make his monster. 
Incidentally, they are the exact same pair I would have picked.
While I am sewing up his arms, Jake puts him in the doll pram.

Have you ever seen such an itty bitty limb?

Finally I get to use the buttons I bought in Italy years ago.

Not done yet but he's already got attitude.

Couldn't resist!

The genius of using socks means he gets a bum to sit on.

Ta da!  All done!
And yes, those green threads are meant to be there.
They are armpit hairs and got Jake's approval.

Taking South Tottenham and Penguin for a walk ~ or,
How to get weird looks from your neighbours

And from strangers in the playground

I think we did get a few smiles though.
Interestingly enough, the smiles were from men.
The women looked at us like we were wearing meat for clothes
and not in an appreciation for Lady Gaga sort of way.
Little girls smiled and wanted to play but their judgmental mothers
kept them from approaching us.
I still don't know if it was because I was allowing
my boy to play with a doll pram or because
of the wonderful uniqueness of South Tottenham.

Jake colours in a drawing of South Tottenham that I made for him

I know I'm biased, but I think it's fab and unwittingly
captures what South Tottenham's all about.

A story about South Tottenham being worked out in my sketchbook / journal

The "finished" story ~ or at least a draft of one,
including a few contributions from Jake.

I read something the other day about how we have a choice about what thoughts we can hold about any situation, and how that choice leads to inner freedom.  I’m sure I’ve heard this many times before but this time it stuck with me, felt real, felt good real.

Lately I’ve been living with this thought in my head – “hey, this is my reality, so why should I try to live someone else’s?”  It came out of realising that the guilt I was feeling, about only having one child and yet still struggling to cope with one child while many others I know have two or more, was a ridiculous waste of my life.  Whose reality was I trying to live out and why?  Where did that voice come from that was telling me that my struggles were unimportant compared to that of others’, that I didn’t have a right to feel what I feel unless I “qualified” for it by at least having one more child?  I’ve been living with that voice my whole life – that mean, punitive, uncaring voice.  And all this time I’ve automatically listened to it like it was the Truth, reflexively changing the ends of my own inner thoughts so that they sounded acceptable, quietly buried all troublesome feelings and covered them over with a clean and pretty cloth.
What burdens we labour under – and for what?

So yeah, this is my reality.  I have one kid and he is awesome.  Because I don't have to run around after a second, younger baby or toddler, it means we get to spend a lot of time together and we are close.  We talk all the time, and I'm either on the floor playing with him or we're deep in some project or outing together.  Yeah, he's sensitive and yeah, even though he's 3, he's still clingy so that if I try to cook or wash up he'll follow me into the kitchen, wedge himself between me and the kitchen counter and say, "Mummy I need a cuddle."  Sometimes I can't pick him up and cuddle him, sometimes I can.  When I can, his arms go around my neck and he usually says, "I like you Mummy" or "I love you."  Why on earth should I feel guilty about that??

It rained almost all day today.  Jake and I did manage a little trip out, a walk to the shop and back to buy eggs.  But the rest of the day was spent indoors, both of us feeling restless, bored, irritable - but we also had some great moments.

When I started feeling guilty that I wasn’t thinking of riveting or ultra-wonderful things to do with Jake like the perfect Mum should, I reminded myself that I’m human, that this is my reality now and that everyone has days like this – bored, restless rainy days.  And as soon as I accepted it, didn’t fight with myself about it, magic happened.  While Jake was playing with trains and eating raisins, I started drawing in my sketchbook / journal.  He got interested and wanted to join me.  We had a good hour or more of drawing together and it came about spontaneously and organically.  I even let go of the need for my sketchbook / journal to remain in "pristine" condition and let Jake scribble in it like he wanted to.  And of course his touch only added to it.  What happens when we let go of “shoulds”.


nà from the treehouse said...

ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR, that yonder Mr Tottenham is!!!
I like your reflections and think you absolutely rock!

Amy said...

1)I adore South Tottenham, and I honestly can't imagine why anyone would have given you two strange looks over him, or the doll stroller, or...??

2)Yup, everyone has rainy, bored days. And no one is responsible for thinking of riveting and ultra-wonderful things to do all the time. Though I'd argue that sharing an hour of drawing time with a kidlet ranks pretty high on the ultra-wonderful scale. For both kidlet and grown-up.

Kate said...

I love South Tottenham! Hope to meet him soon...

I know what you mean about feeling guilty for struggling with one when others have two or even four..but this is our lot and we have every right to feel like we can't cope sometimes. That's motherhood for you...

And you're right in that Jake is awesome. His sensitivity will come in useful later when trying to impress girls! Whatever else he is, he is most definitely wonderfully and perfectly Jake. Have a good day xx

Glovecat said...

Will you bring South Tottenham when you come to visit, please? I think I love him. :D

Heartful said...

Of course Em! ;-)