First Day

I see you with your eyes that shine: a bright smile plastered on.
Reassuring your child that everything is going to be such fun.

I see you take the deepest breath, as you approach the gate.
Not knowing what is best to do? To come, to go, to wait?

I see you as you wave too hard, your smile that’s full of teeth.
Determined not to show your child, that you can barely breathe.

I see you as you turn away, that look upon your face.
Ripping out a tissue from the pack you brought in case.

I see you on the long walk home, your head a little hung
Muttering words like ‘Sweden’ and ‘Finland’ and ‘Too young’.

I see you because I was you, my heart broke just like yours
And I promise it gets easier, to leave them at that door.

Whether your child goes skipping in or has to be peeled away.
It won’t again be quite so hard as it is on this first day.

 

The Dream

There was a girl who dreamed to see her book upon a shelf.
She wrote novels for her parents; drew the pictures all herself.

In her teens she wrote a journal with the details of her day.
Still writing lots of stories, but secretly hidden away.

In her twenties and her thirties, she wrote in fits and starts.
As real life took up lots more time: jobs, mates and broken hearts.

Then she became a mother and she started up a blog.
A way to prove her brain still worked, beneath the parenting fog.

As that girl reached 40, the dream whispered in her ear:
If you’re ever going to write that book, it has to be this year.

With a job and two small children, it was sometimes hard to write.
But she made the most of any time, even deep into the night.

And then the book was finished. But the dream still wasn’t done.
She wanted to get it published, to be read by everyone.

Four more years of tweaking to improve and to enhance.
Then one day, someone saw it, and they gave that girl her chance.

So, if you know a girl or boy, with big dreams of what they’ll do.
Tell them to keep working, and one day it will come true.

Snow Day

At the window. All is white.
The clouds have emptied overnight.
School is closed. The world is clean.
A button paused on all routine.
Hat and scarf and double gloves.
Slippings over; crafty shoves.
Laughter. Screams. Excited yell.
Leaning snowmen who don’t look well.
Frosty noses. Bright red ears.
Snowball fights which end in tears.
Changing out of soggy clothes.
Film. Hot chocolate. Marshmallows.
Tomorrow the world will start again.
Enjoy the moment until then.

Emma Robinson 2018

The Christmas Fete: A Parents’ Survival Guide

I need to preface this by saying that the ladies who run the PTA at my children’s school are absolutely fabulous. The Winter Wonderland fete is brilliantly run, the kids love it and it must take a huge amount of effort, both to set the thing up and to look happy and enthusiastic as they do it. We love you!

However, having just attended for the fifth year, I feel I am now in a position to give parents visiting their first school Christmas fete a few words of friendly advice.

Like Vegas, you should only go out with the money you are willing to lose. It doesn’t matter how many times you say when it’s gone, it’s gone, your children will bleed you dry of every last penny in your possession. You won’t be alone. Around the hall you will hear repeated refrains of that is the LAST one and you are not getting ANY more and I have NO MORE money. But they can smell a lie. They know you have an emergency fiver tucked into your mobile case and they will get it.

This is not the time to teach your children a healthy attitude to finance. My six year old likes to do a tour of the entire room and appraise every stall before she decides where to spend her money. (It’s her paternal genes: Husband also researches every purchase for weeks before deciding that he doesn’t really need it anyway.) Whilst this is healthy consumer behaviour and should be fostered, at 3.30pm on a Friday, in a room packed with harassed parents and their hyperactive progeny, you just want her to throw her money around as quickly as possible and get the heck out.

The one advantage of her slow searching stroll around the room is that you can earmark the stalls you want to promote. As a parent, your main objective is to get out of the place with as little plastic crap as you can. Therefore you should encourage the stalls where they can win sweets because sweets can be consumed – by them or you – unlike the plastic flashing wand which will end up in the drawer with all the other tat they never play with but refuse to be parted from. Which brings me to the Teddy Tombola…

If you are very lucky, the Teddy Tombola stall will be hidden in a corner somewhere and you will be able to position yourself so that your child will not be able to see the myriad of mournful soft toys as you guide them safely to the hoopla stall. (They never win at the hoopla: it’s a safe bet.) Because the Teddy Tombola hides a sinister secret. Everyone wins. Yes, you heard that right. For a mere pound, you gleeful child will definitely win one of the teddies that you probably donated under cover of darkness to be rid of them forever. If not you, then one of the other parents in the room. If you can’t avoid it, all you can do is pray that they win one of the smaller ones. You can smell the relief rippling around you as some poor soul wins the six foot teddy bear and has to wrestle it from the room. (Chances are, you can find its previous owner celebrating by buying everyone in the vicinity a round of mulled wine and a reindeer-shaped shortbread biscuit.)

Finally, a word of encouragement. Like a tequila shot, the Christmas Fete is intense but quick. Before you know it, the fete is over and you are taking your children home, jacked up on Moams and chocolate fountain and – despite the hustle, bustle and the fact you are now the proud owner of a three-foot pink rabbit – you are starting to feel more than a little bit Christmassy.

Thanks you PTA volunteers everywhere x

 

As I lay me down to sleep (A Mother’s Prayer)

As I lay me down to sleep
I pray that I won’t hear a peep
Up and down, five miles I’ve trod
To get this boy to the land of nod

I’ve tried every method known to man
Googled ‘sleep’ (and ‘diazepam’)
Gina Ford says let him cry
I cannot do it, who knows why?

Another said “Don’t leave him crying
Pick up to soothe then back to lying.
‘Pick up, Put Down’ as long as it takes.”
It was 50 times for goodness sakes!

I laid beside him in his cot
But a twisted spine was all I got.
He didn’t even give a damn
When I pushed him in the sodding pram

So now I walk and rock and hum
And pray that sleep will surely come
Hold my breath as his eyelids flutter
(“Just bloody sleep.” I’m heard to mutter.)

And when I think he starts to slumber
I count to 100, or some such number
Because he’s been known to wake and screech
As soon as his backside hits the sheet

But when I’m sure he’s sleeping deep
I pull out my arm that’s gone to sleep
Risk a kiss and a last caress . . .
. . . then creep away like I’m SAS

So, please let him sleep right through tonight
Six hours together would see me right.
And if that’s too long for him to make
I pray that Daddy’s the one he wakes.

 

Summer Holidays

Three times to the library:
Challenge complete.
Fought Nerf gun wars
Where I prayed for defeat.

Long country rambles
with moans about walking.
Days when they cuddled,
And days they weren’t talking.

Long lazy mornings
Where no-one got dressed.
Tree climbing feats
put my nerves to the test.

Pizza for breakfast
And cereal for dinner.
Managed to ‘lose’
all those damn Fidget spinners.

Bedtime at midnight.
(More than you’d believe.)
Played endless Minecraft
With someone called Steve.

Camped in the forest
Watched Trolls on repeat
Splashed in the sea
Ate a truckload of sweets.

Lots of loud laughter
Games which turned violent
Times when I wished
I could switch them to ‘silent’

I’ve gained 7lbs
And the house is a tip
If they spill one more drink
I will finally flip.

The summer is over
We’ve had a great time.
Back to the school run –
And a large glass of wine!

Emma Robinson 2017

 

Hold my hand a little longer

Hold my hand a little longer
It used to keep you calm
If I let you grab my finger
In your chubby little palm

Hold my hand a little longer
When you took your early stumbles
You clutched my thumbs for balance
and I’d catch you if you tumbled

 Hold my hand a little longer
Like your first time down the slide
And later when you screamed aloud
On that scary fairground ride

Hold my hand a little longer
When we were in a crowded place
I’d keep you close beside me
So I knew that you were safe

Hold my hand a little longer
Though you said that you were “fine”
I’d feel your tiny fingers
As they crept inside of mine

Hold my hand a little longer
It’s different from before
Now it’s me who’s reaching
You don’t need it anymore

Hold my hand a little longer
However much you grow
Hold my hand a little longer
I’m not ready to let go

 Emma Robinson 2017