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My husband wants to be a cowboy

My daughter has been going to her anxiety classes. She overheard me telling the husband I was going to kill him, put a hand on my arm and said ‘Mummy, we all have feelings and ALL feelings are OKAY.’ What a little poppet she is.

She’s the one who makes the bed and feeds the dogs and cat and worries about the wind hurting the plants in the garden. I worried that life was going to eat her up. Then I looked in her anxiety book and under ‘what traits should a good friend have’ she’d ticked ‘Must be good-looking’ and ‘Have good personal hygiene’ so maybe she isn’t so ‘Save the World’ after all. She looks the most like me, which is a shame for her because while I often want to murder the husband, he’s got a beautiful face. When I’m feeling romantic, I tell him his eyes are like lovely, posh chocolate buttons. Other times I tell him they are like old teabags. He tends to only comment on my face if I have a hair growing out my chin or dinner round my mouth and (affectionately) calls me ‘pin-head’. I’ve been reading the children poetry at night-time, hoping it might inspire him to be more imaginative with his language. The eldest doesn’t get past ‘How do I love thee, let me count the ways’ before his loud snoring starts, with the odd chuckle now and again.

I dream my teeth rot and fall out. I dream I’m naked on the school run. I dream that trees follow me through dark woods. I dream my cakes don’t rise and my friends are in a secret cinema club without me. He dreams Spurs called him and asked him to play in the Cup Final, and they won, because of him, and made him a crown.

He’s got a new computer game, where he is a cowboy. He’s really bad at it. He can’t work out how to get on his horse so he keeps kicking it instead. And rather than shoot someone, he can only jump up and down. He gets very cross and does loud shouting. Our Labrador, a nervous soul, thinks he’s being told off and runs outside with his tail between his legs.

The youngest laughs when he kicks the horse, which I find worrying. She is not a little poppet. She’s a little, um, pest.

They are too old to be bribed with stories about Santa watching them. She just rolls her eyes and says, ‘My presents come from Amazon’. The eldest pretends to believe. She uses the voice she’ll no doubt use when she comes to visit me in an old people’s home when I’m senile and incontinent (and wearing purple). ‘Yes mum, of course Santa comes down the chimney. Anything you say mum.’

She asked for help with her maths homework and it was too hard for me. The husband loved it. I have no idea how to do long division. The reason for this is that I’ve never ever needed to. Apparently, it’s still a thing though. She tried to help me with a rhyme about mummy daddy, brother sister and rabbits which didn’t help me at all. I just got more and more muddled and ended up cross.

That was when the middle one reminded me all my feelings are OKAY! When she says it (and she says it a lot) she does a double thumbs up and I have to do it back.

I live in a mad house with monsters of my own creation. I never knew how annoying I was till I made a mini version of myself and spent a lot of time with her. I’m irritating.

The husband claims it’s far too early for Christmas carols, but we don’t agree and enjoy murdering ‘Once in Royal David’s city’ on the way to the garden centre, where I hold up glass Christmas ornaments and say, ‘Which ones do you prefer husband, the glass bird with a hat on, or the glass unicorn reindeer?’ He gets fed up and vocalises. The middle one reminds him his feelings are OKAY (thumbs up dad!) and then we go to the restaurant to eat jacket potatoes before lunchtime, which is simply madness.

When we get home, I put the Grinch on, and say, in a voice I’ll use when he is old and senile and I go to visit him in a nursing home (he’s nine years older than me; he’ll lose him marbles first, like he loses everything else), ‘Now, WHO does he remind you of?’

The children will laugh and sing ‘You’re as charming as an eel, you’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel’ and he’ll take it all out on the poor innocent horse in his cowboy game.


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