You know, I’ve been blogging for a while now and I have gotten to know some of you pretty well. So I think it is time you got to meet some of the people in my head.
Patrice looks perfect.
She is usually dressed in a twinset, complete with pearls. She has horn rimmed glasses that have certainly NEVER been knocked from her face in ANY context – let alone by an over tired, tantruming, child. Her hair is always perfectly coiffed in a french twist and her nails impeccably polished and manicured. Her face is usually set in a demure, unassuming smile with her ruby red lips taking a slightly – predatory look – if she is perturbed. Her speech flows in dulcet tones, becoming slightly clipped if she is strenuously making a point, but never loosing their honeyed sheen. She some how gives the impression of being quite tall although I am sure she is not a bit over three inches tall. She can’t be, she lives in my head after all.
Her purpose, so she tells me, is to bring reason and practicality to my choices.
I have my doubts, but that is what she tells me.
She appeared yesterday.
The house was quiet, I was playing with the babies and drinking in every bit of them in a way I seldom can when every one is home.
“Wha..Oh, it’s you. Hello Patrice”
“Why are you here?”
“Is that any way to greet an old friend?”
“Cut it. Why are you here?”
“Well, I merely thought it an opportune time to point out that if you limited your number of children or at least SPACED them OUT at a more…conventional…gap, you would have these moments more often.”
“Perhaps. If I stuck a tail on my bottom and started eating carrots, people may think I am a horse. What’s your point?”
“WELL, if you’re going to be CRUDE…”
“If I am crude, will you leave? Please?”
“Now I am only thinking of the CHILDREN. There have been several, well, incidents lately haven’t there? And the state of the house….Let’s just say we shan’t be on the cover of Home Beautiful any time soon shall we?”
“You shan’t, you are three inches tall and you live in my head.”
“Be that as it may, I have a point here, do I not?”
“Yes, as painful as it is Patrice, you have a point.”
“Could it be the case that you are simply bucking against the establishment for no good reason with your choices, throwing away convention and tossing reason with it. Tossing the baby with the bathwater…..so to speak?”
“No, I don’t think so…”
Her demure, unassuming, smile glistens as she leans in and places a “Kind and Well Meaning” hand on my arm.
“I am simply thinking of the children dear. Don’t you remember all those little activities you used to do with your Little Girl when she was Christopher’s age? When is the last time he even got to play with play dough and paints? Don’t you think you could be stunting his development with your lifestyle choices? His BEHAVIOUR would be so much better if you had more time to teach and guide him.”
She leans in a little further and goes on.
“Just think what he’s missing, they are all missing. They need their mother and you are torn in so many different directions, so often. And Jonathan, well, he needs his wife. It simply isn’t fair for him to get the scraps of your affection now is it? After he works hard all day. And that precious baby girl you’re holding, she deserves more…”
“Patrice, shut it.”
“SHUT. IT. I have made my choices Patrice, and we all face the consequences of those, good and, yes, bad. And I will CONTINUE to make my choices, right or wrong. But whatever the choices, whatever the consequences, I will not be asking YOU for help. You don’t give help Patrice, you give accusation. Even if it was a poor decision to have an unconventional number of children, at an unconventional spacing, they’re here now. Yes, there have been incidents and yes, there are days that I don’t feel like enough to go around, but why don’t you help me SOLVE that rather than just pointing it out? I KNOW the issues, it is solutions I seek.”
I flick my wrist to disengage her glistening nails
“and another thing, what about the GOOD things. Yes, I don’t do activities with Christopher like I did with Erin, but Erin had me hovering over her like a neurotic mother hen every waking hour. Erin was Erin, Christopher is Christopher,it is just as impossible to turn back time and make me relax through Erin’s toddlerhood as it is to find time to hover over Christopher. When did “different” become “lesser”? True, Anna doesn’t have me every waking hour – but she has her mini-minions attending to her every squeak and she has me when she needs me. And I think that is more than enough.”
Patrice smooths invisible wrinkles from her twin set as she stands.
“WELL, I was just trying to help…”
“No, Patrice, you weren’t. You were here to accuse me. To sap the joy from this moment. You don’t help, you accuse – and I am above your accusations. Now if you will excuse me, I need to go and remove that container of talcum powder from Christopher before….well, I need to clean up the talcum powder.”
She sets her smile, which never really slipped the whole time we were talking and turns to leave.
“Patrice? How is it that you had your hand on my arm? You are three inches tall and you live in my head.”
She says nothing with those glistening lips as she turns on her heel and walks away.
And I go to clean up the talcum powder with my snow white toddler.
Disclaimer: I realise that Patrice is only real inside my head. I have not forgotten to take any medications nor do I need any. And I realise that they only one who accuses me – is me.