“If you like taking secret midnight rendezvoussss,” trills only son from the back of the car. He has gone One Direction crazy. I blame daughter one who, although she is now into much cooler things, retains a certain nostalgic interest in 1D, though not, sadly, Liam. Apologies to Liam. Only son is a bit of a Niall fan. Daughter one describes Niall as the one who is “just happy to be there” in the manner of Ringo Starr. Daughter one is, of course, a George Harrison fan.
In any event, only son sings One Direction all day long. Every time we go in the car we have to put the CD on. He has a song book in which he has written all the lyrics and he spends hours copying the moves they make in their videos. Last week he and daughter three were caught doing one of those dance video things to “You don’t know you’re beautiful”. Only son was stark naked, but had all the moves down to a t. He has asked if he can put daughter one’s old 1D duvet cover on his bed.
“Does your best friend like One Direction?” I asked. “Well, he doesn’t really know who they are,” said only son, “but I sang him one of the songs the other day and he said he liked it.” Daughter three says he sings all the way through lunch at school.
Daughter two and only son were overheard in the bath the other day singing a full-throated 1D medley followed by an intensive quiz on 1D facts. “Where was Harry born?” I heard her ask. Only son answered in a flash. “Correct”, said daughter one. If only there were a SAT in 1D. Daughter two was, of course, fully dressed in the bath. She had not intended to go in, but daughter two has always been a person who cannot look at the sea or a muddy pool or whatever without jumping in.I am a bit worried about what this will mean when she gets to the teenager years, but she is also highly anxious. She had a talk about drugs and alcohol at school this week. “What did you learn?” I asked. “That they kill you,” she said. She has turned hyper vegetarian and says her ideal Christmas present would be a gift card from Holland and Barrett.
I wonder sometimes what impact the world we are living in has on our children. I think they absorb the general sense of fear and anxiety even if they don’t totally understand it. Daughter one is, of course, slightly older and reads all the news. She asked: “Why do we have to grow up now? This is going to dominate our lives.” She had someone in from the government in one of her classes the other week to check that they know what “British values” are.
I have told her that though things are really bad and horrific things have happened, she needs to focus on the amazing acts of humanity shown by many in the face of such horror – the people who have helped each other escape killers, who dragged their friends out of the Bataclan, the man in Beirut who jumped a suicide bomber and got blown up but saved dozens of people, the people in Iraq who risk their lives to save Yazidi women from IS, the individual acts of goodness. We need to hear more about these acts, wherever they take place, as this will make us stronger and better able to resist fear and hatred.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.