Sally McLaughlin took a 10-year break from a career in sales and has gradually built her...read more
Our house has been taken over by the Ninjas. Only son spends most of his time either singing the Ninja song or rushing around in his Ninja pjs being Ninja-ish. He tells me in no uncertain terms that he is not a Ninja because these are “pretend people, mum”. However, despite being pretend, he loves them dearly, particularly Leonarrrrdo, which he pronounces in a mid-Atlantic accent. He sings the Ninja song at full throttle and knows all the words. So much so that it has become a bit of a thing in our house to suddenly punctuate any conversation with “turtle power”. I have told daughter two, who is having a few problems with one of her teachers, that whenever she feels a bit despondent she needs to silently murmur the words “turtle power” and she will feel instantly better. I know because I am using this method myself. I am having a week in which my mood can best be summed up by the word “irked”. Anyone who has come into my path this week and slightly annoyed me has felt the power of irk. This includes a whole host of characters, ranging from people who suggest my daughter is putting it on in relation to her migraines to politicians to anyone anywhere who comments on anything in the news without really knowing what they are talking about. So, as you can see, the sense of irk has rather a large catchment area.
It seems to have spread to my children too. The other day I decided to do an off the piste dinner of turkey chunks since they were all that was left in the freezer. Not many people in the house profess a love of turkey [indeed we had chicken and a nut roast for Christmas]. One person is a vegetarian and she was trialling a new creation of mine called the pesto cheese puff. We bought something called pesto cheese in Holland because I felt sorry for the cheese shop lady after we invaded her shop en masse. The pesto cheese puff consists of green beans, peas, pesto cheese [naturellement] and puff pastry. Daughter one pronounced it a success, although she left half of it. Daughter two, who generally goes with the veggie option because it is supposedly healthier, decided pesto cheese was a step too far. Therefore that left turkey chunks for the remaining three children – oh yes, David Cameron, I have done the “irresponsible” thing and had more than three kids and my sole motive was, of course, the £13 a week in child benefit. The news about this represented an irk peak this week, particularly when coverage included the words “lifestyle choice” as if people’s lives can be reduced to an Argos [or in Cameron’s case, Harrod’s] catalogue where you pick and choose how it is going to turn out.
There are so many reasons people have more than three kids and how can you possibly know when you have them if your circumstances are going to change and you might struggle to look after them. Who are the Conservatives to judge who is a responsible or not responsible person? That’s the problem with recessions. It all ends up in a blame game with everyone who is not the person in power being held responsible for all manner of things that have very little to do with them, be it the Muslims, the immigrants, the poor, the irresponsible parents particularly, OMG, the single ones and the old people who just keep on living, goddamn it. I got rung up this irk week by a radio station wanting to do a programme on stay at home parents versus working mums. I said no. Why should we be placed against each other? The older I get the more ridiculous all this stuff appears. It seems the modern world is about having an instant opinion, an instant judgement on whatever has happened, but proper judgement takes time and effort. You can’t judge something in a nano-second just because it’s on Twitter.
Anyway, back to the dinner. I know that most of my kids are not fans of turkey, although this is based entirely on Christmas dinner and I feel they have been too quick to jump to their anti-turkey stance. I therefore disguised the turkey chunks in tomato sauce, garlic and some seasoning and called them chicken. They are related, after all. Daughter three and only son were happy, but daughter two was suspicious and investigated the bin for the packet. She then proceeded to carve the words “I hate turkey” into a piece of card with the new scalpel pen thing I got for daughter one’s art project while I was talking to the garage about the car failing its MOT. It looked very artistic and, for once, everything was spelt correctly. I served up the turkey nonetheless and she actually seemed to like it. Turtle power.