I thought that I had lost every scrap of privacy and every inch of dignity. I figured there was simply no humiliation parenthood hadn’t served up. I mean, approximately 843 people looked up my vagina during my pregnancy and labour, I’ve hosted a tea party with vomit spattered through my hair and I’ve used a toothpick to fish human faeces from the cracks between wooden floorboards. But life is full of surprises and it turns out I was holding on to a skerrick of pride.
I discovered this a fortnight ago when my daughter started using the toilet. She needed encouragement to forsake nappies for the porcelain throne and I gave it to her. I clapped wildly every time she did what she was supposed to do. I made up loud, insane songs about bodily functions. I did dances, recited rhymes and penned limericks on the hoof. I turned that bathroom into a god damn cabaret. I overdid it. Within a week I couldn’t get her off the toilet.
I could make excuses – it was meant to be a bonding exercise, my nephew started it, he could have said “stop” – but in the end I’m 36 and he’s three so I suppose I just have to go ahead and accept the blame. But still, he did kind of incite the whole thing. I mean, he ran! So I chased.
I know that the festive season is traditionally a time for heart-warming stories and magic tales about the kindness of strangers but I have some anecdotes I desperately need to share that involve run-away chickens and amputations and other injuries and insanity. Please indulge me.
Santa is a double amputee
My godson knocked over a huge, moving, singing, dancing Santa at a Christmas party filled with strangers. When I attempted to fix Santa his torso collapsed, swallowing his legs and landing on his feet. Santa became a double amputee.
Children gathered around and stared at Santa and at me. I tried to explain why Santa no longer had any legs and ended up tutoring on the loss of limbs, living with a disability and why Santa would have to sell his sleigh on eBay and deliver the presents on a mobility scooter this year. Then adults gathered around and stared at me, only their stares were cold and furious and I realised that it wasn’t my place to tell children about how life is cruel and that people sometimes have to have their limbs amputated at the pelvis. Then I ran away.
This Christmas what will you buy that person who has everything? What will you give to that guy that you hate? And what about your blind friend?
Ta dah! You’ll win them an original, unfathomable artwork. That’s right, one unlucky Holy Schmidt! reader will receive a drawing in my preferred medium – ball point pen on photocopy paper.
Just ‘like’ Holy Schmidt! on Facebook to enter and if you win (and I have hardly any readers so your odds are pretty high) you can email me any picture – a family portrait, your favourite poster of Ryan Gosling, a grainy shot of your girlfriend’s late Pekingese cross – and I’ll interpret it. Hell, I’ll even frame it.
Ho, ho, ho!
* Wondering why I chose to draw Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on a motorbike (yes, that is a motorbike) to advertise my artistic talents? Crawl out from under that rock you’ve been living beneath! They have made a video so funny, so icky and so clueless that you must watch it right this very minute. Click here and then when you’ve finished vomitting click here for the hairy Seth Rogan/James Franco version.
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I find a snail.
“Look!” I say, “It’s a snail.”
She looks at it for a long time. I know what she’s thinking: where is its head?
“It’s gone inside its shell,” I say.
“Oh,” she says. And then: “Mummy get in.”
“What?” I say.
“Mummy get in shell,” she says and she points to the snail.