Love You, Mummy

‘Love you, mummy,’ he said, and threw his chocolate-covered arms around that most favoured parent. It was snuggle-time – a time they both loved, chocolate arms or not.

Trudie tickled Alex’s feet, sang ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ a couple of times, and gave her son exactly what he needed and what her loving heart happily granted: time, attention, love and cuddles. And Alex spoke back to her as if she were the silliest but most adorable pet – a naughty puppy, perhaps, or a cat that had insisted on scratching the leather sofa. ‘Mummy, silly sausage,’ he gurgled. ‘Lalalala, mummy moo, mummy moo, mummy mummy mummy poo!’

It was mother/child bonding at its best. Trudie knew it. Alex knew it. But somebody else was not so sure. Trudie knew that because of the smashing sound that shocked mother and child out of their reverie. Shocked but not entirely surprised by the noise, Trudie turned and followed the eyes of her son to look towards the source of source of the smash – her husband, and Alex’s dad, Mark.

‘What’s going on?’ Trudie shouted. The vase he’d smashed against the sideboard was scattered in sharp and dangerous pieces all over the floor, and Alex had already jumped off his mum’s lap and was making his way curiously towards the mess. Trudie began to rise to retrieve the brush and dustpan, but Mark pushed her back down.

‘I’m sorry,’ he said, ‘I’ll do it. I’ll do it. I was just… shocked.’ Mark scratched his beard and looked down at the mess, shaking his head.

‘Shocked? Why? Nobody was doing anything wrong.’

Why could this man never talk to her about anything?

Mark said nothing, just pointed to little Alex who toddled over to his daddy with arms outstretched.

‘What’s Alex done that’s so bad? What on earth could a little boy of two years old do that was so bad? I know I’ve not done anything wrong… so it’s obvious,’ said Trudie. ‘You just can’t bear to see us happy.’

He shook his head. ‘No. No, it’s not that. It’s just… inappropriate.’

You snowflake, Trudie thought. In what way was it EVER inappropriate to hug your baby, specially if he was gurgling happily in his loving mum’s arms, as Alex had been?

Mark was just so different. So irritable. So annoying and so incredibly annoyable – and a victim of his own restrictive thoughts. Nobody could get anything right. Not ever.

He didn’t like Alex’s bedtime routine. Apparently, it was wrong to give and receive kisses and hugs between parent and child. It was also not right to hold that child’s hand in public, or to affectionately ruffle his light brown curls.  

‘Why are you like this, Mark? It’s got worse every month since we got together. Is there something I should know?’

‘What do you mean?’ Mark turned his back to her.

‘Well, you know, some reason why everything about me and Alex irritates you?’ It was a question often asked and never answered, not even in part.

‘It isn’t you. It isn’t him. It’s just…’

‘Just? Just..? Come on man, look at him. He’s just a little boy. He needs his daddy to hug him sometimes. To play games. To laugh a bit. To tickle him. Why don’t you? Why can’t you?’

Mark walked back into the kitchen. Trudie glanced at their son who was transfixed by Cbeebies on the television, and made the decision that he would be safe from the broken vase for a moment.

She followed Mark and stood in the doorway, leaning against the raw, unpolished wood marked with the growth record of their home’s previous residents.

Her hand automatically went to her hip in a ridiculous representation of her own mother. ‘Well. Why can’t you? Why won’t you?’

Her husband stood, clearly shielding himself from her inquisitions with the fridge door. Nothing. Just a deep, agonised sigh.

‘Come on, Mark. Why? Please…’

The door was slammed, and for the second time that evening, Trudie jumped.  ‘Mark, stop slamming, and just talk to me. Talk to me. Tell me.’

And that’s when it all came out. After all their years together. Her big, tough man. Her sheltered, physically hung-up man. Her man without positive loving feelings towards either her or their child.

Mark cried. Trudy cried. Alex rushed to comfort them, and fell, cutting his knee, just a little on the shattered vase.

‘Mummy moo,’ he cried, and his mum scooped him from the floor, placing him straight into the arms of his daddy.

‘Do it,’ she said. ‘Feel it… Be the dad you know you should be.’

Mark’s body, overtaken by tremors caused by thirty years of backed-up tears, shook and near-collapsed, but Trudy gently guided him up to the wall, supporting the weight of her two loved ones.

‘Go on,’ she said. ‘Comfort him… your past isn’t your future.’

Mark looked at his ever-patient wife and then to his beautiful son. The pair of them slid to sitting position on the floor of the kitchen, and Mark’s arms wrapped round his little boy for the first time ever. Both sobbed quietly till the sobs transformed to giggles and tickles.

‘Love you, daddy,’ said Alex. Another first.

And somehow, something was healed.

‘Love you, mummy,’ he said, and threw his chocolate-covered arms around that most favoured parent. It was snuggle-time – a time they both loved, chocolate arms or not.

Trudie tickled Alex’s feet, sang ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ a couple of times, and gave her son exactly what he needed and what her loving heart happily granted: time, attention, love and cuddles. And Alex spoke back to her as if she were the silliest but most adorable pet – a naughty puppy, perhaps, or a cat that had insisted on scratching the leather sofa. ‘Mummy, silly sausage,’ he gurgled. ‘Lalalala, mummy moo, mummy moo, mummy mummy mummy poo!’

It was mother/child bonding at its best. Trudie knew it. Alex knew it. But somebody else was not so sure. Trudie knew that because of the smashing sound that shocked mother and child out of their reverie. Shocked but not entirely surprised by the noise, Trudie turned and followed the eyes of her son to look towards the source of source of the smash – her husband, and Alex’s dad, Mark.

‘What’s going on?’ Trudie shouted. The vase he’d smashed against the sideboard was scattered in sharp and dangerous pieces all over the floor, and Alex had already jumped off his mum’s lap and was making his way curiously towards the mess. Trudie began to rise to retrieve the brush and dustpan, but Mark pushed her back down.

‘I’m sorry,’ he said, ‘I’ll do it. I’ll do it. I was just… shocked.’ Mark scratched his beard and looked down at the mess, shaking his head.

‘Shocked? Why? Nobody was doing anything wrong.’

Why could this man never talk to her about anything?

Mark said nothing, just pointed to little Alex who toddled over to his daddy with arms outstretched.

‘What’s Alex done that’s so bad? What on earth could a little boy of two years old do that was so bad? I know I’ve not done anything wrong… so it’s obvious,’ said Trudie. ‘You just can’t bear to see us happy.’

He shook his head. ‘No. No, it’s not that. It’s just… inappropriate.’

You snowflake, Trudie thought. In what way was it EVER inappropriate to hug your baby, specially if he was gurgling happily in his loving mum’s arms, as Alex had been?

Mark was just so different. So irritable. So annoying and so incredibly annoyable – and a victim of his own restrictive thoughts. Nobody could get anything right. Not ever.

He didn’t like Alex’s bedtime routine. Apparently, it was wrong to give and receive kisses and hugs between parent and child. It was also not right to hold that child’s hand in public, or to affectionately ruffle his light brown curls.  

‘Why are you like this, Mark? It’s got worse every month since we got together. Is there something I should know?’

‘What do you mean?’ Mark turned his back to her.

‘Well, you know, some reason why everything about me and Alex irritates you?’ It was a question often asked and never answered, not even in part.

‘It isn’t you. It isn’t him. It’s just…’

‘Just? Just..? Come on man, look at him. He’s just a little boy. He needs his daddy to hug him sometimes. To play games. To laugh a bit. To tickle him. Why don’t you? Why can’t you?’

Mark walked back into the kitchen. Trudie glanced at their son who was transfixed by Cbeebies on the television, and made the decision that he would be safe from the broken vase for a moment.

She followed Mark and stood in the doorway, leaning against the raw, unpolished wood marked with the growth record of their home’s previous residents.

Her hand automatically went to her hip in a ridiculous representation of her own mother. ‘Well. Why can’t you? Why won’t you?’

Her husband stood, clearly shielding himself from her inquisitions with the fridge door. Nothing. Just a deep, agonised sigh.

‘Come on, Mark. Why? Please…’

The door was slammed, and for the second time that evening, Trudie jumped.  ‘Mark, stop slamming, and just talk to me. Talk to me. Tell me.’

And that’s when it all came out. After all their years together. Her big, tough man. Her sheltered, physically hung-up man. Her man without positive loving feelings towards either her or their child.

Mark cried. Trudy cried. Alex rushed to comfort them, and fell, cutting his knee, just a little on the shattered vase.

‘Mummy moo,’ he cried, and his mum scooped him from the floor, placing him straight into the arms of his daddy.

‘Do it,’ she said. ‘Feel it… Be the dad you know you should be.’

Mark’s body, overtaken by tremors caused by thirty years of backed-up tears, shook and near-collapsed, but Trudy gently guided him up to the wall, supporting the weight of her two loved ones.

‘Go on,’ she said. ‘Comfort him… your past isn’t your future.’

Mark looked at his ever-patient wife and then to his beautiful son. The pair of them slid to sitting position on the floor of the kitchen, and Mark’s arms wrapped round his little boy for the first time ever. Both sobbed quietly till the sobs transformed to giggles and tickles.

‘Love you, daddy,’ said Alex. Another first.

And somehow, something was healed.

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‘The Hall of Horror’ – a Zombie Story

The following is a zombie story written by a seven year old boy.  I was surprised that he knew about zombies, but apparently all the playground boys were talking about them. Much of this is paraphrased (of course) as I wasn’t able to type it up at the speed he spoke.  He related the beginning of his story ‘The Hall of Horror’. Perhaps you could end it for him? 

 

THE HALL OF HORROR

This is a story for adults.  It is called The Hall of Horror.  It starts off with four or five zombies walking around and under an arch like the kinds you find in a big, old library (but there are no books there – because zombies can’t read). 
 
Maybe they are in a stately home which had been a mansion with big gardens, owned by a man called Mark – before the zombies came.  Mark lived on his own in the mansion because he was an adventurer with a lot of secrets to hide from other people. Being alone was the safest thing for him.
 
One day he suddenly felt sleepy and fell asleep, but woke after many hours in the middle of the night.  He looked around his dark room and was shocked to see a dead person on the floor.  But it wasn’t a person. It was a zombie, but Mark didn’t know it then.
 
Mark has only just woken up when this story starts, and it is actually a story all about ancestors from the family tomb who come back to life as zombies after hundreds of years dead.
 
Mark wakes up and for a few seconds had no idea where he was or why he was waking up from a short sleep in the middle of the night.  The weird thing is that his clock says it is night time but the sun is really bright through the open window, allowing him to see the zombie easily.  When he went to bed his window was closed but now it is open.  He is very confused.  There were no distant shouts of happy children, no barking of dogs or singing of birds or the happy feeling Mark felt on a summer day. But it was as bright as a summer day.
 
He thought it was because he was groggy and had not had enough sleep. 
 
But he remembered getting home from yesterday’s adventure.  He remembered unpacking the car and eating the last bit of a horrible garage cheese sandwich as he walked into his huge, grand house. (It was a house he inherited from a rich friend.)  This means that the people in the family tomb aren’t even his own family zombies – and that makes things even worse.  He remembered walking up the long curved staircase from the hall of portraits, like you see in Harry Potter, but he didn’t know anything else after that. 
 
He was used to being an adventurer, like Indiana Jones, but he wasn’t used to feeling this kind of confusion.  He was in his own bed but it felt like he wasn’t even in his own house.  He was a bit scared even though he normally was very brave, and he sat up slowly to look at the zombie properly.  He had to push his big, thick hair out of his eyes and put his glasses on before he could properly see. 
 
On the floor right in front of him the body was dressed in rags and all twisted up.  It didn’t move and seemed to be dead.  Then it moved.  He didn’t really see it with his eyes –  he saw it with his mind’s eye.  The zombie twitched in his shoulder and the shoulder began moving its arm to push the zombie body off the floor.
 
Mark’s was scared.  He thought ‘I’m glad that he’s not dead,’ but very quickly changed that to ‘What is that zombie doing here?’ when the human shape twisted in an unnatural way and made horrible noises.  Then it looked at him. 
 
Mark had seen enough movies to know that this was a zombie.  And he had been enough places in the world and heard enough folk tales to know that, yes, zombies did exist and that, yes, they were very dangerous. 
 
He sprung off the bed, feeling an adventure coming. His foot stood on the zombie’s ankle by accident, but he ran to the bedroom door, almost tripping on the rug as he did so.  The zombie was slow, which was good. 
 
The door was closed but as he opened it to escape from this zombie, he realised it wasn’t going to be a simple escape.  Even just from the position of his bedroom door he could see many more zombies (at least six) milling around through to 6.  So there seemed to be six of these weird people milling around in his house.  He was sure they hadn’t been there the day before and he didn’t recognise a single one of them.  What should he do?
 
He suddenly remembered a laughing conversation held with an old friend.  How do you kill a zombie?  With a head shot?  How do you hide from a zombie?  Climb a ladder, climb a tree… zombies CAN’T climb.  Brilliant.  The larger, safer trees in the garden were all too far away and who knew how many more of these creatures would be out there to block his path and turn him into one of them.  But there was a ladder in the house.  It led, not to the well-known storage attic of his newly inherited home, but to a room usually reserved for the play area of the many generations of children in the house. It was a kind of indoor tree house. 
 
He got his bearings and ran with all his might past and through the horde of zombies who by this point had seen him and were ambling towards him, moaning.  His heart felt like it was going to explode when he reached the ladder, climbed to the top and pulled it up after him.  It was only once he’d reached the indoor tree house that he realised he’d effectively cornered himself in.  He hoped they wouldn’t smell him or sense him.  At any rate, the safety of this smallish comforting room would give him the chance to think.
 
He looked around him, it being only the second time he’d been in there.  It was a good sized room, perfect for his wealthy ancestors when, as children, they were unable to play outside.  It had been painted in colours of the outdoors and there was a large branch fixed to the walls, carefully positioned diagonally over in the corner so the children could climb on the branches and use it as part of their play.  There were quilts and blankets, a large pile of play cushions. He would have somewhere comfortable and safe to sleep.  But that was it.  There was no food, no water and no real safety. It wasn’t even all that high up.
 
He looked out of the window at the random boulders on the lawned area, as if thrown by some giants in a game of bowls.  Placed badly and oddly, they were one of the many quirky elements of the house that made little sense – this room for instance.  And it was only as he gazed at their flat greyness that he noticed the silence, the lack of life and the eerie, unpleasant quality of the day, despite the blazing sunshine.  (NB these were his exact words.)
 
It was time to think.
 
Parlemon House stood in large, expansive grounds of the kind you’d expect in a much grander stately home.  There were massive sweeps of grassland down to a small lake, partly shaded by oaks and willows.  In years gone by, when the house was owned by more posh people, the gardens and lake were looked after by many people, as was the house.  But since Mark had moved in, all that remained was him.  Apart from the portraits in the enormous arched hall.  Some had even been painted next to the random boulders – another eccentricity of his friend’s family.  Surely the stones much mean something.
 
And then he realised something else that was extremely peculiar about the man on his floor and t he other men and women outside his bedroom door.  They were dressed unusually, and it was only at that moment that he realised they were in historical dress. 
 
And the man he’d seen in his bedroom – he recognised him. It was Arthur Parlemon, on whose death he had inherited the house. 
 
Why had he come to his bedroom? 
 
Perhaps Mark had woken up in the nick of time, even though Arthur had been a very good friend. 
 
How would you end this?