Xena, Warrior Princess

Like most mothers, I turn into Xena Warrior Princess if anyone so much as thinks about hurting my children A fully grown bear would hesitate to take me on when I’m in rabid-mother-defending-my-children mode. Unless…

You see, I have this weird sense of humour and when I get the giggles at something, all thoughts of being a protective mother go out the window.

Instead, Scary Mama Bear turns into a doubled over, weak-kneed, helpless-with-laughter toddler, unable to communicate, and gasping for breath while tears of laughter roll down her face.

While I thoroughly enjoy a good belly laugh, my children get a bit grumpy about the whole thing if the laughter is at their (or worse, their friends’) expense.

Incapacitated by laughter

When my youngest daughter, Keeley, got a new pony, I took her into the arena to safely take the pony through his paces and get used to him.

The pony was an energetic little thing (read: really naughty), so she trotted him round the arena a few times until she felt confident enough to push him into canter.

This was when we discovered that he had quite a bouncy canter.

Pretty soon, Keeley began to bounce in the saddle, small bounces at first. Unfortunately, with each bounce, the pony went a little faster.

As Keeley’s bounces got bigger, the pony sped up faster, which made Keeley bounce even higher.

Eventually, the pony was at a flat gallop, tearing around the arena, and I could see about three feet of daylight between Keeley and her saddle.

I tried to help her, I really did, but I simply couldn’t speak. I stood in the middle of the arena, holding my sides, in helpless fits of laughter with tears rolling down my face. My older daughter, Kira, yelled, “Mum, get a grip! Mum, help Keeley!” from the side of the arena, but I was too far gone.

Finally, thoroughly exasperated with me, Kira climbed into the arena and began instructing her sister while I held onto the arena wall and slowly got my act together.

The ball pit

When the boys were little, I took them to a preschool gymnastics morning at a local gym. The boys had a great time, launching themselves off springboards and swinging ropes into huge pits of foam. After a little while, they became more confident, until finally, my eldest son somersaulted gracefully from the rope…

And landed head first in the foam.

All I could see were two legs sticking up into the air and waving round, as my son tried fruitlessly to turn himself the right way up.

All nurturing, caring mother thoughts flew right out of my head and I collapsed in a heap of helpless, crying laughter.

Watching his teacher dive into the pit and spend several minutes trying to him upright was the icing on the cake.

Slippery slide

When I was very young, my grandmother came to look after me while my mum was in hospital having my brother.

We lived in the countryside, high up a steep hill,. My school was at the bottom of this steep hill, down a tarmac road and then further down a steep gravel driveway.

Granny was a prim and proper city girl, complete with city clothes and city boots. Always perfectly dressed and coiffed, she was the kind of person who made her only granddaughter (me) walk around with a book on her head so that she had the correct deportment.

Trying to get me to behave like a lady was completely futile: I was a tomboy to the tips of my fingers.

One cold, frosty morning, Granny and I were walking to school. The snow was quite thick on the ground and the salt trucks had been out to try to clear the roads. But the slush had frozen overnight leaving black ice everywhere.

As we started down the hill, it quickly became clear than Granny’s nice, smooth soled, high heel, ankle boots weren’t the best shoes for the job of walking down a long, steep, icy hill.

Slowly, Granny began to slide down the slippery pavement. The farther she went, she faster she slid, each step getting longer and longer and faster and faster.

Pretty soon, she was skiing sideways from one lamppost to the next, desperately aiming herself at her next safety stop before letting go of the one she was currently holding.

I’ll be completely honest with you here: five-year old me laughed so much that I almost wet my pants. I ran (in my very grippy, nice and warm, rubber-soled boots) down the hill to school and straight into the girls’ bathroom.

I haven’t thought of this before, but I wonder how Granny got back up the hill?

K xxx

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