The Obsessions


So it’s Mother’s Day, and I could write something about how it is to be a Mummy, and to have a Mummy, but I am aware that there are so many different kinds of Mummies and I don’t think I can articulate well enough my thoughts on that and do enough justice to all the different kinds of Mummies that there are. All I will say is that I am very much aware how lucky I am in that I have a truly lovely Mummy and four truly lovely healthy boys. So I went through my old Mother’s Day cards and pictures which are all stashed with loads of my other treasure stuff, and came across this little gem…. Which lead me to think that yes my boys are truly lovely, but actually I think it is safe to say, well, a little odd too….

Ok, so with a slightly crazy over-efficient ‘every thing has to have a process’ mum, it is likely that my off spring will also demonstrate varying degrees of my personality traits.

I can see from looking at my 4 boys, which are most like me, and over the years this has become very apparent, to both me, my husband and our parents.

T2 is relatively a chilled out boy. Obsessive-wise, not really. Apart from generally wanting to eat everything and anything, and enjoying looking at himself in the mirrored reflection of the oven, he didn’t really have any obsessions in his toddler years.

T1, again, very chilled, unlike me. He does however have a strong attraction to anything cute and fluffy (a recent comment  when he saw me in a new faux fur gillet – Mummy it’s not fair, how do you get to wear fluffy things and I have to wear ‘cold’ clothes, basically sums him up). So apart from that and Hotel Chocolat magazines, he doesn’t have any strong preferences, with what I would call a minimal level of obsessiveness as a toddler.

T3 is getting closer to me. Highly strung at times, often prone to a tantrum at any age, and obsessive tendencies. We went through an orange stage. Because of it he has an orange bedroom (just the one wall, and it actually is quite effective). But it was a case of unless it was orange, it wasn’t accepted…always the orange jumper, orange pants, orange cup, orange calculator that often accompanied him to bed, and carrots.

Which brings me at last to toddler boy. So when I wonder why we had the ‘battery obsession’ for just short of 6 months, I know I only have myself to blame, because the genes have come from somewhere.

For those of me who knew me at the time,  they will remember it clearly. It was Christmas Eve. My husband changed the batteries in something (2xAA), God knows what, but toddler boy saw them on the side. Oh can I have these Daddy… and they were popped into a little gift bag that was hanging around, and they were with him until bedtime.

Christmas Day. 3 year old enters our room. ‘Merry Christmas toddler boy, shall we go and see what Father Christmas has brought you?’ ‘Where are my batt-ries?’  ‘Your what?’  ‘My batt-ries’. Oh ok then, well here they are….

That was pretty much it for 6 months. Nothing else got a look in. We would go to the shops. To look at batteries. We would go to ToyRUs, and look at the aisle with batteries. Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Boots. Every shop. Everywhere.

He had a collection. AAA, AA, C. Different brands – Duracell, Panansonic, Shop own brands… all sorts. I have video camera footage of him talking about how Panasonic Extremes are the ‘RockStar batteries’.

We would go to people houses and he would open remote controls, seeing if they were batteries he didn’t have, and we would have to swap them.

I would drop him off at nursery and the teachers would say they had the torches and screwdrivers ready for him to go and change the batteries.

People would come to our house and see his collection of 314 batteries, sometimes in a big tub, sometimes laid out according to brand or size, sometimes in the little trucks on his Thomas track being transported around the Island of Sodor. In an effort to make it more educational, I purchased the ‘Usborne book of Batteries and Magnets’, hoping that he may at least learn something from it if I read this to him. I also sourced a battery tester, so we could test the ‘energy levels’ in batteries, again, hoping to bring some level of education and learning to this, and telling myself that I actually may have a budding scientist on my hands, rather than a slightly odd obsessive toddler boy.

But all in all, it was draining, if not a little embarrassing. I recall a trip to Marks and Spencers. At the till point, we studied the batteries. We went home with the green ones. These were re-chargeable ones, met with some negativity from husband on the basis that they were nearly a tenner and we don’t even have a rechargeable facility… but try telling that to a 3 year old in a queue at a check out.

We went to Boots, and when looking longingly at the batteries on sale, an assistant asked if we needed help. I explained my predicament. She came up with an idea. How about having a rummage through the recycle bin. Brilliant! We went home with a couple of AA ‘s and C’s, toddler boy happy to have new additions to his collection, me thrilled I didn’t have to spend more money on some friggin’ batteries.

Toddler boy couldn’t believe his luck, and a week later  was excited about the prospect at choosing his batteries from the recycle point at Boots again. So we approached the desk and I said casually that my toddler was going to just choose a few if that was ok. The alternative assistant (young, obviously no children) looked somewhat bemused. So we started our rummage. And just as we had chosen our 5, she appeared. ‘I am sorry, but I can not let you take them. It is not safe to let children play with batteries you know’…I looked at her. Toddler boy started crying. This confirmed my initial belief that she didn’t have children. ‘Yes love I know, but my toddler boy really likes to collect them, bizarre as it may seem, and I do supervise him with them and make sure he doesn’t put them in his mouth or chew on them’… ‘No sorry I can’t let you take them’….. I left feeling like a particularly bad mother, and now just hope that when she has her own children they develop their own bizarre obsessions….

So anyway, we rode with it. For the 6 long months. And when opening his 4th birthday presents from his birthday party (which did in fact include packs of batteries), we discovered the ‘lego man’… and £2,657 later, we have never looked back….