In which the subject meanders a little…

I often watch the girls on the bus going to nursery in the morning.

Er, that is to say, I often watch my children on the bus going to nursery in the mornings, lest the Lovely Melanie get the wrong idea!

Anyway.  This particular morning Millie was nuffling her scarf as she usually does (“’nuffling”, has been mentioned before, I think has, as a habit fairly unique to Millie which involves gently rubbing any piece of soft fabric across her lips while she sucks her tongue – she started doing it as a baby and it’s an instinctive thing for her now, a bit like me biting my nails).

Then I looked at Amber and realised that she has similar – but subtly different – little habits.  Amber sucks her thumb when she’s tired or upset (or has just been told off).  But Amber also likes to hold onto a bit of fabric although in her case it will be her t-shirt or jumper or dress – whatever happens to be covering her tummy at that particular moment in time.

My apologies, readers – this is less a post for you out there than it is a reminder to a future Stu of what my girls used to be like when they were little…

Speaking of little: I was working on the BLISS telephone helpline last night and had my first proper call in literally about a year.

The calls are supposed to be confidential so I can’t really talk too much about it here.  Suffice to say that I was on the phone to a very nice lady for about 45 minutes talking about our experiences with very poorly babies.

Inasmuch as you can enjoy reminiscing about such stressful times I enjoyed our conversation, and hopefully our chat was useful to her, too, as she was quite upset when she first rang the helpline.

I worry about being able to help people who ring the helpline; I worry whether I’m actually any good at chatting and empathising with the people ringing me for help, that I don’t sound confident or sympathetic or knowledgeable enough.

But then, I worry about that in real life, too, so perhaps I’m better at it than I think.

This post is wandering off course a bit, to be honest, but the thing that always panicked me when I started my current job (Web Editor) was the little voice in my head that would always say of anything unfamiliar or new, “What?? How the hell are you going to manage that?  What are they talking about?  This is going to be a nightmare!  Arrrgh!

What I needed my little inner voice to be doing at those moments was calmly assess what was being said and come up with solutions – or at least a plan to find a solution.

But no, I have this terrible hysterical response when faced with people explaining new things.  I can look at them and nod sagely whilst thinking, nothing but “Aaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrghhhh!”

It goes all the way back to primary school when I used to regularly burst into tears during maths classes simply because I didn’t immediately understand it, and I would panic that I was the only stupid person struggling with it and would probably never be able to understand it and everyone would laugh at me and I’d almost certainly be expelled and end up a homeless derelict on the street who…

Well, you get the idea.

This panic response at work is the same but with the dubious benefit of 30 years experience.  I hate it, but it takes all my years of grown-up experience to fight it, even now.

Therapy sessions ends…


  1. I know the feeling, after 12 years of teaching A level I still feel a sense of panic before the exam (this Friday) thinking that I wont have taught the right stuff.


  2. I do EXACTLY the same except I tend to show my panic….alot….which is not good Stu….not good at all! Be grateful you can hide yours… 🙂


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