The English Mother

Moments in an English Mother's Life

A Discipline

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This is a picture I asked Dominic to take of me and the children. I wanted it to accompany a piece I wrote for “Baby and Me” magazine on discipline. We took the photograph in the alley way that runs along the back of our row of houses behind the gardens. We have a gate that goes into the alleyway from the garden. It has been such a useful place to ride bikes, run races and generally muck about.
When I moved to our house, nearly ten years ago now, I was pregnant with a small son and recently divorced. The alley would attract people in the evenings, for various reasons. Now it feels a lot calmer and possibly safer because large gates and cctv have been put up on each end of the alley. You can’t hear the sound of spray cans in the alley in the summer evenings like before.
The alley way seemed a good place for this picture to be taken, of the children with books on their heads against the graffitied wall with its message of anarchy.
The picture was taken in jest, though I do like old fashioned values. The children didn’t really appreciate the joke! The eldest wanted to get it over and done with, the middle girl was furious and the youngest baffled!
Since though, the children have got more used to having a book on their heads, as a discipline, as a challenge or as a competition. A book on the head is so good for posture. Posture should not be undervalued.
Trying to eat with a book on your head is a good discipline. I have told the children that the cat takes his head to his food but people bring the food to their mouths.
Standing up straight may seem to be a lesson from an old fashioned finishing school, but not only does it make you look more appealing, it could save you from back problems later in life. Loelia, the Duchess of Westminster, a role I recently played, suffered from shyness. She would stand especially tall to overcome her discomfort and give the impression of confidence.

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