Ginger Ghost

the colour of Ben’s hair

I’ve been talking to Ben about when he can go to the park with a friend, without me.

It’s not far, and my argument about the busy road he’d have to cross has just been obliterated by the local council’s thoughtful installation of traffic calming measures and two zebra crossings.

So I’ve resorted to throwing scenarios at him…

“What would you do if some bigger boys started yelling at you, like those horrid ten-year olds who swore at you when we were there last time?”

“I’d walk away and ignore them,” he says, sensibly repeating my own advice.

“What if they ran after you and your friend, shouting at you?”

“We’d run away.”

I’m floundering now. He’s a fast runner, so I add some thoughts about finding the nearest mother with small children and standing near her.

Then I remember another incident, which upset him at the time.

“And what if they teased you, like they did in Central Park. Wouldn’t you be upset?”

Pause while he thinks about it. But his thinking face turns into a puzzled face.

“What did they say in Central Park?” he asks me.

I realise my error immediately.
He’s forgotten all about it.

While it left me anxious about the years of ginger-tinged misery he’d face at secondary school, for Ben the incident soon dissolved into a mist of insignificant and forgotten moments.

But he’s still looking at me quizzically. I have to come up with something that won’t remind him of how mean people can be.

“They just… they said you had funny eyebrows,” I improvise, not wanting to alert him to the possibility that his hair colour may be a source of future difficulties.

“What’s wrong with my eyebrows?” he asks.

“Nothing,” I answer quickly, “they’re just unusally fair.”

“Well I don’t even notice the colour of people’s eyebrows,” he says, perplexed that anyone should notice the colour of his.

And then we return to the more practical matters of pushing bikes across roads rather than riding them, and ensuring a prompt return home at the appointed time.

I guess I’ll now have to find another parent willing to try this experiment which used to be a regular part of life – unaccompanied visits to the park.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
This entry was posted in Beta Mum's Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ginger Ghost

  1. Iota says:

    Well done for diverting attention away from the forgotten teasing. Best for him not to be reminded, as you say.

  2. Potty Mummy says:

    And of course the next hurdle will be ‘when can I get my own mobile?’ But don’t want to freak you out entirely. Maybe you should just forget this comment, like your son did the ginger comment…

  3. Sounds like he’s a sensible lad and quick to work out what’s what. But I identify with your fears – the thought of daughter walking along the pavement without reins is enough to freak me out.

Leave a Reply