Humor Life Writing

Driving Backwards Over Legos

26th April 2018

‘Mummy stay with me,’ Isla says after 67 books last night.

We worked through a stack and then I had to drive backwards over some Lego to get to her bookcase.

‘Clean your room tomorrow, please.’

‘OK’, she says.   ‘Read Miss Messy again.’

Sometimes she lays in our bed for stories, and sometimes I squeeze into hers.  If I don’t think I’ll get up again, I park beside her bed.  She crawls into my lap, still.  This kid.

She’s back in her bed for book 68.

I think she’s asleep, and I back out of the room.

‘Stay and sleep on your wheelchair,’ she suggests.  Not sleeping.  Obviously.

I used to do that.  Fall asleep watching her not sleeping.  Last year when the heat conked out I stayed up all night and re-covered her every time she kicked the duvet off.

Not complaining.

I’ve changed my writing time, and I’m behind my own schedule.

I try to write when Isla is at school.  That three-hour window.

But lately, that time is spent yelling at my laptop over formatting issues when I try to actually blog and post what I’ve been writing.  Because sometimes the preview doesn’t match the saved draft.

‘Why did you flip that photo?’

‘I put a space between the paragraphs.  WHERE IS THE SPACE?

‘Yes, that is spelt right.  Feck you.’

And then there’s that thing where I’m up for Best Overall Blogger, and I don’t want to post shit, because who votes for shit?  So I end up not posting.  And maybe that’s OK, because I seem to be best-known for my hair, anyway.

Who cares about well-written posts?

Anyway, I’m thinking maybe this is turning into a family road trip blog, because we get in the car every chance there is.  We’ve perfected car picnics, air guitar in the car, falling asleep in the car (Isla) and reading in the car (me).

This weekend, we went to Inverness, which was basically a six-hour round trip for over-priced coffee.  Fucking delicious, sugary city coffee that is delicious only because it doesn’t happen very often now.

So, OK we’re sitting in Starbucks and I’m people-watching and I’m jealous.

No, not of the girl on her first date.  I have a kid, and her date has a man-bun.

I’m jealous of the writer sitting in the corner.  Just her and a laptop that seems to be doing what she asks of it.  With background music that’s just sad enough to add texture to the prose, and random conversation random enough to make for interesting dialogue.

Because I miss coffee-shop writing.  Guilt-free writing.  Writing that is just as important as the Chandler-from-Friends job my husband does for a living.

Because when I’m writing I could also be reading with my kid, or painting with my kid, or literally watching her grow up before my tired, crossed eyes.  Because what if I’m writing and I miss a joke, or a hug or a blink?

After she came home from school today, I said I’d do some writing.  She and Neil are sitting in the living-room having lunch.

‘Mummy’s mean,’ she says.  Not because I’d left her alone to write some lines.  But because I suggested that a strawberry sandwich was not a proper lunch.  And I sat with her until she ate the peanut butter sandwich I mangled for her.  (More about my sandwich skills can be found here.)

And so, that’s why I was jealous of the solo coffee-shop writer, why I wished her good words before I left with my kid and my husband to find new fish for the fish tank.  We are still working on the dream I outlined in this post.


But before the fish, we went for the jelly shoes and the wellie boots and the random egg surprise that turned out to be the wrong surprise.  Who knew?

Which came first the tantrum or the egg? The tantrum was so long we missed the fish.

And then I’m in the bathroom, grabbing five seconds.  Isla’s outside trying the door handle.  And I hear Isla say, ‘My Mummy’s in this toilet, you can use another one.’  and then she says.  ‘Let me open the door and see Mummy’s beautiful face.’

So no, maybe I’m not jealous of the solo coffee-shop-writer.  But I should take my writing time wherever I can get it.

Does anyone take a notebook into the bathroom?



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Also published on Medium.

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  • Reply thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany 26th April 2018 at 5:12 pm

    I found that when my children were younger, that the bathroom was the gathering room. People always speak of the great times and conversations that are made in the kitchen. But, for some reason, everyone followed me to the toilet. The girls, the dogs, the cats..all in the toilet to talk to mom..because I could not get away when I was cornered in the toilet.
    So, yes, take a notebook in the toilet and spend some time. Everyone will find you there 🙂

  • Reply Jess T. 26th April 2018 at 5:27 pm

    I always wonder what people are writing in the coffee shop, if they’re some famous writer that everyone loves but no one has ever met, if their manuscript completely sucks or if they’re just writing a poem about how amazing their coffee is. I always wonder!

    • Reply Lorna 27th April 2018 at 6:17 pm

      Me, too, Jess! Endless material!

  • Reply Gill 26th April 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Love this. There is nothing more important than watching your child grow up. The writing will still be there long after she has blossomed into a lovely young lady, but you only get the one chance to watch her develop! So indulge your maternal instinct and fit the writing in when you can – the bathroom is good! xx

    • Reply Lorna 26th April 2018 at 9:56 pm

      Point taken, but neither does Isla deserve a mother who is so creatively frustrated that she writes about not writing. I can do both. x

      • Reply Gill 26th April 2018 at 11:36 pm

        You’re one amazing person Lorna. I have no doubt you can do both. There’s always a way. I worked while my children were younger as well. I don’t think I missed anything and I have given them a work ethic as well. I love your blog. Your humour always makes me smile – you can see where Isla gets it from! xx

  • Reply Daniel J Botha (@danie2life) 27th April 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Hats off to heartfelt post about the subtle (and not so subtle) tears and joys of parenting a little girl. (We have two—they used to be little.)
    And about “people who write in coffee shops” (Jess T)—they write poems, novels, some write sermons, others write about mothers who walk in with little girls who won’t give Mommy a moment alone “in the bathroom.” They also write about patrons who walk in eyeing the writers sitting in the corner at the window.

    • Reply Lorna 27th April 2018 at 6:16 pm

      Thank you, Danie. I enjoyed the poem you shared today and look forward to reading more!

  • Reply Michele Morin 27th April 2018 at 9:40 pm

    In the bathroom, in my nightstand, in the car, on the cookbook shelf, and sometimes even in my pocket when I’m taking a wash. (How many potential best sellers have I washed?)

  • Reply Unbound Roots 28th April 2018 at 8:59 am

    I love this post, Lorna, because your little girl will remember all of those books you read to her, and how you stayed with her in her room – not the strawberry sandwich she didn’t get. You’re a great mother. xx

    • Reply Lorna 28th April 2018 at 9:04 am

      Oh, she got the strawberry sandwich. From Neil. But she also ate the one I made.

  • Reply shelleywilson72 28th April 2018 at 9:02 am

    I love this! When my daughter was younger I used to buy her a pretty notebook and she would write little stories and poems while I did my writing. She’s nearly 16 now and is more likely to interrupt me for a lift to a party, ha ha. Still, it was lovely while it lasted! On the flip side, as my kids are now 19, 17, and 15 I find I have loads of time to write – but I miss their chubby arms pulling me away from my WIP, I miss their chatter (often used in my books!), and I miss the lap time cuddles. Enjoy your interrupted writing time xx

  • Reply Ritu 28th April 2018 at 9:51 am

    I gave up locking the bathroom door… they rattled at it so much of it was closed that I ended up having to tighten hinges that they were loosening!
    Writing time is little, what with parenting, wife-ing and teaching too, but you just have to grab the opportunities where you can, and hope your family are understanding about it lol! It took mine some time to realise I wasn’t just surfing the net and visiting social media.. but was actually trying to be productive. But now they’re all on board, I get that time… sometimes!

    • Reply Lorna 28th April 2018 at 10:13 am

      It’s a good thing I don’t sleep much. It’s over-rated.

      • Reply Ritu 28th April 2018 at 10:18 am

        I thought that too for a while, burned the candle at both ends so I could write, then realised I was destroying myself!!!! But, where there’s a will, there’s a way!

  • Reply thebeasley 28th April 2018 at 10:40 am

    I read this post while holding my daughter’s hand. I love you & Isla so much. You’re my favourite mother & daughter pairing (after my own of course). I love the way you write & your well written posts are absolutely the best thing about this blog. Your hair is just an awesome bonus xx

  • Reply You Can Always Start Now 28th April 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Think of all the material you have just being you! I always have paper and pen in my bag. Maybe not in the washroom but within reach.

  • Reply Anonymous 28th April 2018 at 3:34 pm


  • Reply gemmaorton 28th April 2018 at 4:49 pm

    Firstly, what is it with the man-bun?!
    Secondly I also dream of being a coffee shop writer. But writing never comes when I want it.
    Mainly, you are almost as awesome as Isla. But I’m sure her awesomeness is down to you!

  • Reply Rebecca Moon Ruark 28th April 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Such a great post. No, we can’t (or shouldn’t) be jealous of the man-bun girlfriend, but a little time to ourselves would be nice. I have written in the bathroom before! It was the only room that locked in our former house. It also contained the washer and dryer and that’s what I set my laptop up on. I think I even conducted an interview for work in there once, when my kids were supposed to be napping but instead would just follow me around the house. I totally get it. Fingers crossed for you for the Bloggers Bash Award. You’ve got my vote!

    • Reply Lorna 28th April 2018 at 8:57 pm

      Thak you, Rebecca!

  • Reply Miriam Joy 28th April 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Hey, just thought I’d pop in because I rarely actually comment, although I read your blog in email subscriptions on a semi-regular basis. (Only semi-regular, because I am disorganised and have Many Unread Emails judging me at all times.) Also because I was thinking about you the other day because I’m going to an academic conference on Skye in June and it’s my first time going there so most of what I know about it is from you. Excited to see it in person!

    • Reply Lorna 28th April 2018 at 8:28 pm

      Man, I’m not the best advert for it most days, ha! But today was good. Keep in touch and we’ll meet up when you’re here!

  • Reply fancypaperblog 28th April 2018 at 9:09 pm

    Totally rooting for you here Lorna x and that was a super post. I have just written about tantrums. I feel so sorry for myself at the moment it is making me want to put myself on the naughty step. I am glad I am not the only one who gets blamed by the smallies for doing things wrong!!

    • Reply Lorna 28th April 2018 at 9:14 pm

      No, totally not the only one. Perhaps we should start a club.

      • Reply fancypaperblog 28th April 2018 at 10:40 pm

        For sure. The Tantrum Trauma Team or something. But I am probably wrong….or so my girl would say!!

  • Reply Sarah - Caffeine and 29th April 2018 at 12:49 am

    I’m not a mother so can’t relate to you on that, but this post was so well written I felt like I was walking in your shoes. Love your tone. At times this post was funny and other times emotional but had a happy ending. Great post!

    • Reply Lorna 29th April 2018 at 11:16 am

      Thank you, Sarah!

  • Reply Lisa Orchard 29th April 2018 at 3:37 pm

    I remember those days! I miss them. I miss those bright little faces and how excited they used to get when I walked into the room. My littles are almost teenagers now and I’m enjoying this phase, too, but I miss their little hugs and the way they wanted a bedtime story every night.Sniff. I’m so glad I stayed home with my babies. Think of all I would’ve missed! Thanks for taking me down memory lane, Lorna!

  • Reply angelanoelauthor 29th April 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Did you mean to make me cry, because you did! That whole “Mummy’s beautiful face” thing…whoa. So wonderful. I too long for my coffee shop writing days. Those days when I had a very heavy by today’s standards laptop open on a wood table stained by endless coffees and probably other stuff I don’t want to think about were good indeed. But then again, were they? I wrote a novel (a bad one) at those coffee-stained tables, but I also didn’t know myself well. I thought I wanted some things I didn’t really want. I thought I needed to be someone different than who I was. I look back on those moments with nostalgia–the days gone by–but these days are far better. Just as you’ve discovered with your stolen bathroom moments, we’re more ourselves now then ever we were then. And that’s a good thing.

  • Reply Ellen Hawley 30th April 2018 at 9:53 pm

    What came first, the tantrum or the egg? Sorry, that’s too deep for me, but I can tell already that the question’s going to haunt me.

  • Reply suzie81speaks 2nd May 2018 at 9:13 am

    Loved this post so much Lorna… hilarious and heartwarming all at the same time. I can totally relate to the yelling at the laptop – The Bloke has jumped a few times when I randomly yell at mine because something doesn’t work…

    • Reply Lorna 2nd May 2018 at 9:42 am

      That’s it, you and Katie are doing the qoutes for all my future books! PS. Neil says to me: please don’t yell at me like you yell at Frank the Laptop. :/

  • Reply Melissa ❤️?? 3rd May 2018 at 2:13 pm

    What does it say about me that out of everything in this wonderful and well written post I picked up on “feck” which I have to steal now because I’m trying to say the other word less? You’ve helped me today.

  • Reply Valerie 3rd May 2018 at 9:35 pm

    I resonate so much with this, Lorna! Thank you for sharing such vivid pieces of your life with us, and reminding me what the truly important things in life are. Brilliant!

  • Reply Flossie 4th May 2018 at 2:46 am

    Oh, Mama, are you sure you weren’t inside MY head when you wrote this??? I love my girls dearly, but I also join committees and boards that require out-of-town weekend meetings so that I can pretend I’m on writer’s retreat! (Guess where I am right now, or what I am doing in every spare non-meeting minute this weekend, when no one is waking me up, and I don’t have to worry about spiders or fixing the wrong breakfast fruit or school snack/lunch, and I don’t even have to fix MYSELF food because someone has already done it for me???)

  • Reply Trudy 4th May 2018 at 4:36 am

    No I don’t take a notebook to the bathroom but I would record voicenotes on my phone in there.

  • Reply Jennifer 9th May 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Yelling at laptops? Check. Not sure where to find a quiet place to write? Been there. I’ve actually found the best place to write is at 5:30 am in my living room. I just can’t fight with my laptop at that time or I’ll wake everyone up.

  • Reply aidscholarship 6th June 2018 at 2:46 pm

    I actually miss those days! 🙂

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