Madmummy is filled with guilt right now. The Jabbermonkey is furious with her and dramatically upset. Journeying from nursery to his Nanny’s house he has screamed at her several times. His wet little face contorted in anger was pushed against the rain cover. His legs pushed his body up towards her as he blasted out another roar in her direction. The lolly pop lady saw he was unusually unhappy and commented in her Black Country accent “Ah dear, what tha matta?, yer right hen?” . Madmummy had grinned meekly and merely muttered “I’ve been a bad mummy”.
Why? What cruelty has she performed on him? What travesty has occurred to make her deserving of such berating? She had failed to bring jabbermonkey’s beloved Peter Rabbit toy with her in the double buggy. Peter and he have been inseparable for over a year and a half. He has accompanied him during blood tests…
He sleeps with him each night and is dragged pretty much everywhere Jabbermonkey goes. He even dressed up as him for World Book day. Madmummy had 12 hours to fashion a blue coat of of one of her old cardigans.
However, to avoid the unthinkable disaster of loosing him, Peter is usually left in the car during day visits. Jabbermonkey is also in agreement, that Peter can not go into the nursery with him. He could be forgotten or accidentally stollen by another child. So when Jabbermonkey is dropped off at nursery at 12:00pm Peter stays in the back seat of the pushchair and accompanies Madmummy and the Hulk during their afternoon travels. At 3pm when Jabbermonkey finishes nursery Peter is then in the pushchair where he left him.
Today, however Peter was not in the pushchair. And Jabbermonkey noticed in an instant. He had merrily climbed in, recounting his afternoon antics, and with one glance around at the back seat his face fell into a concerned frown. The inevitable question was asked. As soon as he was informed that Peter has been left at home he had begun a wave of dramatics. From panic, anger and desperate sadness he displayed his talents better than an Oscar winning actor. Madmummy had apologised sincerely several times. This did nothing to cool his temper, as he demanded to know where Peter was. Madmummy had explained that she left him at home and that he was safely seated on the sofa.The tears began to flow, as did the bitter cries of “why didn’t you leave him in the push chair?!” Madmummy tried a nonchalant approach, calmly saying that he was a big boy and would be okay for a couple of hours, until daddykins collected him and took him home. Her assurances that him and Peter would be reunited soon were met with more dramatics. His tragedy face evolved to one of hate and rage. He demanded that she take him straight home to Peter immediately. “No! I can’t! I have to go to work!” Said madmummy firmly.
A shrill bellow filled the alley way “I DON’T CARE!!!”. For a brief moment a smile broke on Madmummy’s face. A combination of embarrassment mixed with mild amusement, at this ridiculous teenag-ish melodrama. She didn’t look around to the other parents witnessing the woeful outbursts. If they had looked in her eyes they would have seen that, dispite her smile, her heart was breaking a little. She knew Peter was not just a toy.
She attempted to counter his anger with her own. Surely she could not allow him to shout at his his own mother with such disrespect. “That’s ENOUGH! I said sorry! You need to calm down! You DONT shout at mummy! You can have him when you get home later”. The Jabbermonkey could not be snapped out of his misery. The cries of “PETEEER” called down the main street as they turned down Nanny’s road. His final and most heart breaking statement rang in her ears as they knocked on Nanny’s door. “He’s my best friend”.
She briefly explained to Nanny the cause of his distress. She was a bad mum who had committed the worse crime of forgetfulness and Jabbermonkey would not forgive her. She ushered him and the hulk inside, turned on her heal, let out a sigh and pushed her empty pushchair home.
Now, on the way home the true guilt begins to claw at her mind. She feels her heart beating and hears her child’s cries eachoing in her head. In the background a voice of her own rises up. Liar! Liar! Liar! It repeats. For Madmummy had lied to Jabbermonkey and that was the true cause of such abject guilt.
The truth was that Peter, having been dragged to parks and rubbed by jabbermonkey’s filthy hands for the last 20 months, was in need of a wash. Jabbermonkey had fobbiden her to put him in the washing machine. Over the last month he had been very vocal about the fact that Peter would NOT like it and it could hurt him.
But today Madmummy had disregarded his wishes and put Peter in a pillowcase, along with some oxy action, and into a 30 degree wash. He was still in the washing machine and THAT was why he was not in there pushchair. She couldn’t tell him the truth! For one thing, she wasn’t certain that Peter would be okay. Another reason for her hammering heart was that dreadful image that she would pull out a mass of blue rags and, the fluffy innards of the beloved toy spilling out. She had not dared tell Jabbermonkey the truth until Peter was safely dried and returned to him. Deep was her sigh of relief when she opened the washing machine to find Peter clean, fragrant and in one peice. Her guilt faded as she placed the dry Peter and a note on the table.