Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Where's St George When You Need Him?

I need a knight in shining armour. Not just any old knight. But one with specific experience in slaying magical monsters. In particular, Fiery Ferguson, the imaginary dragon I invented when I was naive and completely clueless and thought I was on the road to being Super Mum.

I have always followed the bedtime routine touted by all and sundry as the sure fire means to get your children to anticipate and welcome bedtime, then fall asleep for 12 hours straight without a whimper. Bath. Stories and cuddles. Bed. Lights out. Silence. Told you I was naive. (This was also the time that I could recite almost verbatim the haloed written word of Gina Ford, Tracy Hogg and Annabelle Karmel and followed their advice to the letter. Never straying for one second, because, as I mentioned I was completely clueless and thought that this would give the impression that I was a good mum and knew what I was doing.)

So when Captain Underpants was about 2 years old, and I was losing the will to live when faced with reading Goodnight Moon for the gazillionth time, I created an imaginary friend for my little guy - who happened to be a big dragon called Fiery Ferguson. I have to say that my intentions weren't exactly pure right from the start. There was a little voice at the back of my head which was quite confident that this would ultimately be my meal ticket to fame, fortune and a truck load of cash. That these innocent little adventure stories would one day become books sold to children all over the world and that JK Rowling would finally be given a run for her money where children's literature was concerned. Hmmm. Yes, well, let's just say that's not quite how things have turned out.

Anyway, every night I would snuggle with Captain Underpants in the rocking chair, the room cast in soft shadows from the night light, and tell a story about his adventure with Fiery Ferguson. Captain Underpants was quite a cautious little fellow at the time and most of the stories were simple tales of how, together with FF, he was being bold and brave and overcoming fears of great magnitude. They would go to the park and slide down the highest slide, or climb the highest point of the climbing frame. Sometimes they would paddle in Lake Michigan, then cover their bodies in sand without any concern for the scratchy gritty sensation. They would take the bus. Or the train. Together they learnt to jump high, run fast, skip, hop and tumble without a care in the world. They never ran screaming from bugs but would catch them (gently) and take them home. They loved dogs. The bigger the better. In fact, there wasn't a single animal with sharp claws and carnivorous teeth that could phase the intrepid Captain Underpants and his best friend, Fiery Ferguson.

I'm not sure how long I thought the Fiery Ferguson phase would last when I started it. But it certainly wasn't nearly four years. Four long and arduous years. Give me a rope someone please, so that I can put at least one of us out of our misery.

See, this is what happens when you are trying to reach beyond all rational expectations of what is necessary for a child's well being. I have unwittingly made a rod for my own back and the moment has finally arrived when my only desire is to use it to beat some sense into myself, should the urge ever take me to venture into Super Mum realm again.

Things wouldn't be so bad if I remained in control of the story telling and could keep spinning it towards whichever moral little tale or minor achievement I think is pertinent. But my control ceased about six months ago and now I am reduced to telling the story that my two miniature would-be authors conjure up. There are no moral undertones to their stories that I am aware of. But there's lots of fighting. Specifically super hero fighting. And the only achievement gained night after night after night after bloody night is the winning of the battle. The details of the battle are never important. But the winning is ESSENTIAL. Oh, and the chopping off of a baddies neck.

It is doing my head in.

Because (would you Adam and Eve it?) apparently this lovely, friendly dragon that I fashioned from the goodness of my nurturing mummy, in fact, best buds with all of the super heroes that you can throw a stick at: transformers, power rangers, TMNTs, the Incredible family, all of the Jedi and many more besides. And there isn't a day goes by that his extraordinary dragon skills, and the super hero abilities of his side kicks Captain Underpants and Johnny Drama, aren't called into action against decepticons, the omnidroid, mutated animals of all varieties (there is no discrimination) and, more often than not, the dark side of the force.

Every single night I am instructed to recite a slightly different variation of the same predictable story - and all I can think about can I kill this bloody dragon off? He has to go. It has reached a point where it is surely him or me. I know which side the boys would take so it would have to be a cunning and irretractable death. There can be no perceived blood on my hands, so to speak.

Do you have any ideas?

I fantasize that in a particularly violent encounter with both Darth Maul and Darth Vader Fiery Ferguson leaps forward with his fiery breath, certain to overwhelm them and....oops, gets stabbed in the heart by not one but two light sabers. And dies.

Or, maybe he is The Incredible's distraction tactic for the omnidroid...but unfortunately gets ripped wing from unfortunate wing and limb from unfortunate limb by this ginormous fighting machine. And dies.

Could it be that he gets wedged in the sewery world of the TMNTs, swallows a tummy full of malevolent rats and poo. And dies.

Maybe he just gets heart burn during his victory flight over Lake Michigan, falls into the water, is too heavy to rescue, sinks like a stone. And dies.

I am open to ideas. The more violent and sadistic the better (and if we can weave in someone getting their neck chopped off at least the boys will be happy).


  1. Love it.
    what a good post to read first thing in the morning, even before I've had my coffee (and you know how important that is to me!)

  2. Superb post and I strongly suggest you start the Fiery Ferguson series of books. You surely must have ample material by now. you can start off with Fiery Ferguson Junior (for little 'uns) and then move onto Fiery Ferguson Senior (for the blood thirsty monster age).

    Don't kill him off (although I feel your pain) but task your children to come up with their own stories that they have to tell you each night. Put your ipod on and listen to that while they go on about killing everything, nodding every now and then as though you're actually listening.

  3. MTW - am drinking some of YOUR coffee as a type. Delicious. I might even be forced to switch.

    HOM - what a great idea - made all the more perfect because I already have the skills of appearing as tho I am listening intently whilst in a world of my own. I practice that particular skill often. Very often.

  4. I agree with Home Office Mum, you should be getting these stories down on paper and send them to a publisher! I've had a name for a children's book character for ages, but have done nothing with it!

    Maybe Fiery Ferguson could be attacked by visiting aliens? Or they could kidnap him? Or maybe you could tell your boys that he has died, and ask them to figure out what happened? Good luck!

  5. Fiery Ferguson gets married, settles down, has kids, and then can't have any more adventures because he's too deep in the murky mire of domestics responsibilities.

    Not a very good message for small children.

  6. Laughed long and hard. How times have changed. Last time I received a Fiery Ferguson request (when you were over nearly a year ago) there were no mention of Light Sabers or TMNTs... Fiery Ferguson, Captain Underpants and Johnny Drama had a lovely day at the park, ate BANGERS! for their tea and had bathtime with Grandad Bagpipes... x x x

  7. How about simply making Fiery Ferguson so boooooooooooring - and, btw, suddenly inordinately fond of pink - that no self-respecting Captain Underpants or Johnny Drama would give him the time of day? (But I agree with the others - hold onto the copyright. Which, btw, now you've written it down, you automatically have - over here, anyway).