A story of grief by a man and a boy

progress review

This is a third guest post by my two-year-old son, Jackson Bo Brooks-Dutton.

In Jackson’s third post, he shares news of his latest nursery progress review – the first since his mummy died in November 2012. You can read his previous guest posts by clicking here and here. As usual he’s potty mouthed, not potty trained.

Dear Daddy,

I had my review at nursery yesterday. I got lots of feedback, which I’d like to take you through because I think some of it applies to you too. Mummy taught us both the importance of open and honest critique whether it’s in the home or the workplace. In fact, Daddy, Mummy also demonstrated how it’s possible to let anyone who we come into contact with know how they are getting on in their roles – that no one is too big nor too clever to be subject to an impromptu appraisal. That’s why I told that man in the off licence I didn’t like him the other day. Well I didn’t, Daddy! It’s his job to be nice to you, not mine to be nice to him. Mummy would have put him back in his crate too. Remember how she would always make you sweat with her complete lack of subtlety in dealing with frustrating bar, restaurant and shop staff, but then flash her beautiful big smile, politely thank them for pretending to see things from her unbending point of view and then leave with a handful of free sweets left on the cash desk for paying customers having not bought anything? I really miss that now, Daddy. Shopping just isn’t as much fun anymore.

So I’ve had my first progress review since Mummy died – the first since I moved to the big boys’ room too – and I’m sure you’ve been eager to know how I’m doing. Only deep down I think you already know. Thing is, Daddy, I’m not all that different to you and Mummy.

I could go on all day about what I get up to, who I play with, how my communication skills are coming on (like hello, have you seen my blog posts?), my social, personal and physical development, but we all know you should only really focus on ‘things to work on’ in a review. Everything else is just vanity and if you don’t know it all by now then there’s something really wrong.

Naturally you’re concerned about how I’ve responded to Mummy dying four months ago. You want to know if I’ve regressed, if I have difficulty in responding positively to the female staff, if I act differently at nursery to how I act at home. Well, Daddy, you can analyse things until the cows come home but I think we should measure my feedback against two criteria a) was I already like this before we lost Mummy and b) am I just really similar to the two of you?

So here are a few things that stuck out for me.

1. I sometimes get cross and want time alone

Don’t even go there, dude! This is you and Mummy all over so I don’t even want to hear you ask me if I’m okay. Just give me some space, yeah?

Mummy used to disappear into the bathroom for hours to get a break from everything and everyone. You sometimes disappear into your own head or retreat to your laptop when you’re sick of all the tea and small talk. BTW, that computer thing of yours is so boring when it’s not playing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse! What do you see in it?

Nanny also told me that when Mummy was small she hated it when there were too many guests in the house and that she would often take herself off to her room. I know for a fact that you still do that same thing yourself now. You pretend to be on the phone and escape to your room when there are too many people round at ours. You might play the Mr Social role well but I know big gatherings make your teeth itch. So before you start on the whole ‘you need to try to be more sociable’ shit, take a long hard look in the mirror, boy. Sure, we’re all friendly and outgoing when we need to be, but what’s wrong with a little privacy and space now and again? You guys turned out okay and I’m not acting any differently to you. So review that one, Daddy!

2. I don’t like being told what to do

So this one’s simple. Just stop telling me what to do! I mean, if you even bring this up with me I’m gonna open a can of whoopass on you. It was Mummy’s least favourite thing in the whole wide world too. She hated rules. Well I’ll correct myself, she hated other people’s rules. She loved making them. Remember the family newsletters she’d create for you, me and Nanny that outlined her latest thoughts on how we could make things run more smoothly around the house? They were fun. I’ve never seen such a pretty dictator as Mummy before. They do all tend to have quite a good eye for style though. Name me one who didn’t put a lot of effort into defining their silhouette.

3. I don’t always allow people to look after me

Do you not think I’m old enough to look after myself or something? Well actually, of course you don’t, I’m two. But you haven’t got a leg to stand on with this one, Daddy. You’re the worst at it. I’ve seen you carrying a suitcase and three big bags whilst pushing my buggy uphill and still refuse help. I know it drives you crazy when people treat you like you’re ill at the moment. You hate it when people try to do the jobs you’re perfectly capable of doing yourself. You don’t want people to encroach on your independence any more than I do. So quit smothering me!

4. I’ll be more likely to participate in cooperative play from the age of three

Well that gives me another seven months to enjoy telling others to get out of my frickin’ space then. Just over half a year before someone starts saying there’s something wrong with me if I won’t participate in group activities. It looks like a long time on paper, but the four months since Mummy died have passed so quickly and I’ll be three before you know it.

Maybe this is one for you too though, Daddy. You’re 33 and I don’t see you participating in cooperative play right now. Perhaps you also need a little more time. That’s fine though, stay and hang out with me. I might not want to play with others yet, but you’re not others. You’re my peoples. You’re my brethren. You and I can just chill, fam. Let’s just put each other first and the rest will sort itself out, blud.

Oh yeah, and one last thing. Good review but no pay rise. They’re putting them off until after the audit. Same shit, different room, Daddy!


J-Bo x

6 comments on “progress review

  1. Paul R
    March 21, 2013

    Thanks for the post, it made me laugh and it also reminds me of my nephews and nieces when they were younger. Sounds like Jackson is a normal two year old.

  2. ttash188
    March 21, 2013

    Awwww, I love this. Well done Jackson xx

  3. tash188
    March 21, 2013

    Awww love this. Well done Jackson x

    March 21, 2013

    so well put Ben need i say anymore!!! Vicky

  5. Pingback: playing happy | life as a widower

  6. Ami
    February 13, 2016

    Ben and Jackson

    I have read and followed your blog for a while and am very sorry for your loss. It and these posts have prompted me to write.

    I have hope and am seeing some signs that things might be changing and with my professional hat on I wondered if you’d seen the newish website (Older Drivers) that is long overdue but perhaps you are aware of it. You all popped into mind as I gave them feedback on it.

    If you’d like me to put you in touch with anyone I may know involved in this or other industry, policy or other attempts to deliver change, and with greater urgency, I will do my best. I know of one particular small organisation that may appreciate your input if you were able – they provide support after loss on the roads.

    If you think I can help you in any way I will and if you don’t reply that’s no problem at all. I apologise if this reply is unwelcome.

    Sending the very best of wishes to you.

    ps…if you could please not publish this post! I thought this was the quickest way to contact you but you can use the email provided.

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