Pam Pardy-Ghent: Mum’s the Word

It’s been 33 years since the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah ‘Fergie’ Furguson in 1986 but some images you just never forget. For me, it’s the moment Queen Elizabeth has to dart after Charles and Diana’s eldest, then wee little Prince William, to stop him from getting closer to the wedding carriage. 

She had her hands full, no doubt, with all the mother of the groom and queen stuff going on, but she had her nanny eyes on so it was all good, people. When it comes to kids and going where they ain’t supposed to be – like under the wheels of a fancy carriage – there just ain’t no app for that and nothing beats a tuned-in read-your-fool-arse-mind granny when it comes to a kid not getting over anyone’s time at church, school, or when the nation’s cameras are focused on your kin. 

A holy terror

It’s a scene played out a thousand times daily around the globe, and most of us have had at least one of those moments and feel the sting, even if it’s decades later. Usually, with the gift of hindsight we can also laugh about it. 

My eldest had his in church. He was holy alright. A holy terror. We lived in Ontario and during my pregnancy I had tried to kiss the minister’s you-know-what to convince him to christen my kid to coincide with when my parents would be up from home to visit their grandson after his birth. 

“That’s not how we do it,’’ the minister informed me when I joined the merry mass seven months into my pregnancy and made my first plea. They had a schedule, he informed me, and I would have to stick to that. A few ‘please kind sirs’ and one or two ‘I’m a lonely Newfoundlander far from home’ and perhaps a couple of ugly cries later, he agreed. 

Well, my son didn’t stick to his due date. He missed his own christening by about 11 days. So, Newfoundland it was for turning water into wine. Oops, wrong sacrament or Biblical tale. Home it was for the blessed baptism, I mean. 

When we returned to Ontario after my maternity leave, I thought it only right to remain a loyal member of the church I brazenly screwed the christening schedule up on. 

Never behaved in church

Well, my son had colic. And he enjoyed joining in on the hymns with his unique version of alleluia! As he grew feet, he learned to run and alleluia at the same time. He never, ever behaved in that church. 

The final straw came when he was about two. He put it up so much the kindly Sunday school teacher lost her marbles and left early. All the parents had to keep their wee ones in the pew with them for the remainder of the service. 

Well, my lad just ran wild. I finally had it. I picked him up and, stiff as a board bawling, I somehow jammed him into his car seat and went home out of it and never returned. There were probably a few amens and alleluias to that! 

A decade and a bit later, it was my daughter’s turn. She had one nutty moment at a grocery store with my mother in tow. Elia threw the groceries around and climbed on the conveyor belt one too many times. 

Positive parenting

My parenting technique I’ve named positive parenting, and it’s where you wait for a child to behave and you praise them. Well, others may call it blind as a bat or total ignorance because my mother looked at me with a ‘do something or I will’ look. 

She had one more twisted sister episode at Toys R Us a few weeks later. My suggestion of ‘pick just one’ darling was met with hysteria. I carried her out to the parking lot screaming her fool head off. She covered me in vomit she cried so much as I carried her out, body and bones. It was lovely. Positive parent that! 

It is with a ‘me too!’ moment smile that I rewatched that video of the Queen running after her grandson in heels and hat. In my book Her Majesty, in that moment alone, officially earned the title of The Queen of all things and ruler of all.

Pam Pardy Ghent, The Herald’s Managing Editor, can be reached by emailing [email protected]

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