What Pisses Me Off: My mum’s colouring-in habit 9



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My mother is addicted to colouring in. As soon as she has had breakfast the pencils and books are in front of her, she becomes so involved hours can pass and before she realises it’s time for lunch. She gets very pissed off with herself if she has blended the colours differently to what she had intended. I thought it was the dementia causing some confusion, but today she told me her vision in her good eye has become very poor. I always thought she was just concentrating but no, she is just trying to see properly.

She recently completed picture number 100 and her pencils are wearing right down. When she uses them they go back in the box in the same order, I am not sure if she is obsessive or just plain crazy. I thought it was quite an achievement to do 100 and was disappointed she would not be getting a note from the queen. I decided to put a question to my Facebook friends. As a result two friends sent Mum congratulatory emails; they were both pretending to be The Queen. One Queen was having trouble with the corgi’s eating coloured pictures, the other Queen was having trouble with Prince Phillip. Those emails kept Mum laughing for quite a few days.

This morning when I took her breakfast tray from her she immediately reached for her book and pencils. As she was flicking through the pages she yelled “Noooooo!”. She was extremely pissed off because she had not realised she had completed the book. The withdrawal symptoms were immediate and intense, I thought she was going into arrhythmia. I didn’t know whether to grab a bag of frozen peas or ring an ambulance. I spoke calmly so as not to ‘Poke The Bear’: “Chill out Mum. Relax. I will go get you another book.” So I quickly made myself look stunning, being a natural beauty it only took a couple of minutes.

I jumped on her mobility scooter and flew up to the newsagent at a strapping 10km an hour. The newsagent shelves were empty. I couldn’t believe it. I asked the fella for his help and he said I have them behind the counter. I couldn’t help but wonder what the pictures were going to be – I think he sensed my angst. I said “no time to calmly stand here and chat, the Dragon is pissed off she doesn’t have anything to colour in, I need another book STAT!”

He suggested one, and I said, “No she has dementia. The different outlines will confuse her. He suggested another. I said “No, too busy. She is blind in one eye. He said, “but she rides that scooter like a boss”. I said, “Yes well she is more confident now that her brain tumour growth has stabilised. Now please take my money I need to get home before she starts breathing fire at the dog!”


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Christine Meehan

  1. Love this Mother and Daughter relationship. And yes, I am and Adult Colouring Addict. So have the next book lined up before completing the first one . It is very calming to do, but have other things in my life as well…Understand about the getting it right , have made a couple of balls up.. With colours not blending…Happy Mother’s Day… <3

  2. I am addicted to colouring in too but have an iPad app that I use as I’m unable to use pencils to colour. Just love doing the pictures with new ones added every day so you never run out. The beauty of the app is you can quickly change the colour if you make a mistake. It is very relaxing and for me therapeutic .

  3. Sometimes we underestimate people with dementia. Because the sufferer becomes childlike they can relate very well at times to what is thought to be childs play. Colouring in is fantastic, for calming and occupying anyone. I am in my 60’s and I love to colour in in my spare time, it is so soothing.

  4. I remember saying to my mother a few years ago, I have the urge to colour in. Then lo and behold I started seeing all these adult colouring in books in the shops. I feel they have stolen my idea/read my mind. I have a few books on the go now, after I completed my first one in a week. I think I should give myself a medal for finally starting and actually finishing something (unlike my homework while at school). The only thing is like most people who start, you really do lose track of time, having found myself still at it at 4 in the morning!!!! And now when I go shopping, I look at pencils and say to myself “their pretty” I haven’t got that shade of blue, now I have as many packets of pencils, as I have books.

  5. Colouring has been proved to be therapeutic (excuse spelling), best way to keep children occupied at school too.

  6. There are a lot of great sites on the internet like Pinterest where you can download & print free pages for adults to colour. Some are amazing.

  7. I find this article extremely disrespectable to someone who has has the misfortune to have developed dementia.! By the grace of God go you and I that we do not have this awful disease.How disgraceful how she describes her Mother as a dragon. She should hang her head in shame.

  8. At least she is looking after her

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