Parenting is essentially a college course that you never graduate from. Everything is a learning opportunity, and I am constantly picking up little tips and tricks to make my life a bit easier. I have the walking with a child hanging off my leg, the cooking in three minute bursts and the dressing an octopus skills down pat.
But there are some skills I’ve never quite managed to acquire. Maybe I missed that lesson, maybe my kids were busy doing some other fuckery or maybe I’m just an idiot.
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
Anyway, let’s get on!
The Ability To Change Nappies Standing Up
I know that so much of writing depends on the visual. So, for the purpose of enlightening you all, I must explain that in this scenario, I am not the one doing the standing up. Obviously. Because while due to my slightly underdeveloped height I am closer to the floor than the average person, my arms are also proportionately stumpy. So, in summary, I cannot change a floor-lying person from the vertical position.
Glad we cleared that up.
Anyway, I have seen so many posts online where people bemoan their newly mobile babies’ inability to lie still for the essential nappy changing process. The solution that is always given, without question, is ‘just changing him standing up!’
Well folks, I am most certainly not without question. More specifically, I am asking, “How the fuck do you do that??”
You see? Now you’re visualising!
Is there something I’m missing here? I get that changing the nappy of a kid that can corkscrew his own freaking body borders on the bloody impossible, but I can’t see how this makes it any easier. I mean, I’m seeing mess, I’m seeing chaos, I’m seeing my hand wedged between two ballooning baby thighs. And yes, I’m also seeing stealth poos and me futilely chasing a waddling shit machine across a room with a cream carpet.
How do you do it? Seriously tell me, because despite my last child rapidly approaching potty training, I feel like this knowledge would bring me peace.
So bring me peace, goddammit!
The Ability To Listen To Two Conversations At Once
My kids come out of school smiling, rumpled and extremely rosy-cheeked.
Does the school’s heating even have an off button?
We begin the walk home, that inevitably involves snails, falling over and an awkward conversation about genitalia.
You know, the usual.
As we walk, I ask the same question I always ask: “So, how was your day?”
What follows is a cacophony of noise that sounds approximately like this:
“Blah blah blah geflurgle bleath a playtime vegan hurly flooby hot dinner mooga PENIS!” Or something along those lines, anyway.
Ten points for anyone who tried saying that out loud. No judgement, I did it like ten times.
Now, in my opinion I should have the ability to listen to both of my attention-hungry scholars simultaneously. I mean, I have two ears! But actually what results is an overwhelming of the senses so great that I have to fight the urge to stick my fingers in my ears and shout, “La la la la la la la!”
So instead I have to referee a game of turn taking, partial sentences and periods where a child grabs at my sleeve urgently, only to follow it up with, “Errrmmmmmmmmmm…..”
What a pain in the arse.
The Ability To Make Sense Out Of Utter Nonsense
If you guys agree with me on just one thing in this post, it’ll be this: Kids are really fucking weird.
You’ve got to be constantly on your toes. Forget brain surgery, screw quantum physics and military strategies can kiss my ass. Trying to figure out what oils the cogs of my kids’ brains is one of the more perplexing tasks of my day.
You’d think that, having had so much practice, I’d be really good at knowing how to respond.
Well, I don’t want to undersell myself. I do have a fairly consistent response. It’s just not all that helpful.
Allow me to illustrate with a little story. The other night, Squeak woke up. On the scale of zero to hysteria, she was hovering somewhere around the strangled howl level. So, being the responsible mother that I am, I ran upstairs to sort her out.
Sliding into bed next to her, I asked my usual question, “Ah honey, what’s the matter?” I don’t know why I bother asking, the answer is nearly always *mumble* *mumble* *squeak* But hey, after being silent for the couple of hours following bedtime, it’s always good to know the vocal cords still work!
That night, Squeak decided to mix it up a little. Her face crumpled as she yelled, ” I lost my head!” And she continued to sniffle.
Now, what I should have done at this point was to comfort her. Cuddle, kiss, wave my boob in her general direction. Like, whatever.
What actually happened is that I sat on the bed, staring at Squeak with an incredulous expression on my face. I’m guessing it was akin to the look I imagine I would wear if I ever actually managed a full night’s sleep.
Yeah, as if that’s ever going to happen.
I didn’t do any of the comforting things. And the staring lasted for way longer than is truly acceptable when faced with a wailing toddler.
My bad. Really got to sort this shit out.
The Ability To Look An Angry Child In The Face Without Laughing
There is one thing I know to be true about angry children: They look really fucking funny.
I don’t know if it’s the sight of such an adult expression on a young face, or if I’m just some sort of sick individual who glories in the less pleasant emotions of my offspring.
Nope, it’s definitely the first one. They just look so freaking funny! And of course you’ve got the foot stamping as well. Squeak has levelled this one up with her invention of the ‘double foot stamp.’ I mean, essentially it’s just pissed off jumping. But that’s what makes it special!
It’s clear to me that I need to find a way to contain my laughter. I can’t think of one situation where it’s ever made it any better. But for me, the easiest giggler in the whole world, that’s easier said than done.
So I’m going to continue, messing up my authoritative stance within my house and escalating minor altercations with my guffaws.
That is, until they stop provoking me!
The Ability To See My Child Falling And Not Stand Frozen To The Spot (Sometimes With My Eyes Closed)
I’d like to begin by stating that I am neither evil, nor mildly sociopathic. I can’t help it! I think it’s some kind of fucked up reflex, although for the life of me I can’t figure out how it could possibly be useful.
It can be kind of frustrating. As we’re walking along, I see the trip, the tangled feet, the flailing of arms as my kid begins the downward journey towards the ‘splat!’ on the pavement. And my brain is yelling, “Run to her! Catch her! Fucking do something!” But apparently, the connection between said brain and my traitorous body momentarily lapses, because instead I become like a tree, completely rooted to the spot. And yes, sometimes my eyes close.
Once they’ve landed on the floor the spell is broken and I can run to them, scoop them up and do all of the various comforting things that are in my repetoire. All good. Well, except for the complete parenting fail that preceded it, anyway.
I’d love it if someone could give me an insight into this one, because it makes me feel really guilty! But no matter how hard I ponder it, I always come back to the same conclusion: I am really fucking stupid.
The Ability To Pick Up Children From School Without Leaving The House
Well ok, I haven’t exactly figured out how to achieve this one yet. I think you’ll agree it’s a bit of a pipe dream. But come on, a woman’s gotta hope.