Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Second Child: The One That Taught Me Not To Judge Other Parents.

But only silently... or I will probably live to regret it.
The other day, I was driving down the road with The Husband and the small army all tucked into their respective car seats like sardines in a can. A car drove past with a little girl standing on the backseat looking out the window. I said, "Put your bloody seatbelt on!" The Husband, thinking I was talking to one of our kids (ahem, not that I ever speak to my own blessed children like that), reached behind his seat..... and calmly clicked in the three-year-old's harness.

That is my second born. The one who continually reminds me not to judge other parents - because chances are, someone else is looking at me, shaking their head at how I could let this angelic looking child completely run the show.

She is the kind of child that trades on her looks. Lord knows where she got that from. I tried it, but sadly, all my looks have ever gotten me are some retail 'assistant', head cocked to the side, lips pursed, saying, "Try it in the black, dear, black hides a multitude of flaws." The three-year-old, however, has old ladies wrapped around her little finger, mothers smiling at her indulgently and burly men melting into little mushy puddles, rendered completely helpless by her dreamy charm.

This morning she informs us that she no longer has any need for her bedroom door, as she prefers to exit using the window. As all good mothers do when their children tell them things, I assumed she was bullshitting and rather condescendingly said, "When have you ever used to window to get out of your bedroom?"
"At nighttime," she tells me, "to play outside."
A quick check of the window reveals that sure enough, the flyscreen has been slit across the bottom and there are grubby footprints on the outside wall where she has clambered back in. The four-year-old confirms her story. "Yes, mum, she's never in the room when I wake up!" Unsure whether to berate the four-year-old for not thinking to tell me earlier, berate the three-year-old for roaming the garden at night, or applaud her resourcefulness, I glance at The Husband and we do what all concerned, responsible parents would do in this situation: we laugh. I tell The Husband that I deserve a bloody medal for parenting this child, and we try very hard to convey the Seriousness of her behaviour.

She is also the kind of kid who always looks like an orphan. I could dress her in a $100 David Jones dress and she will look like a street kid who has raided the leafy green suburbs' Salvo bin. Her hair refuses to conform to society's idea of what neat looks like, and I have seriously seen dirt fly through the air and land on her face, for no reason at all. She's not mad keen on underwear, either.

A couple of weeks ago, she went to three-year-old kindy for the first time. My kids go to our local private school, and, let me tell you, that is a lot of pressure for an already frazzled mother of three. There are rules. Not school rules, mum rules. The Husband laughed at me, when, on this first day, he got up from the drawing table after colouring in a picture with the three-year-old (yes! Just one!) and made moves to leave. I hissed at him through smiling lips, "You can't go yet!!"
"What?" he said. "Why not?"
"You can't be the first parent to leave!"

He thinks I take it all too seriously.  I don't tell him that I chose our current car based purely on how it would look in the afternoon school pickup car lineup. It's no Prado, but it's close enough.

Anyway, at the end of the three-year-old's first day, I throw some (nice) shoes on, brush my hair and try to look unfrazzled as I wait outside the kindy door for her to appear. She prances out, looking very pleased with herself, and I notice she is wearing a skirt. A pink, lacy skirt.
"Who's is that skirt?" I ask her.
She vaguely gestures towards the dress up corner. I march her back into the classroom and ask her to put the skirt back in the box. She pulls the skirt off..... and is wearing nothing underneath. Nothing. No shorts, no knickers, nothing. We hunt around and reclaim her shorts, but it seems her knickers have vanished. The teacher's aid tells me she has never come across anything like this before. Keep your knickers on unless you are in the toilet is now a classroom rule.

Sometimes I think I should be driving a panel van.

Now, I do try not to judge other mums. I am fairly sure children are aware of how little we mums like to be judged and how much we actually do it, and use that awareness to their advantage. So unless, you are this mum...

or this dad
you are probably pretty safe from me.

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