Monday, March 12, 2012

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar (At The Kids).

You all knew it was International Women's Day recently, right? Well, it passed me right by.... no flowers, no breakfast in bed, not even a measly card. I know we shouldn't get too greedy - we have Mother's Day to look forward to, after all - but its not like the perks in this job are that ripe for the picking!

So, to all you women out there, especially those with small baggage in tow, this one is for you.

Ten Wonderful Things About Women:

1. The whole child bearing thing. This one goes without saying. Men, in the great scorecard of life, you are so far behind that it will take breakfast in bed EVERY DAY to make up for that one. And every time you use the word 'babysit' when referring to your own kids you start back at zero.

2. The ability to stand at the stove stirring at a constant speed, holding a bottle under your chin as you feed the whinging, clawing child on one hip, pondering why zebra's have stripes instead of spots, and why are they called zebras anyway, and no I don't think God painted them, but hey, who knows, and four-year-old could you please set the table, no three-year-old its not time for milk, oh for god's sake can you please clean up that mess, four-year-old I said set the table, no darling I do not know where your work phone is, oh hang on, I think I saw it in the washing basket, yes I am aware that it is not supposed to be washed, four-year-old I said SET the table not SIT on the table, yes, three-year-old I am quite sure zebras don't talk, yes I know Zigby talks but he is on TV, remember, we have talked about this, yes four-year-old I can see that you have wiped your bum properly, and maybe wipe the table too after you just sat on it with a bare bum, now can you stand up straight, hop out of the kitchen and dinner is served.

3. The ability to match an outfit to what last night's dinner might look like regurgitated all over your shoulder.

4. The ability to find exactly the right volume for exactly the right song in the car to suit everyone's very particular tastes.

5. The ability to prioritise attention giving by listening to each crying child's unique pitch, determining the level of importance and urgency, then drown out the noise whilst dealing systematically with each complaint. (This could also be phrased as: this ability to administer panadol to a crying infant while handing food to a whinging toddler at the same time as slotting Angelina Ballerina into the DVD player for the pre-schooler. And pouring a wine for oneself.)

6. The ability to overcome a fear of the dark and possible mugging in order to exercise at midnight as it is the only time left in the day after putting the kids to bed, washing the dinner dishes, making lunches and packing bags for the next day, folding washing and staring at Facebook for long enough to get that high pitch whining noise out of your ears.

7. The ability to frantically clean tidy the house from top to bottom throw everything into cupboards and find ingredients for a healthy (looking) meal in three minutes and fifteen seconds after your Aunty whose house is like a display home calls and tells you she is right around the corner, and do you mind if she drops in for lunch?

8. The ability to eBay (totally a verb). Who knew you could clothe an entire family for a year for just $14.57? Including shoes?

9. The ability to remember not only your kids' friends' names, but also their parents' names, where they live, where they work, how they fit into the town's social fabric and whether or not you want them to ever see your loungeroom the day before the cleaner comes.

10. Lastly, the knowledge that a sore knee gained from jumping off a top bunk and landing on their sister's shin bone will only be healed by a kiss in just the right spot, a little tickle under the arm and the magic word that only you know.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The 30% Clause.

Well. I am not one of those bloggers that blogs every day. There's not too many things I do every day, actually. I have so many things that I need to cram into life, that I have to rotate them. Somehow, over the last two weeks, my usually busy schedule has reached frenetic levels and parenting these three wise ones has been something that has happened while I wasn't looking, meaning I haven't had any stories to tell.

On the bright side, this must also mean I haven't screwed it up too badly lately.

 As tends to happen, though, when things are running along smoothly, one or more of children will pop their heads up, realise that all has been quiet on the Western Front for too long already, and some NOISE needs to be made, some TROUBLE needs to be had. You can't let harmony run along for too long, it might start believing it belongs around here.

Last night, we heard a thump. Not unusual around here... unlike most folks, we don't reach for the baseball bat, we reach for The Confiscation Bag. (Clearly, since it happens often enough that we have a bag for the purpose, confiscating toys is not actually that effective. But, cut us a break, at the end of a gruelling day, creativity levels are low.)

We tiptoe down the passageway. Without the element of surprise, we have nothing. The Husband flings the door open.... and catches the three-year-old halfway out the window. Again. She is stuck. We fight the urge to leave her there overnight, and The Husband reaches out to pull her down. And gets poo on his hands. The blessed child has painted her hair with poo. I'm not going to tell you what he said, but the three year old learnt some fine synonyms for 'poo' last night.

Tonight, she went to bed without dinner. I can't remember exactly what sin led her there, but whatever it was, she wasn't happy. It's always slightly reassuring when a punishment we inflict results in a reaction - tears are good, wailing is better, but, boy, tonight we hit jackpot. Half an hour later when we took the four year old to bed, the three year old was laying down, looking resolutely at the ceiling. Her face was covered in blood. I gasped and asked her what happened. She stonily replied, "I had a blood nose."
I asked her how it started and she turned to me and looked at me with a cold, slightly satisfied expression on her face. "I put my hands on my wardrobe, and banged my nose on the mirror until it started bleeding." She then turned away with the victorious air of someone who has conquered.

Later, I phoned my friend. She works for DCP, and I figure that if I tell her all my stories and she doesn't put my kids in The Confiscation Bag, I'm doing alright. I tell her a lot of stories. She's kind of my litmus test for parenting.

I asked whatthehellIamsupposedtobedoingwiththischildofmine. She said to me that, according to some professional development she recently undertook, if we get it right with our kids just thirty percent of the time, they will be fine.

Thirty percent? All this time, and my expectations have been way too high. Thirty percent. It's like a weight has lifted from my shoulders.

So, tomorrow, I'm just going to parent like crazy until morning tea time, then they are on their own.