It speaks to the state of your parenting when you go to a Psych ward – with actual unwell people in it – and the most out of control people there are your children. And no matter how delicately a threat I posed or delicious the bribe I offered they blithely ignored me and my distress at their wild animal antics. Luckily the birthday grrl – Nana – was completely oblivious and the only person who noticed their antics was the wide-eyed, quiet, perfectly behaved 10 year old – my cousins daughter – who clearly had not seen anything quite like them. That’s right – I was so grumpy that I allowed myself to be shamed (in my head) by a perfectly lovely child. Who was behaving perfectly. And not at all like an animal.
Nana didn’t notice of course. Mostly she just wanted to tell us how much her birthday had sucked so far and how she couldn’t eat the birthday cake that Mum had thoughtfully provided. (A big thanks to Mum for not getting a GF one – she normally would bust her ass trying to find something I could eat but this time she was too busy and it was perfect because if it was GF I would have EATEN IT ALL).
Conversation went round in circles with Nana in the middle ‘Has everyone had a piece of cake?’ Yes Nana. ‘I’ll have my piece tomorrow because I’m unwell’ we know Nana. ‘Have the boys had a piece of cake?’ Yes Nana (Boys look hopeful at their great Nana). ‘It’s my birthday and I’ve had a sore tummy all day, it’s not fair’ We know Nana that truly sucks. ‘Has everyone had a piece of cake?’. Yes Nana. ‘Your mother got me this beautiful necklace…. am I wearing it Kathleen?’. Yes Nana it’s lovely. ‘Do the boys want a piece of cake?’ ‘Has anyone seen my necklace?’ And so on. It was good to see her. She has been allowed out of the 24 hour watch bit and is now allowed to mingle with the others. She usually waits until one of the other women or men walk past and says in a stage whisper ‘It’s so sad Kathleen, They are all so bad in here – really doolally’. I’m not sure she is making many friends to be honest. But she might be out soon on good behaviour.
The school holidays used to be such a wonderful time for me when I was a young, childless teacher. I could lie in bed, be kissed on the forehead by an envious grumpy Dutchman as he left for work and then spend my days slothing about, taking photos, watching shit TV, op-shopping and catching up with my grrlfriends. Ah the good old days.
Not so now I am a mother. I have one child in school so guess what? He’s on holiday with me. And the other one is old enough now to notice when his brother gets to stay with Mummy so I have to let him stay home more during the hols.
I like my kids. Really I do. They are both bright and inquisitive and opinionated and totally rock and roll. They are the best little team a mother could ask for. In small doses. And not so much together as separately – special ‘Mummy and me’ time is good. We have a great time when they are not competing for anything. Yesterday the seven year old and I had a lovely time doing errands and talking about nothing. I learned an awful lot about computer games I will never play. And if I think about it – I had both of them on Tuesday and we went to the zoo and it was lovely. So it is possible I will admit but in small doses.
Today I just gave up. When we got home from the hospital I just let them do what they wanted. They built a fort for the kitten. They forced the kitten to ‘enjoy’ it. I rescued the kitten so they went to the TV lounge and wrestled. I shouted ‘Get OFF your brothers head!’ more than once. They threw themselves around the music lounge in an attempt to get the dog to wrestle with them. They played the drums. Briefly. They helped themselves to food and milk. They followed me out on to the road to speak to a friend and dragged the kitten up and down the street to meet the neighbours. They nearly fell asleep in the car when I played my Terry Pratchett audio book with the express purpose of getting them to sleep. Damnit.
I mostly craved sugar and tried really hard to ignore it. I was grumpy and impatient. I threatened to give the kitten to someone nice. I tried to bribe them with delicious treats which they declined. I gave up and pulled out the classic ‘When your father gets home he will hear about this!’. They didn’t care. You’ve got to admire that kind of confidence really. I gave up parenting and retreated to my bed. I painted my nails. I read a trashy magazine. I read the first chapter of my Willpower book (it says to only read a chapter a week and try to do the ‘experiments’). This week I am meant to try to ‘be in the moment and notice my breath’ for five minutes a day. HA! I’d like to be in any moment and have the energy to notice my breath at all. I’ve always been a shit breather.
Tomorrow the smallest child will go to daycare, and the eldest will come with me to work. I will put him in front of a computer and he will happily get screen stoned while I mark assessments and panic about un-written assessments for next term. But at least I will be distracted my body aches, headaches and sugar cravings.
Knowing I did (all) of this to myself doesn’t make it any more fun.