Wednesday, 4 September 2013
The End Is Nigh
Tomorrow a new era begins in my household; my youngest child is starting full time school. In response to this milestone many kind hearted and clearly superior parents a few years down the road keep telling me how much I’ll miss my little darling and how hard it is to woefully lament the loss of those early childhood years. Sparkly eyed they talk about those lovely days of bonding; crafting home-baked cosiness, creating salt-dough Donatellos and finger paint Picassos and bending my ear with rose-tinted nostalgia.
They say time is the ultimate healer, which I’m firmly inclined to believe given the ease these people can pluck beautiful memories from their pre-school wonder days. I, however, am still far too close to the sharp focus reality. It’s like me four years on telling pregnant people that “it really doesn’t hurt all that much” with regard to squeezing a wriggling squirming person out of your very small tight space down there. The reality is it hurts like hell, but my memories have been blurred over the years by the soft lines of time and I’m now in a place to pass on my obnoxious (and inaccurate) pearls of wisdom to those unfortunate enough to ask.
I love my kids, don’t get me wrong, but ten years of doing the exact same thing 24:7 would have anyone bolting for the nearest escape route. Screaming, vomit and poo featured on a daily basis throughout that time, and I would like to remind those lovely people (intent on guilt tripping me into some sense of enormous loss) of the realities which have so easily morphed into wistful wonder.
Those early awkward days of breastfeeding in public whereby attempting to maintain your dignity invariably ends up in some sort of crazy baby-boob-blanket entanglement. The baby is still hungry as you battle the blanket and cries so hard that your milk comes in and sprays, from your indecently exposed breast, the customer casually enjoying a quiet coffee on the opposite table. Er, so sorry, looked like you needed a bit more milk in that sir. Here to help.
Food shopping with a toddler and baby in tow- for those readers with kids, I don’t need to elaborate, but for the sake of you without, I will! You’ve managed to transport the kids safely across the car park to the trolleys when you realise with dismay you need a pound to access aforementioned trolley. Halfway back to the car to retrieve the necessary coinage your potty training toddler decides they need the toilet. Rushing inside, you abandon all trolley-napping attempts and make it to the toilet just in time for your toddler to pee all over the floor, pants and trousers still intact. Catching your reflection in the mirror you realise the baby has thrown up down your back and one handedly you attempt washing and drying of wet clothes in the Tesco sink. Your toddler whines at the wet trousers as soon as you put them back on and you find yourself in the café using underhand bribery techniques to ensure two minutes peace to feed your now-screaming baby (see above!) Satisfied, the baby poos up the entire of their back, and being the organised mother you are you have no spare clothes, but determination kicks in and you swear you’ll finish this trip if it’s the last thing you do. Three hours later and you leave the shop with a random array of items chosen mostly by your toddler. Explaining to your husband why he has figs on toast for the rest of the week will not be easy….
One word- baking. My particular toddlers insisted on doing everything themselves; reading the recipe, collating the ingredients, mixing, stirring and most importantly, cracking the eggs. Now you may at this moment in time be picturing a cosy scene of quality parent-child interaction, pleasant smells wafting from the oven and love permeating the air. The reality? I Can Cook (a kiddies cooking show for the less Cbeebies literate of you out there) is replaced by Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. With marginally less swearing. The kitchen looks like a bake-bomb has exploded; there is more eggshell than egg in the mix, I’ve lost my toddler in the flour haze and when I eventually find her, she’s eating sugar from the bag with a spoon. Enough said.
I could go on and on; screaming tantrums in restaurants, inappropriate and mouthy comments (by both myself and my kids in case you were wondering), sticky PVA and cotton wool based ‘craft’, vomitous car journeys, incessant unanswerable questions, convoy loo trips and constant explanations to in-laws as to why their grandchildren are not naughty, they’re ‘spirited.’
Ten years and four kids on I’m exhausted, depleted and ready for a change. I’m excited to go to the toilet alone; to drink a hot cup of tea; to have an uninterrupted adult conversation and to choose for the first time in years what to do with my time. But this journey has had it’s viewpoints along the way too. I’m more patient and less stressy, I’ve laughed harder and cried deeper than ever before, I’ve learned to appreciate my kids for just the awesome little people they are, and, most importantly I’ve learned what it is to truly love. Sacrifice, heartache, joy, sorrow and giving more of myself than I ever even knew was in me to start with. I can honestly say I wouldn’t swap that experience, with all it’s trials and tribulations, for the world.
The end is nigh and for me that is freaking awesome. Bring on the new era of chaos. Come on life, I dare you.