Welcome to week six of my bubby bloggy break! And my sixth and final (for now) guest post.
Meet Emma, a friend of mine from ye olde university days (which were, of course, practically yesterday, so less of the ye olde jokes, thank you very much). I have many memories of college days with Emma, but the one that stands out is being president (her) and secretary (me) of the college’s ‘cultural’ club in our second year. The club that was responsible for running public speaking competitions, foreign affairs competitions, debates, creative writing competitions, creative arts competitions, and many other cultural events.
The club that ran the first inaugural ‘inner-city bar tour’ that particular year. As opposed to, and far superior to, your run-of-the-mill ‘local pub crawl’. Very cultural. What an inspirational leadership team we made.
Emma joined the blogosphere in January with Just another mother, where she chronicles her parenting, weight loss and PND journey.
And she shares some of that journey here. Enjoy.
When you have little kids, it’s the small things that can be the most complicated
Since I had my two little ones – known in the blogosphere as Miss Munchkin (MM) and Baby Boy (BB) – I’m regularly amazed by how complicated the small things have become. Some examples…
Going to the toilet
Walk to the toilet, do what I have to do, wash my hands and leave.
I need to go to the loo, but BB recently started crawling and I’m not sure what he’ll get up to while I’m away, so I scoop him up and take him with me. He’s crawling around on the floor while I do what I’ve got to do, and that’s fine, but then MM suddenly bursts in waving an almost-finished bowl of yoghurt and shouting “mummy, me want more yo!” She repeats this 10 times, in case I didn’t catch it the first. I’m trying to explain to her that:
b) we don’t bring food into the toilet, and
c) she needs to ask politely
Plan to eat at 6.30pm. Get the ingredients out of the fridge and pantry at around 6. Chop, cook, serve. Eat at 6.30.
I’m feeling very organised and proactive as I get out the dinner ingredients at around 4pm and start preparing for our 5.30pm dinner time. Along comes MM, who loves being involved when I’m cooking. She often stands up at the bench on a little set of steps and helps by putting chopped vegies in a bowl, taking things to the bin etc. On this occasion though, I’m cutting raw chicken and tell her not to touch. The first thing she does when she gets up on her steps? Jams her hands into the raw chicken. So off we go to wash her hands. I tell her she mustn’t touch that one until it’s cooked. Back up the steps she goes and bam – hands straight into the chicken again. More hand washing, and then I explain to her firmly that if she does it again, she won’t be able to stand up at the bench and the steps will go away. Up she comes to the bench and in go the hands into the chicken. I take the steps away and all hell breaks loose. By the time I’ve dealt with the fallout from that, it’s about 4.45. I manage to get MM engaged in some play out on the deck and back I go to finish the chicken. Just as I get there, BB grunts and groans, does a huge poo, and starts crying. So off we go to the change table, sort him out with a new nappy and then it’s time to get back to it. But he’s still not happy – he must want a feed.
At this point I think “hmm…where is MM?” I thought I heard the back door but I don’t see her. Then I hear the distinctive swish thunk swish thunk of the toilet brush in the bowl. “Nooooo! Wait for mummy!” I call out, rushing off down the hallway. Although MM still wears nappies, we’ve had a couple of toilet training attempts, so she has become familiar with the toilet and potty. Now, if she has done a poo, she will often take herself off to the loo, take her nappy off and try to “clean up”. As I screech to a halt in front of the toilet door I see her standing proudly, toilet brush in hand, water dripping everywhere. Her bottom, the toilet, her hands and the potty are all covered in poo. “Me did a poo!” she announces, unnecessarily. BB is still screaming in the background, wanting his bottle. By this point I realise that there is no way the chicken dish is going to happen by 5.30. I clean up in the toilet, feed BB, and then chuck all the ingredients back in the fridge in favour of eggs, baked beans and toast, which I manage to get on the table by 6.30.
Go to shops. Wander around and grab what I need. Try a free sample of low fat yoghurt. Yum! Take groceries to checkout. Sneak in a Cadbury Creme Egg. Pay for groceries. Return to car, load groceries, eat Creme Egg, go home.
I arrive at the shops with about half an hour in which to do the whole weekly shop. Clearly this is unrealistic, but as I arrive I am still clinging to the idea that it might be possible, unwilling at this point to accept that I will have to come back here in a few days and repeat the whole wretched process. As we enter the supermarket, BB is in the little child seat in the trolley and MM is standing in the big part, but she quickly decides that this is completely unworkable for her. I’m then faced with two options:
a) screaming, tantrum-throwing toddler trying desperately to escape from the metal prison that I have so cruelly trapped her in
b) toddler running amok, picking up every thing she likes the look of and taking bites out of some of them (fruit, vegies, blocks of cheese…)
Obviously the preferable options would be:
c) toddler left at home with competent baby sitter or
d) toddler beautifully behaved at all times thanks to diligent application of firm and loving boundaries
Unfortunately, c) is unavailable and d) is still eluding me, despite my best efforts. So option b) it is, and I do my best to control the chaos, or at least limit it to an area of a few square metres at a time. After half an hour we have almost made it past fresh produce and the deli, and I realise that I’m never going to be able to get the rest of the stuff on my list. I chuck a carton of eggs and a tin of baked beans in the trolley and head for the checkout.
As we leave, I see a woman heading in with a young toddler in the child seat of the trolley, a preschooler in the main part and – horror – a newborn strapped to her chest. I admit, a little chill runs down my spine. But I gaze after her in awe. Random Mum With Three Kids, I salute you. You are a true champion of the small stuff.
Emma is a 30-something woman with three university degrees who spends her days cleaning vomit and squashed pieces of fruit off the floor.
She is a naturally slim person who has somehow ended up in the body of someone much bigger and wobblier.
She spent the first 4 months of her daughter’s life being dragged down by postnatal depression, and still plods away every day on the two-steps-forward-one-step-back journey towards believing that she is good enough.
She is just another mother.
What changed for you when you became a mother? Toileting? Cooking? Supermarket visits? Breathing?