Sometimes in defending our rationale for stopping at 2 rugrats (why do we even have to defend this? We gave the world two beautiful, charming, intelligent, funny, darling girls, isn’t that enough?), my husband or I will quip that we didn’t want to be outnumbered. Two parents vs two kids. Even teams, right?
That is the theory. Here is our reality.
More often than not the father and I are solo parenting rather than team parenting. I work by morning/early afternoon; he works by mid-afternoon/evening/night. When not at work we are each on duty as PIC (parent-in-charge — no joke, this is a term we use, as in, “I don’t have to answer this question right now, you’re the PIC.”). Now the parental team is down by one and the littles can double-team.
I notice this most when I am trying to clean (really, I do try). I can, reasonably, only clean one room at a time. More often than not I will emerge from that room only to find one or two or three of the other rooms in the house have been systematically destroyed by Team Tiny (yes, that would make us Team Huge, we’ve accepted our weight, you should too). I literally cannot keep up to them – they are messing up the place twice as fast as I can clean it (but I believe that it was Mother Theresa who said, “clean it anyway”…).
So, I’m looking for recruits. Who wants to proudly wear the Team Huge jersey and clean up after my family for no compensation? Anyone? Anyone? Huh, crickets in December. Odd.
I’ve never believed the hype about the temper of the red-head. After all, the red-heads in my life (sister, cousin, nieces) are all sweet and nice. Even our eldest, while not exactly the calmest yogi at the meditation retreat, only has flashes in the pan when it comes to anger. I didn’t even really buy into ‘the terrible twos’. Then our littlest red-head turned two and became the Tiny Tyrant.
Now our household faces the ever present fear that at any moment someone might, inexplicably, awaken the banshee-screaming, body clenched and shaking, uncontrollable rage of the little one. You don’t know what you did, you don’t know how to make it better*, all you can do is stay out of the way, while you woefully think,
I’ve angered it again.
*I’d like to note that I made the observation, that just as my husband gets to see what he is like to live with as we endure the endless energy and sound coming from our eldest, that now I get to see what it is like for him to live with me when I am faced with this kind of ‘what did I do, how do I fix it’ issue. However, if stand-up comedy routines are to be believed, I think this is a common condition of marriage and not particular to me.
My youngest likes to add an “a” to the end of words. Mostly verbs. So we get things like: “I hugga da’ puppy”, “No changa da’ bum”, and “Let me fila da’ tax forms” (when it comes to money management around here, she’s the best we’ve got).
She, very frequently, does not respond to repeated (and repeated, and repeated) calls of her name. I’m pretty sure the name we’ve given her isn’t her name. Now I’m wondering, given her treatment of the English language, if we should have settled on an Italian name.
I don’t like to be touched all that much. One of my quotes in my high school senior yearbook is “Don’t touch me”. My mother still says this to me mockingly whenever she puts her arm around my shoulders and I reflexively flinch. My purpose here is not to delve into my own psyche, I share this merely to lay the groundwork for the following:
I am the Miley Cyrus* of my household.
I seem to be immensely popular with little girls aged 2-5 years who live within my home. I can’t go anywhere in my house without being followed by one or two of them – often screaming. I can’t sit anywhere without being crawled upon. I can barely get through the night without a crazed “fan” wanting to crawl into bed with me. It is exhausting (without the benefit of being hospitalized for exhaustion as some celebrities find themselves in the lucky position of being — can you imagine being given the gift of doctor mandated rest? Ahhh). Thank goodness they only have one play camera and only one of them can effectively use it. Having flashes constantly going off in my face would just be over the top.
As my first paragraph would indicate, being adored has it’s drawbacks for me. There are a few people in my life who aren’t put on the ‘no-touch list’, my husband and children being the primary people given a pass. But there are moments and days when I long for the rise in my husband’s fame from Canadian TV star to Justin Bieber, so that I might sit in peace.
In the meantime, who wants my autograph?
*Please note, I use Miley Cyrus as a comparison for her current level of fame — all comparisons between her, her antics (award show or otherwise), her clothing choices for sitting on wrecking balls (notably her birthday suit) and I end with that one comparison alone. Ok, ok, my hairdresser did shave the sides and back of my hair UNDERNEATH hair that came down to my cheek, merely so it would lie right. I really have no idea what she was thinking, and in reality it was long enough to pull back into a Brad Taylor kind of thing, so again, no comparison to Miley (kudos to anyone who gets the Brad Taylor reference – yous my peeps).
When small children have come to roost in your home you long for the days when your level of confidence in getting a full, undisturbed night’s sleep becomes much greater, nigh unto cockiness. I’m actually surprised that those who don’t sleep with one ear tuned for the little slap of footie-jammies hitting the hallway floor don’t actually walk with an arrogant swagger. I think I will struggle to not walk up to stroller pushing, caffeine slugging, bleary-eyed parents of young children and say “HA! Eight hours last night! In your face!”
But I knew about this one. I may not have fully understood the depths of sleep deprivation the human mind and body can withstand over the years. But when you are sporting that baby bump you might as well be wearing a t-shirt that says “Please tell me to ‘sleep now while I can’ or other such tired comments about the sleep deprivation I am about to face”. (This may seem a little long for a t-shirt, but just think about the expanded real estate the pregnant belly provides a t-shirt — you could probably fit that message AND the due date, whether or not you know the gender and/or are sharing that, and your thoughts on home birth just to avoid having other conversations over and over and over again).
Image source: canadianfamily.ca
What I WASN’T informed about is the longing I have for getting through a meal — ANY meal — without a toddler planted in my lap mooching food from my plate. The little one finishes her meal and then crawls up into my lap to help me finish mine. Every. Single. Time. I share my cereal, sandwiches, salads, burgers — everything. And as it is a biological imperative to feed one’s child I indulge her. But, trust me, the moment she finishes her meal and then hops down to play, I will finish my very own meal with dramatic flourish and then do a happy dance (though maybe I will wait for an hour or two for the dance – wouldn’t want my first solo meal to be ruined by indigestion).
I thought that I could leave my 1 1/2 year old and my 4 year old unattended for the 5 minutes it takes to shower (ok, 8 minutes; ok 10). I’ve done it before with no catastrophic results. Other parents must shower.
Alas, the scene I found when I emerged the other day would indicate otherwise.
My first indication something was amiss was the plaintive calls of the little one. She was stranded on top of a large basket of clothes where her sister had deposited her before abandoning her for more tasty and deviant diversions.
As next I found the big one traipsing out of my bedroom holding a pudding cup (retrieved from a high cupboard courtesy of a floor to chair to counter climbing expedition) that she had been in the process of opening with scissors which were now pudding-covered and IN HER MOUTH. (I have heard running with scissors is frowned upon. I suspect ‘walking with scissors in mouth’ is not really a grey area of this particular danger)
Turns out I can only shower when Daddy is home or the kids are in restraints. And the big one is still on probation for her multiple violations.
Sadly, the baby’s resume hasn’t yet garnered any interest. However, we are noting a number of things that might indicate a career path for her. She is very talented and we think she’d be happy in any of the following careers:
Based on her interest in my teeth I would say that she would love to be a dentist.
Image from: thewritersmanifesto.com
She has also recently developed a pokey interest in my eyes that could point to optometrist.
Considering her frequent use of “jazz hands” and bouncing to music I’d say she has the aptitude to be a dancer.
Given her tendency to put a second bite of food into her mouth while the first is still in there, it would appear she has the instincts of a competitive eater.
Her ability to make her parents laugh indicate that stand-up comedian could be in the cards.
And of course her outstanding good looks means that model is certainly possible.
What job should we encourage?