I don’t have to hit on my husband much anymore. He’s what you’d call ‘a sure thing’ (and, let’s face it, I’m pretty irresistible). But, while I no longer have to craft clever pick-up lines, I have noticed that the sweet nothings I whisper in his ear (or shout in his ear if the kids are awake), have changed somewhat since we’ve reproduced. Here are some examples:
I am attracted to you like our 2-year-old and 5-year-old are attracted to puddles.
I yearn for you the way I yearn for coffee the morning after I’ve been awake all night with a puking kid.
I would give up a month of turns sleeping in for a moment in your arms.
Sooo, not flowery and romantic, but if you have known the sleep deprivation of parenthood, or walked with a 2 and 5-year-old who haven’t met a puddle they wouldn’t jump in, you know the depth of conviction with which I speak.
**Please note Hubs: That last one is a token gesture. I believe it is my turn to sleep in next. I will check the scoreboard and get back to you.
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’d like to call for a ban on the use of songs in the kindergarten classroom.
I imagine studies have been conducted on the pedagogical merits of melodies when instructing young children, but have there been any studies on the sanity of the parents who have to endure endless singing when those children bring those songs home? Has anyone thought through the fact that a 5-year-old child at play at home will mindlessly cycle through whatever song has most recently been impressed on her young mind in her classroom? And there are songs about EVERYTHING. I’ve heard songs about the days of the week, the months of the year, parts of a book — and this morning we were regaled with “Letter tree, letter tree, listen to the letter tree” on a persistent, loud, obnoxious loop. I’m sure I heard that phrase sung 1.2 million times (note: not an exact count. Might have been 1.18).
Children can learn without music. Long before “Letter Tree” was penned (was someone commissioned to write that opus? Are royalties being earned? Can I maybe hint to someone that my child should be sued for singing that song in public without permission from the artist?), children learned how to read. After walking uphill (knowing the return trip would also be uphill), in year-round snow, with only one pair of mittens to share with a sibling, my parents sat in a one-room school house and learned their ABCs. Neither has ever once fumbled on their days of the week, months of the year or confused their right and left hands. I’ve never once had to sing “T is for tidy up” to get them to clean. All that learning took place in a joyless, colourless, silent classroom and I believe they were the better for it (though, come to think of it, I may have heard a rendition of “The hooves on the horse go clop, clop, clop…”).
So, who’ll sign my petition?
Our oldest used to alert us to her deviant behaviour by saying, “Don’t look at me”. Sometimes she’d be caught doing something that she shouldn’t and before I could say anything she would say, “Too late. It’s already done”. As though she were saying – Look, Mom, you might as well not say “don’t do such and so”, I have already done it; let’s just move on to being friends again.
She’s either in training to be the worst criminal ever (“911? Are there any patrol cars near such-and-such address? I’m about to rob a liquor store”), or she’s developing a conscience.
One day after Halloween she’d reached her paltry limit of daily candy rations and was refused more. Shortly thereafter she asked me for the scissors so she could cut something (she has shown responsible scissor use since this previous incident) — but told me that I couldn’t know what she was doing. Only her sister could. I found her scissors and was going to let her be — assuming she was making her wonderful mother a wonderful card, but my mother-radar must have kicked in and I went into her room to investigate. She had a small package of 2 Starburst that she was attempting to open, and another one hidden under the pillow she was sitting on. Clearly her level of subterfuge is advancing (she was in another room, the package for her sister was hidden beneath her), however, she still has more learning if her criminal career is to amount to anything. Telling a mother that you are doing something that she ‘can’t know about’ is a red-flag, and, c’mon, at least close the door – or better yet, find a more discrete hiding place.
In her defence, she felt very miserable when her bad deeds were exposed, and she was sharing with her sister (you know, honour among thieves).
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.
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).