Saturday, October 25, 2014

If I could go back I would put duct tape over the mouth of my twenty year old self

Ten years ago this {not so} little guy came along & transformed us from a twenty-something couple into a family of three. 

Before becoming responsible for my own offspring, I was full of ideals, opinions & thoughts on how I would raise our little angels. We hoped there would be more than one to call us Mum & Dad, of course it also went without saying they would be near perfect little angels.

We wouldn't be using a dummy, he would sleep anywhere, any time, with the ability to just nod off whenever the sleepy bug hit. He would eat all his vegetables & I would know how to deal with tantrums, toilet training & night terrors. 

From three months we would use cloth nappies when at home, to save money & make our contribution to saving the environment for the future of the baby {screaming} in my arms. When it came time for solids we would only be serving up home cooked lightly steamed vegetables & fruits. A new food would be introduced only after three days from the last, to ensure if there was any delayed reactions we would know the likely offender.

We would follow the {imagined} parenting handbook to the letter. In the event we couldn't find this handbook we would follow the advice of all those baby & parenting experts that are in every printed publication. At every health center. Stalking new mums in your local supermarket.

Then of course Ben came along & showed me that life wasn't meant to be like the movies or the glossy pages of a parenting magazine. He screamed. He ate baby food from a jar. By six weeks old he was sucking on that dummy harder than three year old with a lolly pop. My sanity depended on that sucker. I only ever used cloth nappies twice. In the same day, before declaring them too hard to deal with after Ben leaked poo all over myself & his legs for the second time in as many hours.  

By the time Rianan came along I had turned my jaded back on those experts & followed what I thought to be right for us. Plus Ben had well & truly broken us in, so while my ears weren't immune to newborn cries, they no longer drove me to a fetal position in the corner. Rianan also had a dummy & her bum never felt anything but disposable convenience.

'If it ain't broke don't fix it' became my motto. So we followed the same footsteps when Jack arrived. He too had a silicone sucker from the ages of ten months to sixteen months, because he wouldn't give up the milk bar. I hoped by introducing a dummy he would realize that the fake nipple I was shoving in his gob every feed time was full of warm milky goodness too.

For every opinion I professed, when my hips were still pre-baby width & I had no clue what I was spouting off, each & every one has been thrown back in my face courtesy of our minions. I am no stranger to humble parenting pie. 

I have done the exact opposite of everything I said before I knew better. Letting them finger paint yogurt on the windows then lick it off, watching the same movie again that has just finished because it stops a tantrum in it tracks, keeping them in night nappies for longer  because I can't be bothered to deal with wet sheets every night & every morning. Using food as a bribe, empty threats to discourage bad behaviour, ten warnings when I said three warnings & you're in time out. Hiding in the bathroom to eat chocolate in peace, because I don't want to share or deal with the tears that will follow when they realize the chocolate has been devoured by the Mum who doesn't share her treats.

To the kicker I have finally given in too...

As a Mama to four toilet occupying boys, I have given up the war of pee on the floor. I accept it is a daily unavoidable occurrence that comes with the male species. As inevitable as not saying no after one row of chocolate. 

I used to say my toilet would always be free of left over drips (& puddles) - both the seat & the floor. I'm not sure if it's because we have four stand-to-pee people (not including Doug, because he can aim just fine) but I have lost count of the number of times I have gone to the second {kids} toilet only to have my sock soaked in urine. Or even worse, get a wet bum.

At least most mornings, before anyone comes over, I remember to do the compulsory commode cleanliness check. In the event I haven't done the required checks & clean ups, I quickly race past, knocking our guest into the walls as I charge past them down the hallway.  

Because it's one thing for my socks to get wet, but something else entirely for someone else's.

If the last ten years I have taught me anything, it's to never presume you know what you're talking about. Especially on anything to do with birth, babies, kids & parenting.

Happy tenth birthday Bendjabum.

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