Out the mouths of babes

I cannot tell a lie Mummy!

A couple of days ago my highly independent, endlessly curious daughter became really upset when I would not allow her to climb a step ladder to help me replace the verandah light bulb.

She stood in the front doorway of our house pronouncing through gulping sobs: “It’s not FAIR! It’s not fair!!! It’s not faaaaaaaaaaaair!”

After trying to ignore her for a little while, I could no longer stand the wailing, afraid that the neighbours might come rushing outside to see what inhuman punishments I was meting out to my helpless child.

But before I could utter either placation or threat, I was astounded and amused beyond measure to hear her next woeful words: “It’s not fair! Now I have to find another house!”

“Another house sweetheart? But why?” I asked, bemused.

“Because I have to find another place to live!” she tearfully explained.

As with the time she announced quite innocently and guilelessly after soundly slapping the fat roll that is my stomach: “Mommy is a fat lady!”, I had to issue a loud guffaw of astonished disbelief.

I mean, can you please tell me where children pick up these things? She is only two-and-a-half after all! What can I look forward to after another 10 years of development?

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Did I toss the baby out with the bathwater?

Water Torture!

My brilliantly creative friend Danny suggested this blog’s headline. I reckon it’s a great idea.

So here’s my first quick foray into sharing the hilarities of child-rearing.

After Safiya was born I wanted to try remember some of the ironically, scarily hilarious stuff I was experiencing as a mum.

One Calvin & Hobbes-type comic strip came to mind of pregnant mother preparing for baby’s arrival excitedly for months: antenatal classes, nursery, clothes etc etc, then the baby comes out and the mom and kid sit there looking at each other thinking… “OK, so now what?”

I guess having a baby is a bit like planning an enormous wedding but being completely unprepared for what M-A-R-R-I-A-G-E actually entails… lots of people seem to forget that the wedding is not the marriage, and once you’re in it, you’re not sure what you’re actually supposed to do for the rest of your lives together!

Babies. Until I had one of my own, they were to me mostly charming, sometimes irritating little beings that I never really paid close attention to or deeply considered the significance of.

I admit that I often felt quite awkward with some of those that I had the opportunity of handling. It felt like I might break them if I wasn’t careful.

At arms length – i.e. something you can give back if you’ve had enough – they were amusing enough, cute and entertaining: a momentary talking point.

And they can be good for the ego if they respond well to you, a non-primary caregiver.

That is, if you can stop someone else’s squawking infant from throwing a tantrum they can make you feel quite special, as in: “I’m good with babies, you know.

Of course, the opposite is also true: should a baby react badly to what you think is your most animated baby-entertaining face, it can quite severely put your nose out of joint.

The moral of that story? Try not to invest too much ego into other people’s babies… or for that matter, your own either. Invariably your ego is going to suffer some kind of humiliation, so you may as well just leave it out of the adventure that is parenthood!