The kids and I have developed a tradition of Sunday morning hangs in my bed, which, to be honest, is just about me trying to find ways to stay in bed as long as possible. I live with two six-year-olds though, and their sole purpose is to get me out of bed, so it’s a game of tactics, tenacity, and Doritos for breakfast.
My ex reckons it takes more work to stay in bed than it does to give in and get up, but I’m made of sterner stuff . Besides, the house beyond the bedroom is so full of responsibilities and jobs to do, so rampant with potential messes and kids falling over, why should I be in a hurry to get out there?
By the way, does anyone else have complete compassion fatigue when it comes to their kids falling over? I’m not proud of it, but the fact is that whenever I hear a familiar thud somewhere in the house, meaning someone has fallen again from something they’ve been told not to climb/ride/swing from, my fi rst thought is, “Thanks a lot. Now it’s my problem.”
I’m not exactly Florence Nightingale when it comes to boo-boos, but they have no one to blame but themselves.
My twins’ toddlerhood saw a number of nights in ER. Th ere was a broken arm, a battery wedged up a nose and some self-inflicted whiplash (she forgot that she was under a table and stood up with such force she required a neck brace for a week).
Yes, twin toddlerhood just about broke me, but I’m still here – older, wiser and generally less bothered. These days it’s a rub on the back and a Minions Band-Aid from me, and then you really need to be on your way.
There’s no doubt my six-year-olds are chaos machines. You can’t put them in cages, I mean playpens, any more. In fact, you can’t let them near a playpen because they’d no doubt fashion it into something to climb/ride/swing from, and then you’re back at square one.
And you can’t wear them out at all! I don’t think I ever really understood the concept of a “second wind” until I lived with two people who’re exhausted when they get home from school, but ready to party at bedtime.
They’re hard-core, man, from sun up until well after sun down, so on Sundays I want to keep them corralled in my bed for as long as possible. It’s elbows in my face, knees in my ribs, fights over what to watch on Netflix, dogs wrestling on top of us, chooks yodelling outside the window, bad breath and bad manners. It’s gross, painful and not at all relaxing, but I am keenly aware that we’re enjoying a great time in our lives at the moment. Stay with me!
Those little kids of mine still like me more than anyone and tell me so a hundred times a day, and they still believe everything I say. I guess that’s because they’re learning that a lot of the truth of the world is pretty out-there. I recently read them a book about how babies are made and my son dryretched! Once you’ve heard a story as insane as that, I suppose you think anything is possible.
I find myself stressing about the future sometimes. About how to deal with the dreaded hormonal changes, body-image issues, drugs, alcohol, social media, revenge porn, coward punches and everything else parents worry about.
Then I remember what a privilege it is to watch a child grow into adulthood, a privilege not aff orded to everyone. A couple of years ago I met a little girl called Pixie. She died of cancer a few days after her sixth birthday and her beautiful mum shared this poem by A.A. Milne with everyone Pixie’s short life had touched:
When I was one, I had just begun.
When I was two, I was nearly new.
When I was three, I was hardly me.
When I was four, I was not much more.
When I was five, I was just alive.
But now I am six, I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six now and forever
I’ve been thinking a lot about little Pixie lately, bless her. Six is a wonderful age, and I wish my kids could stay six forever.
The only thing for it is to recognise the wonder in every age of these babies of mine. Although, if they’re anything like I was as a teenager, I may need to get that poem tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.