My husband took my daughter in the direction of the printers… thinking he could distract her via the big screen TVs. I took my son to the white goods. He loves vacuums and dryers… and the latter was to be our primary purchase before the rain set in for the week.
I had the Mummy staples for a shopping trip. Food. Water. Threats. Child leash.
And then my Houdini son figured out for the first time that the cool pooh bear toy backpack was actually… a leash. Shit. That deduction wasn’t supposed to happen for another year. And chaos ensued.
From that point onwards, pressing every button on every dryer was no longer sufficient entertainment for my son. He also had to. Try. And. Run. Which meant when in a distracted moment I let him go, he broke free of the leash. But all freedom comes at a cost, and he ran straight into one of the dryer doors he had opened only moments earlier.
*Sigh*. Yep. These are the glory years.
The staff member was incredibly worried about the impressive *thwack* noise my son’s head made running into plastic. He cried, but a quick visual by Mummy determined that there was A) no blood B) no pupil change, so no concussion and C) son was crying and still mobile so…ibid…
‘I think your son is really hurt.’ She said concern weaving through her voice.
I held out my arms and instinctively my son came to me, the unique smell of his salty ash blond curls in my nostrils, his soft face buried in my neck for comfort. I kissed him, murmured a word of reassurance and then I turned to the saleswoman and said wearily ‘He’s fine, so how much will you give this dryer to me for …really..?’ During the bartering process that followed I handed my now screaming son a rice cake…and my daughter the same. Daddy, having heard his son cry in pain, was naturally and silently beside me. I had opened and divided the packet while negotiating, unthinking. My husband and I shared a General’s look of understanding. There was only so far the battle could be won. We had survived another weekend trip to a store. So with world weary sighs we returned to our car.
From arrival to departure, the trip had taken 20 minutes. That was all.
Upon arriving home, it was my daughter’s turn.
After hanging out washing… I walked back inside to find long, dark tendrils of hair in the lounge room, down the hallway. Mortified, I ran into my daughter’s room, and I found her frantically trying to stuff more hair into her desk drawer. I opened a cupboard and found more…alongside the offending pair of craft scissors. She tried to blame her brother.
Whereas our son’s afternoon adventures had been focused on the physical, our daughter’s went straight for the psychological – the guilt. However, at 5 consistency in stories isn’t really a strength. One minute her explanation was she wanted to look like one of her school friends and keep her hair out of her face (a failure on both counts) and the next she told Daddy it was because he was going away and she’d miss him (knife to the heart kiddo…). And then she told me it was because I was talking to Daddy and she didn’t want to interrupt. (Uh huh, sure sweetheart, because that’s stopped you before.)
The truth behind her Edward Scissorhands attempt is probably a combination of all three explanations. Which makes it no easier to address. But on the upside, my children’s shenanigans does make Mummy an active contributor to the Australian and NZ wine industry.
This all happened in under two hours. UNDER TWO HOURS. Including travel.
That night, sitting on the couch with my husband with a wine in hand…ok, my third wine in hand…I was reminded of a conversation I’d had at work that week. I was in a new section, and my colleagues talked of the ages of my children as the ‘glory’ years. Even my Mother has said ‘Little children, little problems. Big children, big problems.’ Yeah, thanks for that support peeps.
While I don’t doubt this is the case, it’s all relative. You don’t suddenly inherit a 5 year old or teenagers for a reason. (Unless you are a foster family and then damn you are amazing people.) We all have to learn and adapt to these tricky situations as a family. We all grow together. But trying to tell me this moment is grand and just treasure it because it only gets worse? Where is the support and solidarity in that, seriously? My uterus has already logged out of future endeavours…but please don’t sow self doubt and fear in its place.
I know these moments of frustration are fleeting. I do get that. Through-out the exhaustion and the maternal fear, please just let me enjoy the touch of my daughters rose bud lips on my cheeks and the smell of my son’s salty curls. Just let me enjoy the moment, or groan at the frustration.
The rest I’ll deal with as it arises. That’s all we as parents can do.
*Many thanks to the patient staff at The Good Guys for enduring my children without judgement and being concerned about my son’s welfare.