This afternoon, shortly before teatime, I did something I'm not proud of*. Having successfully wrestled Beth down for an afternoon nap, and following the 50th tantrum/whingy outburst from the toddler prompted by oh, I don't know, being served squash in the wrong coloured beaker, I reached the end of my tether. When my services were called upon once again to find Bear, the soft toy dog he drags around with him through mud, snot and baked beans, and which smells as though it is slowly rotting from the inside, I cheerily replied "oh I think Bear is outside in the garden. Probably in the Cozy Coupe". Littly dutifully trotted off through the kitchen door, into the light drizzle and I... well, I hotfooted it in the opposite direction into the utility room, pulled open the cupboard door and rammed the last Mr Kipling Bakewell Tart into my face faster than you could say "Bear hasn't set foot in the Cozy Coupe all frigging day". For a few seconds it was all worth it. Until I heard a wail from the garden. "MUUUUUMMMMMYYYYYYY!!!!!! Bear GONE!!!!" And then I knew that I was up for the Worst Parent of 2016 award. And probably a visit from social services.
MD was shocked to his very core. That I could send our son out in to the rain on what I knew to be a bogus mission (how cruel). That I could contemplate doing so simply in order to demolish the last cake in the house and not have to share it (how selfish). That I didn't save the last cake for him (how unwifely).
But (and here is the big BUT), MD hadn't been at home with them both all day. Hell, all week. He hadn't craved just a single a moment of peace to have a pee, or drink a drink or empty the dishwasher without a little shadow uttering the phrase "I'll (insert activity) tooooooo Mummy". Hadn't sat down to drink an already tepid cup of coffee, only for a little head to pop out of the Cozy Coupe and shout "Mummy push. Pleeeease Mummy". Hadn't spent 15 minutes dressing a wriggling baby who has discovered the joys of rolling, whilst bribing the toddler with a go on the iPad just to ensure the entire contents of my make up bag were not emptied down the toilet.
So, I got to thinking... what else do I do as a Mother (an often frustrated and desperate one, at that) which I see as a necessary part of my day, but which may be viewed by others (my husband included) as borderline child cruelty?
- FREQUENTLY scratch/scrape dried on food/mud/snot from clothes (normally of the trouser variety) and say "you can wear these again tomorrow - we're not going out". Hell, that laundry basket is already full to capacity. Ain't my problem if you sat on your yoghurty spoon at tea time.
- Convinced the toddler that the house alarm sensors conveniently placed in the corners of the downstairs room (you know the ones - with intermittent flashing red lights) are actually Father Christmas's secret spy portals. GENIUS (it has to be said that I cannot take credit for this one. Whoever came up with it is a LEGEND!). Father Christmas watches little boys and girls throughout the year to make sure they are actually being good all the time. Ha!! Brilliant! Littly now bids "Ho Ho Ho" (as he refers to the man in red) a good morning, waves to him and points him out to guests. Whether or not it has had any affect on his behaviour is questionable, but the comedy value is priceless.
- Offered utterly ridiculous and hugely unappealing options to get the toddler to do what I want him to do. "You can either sit there nicely whilst I get your sister ready to go out, or you can go into your bedroom and put all the balls back in your play tent". Oh look at that, there is suddenly a little angel sitting patiently for me to strap the baby in to her car seat (though it's true, those bastard balls remain scattered across the bedroom floor... but that's a battle for another day).
- When asked for the millionth time in the day to push him round the garden in the Cozy Coupe/the house on his wooden scooter (both of which he is capable of driving himself but it is evidently more fun to be chauffeured), lamented "but I just can't remember how to do it. Can you show me what to do please?" and then spent a glorious few minutes watching him push the empty vehicle up and down the garden/round the kitchen island.
I cannot believe I am alone here, I refuse to believe I am that cruel a parent that my children will one day be down the pub recounting such tales and there won't be nods of agreement and similar tales of woe coming from each and every one of their friends. Needs must when you are a parent of smalls and I'd sure as hell like to hear of any further tips for a quiet(ish) life from any of you reading this.
*Who am I kidding?? I still think this was my smartest move all week.