Recently I wrote about some of the clichés I’ve discovered are completely inaccurate since I had children. There are a few expressions however that never used to make sense in the days before child but now I’m a parent I totally understand. Don’t worry I’m not going to get all “I now know everything because I have children”.
That’d be annoying and far from true, having children does not necessarily suggest superior knowledge. I remember a childless comedian, once saying that people would ask him what he felt about subjects totally unrelated to children, like what he thought about a civil war and when he replied “I don’t know” was given the patronising retort “Ah but you don’t have kids”. There are some phrases though that due to circumstantial evidence now make much more sense to me.
It started just after my first daughter was born and like many post natal patients, I was told I needed a little work. I won’t go into too much detail as I believe the delivery suite is a bit like Vegas & generally what happens in The Delivery Room should stay in The Delivery Room.
But I remember thinking when the post birth work was being carried out, I totally get the expression “stitched up”. I’d thought the painful bit was over but was told stitches were necessary. They didn’t make me feel better at the time though and I was completely reliant on the knowledge of other people who I was unsure had my best interests at heart.
This feeling of naivety continued with the realisation that newborns don’t sleep at all but scream continually for the first few days. I fed my second child into oblivion but with my first I hadn’t discovered this method of placation. I genuinely thought Izzie’s continual screaming may harm her, I associated crying with sadness and just wanted to make her happy and gurgley, you know like babies in the Pampers adverts?
I had mixed feelings about a dummy as I’d heard they can hide hunger signs of a young baby and hinder speech of an older baby. But usually something so controversial is bound to have special powers, right? So eventually I reached for a Pacifier hoping it would well, pacify, only to have said screaming child repeatedly “spit their dummy” out. I guess it makes sense when I’m mid rant do I really appreciate someone suggesting I calm down? Er no, I want to “get it off my chest”.
While we’re on the subject of ranting how about “there’ll be tears before bedtime?”. Oh yeah baby, and during and most certainly after and well into the early hours. It’s ironic how as children we try and wriggle out of going to bed yet as adults most of us would really like to spend more time in it. My girls continue to confuse bedtime with party time and the fact babies prefer to cry when they’re tired, rather than sleep, continues to confuse me.
Children seem to regard sleep as some sort of defeat and I remember when I was a child, older relatives shaking their heads in despair at family occasions and remarking “she’s overtired and overexcited,” Being told I was tired was right up there with being told I was naughty. I found it very insulting and a little unfair. After all most of the time adults had got me into that state plying me with Pepsi, encouraging me to fly around uncontrollably.
Besides what child doesn’t want to fly around? Sitting still is near impossible pre puberty. Which leads me on to the expression “find your feet”. As soon as a child begins to “stand on their own two feet” their confidence does indeed grow along with their power and even more scarily they know it. Yes you can attach them to cute little toddler reigns but in my experience you may be the one trying to navigate but the child is in control of driving.
Occasionally, if you’re feeling brave or just desperate to get things done without a loose toddler causing a trail of destruction behind you, you may be able to restrain them by bribing them to sit in a pram. My girls are quite picky over their bribes, the stakes are high and usually only raisins, Smarties or Buttons can get their behinds in a buggy.
Once the child is restrained I resort to less powerful bribes like books they’ve already seen or toys they’ve already played with. Which leads me on to the next phrase “throwing your toys out the pram”. Another power game, usually won by the passenger in the pushchair.
I guess most of Jemima’s questionable behaviour is because she’s going through the “Terrible Two’s”. Jemima is beginning to know her own mind without having the vocabulary or social skills to get what she wants without behaving badly. I realise she wants to make a statement when she throws one of her spectacular back flip paddys but possibly doesn’t intend to inflict the level of GBH she can sometimes manage.
Izzie is at the enviable age of 3, where she has the vocabulary to say exactly what’s on her mind without considering the possibility she may crucify someone’s feeling. Thankfully this is usually funny like when I hesitantly tried a new look of boots and leggings and was met with Izzie asking “Mummy why are you wearing wellies when it’s not raining?”
My girls infuriate and insult me with frightening regularity. In fact I have never taken so much grief, in such a short period of time, from two such small people but I will always love them. So I guess the saying that “a parent loves their child unconditionally” is also true. When people used to say they’d die for their children, I’ll be honest, I thought it was a little dramatic but I’m starting to realise, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for my two baby girls.