Saturday, 28 May 2016

A toddler blogs...

A guest post from Dopey herself...

My mum is here a lot.  I believe that she uses this space to report and reflect upon her experiences as my mother.  I know that she gets a lot out of reading the words of mums.  She gets some comfort knowing that there are others out there who share her motherhood frustrations, love and confusion.  I'm very glad that she has all of you but I worry that she's getting so caught up in working out how to be a mum that she forgets that I'm learning on the job here, too.  I don't know how to be a daughter.  Heck, I still working out that I'm a human.

So, on behalf of the little people around here, I want to share a little bit about what it's like being mothered.

I want to start off by assuring you that I love my mum.  Honestly, I do.  She's great.  She feeds me, keeps me safe and tries her best to entertain me.  And, of course, she gave birth to me.  If nothing else I have to credit her with that.  But she's also pretty hard work.

I'm a pretty simple being.  The way I see it I just need a bit of food and a tiny bit of sleep.  I love life.  It's amazing.  Each and every day I see a gazillion new things; tree blossom on the ground, a bee buzzing at my window, fluff on the carpet where there's never been fluff before.  It's awesome!  And my body just keeps getting better and better.  I used to think I was pretty nifty lifting my head up during tummy time, but now I'm running, jumping, climbing, sliding.  It's so unreal and every day I discover something new that it can do.  So in addition to the food and sleep, I need a bit of time and space to process all of this wonderfulness.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

Apparently it is.  You see my mum doesn't seem to appreciate much of the above.  Sometimes she goes along with me and we have a good day.  We play together, read together, nap together, eat's fab.  Yes, there are some tough moments during those days.  She's a bit obsessed with wiping me, for example.  My nose, my face, my hands and let's not even get started on all the wiping that comes with a nappy change.  I doubt there is a single one of you out there who doesn't feel my pain on that one.  But overall, those days are good.  Agreed?

And then on some other days, things are harder.  Don't ask me to explain why because I just can't.  I do what I always do but for some reason mum doesn't.  Things that normally make her smile, like saying 'cheers' before every sip of water at breakfast or playing aeroplanes with my toast, suddenly don't make her smile at all.  She doesn't join in, she doesn't even just leave me to it.  She gets all stressy and exasperated and tells me to 'eat up!'.  She rushes me and sometimes even takes my breakfast away before I've finished.  Yes, fellow small people, it's THAT bad.

Then there's the unexpected upsets.  Things can be going so well and then, for no reason I can fathom, they plummet.  Take mealtimes.  Just as I get really hungry she wanders off to do her own thing.  She takes me to the kitchen and makes me think that food is coming, but then turns her back on me!  She expects me to play on the floor while she plays with her things on the kitchen counters.  I reckon that if she isn't going to feed me then she could at least let me see what she's doing up there.  But she doesn't.  She just tells me to stay back because 'there are hot things here'. Then she sends me to my toy box to find cars and cows and balls and whatever else she can think of.  She doesn't stop so we can play with these things together, she just says, 'wow! now can you bring me a...'  And this makes me mad.  I'm hungry and tired and ignored and fed up of fishing random objects out of a box for no reason.  At these moments I feel like grabbing her shoulders, looking her in the eye and calling a time out.  I want to tell her to just take a moment with me.  But I can't reach her shoulders so I grab her legs instead.  I can't call a time out, so I whine. I cry and cling and protest and hope that she stops what she's doing and looks at me.  But it never works.  In fact, it just makes her all stressy.  I know I should probably learn from this but you know what?  I'm 18 months old.  Crying and clinging and whining is pretty much all I've got.

And then there is her insistence on doing absolutely everything for me, all of the time.  Whenever I try to feed myself or brush my hair or get my shoes on she always steps in.  This drives me nuts.  Yes, she can get things done more quickly than I can, but how am I meant to learn if she never lets me try?!  I must admit that on such occasions I do let out a fairly decent scream.  I know that this riles her and makes things a bit worse but what else can I do?  I'm not screaming to be an asshole.  I'm screaming because she's getting on my nerves and I have no other way of letting her know.

I wish I could read her mind.  I wish I could understand why I get a cuddle when I climb onto the couch with her in the afternoon but in the middle of the night I don't.  Why if I bring her a book to read while she is sitting on my bedroom floor she will read it but if I bring it to her while she's at her computer she won't.  Why some days we stay together all day and others she disappears out of the front door for hours.  It's just all so confusing and there's no guide.

But then there are some really nice moments. Moments when she stops what she's doing to read the book I've brought to her.  When she sits with me while I work out how to get my leg into my trousers.  When she stops swiping at the iPhone screen and chases me round the house.  And in these moments, I realise that this is what being mothered is all about.  That even though some days the good moments feel few and far between they WAY outshine the rubbish bits.  And so long as we both treat each other with love, show a bit of grace and recognise that we are both trying our best in the roles that we've been given, we're going to get through this just fine.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Buda Babble Diaries #1

This is what I believe the inside of my husband's head looks like; the balls are all of his thoughts and ideas bouncing around.  Which one comes out is completely random and does not necessarily follow on from the one before.

So it seems that a lot of you found my husband's ramblings amusing last week.  I thank you all for your comments. It's so reassuring to see that I'm not the only one who finds the workings of his mind so unfathomable.  

I once posted a transcript of one such conversation on my facebook page.  I think it received more likes and comments than any other post I've ever written - including announcing Dopey's birth.  Not sure if that says more about my friends' priorities or the novelty value of Buda's babbling.  Anyway, while I enjoyed the sense of shared experience this created, Buda wasn't so keen.  Pretty understandable, really.  Since kept our conversations between ourselves.  This is great for my marriage but denies me the opportunity to turn to someone and say, 'did you hear that?!'  You know, the way you would if you heard a dog singing Elvis or something.

So, I've decided to start a Buda Babble series.  Whenever he comes out with a gem, I will share it with you.  It's ideal because he doesn't read this blog so he won't feel mocked and I won't be alone in my bafflement.

Here's our first entry;

On time...
Me: What time is it?
Buda: Ten to.
Me: Ten to what, 8?
Buda: No, ten minutes left.
Me: Left until what?
Buda: Until half past seven.
Me: You mean it's 7.20?
Buda: Yes.

It's hard work, isn't it?

Till next time,

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The Eye of the Storm

So today was a washout.  A total washout.  The type that makes you wish you shared the magic powers of a toddler.  That you could cover your eyes and that would be it.  No one else could see you or touch you or bother you.

I drove a 3 hour round trip for an important meeting.  The work I stayed up until midnight last night preparing missed the meeting because it was at home, sat on my printer.  I went to another meeting so late that I missed the people I was meant to be meeting.  

I received a text from a friend inviting me to a 'Mums to Marathons' club tonight.  A what now? was my reply.  I was stuffing myself with a McDonalds when I read this.  I'm having a good stab at the 'mum' part of this club, the 'marathon' aspect is most probably far beyond me. 

I got home to an overtired Dope.  She was clingy, whiny, teary, angry.  You know, all the best bits of a toddler.  Buda looked like a zombie and was just lying on the floor with her.

I started dinner.  I put the radio on and exhaled as I had the kitchen to myself.  I wondered how long I could stretch out my food prep to make this moment of respite last that bit longer.

Before I managed to even finish this thought, Dope burst into the kitchen.  She pulled and tugged on me, wound her way between my legs and squealed in frustration at me.  Then she left me alone and everything went quiet.  That ominous, my-child-is-up-to-something type of quiet.  Sure enough, she was waist deep in the washing machine.  I lifted her out and then she had me.  She put her arms and legs around me in a vice like grip.  I'd fallen into her trap and she wasn't letting me go.  The chicken was burning.  I peeled her off me and put her on the floor.  She screamed the type of scream that only a rebuffed toddler can scream.  

Buda arrived brandishing a mini karaoke machine.  My heart sank.  I had thought that would be a good birthday present for Dope.  I quickly reaslised it wasn't.  As I feared, the Oki-Koki begins. Dope continues some low level protesting and bangs the microphone on the floor but is appeased enough to sit still.

Buda starts washing the pots in the way only Buda can.  The tap goes on full blast, all of the dishes get clunked and banged into each other, Buda sings.  He sings a Nepali song.  If you're not familiar with Nepali music then you should now just take a moment to be thankful for that.  It is atonal, croony and - when Buda is singing - loud.

I gripped the pan handle and stared at the burning chicken.  The radio, the sizzling pan, the grizzling toddler, the Oki-Koki, the banging microphone, the tap, the clanking pots and now the Nepali singing.  It really was too much.  And believe me, I don't  do well in these situations.  My go-to response is to bang things around in stony silence to make my point.  I sometimes flounce out of the room.  I have been known growl loudly and tell my family to 'PLEASE. SHUT. UP.'  But something odd happened tonight.  I became the calm in the eye of the storm.

As I stood among the chaos and noise I realised that this was a good moment, one to be kept safe.  
I sensed a flash as my memory captured this moment.   One day when I'm old and Dope has left home and Buda off kayaking rivers or Kung-Fu-ing around the world, I will be lonely.  I won't be scrabbling after the quiet, it will be scary.  The silence then will be more deafening than any racket my family can make now.  And so the memory was kept.  It is tucked away now, stored alongside the thousands of other moments that I just couldn't let pass.  One day I will dig this particular memory out and mull it over.  And in that moment, I will remember that for a while we were all here together, doing life.  How great is that?

Rhyming with Wine

Monday, 2 May 2016

Everybody needs a wife

I remember learning that some years ago there was a anthropology textbook (or maybe a sociology one) that opened with a line something like, 'everyone, in every nation and every culture around the world has a wife'.  This caused (valid) outrage in feminist circles for its implication that only men were considered real people.  Women, presumably, did nothing of note other than become wives.

But, times have changed and now it's not only men who can have wives, women can too.  I think that's just great on a number of levels but mostly because I think that everyone, in every nation and every culture around the world NEEDS a wife.  Wives are fab.  Heaps better than husbands.  Even if you have a husband, you should get yourself a wife, too.

Let me explain.

I, like most wives, manage our house.  I know when the direct debits go out, when a shop needs to be done, when birthdays are and where the batteries are kept.  I organise the childcare, plan meals, book doctors appointments and generally manage the family diary.  I'm the team leader, if you like.  Buda, like most husbands, is best described as 'support staff'.  He manages the bins and the laundry.  Essential work, but not necessarily highly skilled.

My friends assure me that their menfolk are equally detached from the realities of being a grown up. Different breed, we scoff.  It brings us a sense of solidarity and some cold comfort.  We like to compare stories of just how useless these men are, how much they hinder us in the business of life.  I think that I win these conversations hands down.  Buda brings a whole new world of frustration to the party.  What follows are all snippets of true, real life conversations between us.  If your man can better these I would LOVE to hear how...

On directions
Buda: OK, so at this junction you have a choice, you can go up, down, left or right.

On birthdays
Me: Where have you been?
Buda: I went to mum's to give her some money to buy your birthday present with.  Oh, but don't tell her I told you.  It's a surprise.
Me: I think that the surprise was probably meant to be for me.

On booking a plane ticket (7 years into our relationship, 4 years after we married)
Me: Did you book the tickets OK?
Buda: I tried to but I couldn't because I didn't have all of the details.
Me: What else do you need?
Buda: I just need to know your full name.
Me: Seriously?

On buying clothes for his sisters
Buda: When you're out could you buy an outfit each for my sisters?
Me: Yes, but I need to know what sizes they are.
***Sometime later, after a phone call home...***
Buda: OK, so Bhima is a bit bigger, Pramila is a bit smaller.
Me: Than what? Than me?
Buda: No, than each other.
Me: Helpful, thanks.

On my weight
Buda; When we go to visit my parents in Nepal you know everyone is going to say you got fat, right?  Don't take it personally, it's just because you have.

Buda: How do you put weight on so easily?  I try really hard and I can't even get my legs to go as big as your arms.
Me: Thanks, Buda.

On learning his language
Me: How do you say 'gate' in Nepalese?
Buda: 'Gate'.
Me: That's still in English.
Buda: Oh, well, what I mean is that they don't have gates in Nepal. 
(For the record, people, I've lived there.  There are plenty of gates in Nepal).

On baby business
Me: Beth's picking me up to go to Trixi's baby shower.
Buda: Beth's going, too? How many of you need to wash this baby?

On Nepalese traditions
Me: When our baby is born are we going to have a rice feeding ceremony?
Buda: What's that?
Me: What do you mean, what's that?  We've been to loads of them.  The ceremony all Nepalese babies have to have before they can be weaned onto solid food.  The one between 5 and 6 months when the priest comes to bless them and all of the family and friends come to feed a bit of rice and curry to the child and offer a gift and blessing.  
Buda: I've never heard of it.
***Some months later after a phone call home***
Me: What's the news?
Buda: It was Pramila's son's rice feeding ceremony the other day.
Me: Really? What's that?
Buda: It's a ceremony all Nepalese babies have to have before they can be weaned onto solid food.  The one between 5 and 6 months when the priest comes to bless them and all of the family and friends come to feed a bit of rice and curry to the child and offer a gift and blessing.  We've been to loads of them.
Me: You don't say.

See, wives just wouldn't bring you this crap.  Keep your husband for all of the things you love about him already and bring a wife on board to do the hard stuff.

Till next time,

Proud to link up with:

The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback