Saturday, 28 May 2016
A toddler blogs...
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 together...it'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.