Kids! (also Serves as Nicky's profile!)
Before I had children I used to find them to be hideous little beasts for the most part. In line at the grocery store, from a cart behind me, they’d turn in the seat and smile at me, their parent proudly grinning in an ‘aren’t they just adorable’ sort of way.
Only occasionally, did I see one I actually did find appealing, and yet, when the old body clock started ticking, I said to my husband, ‘let’s get this show on the road’ and over the next few years I had two baby girls.
I am reminded of this period in my life when now, every afternoon I have Aiden passing the time with us. He is our babysitter’s daughter’s baby and of course I welcomed him into our home in return for how sweet his mother had been to my children.
I find myself cooing at Aiden when he is safely bound in the baby bjorn and can’t projectile vomit all over me. His fat cheeks and limbs, burying what used to be a perfect little face. His saving grace is that now he smiles and finds me amusing.
Then, having had two daughters I had no idea what to expect with a boy. No sooner is the poopy diaper whisked off, when that willy of his shoots up and spins like a helicopter blade, spewing pee all over my bedding and the ceiling of my room. A sly vomit, dribbles from his mouth on to the bedding and he dares to giggle at me, like it’s the funniest thing in the world.
My children were no better. I remember Cosette came out with an inordinate amount of hair and was an alarming shade of yellow. I took her home naked, wrapped in a bilirubin blanket which was attached to a machine. Holding her was a kin to jumping up for a quick bathroom break on the plane, being still attached to your seat belt that is all entwined around your head phones that are still plugged in. Better just to leave her in the car seat and stare reticently down at her.
“Meet my baby, she’s in there somewhere, that yellow thing attached to that hair”.
Then she had the most awful gerd that lasted 8 months. Friends would want to hold her, (she did have a lot of charisma, and smiled all the time), but I would always say ‘no you don’t want to hold her, seriously’. They never believed me, and no sooner did they pick her up, she vomited down their front.
Now that my girls are older, 8 and 10, I am beginning to see it might all have been worth it, the sleepless nights, the vomit, the gold plated diapers, although I cross fingers they are still intact and not too damaged by my ranting through the years. They are good company and make me laugh. Not in that strained, “I ought to laugh but I’m really too tired and all I can see is that mess I have to put away” way, but in a real, from the gut, could laugh till I cry kind of way.
I have dragged them all over the world before they were old enough to understand anything. Thinking, well I’ve shown them Italy, I’ve shown them China. Oh yes as an eight month old that has left a lasting impression! In Paris I lay Cosette down on the side walk so I could video the Place Vendome, while horrified Parisiens stared me down. I must have looked a sight, single woman, carrying one child, handbag and video camera while yanking the second child through the streets with distraught expressions on all our faces, just so I could get our Christmas card shot of my girls by the Eiffel Tower, my girls by the Golden Gate Bridge, the houses of Parliament, or the Mannequin Pis. Enid, my 6 year old at time, after looking at the Mannequin, asked quizzically, “we came all this way for that?” Then in Pisa, we stopped to look at the river, “it’s not Paris is it?’ she said. My father was amazed by that comment when I later told him, but at the time I wanted to whop her for ‘being so ungrateful’!
I lost my husband somewhere along the way and have picked up young James. He has proven to be a great travel companion for myself and the girls. In Hong Kong recently Cosette came rushing in to our room all excited, “I have to show you something suspicious,” she said, and dragged James by the arm into their bathroom. It turned out to be the biggest poo she’d ever done and she was mighty proud of it.
Now the word ‘suspicious’ is over used in our household and James is sent in to inspect from time to time, after standing guard outside with a walkie talkie, as Cosette is afraid to be alone.
As the children get older my best friend Sharmista and I, who began our breeding at the same time, assume it is surely time for us to be able to stand back a bit, not hover so much over our children. This past weekend after breakfast at Goofy’s kitchen we took ourselves to the Grand Californian hotel, set the kids free on the lawn out back, and sipped black berry mojitos for 3 minutes, before a security guard wandered in with a lost child in hand. “They were hitting balls into the path of on coming people and when we asked where their parents were they said ‘in the bar’.”
My house is stuffed to the brim with cuddly toys and armless dolls. When my girls aren’t looking I grab what I can and shove it in the trash can. Thursday is trash day, and as I reverse out of the garage I hope to heck that nothing is peeping out of the trash can crying ‘save me’. There is some kind of conspiracy though, each and every time Cosette screams from the back, “Mum, I told you not to throw anything away”, and we can’t go any further until she has riffled through the bins. I trip over school projects when I’m not tripping over the dog, inherited along with the boyfriend. I can barely open the car door in the garage for a gaggle of bikes and a school classroom set up, where James is sitting taking his tests while mighty Teach is brandishing her trusty ruler.
We duck while the neighborhood boys shoot bee bee guns. Fine for them in their goggles but how now on us, or James’ company car they use as an obstacle to hide behind?
Their father explained to me one day, “I would rather my teenage son do this than whatever else teenage boys get up to.”
Then the bedtime routine. Both girls insist on sleeping together in the top bunk. Cosette has 8 blankets, 2 teddies, 3 water bottles, and a pig, while Enid wants only to go to sleep with Bearie. It takes half an hour to prepare the bed, 15 minutes to clean teeth, floss, swill with expensive germ detecting mouth wash, re-clean, then re-mouth wash to make sure all the germs are gone. All I want is to be in bed watching some trash reality TV like the Bachelorette, and sipping wine!
At least the toddler years are over. That was made worse for me with a bout of cancer, radiation and chemo, followed shortly by a divorce, so maybe my memories are a little squewed. I never got over the will of these little people. While following them closely as they ambled drunkenly, they could totally defeat you in an argument over something as petty as their bottle or cup. Many a time after listening to screaming for forty five minutes on the drive home from work, and after trying every method possible starting with being sweet, which progressed to turning the radio up, opening the window so their cries would be carried away, I would finally pull off the freeway, park outside a hotel and blurt out, “my job is to make you happy and obviously I’m not doing a very good job of that. Why don’t you wait in that hotel lobby, I’m sure some nice lady would make a better Mummy than me.”
That always seemed to work, but by then I was so drained, so gutted that my heart ached well into the next day, only to have to do it all over again. My sister couldn’t believe it when one day I pulled over, emptied a two year old onto the sidewalk, gave her the cell phone and told her to call her Dad. “I’m sure he’ll come by soon.”
Oh Super Nanny where were you then? Does ‘time out’ really work? One minute per year of age? Very different from my childhood. It took 5 years of boarding school to knock the child out of me.
Now I sit by the pool and watch my babies, rapidly growing into young ladies, and am in awe of the people they are becoming, let’s hope we can squeak through the teen years without much ado. They show me love all the time and are far freer with their emotions than I.“You’re the best Mummy in the world”. Although, on one mother’s day project one question was, “What do you like best about your mother”, to which Enid responded, “she tries her best!”
I always thought I’d never suffer the ‘empty nest’ syndrome when my kids eventually left, but now when I put them in a car to go to their Dad’s tears roll down my cheeks and my throat is tight, remembering that only seconds ago I wished he would have arrived sooner.
I wander into their room and sit on their silly bean bag, and miss them with the most profound ache.
When I drop them off at school, I linger in my car and watch them till they are no longer visible and know that I will miss these lovely little people, realizing they have given me much, much more than I could ever give them. Usually they look back at me and wave, but one day they will just keep on walking.
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