20 September 2013

It's the toddler's fault. YES!

My perfect children
My girls are learning to swim.  This means every Friday for half an hour, I keep an eye on the smaller one while watching the older one splash about in a lane learning to put her face in the water and wave her arms and kick and stuff.  And keep her mouth closed under the water.  I think I'm supposed to be watching for her in case she does something daft and tries to drown but the only time she did that I was talking to one of the other mothers and missed the whole five second catastrophe.

Then for another half an hour, I bounce around with the smaller one in a wee drenched pool with a bunch of other babies and parents singing nursery rhymes and encouraging her to put her head under the water and head for the wall.  She's gaining in confidence but she lacks any serious commitment to floating or life preservation so we have a way to go.

Anyway, while overlooking the learning of these important life skills, I was chatting to another mum today who looked buggered.  I asked if she was okay and she said she was very tired, that it had been a rough couple of days and then she said the best thing ever.

"Yesterday I yelled at my daughter to stop acting in a way that was stopping me being the mother I dreamt of being before I had kids."

I laughed delightedly.  She looked at me in an abashed manner and said "I'm dreadful, I know, but I was so tired and she was being so disagreeable".

GOD NO LADY - you're perfect just the way you are.  You summed it up in one beautiful sentence to a four year old with absolutely no comprehension of how their individuality seriously impacts your desire to be a bloody perfect mother.

I normally blame myself for being tired, emotional or lacking understanding of their developing selves.

But this lady was DEAD RIGHT.  My darling daughters quite often don't understand when I say things like "Would you like to pick up that doll you just dropped and put it away" I mean "PUT THE STUPID DOLL AWAY RIGHT NOW"

And they reply to my question "No, thank you".  Which is TOTALLY fair.  They've answered the question I asked.  And honestly.  Getting cross with them is unreasonable of me UNTIL I REMEMBER THAT THEY SHOULD JUST BLOODY KNOW WHAT IS IN MY HEAD, and answer the question I meant.

That's how parents operate.

That's how adults operate.

So when they reply to the things we ask, or the mood we are in, it's not our fault. We have the best of intentions and its them being all HONEST TODDLER on our butts that makes us react in a manner incommensurate with our pre-baby parenting plans.

And I can tell you - life looks so much better now that I know my imperfect parenting moments are not my fault.

Props tired lady at swimming. Props