From the Vault # 2 – Motherhood: Instructions not included

Seeing as it is Mother’s Day today, I thought it would be fitting to share a speech I had written and delivered at a Womens Expo in October 2013.

 

Motherhood: Instructions not included.

23 Oct 2013

Good morning. My name is Mrs. Matilda and Hamish’s mum…or Jasmine for short. I was invited today to share my experience as a stay at home mum.

With my youngest ready to start school next year, I have found myself reflecting on the past seven years as a stay at home mum; what I have learnt, and what is yet to come. It is a bittersweet moment for me as I’ve watched my babies grow and start school. At times testing, motherhood is a very rewarding role. You learn to parent as you go along. There will be many a long day and sleepless nights, but all will be worth it in the long run. All your preconceived notions of parenthood will change – just go with the flow.

During my time as a stay at home mum, I have learnt the following:

Despite your mother-in-law informing you after you find out you are pregnant that all her babies were over nine pounds, your obstetrician will only laugh at you when you request to have an epidural eight months in advance…Oh how he laughed…

Pregnancy and baby books are guides only. Your instincts should be listened to always. No one knows your baby better than you.

Celebrity magazines lie! Your abs will not immediately reappear after giving birth. Don’t pack midriff tops in your hospital bag. Embrace the tummy, for it is there for bub to rest on when feeding and cuddling. Enjoy your new baby and please don’t stress about losing the weight.

If your baby is breast fed, don’t stand with them near busty statues or store mannequins. Babies are very opportunistic!

When you become a mum, you will soon learn to understand the meanings of your baby’s and husband’s cries.

Your clothes make the best wipes for little grubby hands and runny noses.

Teething pain can be eased by biting mum, hard.

Sometimes going out can wait, and it is better to have a feed, nappy change and sleep instead. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I know every word of every song by The Wiggles, and while I felt bad for Sam, I was secretly happy to see Greg return as the Yellow Wiggle.

I can now speak basic Spanish thanks to Dora the Explorer, and if I am ever in doubt, I sing out for map or backpack. Never trust Swiper the Fox. Ever.

Whilst funny at first, blueberries are not meant to be stuck up nostrils.

If it has shelves, it will be climbed.

If it is a drawer, it will be emptied.

If it makes noise and lots of it, then it is the best thing ever. If it is too quiet, whine at mum before crawling off for the pots and pans cupboard.

If something is broken then get mum to fix it. If you broke it, hide it and blame your sibling when mum finds it.

Walls are great for drawing on. When mum gets cranky just remember that everyone’s a critic and go find another crayon.

As a mum you will get to know the staff at the poisons info hotline on a first name basis. And if your toddler finds and eats six herbal kids’ cold and flu tablets, their poop will be fluorescent green for the next week.

Two words: stain remover.

If your toddler has lost their favorite toy, it will be in your handbag. If you have lost your phone, purse or car keys, they will be in the toilet.

When your toddler no longer requires nap time during the day, they handle the change better than mum!

Nudie runs after bath time are a must. For those of you wanting to have a baby, I recommend you try bathing and worming a feral cat whilst wrestling an octopus to get an understanding of what it is like to bathe and clothe a toddler.

Let your toddler dress themselves. Miss-matched socks, shoes, clashing colours and prints with scruffy hair will all make for some great photos to show on their 18th birthday.

You will never know the excitement like that of when your toddler starts using the potty. I would then also liken the nerves of going shopping with a newly potty trained toddler to that of a bomb squad trying to diffuse a bomb. Only a matter of time before an explosion.

Don’t read Roald Dahl’s The Witches to your toddler. They will begin to publicly accuse every elderly lady of being a witch!

Play-doh, dirt, cat food, shoes and foliage from the botanic gardens are all part of the toddlers essential diet.

Cereal tastes better for dinner.

An audience in the bathroom becomes normal.

“Hide and seek is the greatest game!” said no mum ever.

Mum cuddles and kisses fix everything. Stop and listen to what your children are wanting to tell you. If you listen to your children, they will listen to you.

My daughter believes cleaning gives you wrinkles “Mum you clean all the time and you have lots of wrinkles!” Thank you Tilly, I love you too.

After explaining why the boy guinea pigs need to be spayed, my daughter later informed me that when she gets married she will get the vet to spay her husband. So cute…She thinks we are going to let her get married. We’re not even going to let her date!

Little boys are fearless. When the floors are being mopped, it becomes the perfect opportunity to work on some epic parkour moves. You get bonus points if you can get mum to run across the damp tiles to catch you mid-leap.

Cars and dinosaurs take up shelf space in the fridge on hot days.

Broken collar bones heal in about six weeks. This means that in six weeks your son will be back on the trampoline trying to attempt the same somersault dismount that broke his collar bone in the first place!

Fairies are real, and to get rid of monsters under the bed, spray them with water

Patience is a virtue. Eventually you will all get out of the house…once you find your son’s favorite pair of sneakers. In saying that, you start getting everyone ready to go out hours in advance!

Because I said so! Is a legitimate answer to your child’s constant questions.

Mum’s have superior conflict resolution skills, dispensing firm but fair justice. Also known as the “time out chair”.

Thank goodness for the game Angry Birds.

Your children laughing will make you laugh.

You learn to grocery shop like a ninja – quick enough before the kids realize that they have bypassed the toy aisle.

Saturday nights are the best because it is family movie night and camping in the lounge room.

Head lice are annoying, and treating outbreaks with mayonnaise will not only kill the lice but leave you craving for a salad.

White furniture makes parents uneasy. Delicate décor makes parents neurotic!

Be proud when people compliment your child’s good manners. Imagine how proud my husband and I felt when after dinner, both our children went to take their plates to the kitchen…did I mention we were dining at a restaurant?

Seven year old daughters thrive on drama and four year old sons thrive on causing it.

My motherhood motto has become “I don’t negotiate with terrorists”.

 

And finally…Your babies don’t stay little for long. So cuddle and kiss them often. Play games and laugh. Enjoy being with them. See the world new through their eyes. It goes by so fast. During the testing moments, remind yourself that this to, shall pass. Soon you will find yourself with a child ready to start school, and you will reflect on just how much you have both grown. Every night before you go to sleep, tell them you love them and kiss them good night. Every morning wake them with a kiss and tell them you love them, and just enjoy being a mum.

Thank you for listening.

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From the Vault: The Tooth Fairy

Way before I started this blog, I would post my stories on my personal Facebook page via the Notes application. I have decided that I will share these earlier posts here – one a week. I hope you enjoy!

21 June 2010

Tilly

My goofy girl Tilly – trying to convince the Tooth Fairy to pay up.

Hmmm. Parenting is no easy task and you are often faced with situations which require delicate, yet informative explanations – “cause I said so” does not gel with a three year old and her inquisitive little mind. I was faced with one of those moments the other day and I think I was not too clear on things as you will soon find out…

There is a cute little kid’s show called Charlie and Lola. One of Matilda’s favourite shows, not so for Hamish as there is no monster trucks. This particular episode, Lola had a loose tooth and her big brother Charlie set about explaining the Tooth Fairy. Lola was thrilled about the tooth/money exchange that was to take place, and so was Matilda as she turned to me and proceeded to check her own teeth for gum stability. A “Mum Moment” presented itself, and so I sat on the couch next to her to explain the story. As I opened my mouth, a little light bulb went off and I ran to my room and dug about in my little box of knick knacks where I just so happen to keep my first wisdom tooth in a plastic bio-hazard bag – serious! I returned to Tilly to find her now with one hand in her mouth, the other supporting the wrist and both feet up on either side attempting to get her savings account started. I sat down again and casually waved the bag in front of her eyes. She sat up and squinted at it. “It’s a tooth…my tooth” I explained. Fascinated, her eyes never left it, her little lips had curled back in a somewhat grossed out smile.

I started to explain how the Bank of Tooth Fairy works, that for each tooth that falls out – ON IT’S OWN ACCORD, gets placed under the pillow where the TF collects it, leaving you some money. From the tooth, they make great little portable houses, and despite the GFC, business is booming for TF Home Industries. Matilda asked why I still had my wisdom tooth, and I explained that this one was just for me, and I showed her the upper left side of my mouth from where it was yanked out by the dentist. I explained to her the roots, where the blood went in and how much sits inside the gum. Matilda was fascinated, and what I misinterpreted as excitement – but she was just eager to go to the potty. So with my Mum of the Year badge stuck to the back of my head, I sauntered into the kitchen to my eaves dropping husband. I had done well, we can tick the tooth fairy talk off the list of conversations.

Later that day, Matilda approached me, little hands clasped in front of her, her sweet little smile and crazy baby hair sticking out in all directions. She snuggled up to me on the couch. “Hey mum you know your tooth?” “Hmmmm” “Well can I borrow it to put under my pillow?” “Why?” “I want to buy a rainbow ice cream, but I only have ‘Fairy Money’ (lint from Mike’s belly button) and I need real money”. “Nooooooo. No. Nope. Noo-zaaa. That is mum’s tooth, the tooth fairy can only take YOUR teeth, and sweetie you still have quite some time to go till your baby teeth are ready to jump out”. I gave her a quick hug and she wandered off and Hamish resumed smacking my face with his matchbox car.

Since then, Matilda has come to the conclusion that if she can’t sell her teeth just yet, other things would surely be worth something on the Fairy Property Market and as such I have caught my daughter attempting to sway the TF’s interest with other items. Yesterday afternoon she snuck out of the kitchen, I was hot on her heels catching her out as she placed the organic, free-range egg under her pillow. Other items have been a tub of yogurt, shredded paper, lint, a pair of underwear, Mike’s squadron patches, her brother Hamish, a cat, and a pile of cat hair – all to no avail. In desperation she has taken to asking anyone if their teeth are going to fall out because she really, REALLY needs a rainbow ice cream. I think in lieu of a baby tooth, I am going to loan her my wisdom tooth and let her get that much needed ice cream on Thursday…Job Done!