What is it with humans and multiple breeding? Who decided it was okay to go forth and have more than one child? Jesus was an only child (I had to Google that), I was an only child and I’m pretty sure there are a few others out there too. If you have three or more kids you're obviously high.
Picture me, a 28 year old, vowing never to have children. I had better things to do, like party and spend my Sundays nursing bad hangovers and poor choices in party pashes on the dance floor.
Meet Paul, a handsome younger fellow, sporting a beautiful ginger beard and general nice- guy attitude. Flash forward a couple of years and my ovaries are screaming for him to impregnate me with a wild, sometimes quite angry, fierce, but incredibly cute daughter. In the birthing suite midway through a terrible labour I took my mouth off the gas, grabbed Paul’s arm and told him we would never, ever have any more children.
Have you seen our Instagram updates recently? We had another child. Another girl. Another angry little girl. We pretty much cloned the first one.
Our eldest has a baby doll named Baby, she loves the shit out of it, takes it everywhere, swaddles and re-swaddles it frequently, reads stories to it. Because of this, Paul and I thought that she would be a doting big sister. When pregnant I’d ask her what she would do when her little baby brother/sister was born. “I want to hug it and kiss it and pap its head." Pap. Even at childcare, her room leader would comment on her keen interest in the younger kids and how she would go and check out the babies in the babies' room. Bless her cotton socks and bless our stupid ignorance.
When child no. 2 was born, Paul brought our daughter to the hospital to meet her new little sister. It was a moment for the memoirs. She ran over to the incubator with the biggest smile and demanded that Paul take her out so she could hold her. She kissed the little poppet's head and touched her little hands. She then asked that the baby be placed on the bed so she could pap her. When Paul went near the baby, big sister told him not to touch the baby and that it was hers.
It went downhill from there.
It all started with childcare drop-offs. Thankfully I don’t do this EVER because it's too devastating at the best of times. Now, from the minute our daughter wakes up it is a battle ground, a scene out of the Elton John doco Tantrums and Tiaras. There are tears, unusual suggestions for creche attire, bottles of milk when she has been weened and the refusal to get in the car. At the other end, more tears. On one occasion, when the room leader tried to cheer her up with Weetbix, our daughter's response was, “I want to go to the pub.” Who could argue with that? Sometimes the best solution to any problem is a few quiet chardonnays at the bar.
Naps* and nighttime sleeps are something out of a psychological thriller. Getting our daughter dressed for bed is okay. The nightmare begins with the story. We read the book from cover to cover, fine, no worries….. “Another story please?”. How can I refuse? We read another story……and another…….and another. When I can't bring myself to read another book, the tantrums commence. I place the writhing blubbering heap in her cot, tuck her in and offer her some water. I honestly don’t know how many times I have left the room only to return shortly afterwards with more water, another toy, or to re-tuck her in. I have become an expert wheeler-dealer-negotiator, but eventually you stop pandering. I actually told her one night to “Cut the crap”. It didn’t go down so well.
Since child no. 2 I’ve developed a can’t-be-arsed attitude towards all outdoor activities; too hard basket. When it comes to catch-ups in the park I need my fellow breeders to take charge of the whereabouts and goings on of my toddler. Nursing a baby, I can't get the kid on a swing, can’t even help her use the with public toilet sometimes!
I’ve introduced television (pause for effect).
Paul and I were the smug parents who said they would never allow the T.V. to be a babysitter. What a couple of dickheads. Thankfully everyone as smug as us have also caved. How good is Play School? SO GOOD! It has come at a price though. The first words that are uttered from my eldest when she wakes is, “I want telly” or “I want Play School” or my favourite, “I want dinner and a show.” So do I little girl, so do I. When I decide that there is no more TV, she throws the biggest wobbly. Yesterday it lasted a whole hour; she lay on the ground screaming “I WANT TELLY!" over and over and over again.
Two of my most favourite days with the kids is when one of the girls is napping and you put the other one down and then the first one wakes up. Or when they’re both crying. Top stuff.
The great thing about round two is having a little more of a grasp on it all. I don’t find myself checking if my baby is breathing every five minutes. If she’s crying I give it a minute and when she has nappy rash I’m not putting Aloe Vera from the garden all over it thinking that natural and organic hippy substances are gonna fix that shit. Every week though, I am reminded of another ridiculous thing that babies do which I had completely forgotten about.
My eldest girl gave herself a good dose of therapy. She probably talked it out with Jack the Bear and now she shows some interest in the 3 month old and is even pretty good at helping with nappy duties. Bless.
The future is female, at least in our house. Sorry Paul.
*Naps now consist of icy poles before hitting the bedroom. Don’t give me that look.
This blog post was originally written for www.getouttatown.com.au