Ah, parenthood: the best and hardest job there is. Let’s face it, if any other job came with a list of responsibilities including ‘wiping smelly bottoms’, ‘being woken repeatedly in the night until the notion of ‘eight solid hours of sleep’ becomes the stuff of fairytales’ and ‘having people sneeze directly in your face then smear the snot over your only clean jumper’ we’d run a mile.
Yet we cheerily sign ourselves up to it, congratulate others who take on the same job and then – most shocking of all – actually enjoy it. Ok not all the time and certainly not ALL aspects of it, but even so…
I think one of the main things I’ve learned since becoming a parent is to expect the unexpected. Children are so creative, and I never really know what mine are going to come up with next. I’m often surprised by the things they say and the ideas they have, and I’ve found myself experiencing all sorts of things that pre-motherhood, I would never have expected. This past month has brought the following ‘gems':
- Being awoken from my slumbers when a strawberry-scented fluffy dog was stuffed in my face. Said dog was holding a flashing light sabre, dressed in a hoody and belting out “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful’ by One Direction. (Thank you ‘build-a-bear workshop’!)
- Asking my sons: “So, what did you do at school today boys?” to be met by the answer: “Mostly just farted.”
star chart designed by the 6yo and 4yo for the 10mo!
- Having to wait my turn to use the bathroom because the toilet was currently in use by an imaginary grasshopper.
- Discovering a star chart designed by my sons for their baby brother. He is so far doing quite well with “eat all food” and “do not jump in your high chair” but progress with “croll (crawl) soon” is very slow!
- Finding my way down the stairs blocked by an array of handmade greetings cards on every step, all covered in pictures and proclamations of ‘Happy Birthday’. You might assume that this occurred on my birthday and be thinking ‘Oh how lovely!’ Nope. In fact, this happened one Saturday when my sons ran out of soft toys to throw imaginary parties for and instead were ‘celebrating the stairs’.
- Being required to have a religious debate at 7am. Pre morning cuppa. With a six year old. “Do people think that God made trees because people didn’t?” “Yes… I mean, er, no… hang on.. what was the question again?”
Yes, being a mum is a funny thing. Some days it makes my brain hurt. Some days it makes me cry. Often it makes me exhausted and even more often it makes me laugh, but underneath whatever else is going on, it’s always worth it. Parenthood: the best, hardest and most rewarding job there is.
I’m linking this up with Wot so Funee over at Actually Mummy and #PoCoLo over at Verily Victoria Vocalises
After yesterday’s more serious blog post, I felt the urge to write something silly today.
I’ve written before about Grasshopper, my four-year-old son’s imaginary friend. He’s an insect of indeterminate size and gender who regularly gets him/herself into scrapes and gets the blame for most things that go awry in this house. Poor Grasshopper is considered particularly ‘guilty’ of any accidents in the toilet department, which is what inspired me to write this limerick. Please turn away now if you’re eating breakfast (or are from the Department of Imaginary Animal Protection):
There once was a foolish grasshopper
Who wouldn’t let anyone stop her
From ascending the loo
While my son was mid-poo
And becoming submerged in a whopper
I recited that to my sons after breakfast this morning and they immediately wanted me to make up another. My six-year-old requested that it be about a lion. The final rhyme is his idea.
There once was a wrinkly lion
Who felt that he needed an iron
But the iron was hot
And it roasted his bot
So he ended up smoother, but cryin’
Hmmm – kind of obvious it was written with the assistance of small boys, I think!
And finally, as it’s Christmas, here’s a festive limerick for the road:
A beautiful, gold decoration
Was all laden with bells at the station
As the trains chugged along
The bells chimed a song
Sending peace and goodwill to the nation.
Happy Christmas everyone!
There is an interloper in our house. He’s small and green and called Hayley. Or he’s ‘absolutely massive’ and called Steve. He mostly lives in a hole in the garden although he sometimes resides at the local arts centre. He gets up to all sorts of mischief. He’s a grasshopper and he’s my four-year-old son’s imaginary friend.
This grasshopper is the go-to guy for any situation. Run out of milk? “It’s OK mummy, my grasshopper can go to the shops.” Can’t reach something on a shelf? “My grasshopper can jump really high and get that!” Too tired to drive the kids to school? Leave it up to grasshopper! OK, maybe not.
Grasshopper is also the fall guy in our house. My son assures me that he’s the one who makes a mess in the living room or leaves a trail of muddy footprints across the carpet. And where toileting matters are concerned he hasn’t got very good aim. Yuck. Bad grasshopper.
I’m getting quite fond of him though. He reminds me that an imagination can be helpful in all sorts of situations. OK, the invisible milk that he gets from the shop doesn’t taste quite so good in my tea as the real stuff, but when it’s poured from a jug balanced on a spiky insect limb, it’s surely an ingredient no dairy product can beat! And wiping wee off the bathroom floor might be as unpleasant as ever, but at least I can have a laugh imagining a long-legged, bouncy insect trying to use the loo.
And grasshopper gives me something to live up to. He’s an example of how wonderfully creative children are and – from the point of view of a writer – that’s kind of like throwing down a gauntlet.
So, where do I get my inspiration? What’s my muse? A great big, small, green imaginary jumping insect called Hayley. Or Steve.