I am Somedays Mum

Some days are for wearing whatever concoction of clothing Mini-Me decides she wants to wear.

Some days are for twirling in sparkly dresses; around and around; just because. spinning

Some days are for snuggling into the soft mat and watching Sleeping Beauty – and all the extra features and trailers that we usually skip past.

Some days are for staying the PJs, for not even considering brushing hair or washing faces.

Some days are for stopping what I am doing to watch her dancing in her own wee world, instead of just being glad that she’s occupying herself for 5 minutes while I peel potatoes.

Somedays are for cracking eggs and baking cupcakes, and not worrying about the mess or how many pieces of shell end up on the counter.

Some days are for pretending to steal her little nose!

logic

Some days are for not doing very much housework, but just chatting to a three year old.  It’s amazing how the logic of our world can seem so ridiculous when a child explains how they see it. “Mammy, you get off that seat and go over there.  I have to push that seat and you’re still on it cos Percy Penguin needs to go swimming!”  Okay!

Some days are for cutting sandwiches into star shapes and making up stories about them.

Some days are for playing Hide n’ Seek.  Not just counting to appease her and then pretending I don’t see her for a few minutes; for actually stopping what I’m doing and playing it.  It’s amazing where this S-Mum can still fit when she puts her mind to it!

Some days are for just stopping to be glad that these Some days exist.

Some days are for making memories instead of catching them as they flit past.

Some days are for smiling. 🙂

I am Some days Mum. life laughing

I am Sick Baby Mum

SickChildHow do I know when my Mini-Me is sick?  Because I take her temperature?  Because I know the symptoms? Because the doctor says so? Because I just know?

No. (Well OK, Yes.)

But, I know that my particular Mini Me is particularly out of sorts because she presses pause on her life’s mission of convincing me that she hates me, and for just a short time she won’t let me out of her sight!

As the mummy of a Threenager, I am now becoming used to the fact that to her, I am Public Enemy Number 1.  When Mammy says no, she runs to her “wee Daddy Bear” or Granny, or Uncle, or indeed the Dog.  I have caught her sitting beside the beast that is our 6 year old puppy, filling him in on how bold Mammy is.

She uses Mammy to test her boundaries, to learn to use her voice, to establish her tone and to practice all of her communication skills.  Yesterday, she moved on to giving me my full title to denote her discontentment…”Mammy Ria Wushe!” It was quite impressive actually.

I’m often reminded of one of my favourite poems by Sylvia Plath, “Morning song”.  For years, I’ve been teaching the lines

“I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.”

…And while I have always understood the lines, until I became a Mammy, I never really understood them.

I understand them now: I’m nothing but a big puddle into which she sticks her chubby little toe to test the waters of life.

dipping-toe-in-pool-of-possibility

She uses me to learn how to assert herself, and she does it so well that Hubby even admitted this afternoon that she’s a little bit scary!  She uses me to develop her social skills, to suss out how relationships work.  I am her metaphoric punch bag: her dress rehearsal.

So when Mini Me spends two whole days on the sofa, refusing to let me out of her sight; when she says the words “Mammy I neeeeeeed you.” at least a dozen times a day; when I can’t even leave the room long enough to pee without her calling for me…that’s when I know she’s not herself.  That’s how I know that she’s ailing for something or just not feeling her best.

It might come before the temperature or the sniffles or the trip to the doctor.  It might last the whole length of whatever nasty little bug she’s picked up this time.  It might be exhausting, especially at 3am.  But it’s how I’m reminded that despite being her arch nemesis most of the time, I am indeed her Mammy and she loves me.

And I’ll happily admit that while I obviously enjoy hugs and snuggles without the bugs and sniffles, I’ll sit on that sofa in my PJs watching re-runs of RTE Junior until my little Peppa Piggy is better and wants to go splashing in those muddy puddles again.

I am Sick Baby Mum. 🙂peppa

I am Sometimes Soccer Mum

We’ve all seen them on the tellybox haven’t we?

Soccer Moms…

pushy parent

The pushy parents who live their entire lives through their kiddies and whose routines revolve around taxi duty for their little darlings.

The parents who will stand up for their sproggies, regardless of whether or not Junior is in the wrong.  The parents who can’t see even the slightest possibility that their little darling might not just be absolutely fantastic at absolutely everything!

The mummies who drop their kiddies off at school or creche in their gym gear, all swinging ponytails and smiles, who subtly boast about their gifted child or their over-achieving genius: who ring the school to complain that their little angel isn’t playing the star in the school play when she was Mary in the Nativity three years in a row…

and we all smile smugly in the knowledge that we would NEVER be like them.

Even the thought is ridiculous!

It’s utterly absurd!… and yet, we’re all more than capable of it!

How do I know?  Because just last week, I found myself turning into one of these soccer moms, minus the swinging ponytail.  And I’m not ashamed to say it!

I took Mini-Me to the Public Health Nurse for her developmental check.  It was all pretty standard and uneventful really.  I’m happy enough that she’s developing at an exceptional rate anyway and didn’t feel that I needed anyone to verify it.  :p

Raising-Smart-Kids-for-Dummies-9780764517655

We sat in the office; me on a chair in the corner, Mini-Me on a cute little seat at a tootsie little table, with colourful blocks and crayons. Nurse’s voice was cooing and soothing and she quickly established a rapport with Mini-me.  She also quickly established that she was interested only in speaking to my daughter. Mummy’s voice was not required.

I quickly picked up that I was there as an observer only; to watch this stranger play with my little princess, while assessing her every move.

Fine, I thought, a little huffily if I’m honest.  I had nothing to worry about.  Mini-Me would show her how a three and a quarter year old rolls.

What I hadn’t banked on was that she’d be hit with a savage dose of shyness.  Nurse’s baby-focused cooing suddenly seemed to be her cue to act like a wee baby!

We started off OK.

“Put the blocks in a line”…easy.

“What colour is this one?”

“Pick out the yellow ones”…duh!

We were flying.  I was envisaging a gold star for both of us as we left.

“Now, can you draw a circle?”… yup!

“Can you draw two smaller circles?”… Uh oh.

I could tell that Nurse wanted her to draw a face, but the instructions caused confusion and she drew the two smaller circles outside of the large one.  Catastrophe!

“Ok, draw a smiling mouth”… Mini-Me looked at her as if wondering why the heck she’d give a circle a mouth.  At this point I politely interjected… “Just ask her to draw a face.” I suggested.  Nursey poos wasn’t too happy, but rephrased.  To my delight, Daughter turned the page over and promptly drew a face, with all required features, including eyelashes!

Hah!  Take that Nursey Poos!

At this point, I sat back on the chair, exhilarated and smug.  My heart was racing, just a little.

Then…

“Can you count the blocks?”

Well of course she can…

But then, she didn’t.

Instead, my beautiful, intelligent little darling announced “1,2,5,8,TWENTY!”

And this Momma-bird nearly fell off her perch.

I was about to interrupt again…until I realised that while Mini-me was playing the the I’m an ickle baby game with Nurse, I was turning into one of those mothers.

It was like an out-of-body experience.  My throat constricted as I tried not to scream “She can count to 20! In English AND in Irish!”.  I squirmed in my chair, trying not to get up and rearrange the blocks for her to try again. I noted my racing heart and sweaty palms as I tried to control the urge to ‘turn teacher’ and get her to do it right.

This was terrible!  How could I let this woman, who was assessing my child, think that she was seeing anything other than a genius?  She should be awestruck as she realises she is in the presence of greatness.  One day, she should say, “Oh yes! I remember her.  She was always so gifted.”

While I kept myself in check, I became suddenly aware that Mini-Me was counting again, slower this time and properly.. Ok, she left out 15 as usual, but sure who needs 15?  And Nurse was smiling, filling out her notes and finishing up the session.

I felt my heart rate return to normal-mental-mother pace, and when she asked if I had any concerns, I smiled sweetly and said “No, I think she’s fine. Do you see anything to be worried about?”

She continued to tell me that she was perfectly happy that Mini-me is just fine.  She seems like a very bright and intelligent child, and her counting is very good!

I was chuffed.  It was a metaphoric gold star for Mammy and for Mini-me.  Soccer Mom however, swished her ponytail and screamed “I could have told you that at the beginning and saved us half an hour!!”, but the normal Mammy smiled politely and thanked the lovely Nurse very much.

Because really, she was lovely and she did her job exceptionally well.  And I’m suddenly very aware that I might be determined to never turn in to one of those mothers, but there might be the possibility that there’s one inside me with whom I’ll have to wrestle every so often!

But hey!  Isn’t that just part of the job?

I am Sometimes Soccer Mum.adoring mom

I am Suddenly Dumped Mum

“I’m not your best fwend Mammy.  I’m Danielle’s best fwend”…

And there it was. In one simple sentence, I’d been categorically dumped by my Mini Me.

friend

When I had my little girl, my aunt told me that I’d been blessed with my very own best friend forever.  We see signs and cards and photo-frames everywhere, stating that a daughter is a friend for life etc.  And this is largely true.

In my own case, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful Mum who I can happily call my absolute, all time, unconditional BFF.  We had our moments while I was (am) growing up, but we typify that stereotypical Mother/Daughter relationship and I know how very lucky I am. Friends may come and go.  Let’s be honest, only a handful are really there for the long haul, but Mamma Bear is a constant. 🙂

When Mini-me passed through the baby stage and began to bloom into the pleasant-if-sometimes-terrifying little personality that she is, I began to fully appreciate her role as my bestie.  We do everything together; we have fun, we fight and we laugh and we cry. We bake, we go shopping, we play and we are wonderful at doing absolutely nothing together.  We work.

In a world where everyone is busy and where as parents, we can often find ourselves a little isolated and out of the social loop for whatever reason, our friendships with our toddlers become more important to us than we can ever give them credit for.  She’s my companion and will always be 100% on my side (except for when she’s not!).  I know she has my back and I have to admit that I fell into the false security that I did indeed have my very own, custom made best friend.

mirror mirror

Until, like Snow White’s stepmother I asked the stupid question.  The question that I had allowed to become a daily certainty; an ego boost even.

Every day, “Who’s Mammy’s best friend?” was answered with “Meeeeeeeee!” and usually accompanied by a giant cuddle and slobbery kiss…until Friday.

Mini Me was in her car seat, engrossed in a Tinkerbell book.  We were driving to playschool and I was chattering about what we’d do that afternoon when I collected her.

I may as well have looked in the mirror and chanted “Baby, baby, in the chair, Who’s your bestest friend in the world?”  Without a second’s thought, she announced “I’m not your best fwend Mammy.  I’m Danielle’s best fwend”... and with that, the mirrors and illusions of my assumed Disney-perfect Mother and Daughter world, shattered into a thousand pieces.

Initially I laughed.  What else do you do? (For the record, the little girl in question is a wonderfully perfect BFF for my precious one.)  I posted it on Facebook and other people laughed.  Of course!  It is pretty hilarious, but the reality is, it marks yet another milestone in her little life and it freaked me the hell out!

She’s branching out.  She’s socially accepted, popular even.  She’s making her own friends and she’s growing up far too fast.  It’s wonderful and it’s terrifying all at once, because while we parents encourage our little ones to grow and bloom every day, realizing that you’re not the only thing your child needs in life, is just horrid.

We might be smiling, but we don’t have to like it.

Instead, we treasure every second, count every milestone, and celebrate every chapter.  We capture special moments in our memories, (or on our phones if we can!) We post on social media with pride.  We entertain others with our cute kiddies and we get through each day as best we can.  But sometimes, we get an inevitable slap in the face from our little angels as they take their own uncertain little stumblings through the big dark forest of the world.

As time goes on, I’m probably going to assume the persona of the Wicked Witch in my daughter’s eyes, rather than the perfect loving Queen.  That seems to be inevitable, but what is also inevitable is the certainty that some day, she’ll realize that Mammy IS actually her best friend again.  And until then, I can keep on asking the question and hope that the odd day, I get the answer I like!

.bff

I am Suddenly Dumped Mum.