This not an adequate description of parenting. It is NOT all sunshine, rainbows, and happy times! It certainly has a good dusting of these, but these are the good bits. It is predominantly made up of tears, frustration, teamwork, routine, sleeplessness, more tears and arguments and negotiations. It is like working on a negotiation then to have to start all over again because the goal posts have shifted. It is like being outnumbered every day. It is a regime; dictated by four tiny humans that constantly amaze me with how intelligent they are.
The old saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words – and when I look in my photo program, I have a whole library of words that ‘go’ with the photos. It brings me back to why I take photos. With the integration of smart phones and cameras it means that, for me, I don’t drag out the ‘good’ camera as often and predominantly use my phone. This means that I find myself flooded with images, as opposed to some carefully crafted or opportune moments that were found when you had to worry about the quantity of film being used, or the wonder of seeing the film when you picked it up from developing. I kind of miss those days. Sometimes you take a hundred photos to get one ‘good’ shot. Then other days you find yourself not taking a single photo at all.
This week, I am completing the Week in the Life project by Ali Edwards. I love the idea behind this and a big part of why I blog here is so I don’t forget the little things. This project focuses on what we do, how we do, and a bit of why we do, every day, for seven days in a row – or a week. I am finding it interesting to say the least and am taking a lot of photos. I know that I already have a fairly well formed routine, but it is interesting coming at it from a different angle – telling all the stories that happen in a day, be it routine or otherwise.
Right now I live in a dictatorship. Yep, in Australia. A dictatorship run by a little army I created. Four little beings who without a doubt will be the best things I have ever made in my life, rule my life. Rule my every day, and my every night. The world according to the ‘regime’ is seemingly delightful if you are the dictator! Things like pink milk, an endless supply of bananas and yoghurt, and breakfast items for dinner such as porridge, pancakes or Nutri Grain are the constant demands.
I am constantly outnumbered. They know how to gang up on you. They wait all day and lull you into a false sense of security. Thinking that you have stopped them from snacking after 330pm so they may in fact eat their dinner. Little did you know they had previously *stolen* food from the pantry to dish out later when they want it before dinner. That split second you take to get the veggies out of the fridge for dinner – that is when they choose to eat the stolen goods. And then have the audacity to say that they are ‘starving hungry mum, cannot possibly wait for dinner’. Hmm. So I cook dinner, in high hopes that they will in fact eat some of it. Find myself saying ‘eat your tea’, and ‘sit down at the table’ a lot. A. LOT.
I hide veggies. I try to pick ‘kid friendly’ meals. Here are some dinner time snippets –
“Mum, I am not eating this” – pointing to dinner consisting of spaghetti – “So why don’t you just save yourself time and make me a toastie (toasted sandwich) now?” Insightful, delightful – tactics of a three and a half year old!
“Mum, I can’t like (note it is not won’t or don’t) this…….please can I have a sandwich/cereal?”
“Mum, I am not hungry anymore”
“Mum, I only wanted a sausage, not all this stuff as well (veggies)”
“Mum, this tastes (fettuccine carbonara) like it has like a lot of vegetables in it, are you sure there are none in it? I am a detective you know”
Some nights it is really quite difficult to keep a straight face. Seriously, where do they come up with this stuff from?!
Some nights we have a standoff. And we won’t let them leave the table until they have eaten their dinner. Caitlyn actually won one night. She refused to eat her pumpkin. An HOUR I sat there with her. After an hour and 15 minutes I gave in. Seriously, this kid has spunk and will power.
This is the pictorial evidence of the “pumpkin incident”!
Some days it really does feel like I am in the throes of declaring war. Or am in fact in the middle of a war zone. Other days, it feels like I am quite literally being dictated too. This tiny little army has me completely exhausted most days, begging for five minutes reprieve of the constant demands –
“Mum, Mummy, MUUUUMMMYYYYY”!
Or the countless times I say
“______ give ______’s ________(insert item here) back to him/her”
“Keep your hands to yourself”
“Stop hitting/pinching/slapping/kicking your brother/sister”
These are, however, the rocking chair moments. The bonafide life experiences that will always bring with them the feel of chaos! I will remember these things in years to come, and like to think that I will recant them to the children ad nauseum – particularly when they have kids!
Right now my little army dictates a lot. And granted most of these demands are seemingly reasonable – I mean who does not want to have a fairy tea party for dinner every night? If I took all of the fun out of everything I deserve to be dictated too! Right now, these kids are full of imagination, mystery and wonder. Their minds are overflowing with ideas, dreams and possibility. I love them more than words can type or say, and I know that they love me as quite often they say it, particularly when they have not eaten all of their dinner, or in fact want ice cream for dinner because that is what Knights eat. Hmm. Dubious much?
Tomorrow is another day full of possibility – and already, at bed time, I have had “Mum, can we have sausages on bread for tea tomorrow night?”. Ho hum…