I am in the middle of a three-week stretch without my husband. He managed to organise away work and leisure trips back to back so my life has been even more entwined with my children than I thought possible.
This time has given me mountainous extra domestic responsibility. However, today I will not harp on that or the abandonment mothers feel when husbands’ lives outside of the home remain unaffected by the birth of children.
Today I want to share the tremendous joy that comes from just letting go and having fun with the kids. Today we have deserted our messy house and visited relatives to eat chocolate cake and play. The kids laughed as bubbles came out of the bubble machine as chased them around the yard. They cried in fear of the old friendly dog, had near misses on the swing set and drank and played in the dog’s water.
Then we came home and had lunch in our messy house and then slept in our messy room. Later I loaded up our double-decker pram with Master 4 months, Master 23 months and a bag of drinks and snacks. Master 3 is now a big boy and can ride his bike without training wheels (something my husband has missed during his time away). We headed for the park to meet friends and have more play time.
The park meant I had to chase Master 23 months to keep him from running on the road. It also meant falls, sand in every crease and crevice on their bodies and breaking up disputes.
When we got home we had a dinner of shepherd’s pie I had somehow managed to cook and freeze earlier in the week. Master 3 didn’t eat his (as usual) and I didn’t care. I bathed Master 4 months and put him to bed.
Bath time for the older boys meant that all the bath toys and most of the bath water was emptied onto the bathroom floor; I didn’t care.
Bed time meant I lay in bed with them and laughed whole-heartedly at who did a ‘stinky-winky’ followed by wrestling and then quiet discussion.
Discussion and striving for meaning has been a big topic in our house lately. Master 3 likes to say he needs ‘three cos I’m three’ particularly in relation to how many biscuits he is allowed to eat. So in the theme of three here are three discussions we’ve been able to share recently.
Master 3 upon seeing me naked says:
“What’s that on your penis?”
I said “I don’t have a penis mate, I am a lady and girls and ladies have vaginas and that stuff is called hair”
“What’s hair there for?”
“Oh men and ladies have hair to protect that area”
“Protecting it from monsters?”
“No mate, not monsters . . .
“Well where’s your penis gone to?”
“I don’t have a penis – only boys and men have a penis. Girls and ladies have vaginas”
“Is the penis hiding in the vagina?”
“No mate, I don’t have a penis”.
“Oh, But why don’t you have one?”
“Um…why don’t you get Dadda to read you a story?”
“Years ago when I was a pirate my big pirate ship and my pirate spy-glass and my pirate sword sunk to the deep, deep ocean and I didn’t know what to do. So I met a friendly shark and a friendly whale and the shark found my sword and my spy-glass and he did bring it back to me. And the friendly whale used his blow-hole to spout my pirate ship back up again for me and I was happy.”
<But what did you do while they did that for you; did you just swim around and wait?>
“No, I didn’t just swim around, cos pirates can’t swim very well cos they do wear heavy pirate clothes and they would sunk like my pirate ship so I just waited for the friendly shark and whale to help me. There was a friendly crocodile too.”
<Oh, what did the crocodile do?>
“He did help me too. I didn’t need help with my treasure chest though cos I did hang onto it so it didn’t go down into the deep, deep ocean.”
<Oh, that’s good that you didn’t lose your treasure and your money then>
“Yes it is and when the friendly whale did get my pirate ship back for me I was happy.”
“I am going to drive a rocket ship up into space.”
<When you grow up you might like to be an astronaut?>
“What does an astronaut do”?
<They drive rocket ships into space to look at the planets and the stars>
“What is space”?
<Oh space is where the planets and the stars live up in the sky>
“Do the astronauts get out of their rocket ships”?
<Oh, sometimes when they have to fix the rocket ship or the space station, but they have to wear a long safety line so they don’t float off into dark space>
“What happens to them if they float away”?
<Oh they get lost in space because there’s just nothing>
<Well there are planets, moons, lots of stars and lots of suns>
“No, you got it the wrong way round Mummy, suns come out in the day time not in the dark”!
To sit and write this meant that I had to not care that my house is still messy. I don’t think the kids care either. I think they were just glad to have a carefree Mama for the day.
When have you eased the pressure on yourself to be the perfect parent and actually enjoyed your children? How do you have fun with them?