Happy Mothers Day peeps! Hope you have had a lovely day whatever you have been doing. I have. I’ve spent it with my two Girlies and my own lovely Mum, who was my guest editor (and found twice as many typos as normal, thanks Mum!). Have a read, please share, like or comment. All tips on head protection welcome!
I was a terrible mother yesterday. I sinned repeatedly. I think I hit all seven sins. Girly no1 bashed her head 4 times. It was a disaster.
The first incident was when she bumped heads with another little girl on a bouncy castle. I was feeding Girly no2 just out of sight of where it happened. They both came off clutching their tiny blonde heads with tears streaming down their faces. The other girl, who had a quiet dainty cry, ran straight into the arms of her identical mother who was already holding her arms out in a “darling, darling, darling” way. She looked at my poor little Girly, who was standing there on her own looking around for me with a big square mouth and an air raid siren cry, and started saying “where’s your Mummy” in an overly exaggerated-head-shaking-judgy-you-poor-neglected-child-kind-of-way. I ran over to her doubled-over, spraying breast milk all over the place and flashing my nipple repeatedly to the only two Dads in the room. As I got there I grabbed her with my free arm suffocating no2, who was then sick all over my bunched up top. The other mum didn’t appreciate my “well this is what happens when we put people that can’t walk on an inflatable floor and expect them to stay upright!” joke and glared at me accusingly. I guiltily held on to Girly no1 cuddling her but simultaneously trying to dust her off and send her on her way, knowing full well that she would again, 2 minutes later, completely ignore my warning to stay off the bouncy castle until I had finished feeding no2 and probably bang her head again. She stopped crying, nodded “yes Mummy” and ran off. She went down the slide twice and then, whilst I was trying to stop my nipple being pulled on like Stretch Armstrong, ran straight back on to the bouncy castle. We’re working on our listening. I asked my friend to watch her for a few minutes. Two minutes passed before she again came off with the mouth and the noise. This time she had fallen straight off the main part of the castle, landing on her face. I was feeling a little (!) stressed and, if I’m honest, angry. Who ever thought it was a good idea to throw a bunch of toddlers onto a hugely exciting, colourful fun box with a wobbly floor? They can’t walk on a hard floor and have no spatial awareness whatsoever. At least 17 times a day my toddler walks into the back of my legs, or the car door, or the glass door or the sofa or whatever else is right in front of her. But even if you wanted to, you can’t stop children going on a bouncy castle. They’re the most fun thing ever! I rented one a few years ago for my husband’s 30th – they’re great! But I was feeling little other than Wrath at the stupidity of everyone, ever, who had anything to do with making or providing bouncy castles for children. Hours later we were at a friends’ house and she fell of a chair onto a slate floor. More square mouth. More sirens. It took copious amounts of witch hazel, 4 episodes of Peppa and lots of cuddles from Mummy to calm down this time. Either I was suddenly a very neglectful mother (feel free to notify social services or send me a roll of bubble wrap) or we were just having a bad day. Girly no2 was at the time in her bouncy chair laughing at a wooden door. I was looking at her and trying to make myself feel better by thinking at least I hadn’t dropped her. She was all in one piece so maybe it wasn’t my fault. Keeping a 4-month old baby safe is pretty easy in comparison though because they don’t move. That said, she’s a sitting target for Girly no1’s lumbering body. I’m convinced that the reason no2’s head is so big and hard (it’s like a watermelon) is natures’ way of protecting her from her big sister. I looked at her thinking that I don’t want her to be able to move. I know it’s only a matter of time until she’ll be running around after Girly no2, I can’t bear it. For now I just have to enjoy her perfect bruise-free head while I can, being gluttonous over those infectious little smiles and laughs at inanimate wooden objects.
Shortly afterwards I took Girly no1 up to have a bath with her little friend with almost the same name, we’ll call her Gorly, after which she had her final knock of the day. She fell off the bed onto her cup of milk. Again, with her head. She was distraught. I felt horrible knowing that she would be covered in bruises the next day. I watched Gorly with Envy as she climbed up on to the bed and elegantly slid back down to the ground. When would mine do that?! I put my poor battered child to bed and we turned to the only other friend you need in this situation….prosecco. Gorly’s mum and I chatted Lusting over the days when we could have chugged a couple of bottles then headed to the pub. Days when neither of us had that weight of responsibility for keeping little bodies safe from air filled castles and In The Night Garden cups. We greedily devoured our bubbles and some food pontificating over what we could have done better. Well, briefly. Then we moved on to all the places we’ll travel to when the Girls grow up and leave home.
She’s woken up this morning covered in bruises. I feel horrible. I can’t look at her, I just keep cuddling her and kissing her head, getting her cobweb hair stuck between my teeth. We went for a lovely walk earlier and as she tripped through the fields and stumbled into puddles, I clutched her hand. The problem is that she just isn’t very physical yet, by which I mean that her gross motor skills aren’t quite as developed as some others her age. She didn’t crawl until her first birthday and she walked at 18 months. She was a bit Sloth-like! Whilst I had a nice relaxing first year, I pay for it now as she flies around after other children, often not able to keep up and so tripping over all the time. I’m fighting the need to add a Mum caveat here about her vocabulary or other skills – bullshit bullshit bullshit – but I’m not going to. Children do different things at different times. I accept that. My one is falling over a lot at the minute. Hashtag fact. I do have a theory that every time they go through a growth spurt, they are super clumsy for a few weeks while they grow into their new bodies. It’s like when you wear a pair of shoes that are too big and you trip up the stairs (that might just be me). We are just in the middle of one of those phases!
The best thing about Making Little People is the overwhelming Pride you experience all the time. I burst with it every day, even if they are a bit slow to run or they are caught laughing at doors. I sometimes think I might explode. In fact, I hold this emotion entirely responsible for the Mum rows and bitching we all experience. Fundamentally we just want to do a good job and we do what we believe to be right for our children. Watching them hurt themselves is one of the worst parts of the job but we do our best. We’ll all hit a few of the Seven Deadly Sins along the way, but that’s ok. That’s growing up. I survived didn’t I Mum?!