Monday, February 8, 2010

REALLY over being at the beck and call...

....of a three year-old.

Any/all of you reading who can cope with a single solitary child - one who has nobody else to entertain him/her except YOU day in, day out - who is sapping every second of your day, day after day, with no let-up in their pace, are my absolute, undying heroes. I think of myself as lucky, that for a few mornings a week, I ship the LGBB off to occasional care (3 year-old kindy from tomorrow, whoo hoo!) because at least I do something different with my brain then. But it's all still go-go-go, work-work-work at the moment!

My twitchy finger yearns to feel comfortable with parking her butt and eyes in front of the teev, but I just cannot do it. I feel like turning on the tv is caving. And I do cave. Most days, I cave and allow her to watch something, at some point. It mightn't be long, sometimes it's just one half-hour show, sometimes it's a 2 hour DVD - she enjoys it and Lord knows so do my nerves - but it's a break for the two of us. Well, for me, at least. I feel like her day is just one long carnival, which is how I love it to be on the one hand.... but at what cost to me, on the other?

There is a certain person here who has inherited more than a little of both her mother's and her father's independence and perseverance.... to put it as constructively as I can. Case in point: A lunch I serve yesterday, which was perfectly fine to eat yesterday, is apparently not okay to eat when I make it for her today. So after explaining rationally and simply that there will be no more food served until dinner time and that lunch needs to be eaten so tummies don't get hungry, and further warnings that the longer the lunch sits at her table, the yuckier it will taste, I find myself steeped in a battle of wills I don't want to be in. I don't want my kid to eat soggy cracker biscuits with now dried spread on them! But how can I back down? For they are like elephants, they remember something you promised them last Pancake Tuesday. And yet, allegedly, cannot recall the instruction you gave them 2 minutes ago. I refuse to cave, for I want the precedent to be - "if you decide to do X, the consequences will be Y and Z... it's up to you." She gets choices, with clear examples of what will happen depending on what choice she makes. It works perfectly and is nurturing this sense of independence she innately has - she is frustrated with smother mothering and determines to do pretty much everything for herself, and yet needs an audience to do these things - but sometimes, she tests me. It is usually around the thing that is most important to her. At this point in time, that thing is food.

So before long, I get the whingey and blantantly testing, "I'mmmmm hungreeeeeee" and I say, "Well, eat your lunch then." "But it's yuckyyyyy." Well, Toots, y'know what? That's too bad! This ain't The Ritz. I don't do a menu. Gurhhhh!!

I know I have no way to accurately compare - save for speaking to several other parents who have just the one child at home to care for - so I therefore won't even attempt, but I have to say I'm on the verge of Ballistic Alert here! And I'm not afraid to say it. People with more than one child who consider me lucky..... well, the shoe is on the other foot there, too, for they cannot possibly assume to know how it is in a house with an only child either and how that child behaves with no siblings. I yearn to throw another child into the mix, just to CHANGE it up already and perhaps introduce the word "others" into the LGBB's increasing vocabulary. But nature has so far had other plans for the three of us.

I will forever remember The Three's as equally the ever-lovelier and ever-more-belligerantly-demanding of ages.

My attention span has, once again (for I did lengthen it there somewhere between The Two's and Three's), been reduced to a mere 8 minutes [note: may or may not be an accurate representation of true attention span] largely due to the repetitive nature of the requests. She wants to do craft. I set it up. She devours it as I am setting it all up. She finishes as soon as I finish taking things out. She goes on to the next thing. I ask her to help me pack it all up. She says she hasn't finished yet. If I insist she pack it up with me, my afternoon is just one long 3 hour stint of unpacking, packing up, juggling phone calls in between from a client here, a tradie there.... heaven help the friend who phones because they are the ones I have to let go through to the machine lately.

A sane mummy surely cannot be made this way. If I had absolutely nothing else to do - if I had even one female on hand (mother, mother in-law, an aunt or a cousin even) to help me with menial tasks like dishes, folding washing.... ha-ha whatever that is, wiping benches and cleaning floors, I'd be more likely not to be at bursting point. I could cope with the requests and questions and demands and whining. The usual and very normal demands of any child. The LGBB is gorgeous, she is more beautiful every passing day. She is funnier, somehow, every morning when we wake up. I will be forever grateful - anyone who knows me knows this. Which is perhaps why I am beating myself up so hard.... I want to be thankful every waking moment. But it kinda gets blurred somewhere around 10am when I have been interrupted for the gazillionth time (when I have resorted to requesting "NO interruptions for just FIVE minutes!!" for the 999 bazillionth fecking time... okay, slight exaggeration, once again, but I use it to illustrate my deep frazzled frustrations!) from my housely duties which, if I don't get them done, just stack on day after dragging day. Even when I try to slice my weeks up, I cannot get the balance right.

And I am fully aware of the plights of others. Those without a child, those who have lost a child (or more). These people and their journeys weigh super-heavy on my mind and my heart. I do not feel, however, that it is realistic to be constantly in that place of gracious acceptance. I don't. Little flip-outs should be expected! We are, after all, human. So I just wanted to throw this post in, in case anyone reading is assuming I assert myself on some high-brow pedestal with all things parenting and Zen-ness. Ho-ho, I don't. And I have Steve's vouch for it.

I'm still drumming my fingers, waiting for it all to click into place. I don't know why I can't do it with one kid! Do people become more efficient the more children they have? I do not believe I would have any sanity or humour or dignity left at all if I had another child as demanding of my time and wit as this one.

And what the hell am I doing right now?

Procrastinating? Wasting time? Conserving some sense of self, however miniscule? Trying to forget all the housework is still there (I'm talking, obscene amounts of housework, not just a little bit - this is not a well-functioning house and has not been ever since we started building works.... in OCTOBER LAST YEAR!)?

Yep. You betcha. All of the above. I want to cry. But I think I'll just go and empty the dishwasher first. There's no time for heap-falling. And I really do, honestly, apologise for this whinge-fest in this current climate of loss and remembrance. I will gain my perspective back in due course. Right after I ... yes, unload that goddamn dishwasher and stack it again!!!!


Archived Posts


Related Posts with Thumbnails