Now that Magoo is one score minus nineteen, I feel duty-bound to mark the occasion by sharing some little pearly parenting wisdoms that I have collected over the past year.
In my You’re An Awesome Mum fantasy, this pearl collection process goes something like this:
all these tiny, wise, bespectacled pearls unwittingly creep out of their shelly homes only to be cornered by me (“you’re not getting away THIS time little pearl!”), whereupon I seize them and scatter them into the collective pool of parenting insights, so that other, lesser parents may be educated by my hard-won understandings and be eternally grateful to ME.
Then 17397073480723 people subscribe to this blog (even Oprah) and I am asked to write a parenting book and write a weekly column for The Guardian.
Magoo gets to go on Ellen and, with the world watching, describes how she is the happiest and most well-adjusted person in the whole world, and that this is because of ME (with some input from the Super Defacto).
Sadly, when I was collecting the pearls of wisdom, I think I picked up some pearls of wizened-dom by mistake. Whoops.
BUT (and here’s the sincere, serious bit) if there is ONE thing I have learned, one pearl I can offer, it is that parenting is by and large a learn on the job kinda gig.
Wisdom may be important but that’d lose out to patience, flexibility, foresight, perceptiveness, humour and some badass nerves of steel.
Wisdom may come in the end, but for now, it’s more like one long “Ohhhhhhh riiiiiiggghhhttt”.
To this end, here is a list of things I have learned that I didn’t think I was going to learn.
Maybe they are wisdoms after all.
I would call them surprises that haven’t aged yet.
1. Snot is one of my favourite things
This only applies to my child’s snot.
Occasionally it applies to my own snot.
If I see snot on another child it is the most bogging thing ever.
If the other kids at daycare have snotty noses then I want to wrap Magoo’s entire body in neoprene.
Magoo’s solid bogeys have this maddening yet utterly mouth-watering way of peeking coquettishly out of her nostrils. The little green bastards KNOW it will take me 15 tissue-swipes and maybe even a pinky-finger poke or two before I can seize them.
Magoo is onto it. She holds onto her snot with all her one-year-old might.
I have warned her time and again that people will judge me her for being a snotty kid but she doesn’t care.
The threat of her eyes being forced together by pussy conjunctivitis-y goo doesn’t bother her.
She can body-roll away from the hanky at ninja speed.
I feel sure that I will be reflecting on this post outside Magoo’s Principal’s office in five years time when my child is being disciplined for her obsessive nose-picking habit.
2. My kid may have OCD
Magoo’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is one of the many functional behavioural traits that I’ve brought to the kid’s table.
Sometimes the two of us will get our OCD on together.
I go to the stove five times to check that all the knobs are off.
Meanwhile, she will turn the TV on and off, on and off, just to make sure it’s actually off.
3. I am funny…but she is a triple threat
I consulted Magoo with respect to this point and she agrees that I am the funniest person she has ever met.
She says that my fake sneezes are some of the best she’s heard and my “walking down the stairs” mime is spot-on.
But she’s being modest.
Her humour is a unique blend of comic timing and absurdist slap-stick that would make even the Pythons jealous.
Today she ate a pancake directly off the table without using her hands while simultaneously imitating bird noises and smearing banana over her head.
And that’s not all. She dances to the Play School theme tune like nobody’s watching.
And this is not to mention the cuteness. Behold, the cuteness.
I am no match for her natural talents.
4. We are permanent residents at the doctor’s surgery
Some people say that breast feeding is good for your child’s health.
I have breast-fed.
I am still breast-feeding.
I calculate that Magoo has now had around 2,500 drinks of milk since she was born.
Then why (oh why) does she keep getting colds?
(It’s those snotty daycare kids, I tell you)!!
I used to be embarrassed when our GP consultations were like ordering a coffee: “just the usual, thanks”.
But our doc (and all the wise Yiayias in our neighbourhood) assure us that Magoo’s snot-marathons are, in fact, “building her immunity”.
5. The house looks like a frat house at 10am…and I care.
Before Magoo, I didn’t care so much if the house was messy.
In fact, it was rarely this messy.
But if it was, I didn’t care much.
Now I care a lot.
And I clean a lot.
It is because I am older.
And this isn’t really a surprise.
Please contribute to the greater good by letting me know what has surprised (shocked, awed, daunted…) you about being a parent. Enter your comment below!