L is for Looking
It feels like you develop eyes in the back of your head, either that, or your peripheral vision gets really, really good.
And you can’t help it. You, or rather I, have this need to be able to see both children. All the time. The only time I’m not worried is when they are asleep or with a babysitter (because the babysitter is doing the looking instead).
I know this is something the Other Half struggles with, the idea that you have to be constantly on the alert.
I’m not an overprotective mother, at least I don’t think I am – if one of them falls over and they’re OK enough to cry and blood’s not spraying out alarmingly, then I’m not going to go running to them unless there is imminent danger. (OK, I admit part of that could be the exhaustion talking. Check out E for Exhaustion in this series for more.)
Getting back to the Other Half, I know he wants the children to be safe. I think he, like most of us until we go through motherhood, think once they’ve been hurt or had the dangers explained to them, then they’ll be fine.
But that’s not totally true.
I have a 4-year-old and a 21-month-old and they are, for their ages, pretty safety consciousness.
Motormouth has good road skills. The green man is his friend and I think he might be every so slightly scared by the angry red man at road crossings.
Mini knows when she doesn’t feel confident about steps and will always sit at the top of the stairs, waiting for someone to hold her hand while she climbs down.
That is until something else gets their attention.
Then all bets are off.
Normally the “something else” is the little tabby-tortie kitten that comes to see them when we leave in the morning and is usually there to greet us when we come home again.
When she’s around, they only have eyes for her. That’s when they need a gentle reminder not to run out across the road, and by gentle I mean a firm grab of their hood or T shirt, or, to be truthful, whichever article of clothing is nearest.
I’m not trying to be sexist here, when I talk about the Other Half not being as attentive, since I am only talking from my own experience. I know studies have shown that the father’s role is more about encouraging children to push the boundaries to achieve more. To take risks. And they need that, otherwise they’ll never achieve anything near their full potential.
And Motormouth and Mini, are quite good at assessing the risks of things like climbing up or down something.
So now I’m looking to see what mischief they are getting into.
This is definitely where the Other Half and I diverge on our notions of urgency and immediacy. He thinks peace and quiet is bliss.
I just think it’s suspicious.
We have had the odd few incidents that most parents will recognise.
Remember the time when went into the room to find a small boy who has coloured himself in with this mother’s gel pens. At least all the bits he could reach. (On the plus side, we got an indication he’s probably right handed.)
Or the time when he ate the yoghurt in the fridge.
All 12 pots. (That was an interesting at nappy change time.)
Or the small girl who emptied out her father’s bedside drawers. (I didn’t realise he’s got concert tickets in there from 1989).
I remember when I first got pregnant and everyone was giving me the advice to sleep when the baby sleeps, and this is fine in principle when they pretty much stay where you put them (apart from that’s likely to be the only time you get to do the odd tasks you might like to catch up on, like eat. Or wee.)
Once they’re mobile, you feel more like, if you sleep when they sleep, they’ll wake up without you knowing and do things you have told them NOT TO DO (sorry, force of habit. I always end up shouting that at Motormouth or Mini.)
Motormouth in particular seems to have a talent for this. It was only last week I told him specifically NOT to go into the narrow gap between our house and our garden (which is raised) because there was cat poo under the leaves.
Less that 2 minutes later?
You guessed it.
The wonderful task of cleaning cat poo off foot apparel. Luck was with me for a change. He was wearing wellies.
And he hadn’t picked up the cat poo asking “what’s this Mummy?”.
We’re not always so lucky. Once we had the case of “some idiot has left their dog’s diarrhoea in an untied nappy bag on the path”. Poor Motormouth had the indignity of being marched back home at arm’s length to be stripped down to his nappy and bare feet before he was allowed in the house. Must have been a bit chilly in February.)
Why do they always, ALWAYS have to pick it up or touch it?
Speaking of mischief, Motormouth is in the garden and I’ve just heard the hose go on.
And I have almost-dry washing on the line.
Correction. I did have almost-dry washing on the line.
I think I’ll go and have a quick look…