My Special ‘The Usual’ Mother’s Day

If there is one word which sums up life with a toddler, it is the word ‘repetition’: the continuous words of admonishment (‘don’t touch that’, ‘it’s hot’, ‘get down from there’), the almost constant wiping up of spills and cleaning up of messes and the ever-repetitive cycle of ‘silence-crying-consoling’ because the said words of admonishment have once again fallen on deaf ears (‘what does mom know anyway, right? I mean, how hot can that heater really be?’).

And yet, in between this draining repetition, there are moments of pure ingenuity. Moments of surprise in which I stare at our son with wonder and laughter. The moment when Bean decided that it was a good idea to unpack all of, and I mean ALL of, my unused plastic packets in order to create a blanket, for example, or the moment he decided to take my basting brush, dip it into the water lying in one of our vases and to then clean the table, or the moment when he grabbed a ‘poon’ (spoon) from the drawer to fix his toys (‘I fitsin, mom!’).

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Bean and his plastic-packet-blanket

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His workshop is ready, now all we need is his ‘screwdriver-spoon’

Last year marked my first ever Mother’s Day and I had high (ok, very high), expectations of this day. I imagined that it would be nothing short of fireworks, rosy cheeks and laughter. The reality was, of course, a little different: although I did get the gift and the cup of coffee in bed, it was just another day. Because nappies still need to be changed, kids can be difficult and yes, I am not the only mother in the world deserving special attention (shocker!).

So, this year, I decided to focus on the moments of ingenuity, magic and wonder, to embrace the usual, to relish in the every-day things of being a mom. Because, that’s what I am: a mom to an energetic, challenging and kind little bundle of toddler-love. Today, I am thankful to be called ‘mom’, I will change those nappies with joy and I will repeat words of love as often as I repeat everything else.

Yes, today is just another day, and it is wonderful.

Happy Mother’s Day!

‘Oh Shit!’

The day I have been dreading has finally arrived – the day my potty mouth has made me fail as a mother: ‘Oh, shit!’, my almost two-year-old exclaims with glee as I am busy wiping up the water I just spilt all over the table. He is, of course, copying what I had just said a minute ago when I knocked my glass over, and although I try and ignore the words, not wanting to make a big deal out of the situation, Bean is now excitedly running around the garden repeating my profanity – over and over and over again.

A few days later, I am trying to phone our gardener, Robert, but the signal keeps cutting out. I, out of frustration, shout into the phone, ‘Robert, ROBERT, ROBBEERT’, misguidedly thinking that this will miraculously change the signal quality of our call. Bean, being the parrot that he is, starts shrieking in a voice which eerily sounds like my own, ‘Robert, ROBERT, ROBBEERT’. I stop, shocked, and in my best voice repeat, ‘Hello Robert’ in the hope that when he sees Robert again, he does not repeat my shrieking outburst (not that this has helped – poor Robert gets shrieked at, at least once, every time he is here).

Do I really sound that bad? And look so scary when I am upset? Because, Bean, not only successfully copies my words and my voice, no, he manages expressions as well! And the worst of it all is that I cannot even be angry at him – he is simply doing what a toddler does. And so, I laugh, a reaction which Bean loves and a reaction which makes him want to repeat whatever it was that I thought was so funny. It’s a trap and a very humbling one at that.

If you think that someone needs a humbling experience, put them in the same room as a parrot-toddler. There is nothing quite like your pride-and-joy holding up that figurative mirror, happily showing you all the flaws which you have so successfully been able to ignore all these years, in all their glory.  Whether it’s your go-to-swear-word or your frustrated ‘AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH’ when something does not want to work as it’s supposed to, trust me, your ‘parrot-toddler’ will repeat it. And he will repeat it at the most inconvenient time, while you are proudly telling someone of your most recent parenting win, for example.

Luckily, Bean manages to copy the good as well, the parts of me that I am quite happy to share and see repeated, the parts which make me proud. So, from now on (yes, I have mentioned this before, but repetition does at some point lead to learning, hopefully) I will focus on the good and try and be better, calmer, more patient.

We have started using the words, ‘Oh, sherbet’ now and that seems to be doing the trick, but, I have to admit, every now and again, when my guard is down and I am tired and frustrated, that true Alexa-potty-mouth still makes an appearance. Flaws do not get ironed out overnight it seems. And as for Robert: luckily, he likes our little guy and doesn’t get offended.

The Moments that take my Breath Away

Last week I wrote a post about the bad days I experience as a mom (read it here), and in it I mentioned that no matter how hard a specific bad day is, the good days always outweigh the bad ones. Today I want to focus on the really good moments of being a mom: the moments which take my breath away, the moments of happiness and pride, the moments when my heart is so full I do not know what to do with all this love, the moments of pure gratitude and the moments which highlight the importance of my role as a mom.

It is these moments which lead to days when, after I put Bean down to sleep, all I want to do is wake him back up again so that I can see his smile one more time before I go to bed. Days which are filled with little achievements and simple joys which overshadow the big moments I previously thought so important. Days when I forget about all the things that need to get done and become a child again – our joint laughter filling the house with life and love.

Here is my collection of heart-warming moments:

  • When Bean grabs my hand as he falls asleep, holding it tightly against his chest.
  • When I try put him down and he wraps his little legs around my waist like a monkey, refusing to be let go.
  • When he crawls into my lap for a cuddle.
  • When he calls me simply to smile at me.
  • When I pick him up and he rests his head on my shoulder, his hands enveloping my neck.
  • When he spontaneously decides to give me a kiss.
  • When pride emanates out of his face like a ray of sunshine when he shows off a new skill
  • When he hears the garage door open and excitedly whispers, ‘Daddy?’, his eyes alive with excitement and hope.
  • When he makes up his own words like ‘meam’, a combination of ‘mess’ and ‘clean’.
  • When he runs instead of walking, a cloud of happiness and wonder surrounding his entire being.
  • When he gets down on his haunches before he runs off as if to say, ‘ready or not, I am coming!’
  • When he says, ‘bye’ with an excited little wave to whomever it is we happen to pass, without any judgement or preconceived ideas about who that person might be.
  • When he goes up to children he has never met before and gives them a big kiss.

To me these moments epitomise the beauty of childhood, of a unique character developing and the special bond between parent and child.

If you are having a bad day, dear reader, I encourage you to make a list just like mine. Not only will it make you realise how blessed you are to be a parent, it will immortalise these moments which we tend to forget all too easily.