You know that boundless heart thumping love you feel when you have your child? When they smile on seeing your face? Kick their legs in sheer unbridled joy as you walk into the room? Wrap their arms around your neck so tight you think you might burst from the emotion of it all?
Then that child enters the age bracket of 2-4 and as sure as the sun will rise they will fight you every step of the way. And while there are moments of indescribable love and adoration there are hours, days, weeks, months when you are absolutely certain that breathtaking baby is actually The Devil Spawn.
Then they kick out of it and you enter this zone of hilarity in seeing them grow and just soak up knowledge like the biggest and most absorbent maxi pad. With wings! And lo, it is nice. There is an equilibrium to your world.
But then, then you start noticing a smell. A smell you can’t quite place (this is when you’re parenting boys – girls I suspect are just too busy giving their friends an eating disorder) but triggers a memory from your own childhood. And then, with a dawning as cold and unwelcoming as a bucket of sick you realise that smell is the same as that smell your brother used to produce. A confronting blend of rotting apple cores, rotting bananas, body odour, musty washing and sports socks.
I swear to God it emanates from their entire being, not just their pits. They are the human form of Pepe Le Pew.
Then they ramp up the eating. Forget three meals a day, it’s three meals before school, three meals after school, then dinner and then ‘IS THERE DESSERT? NO DESSERT? WHY NO DESSERT? JUST A SMALL BOWL OF ICECREAM? FRUIT? FRUIT? THAT’S NOT DESSERT!’ [insert blood curdling wail of someone done wrong in more ways that one human could possibly withstand]
They start sitting differently. Slouching.
They don’t hear you. No no. They’re not ignoring you. They literally don’t hear you unless it involves words like ‘money’, ‘chocolate’, ‘hot chips’, ‘no xbox/wii/computer’.
Suddenly, and it is suddenly, you have that 2-4 year old back again but they’re bigger, they smell and they answer back or simply refuse to even acknowledge the jumping up and down, wailing banshee you have become.
Oh sure, the physical signs of this have been happening slowly and surely over the last two years but this, THIS, is totally new and you know what? It’s really really hard.
The attitude is what kills me. The head wobble, the upturned hands imploring a greater being to explain their ludicrous objection to whatever it is you’ve asked them to do, the doing the crazy whirl around their ear as they walk away from you. OH YES HE DID. The indignity they display at being asked anything if it does not involve offering more food.
I mean, it must be exhausting feigning such indifference.
So here we are, on the cusp of a whole new age and I’m not sure what I’m feeling but it sure ain’t anything I’d lump under the banner of maternal instinct.
I mean, there are
many many occasions when my one burning desire is to throw my shoe at his head.
I know, I know. CLASSY and predictable.