By Gayatri Unsworth
I’m not generally a resolution-making type person but after watching 2012 whizz by in a blur of morning sickness, nappy-changes, nursing marathons and play-dates, I’ve decided that this year I’ll come up with a proper list of specific parenting related resolution and try my hardest to keep them……well for the whole of January at the very least.
Watch how I speak around the kids
I was recently chauffeuring my two daughters to a play-date when my firstborn quipped from the backseat, “Mummy, why are there so many idiots on the road?”
“What do you mean sweetheart”, I asked, a little taken aback at her colourful language choices.
“Oh, you keep saying look at this idiot and look at that idiot when you are driving….” she replied nonchalantly, adding for good measure that strangely enough there didn’t seem to be any idiots on the road when daddy was behind the wheel.
I’ve often forgotten that little ears listen very carefully to everything that’s going on around them and whilst I naively assumed that my dear 3.5-year-old was busy flipping through her books in the backseat, she has in actual fact been paying attention to my various rants about other road users and rapidly expanding her vocabulary in less than ideal ways.
So rather than wait until my baby starts talking to hear further evidence of my language indiscretions, I will aim this year to be very careful with the words and phrases I use, especially in the company of my little ones.
Go to the loo when I need to.
Before you turn the page, rest assured that I am not about to share a revoltingly visual description of my waste management system. I am simply pledging that this year I will listen to my body more closely, rather than sit with my legs crossed really tightly or walk around with gritted teeth clenching parts of my anatomy that were really not biologically designed to be clenched.
This resolution has been a long time coming. After my first daughter, Jasmin, was born back in March 2009, toilet breaks (actually, all types of breaks) became an optional item on my daily to-do list. Throw a 5-month-old baby into the mix and really, it’s a mystery that I haven’t ended up in hospital with some type of serious bladder and intestinal complications.
Loo breaks pose a variety of challenges when you have two young children to look after on your own for most of the day. I don’t really want to take baby Chelsea into the toilet with me; apart from the whole issue of germs, have you ever tried to sit on the toilet with a squirming, wriggling baby? I have, and I can assure you that it is not fun. I’ve considered placing her in the Bjorn carrier but I’m still having trouble working out what to do with her legs. Do I hold them up the whole time or do I let them dangle free and easy whilst touching a myriad of undesirable surfaces?
At the same time, I also can’t leave both the girls on their own without supervision. The last time I turned away for one second, lovely big-sister Jasmin very generously decided to give Chelsea a gymnastics lesson and had my precious little baby doing a ‘bridge pose’, which is an interesting (read: heart attack inducing) manoeuvre especially for an infant who is still some
what floppy necked and pretty much the same consistency as jelly.
Anyhow, I will endeavour this year to go to the loo when nature calls. Even if it means dragging both girls in with me and having my older one chant ‘gross’ whilst making gagging faces on a repeated loop. At the very least she will keep the baby entertained.
Don’t let others get to me
I am generally a fairly relaxed, easy-going person (okay fine, apart from a minor affliction of road-rageitis as mentioned earlier) but the one thing that frustrates me to no end is the non-stop unsolicited parenting advice that just seems to keep rolling my way.
From well-meaning family members to the random strangers sharing a lift ride, it appears that most people just can’t help but offer their two cents worth when they see me with my children.
The other day I was accosted in the middle of a car park by a little gentle looking grandmotherly lady who gave me an earful for taking my baby out without mittens, booties and a beanie. I wanted to point out, in case she had missed it all this time, that we did live in the tropics where it was generally 36 degrees, humid and balmy but then thought the better of it and just politely nodded. She’s not the first mind you; I was lectured about the same thing all the time when my first daughter was also a baby.
Either my children weren’t dressed adequately for the (frosty??) Malaysian climate, or they were still playing in the park at 7pm, or they were eating ice-cream when it was too windy (I’m still trying to make the connection between consuming frozen confectionary when there’s a breeze blowing). But my personal favourite to-date has got to be the “Don’t let your children get even the slightest bit wet in the rain because they will then contract a severe bout of pneumonia.” I politely point out that they get wet in the shower on a daily basis (sometimes twice, gasp!) and have somehow miraculously survived to-date without contracting any deadly diseases but that response hasn’t been too popular, hence I’ve stopped offering it.
Anyway this year, rather than get upset or stressed out about others judging my parenting, I am going to wholeheartedly adopt my husband’s philosophy when dealing with unwelcome advice which is to smile broadly and then carry on doing as he pleases.
Break-up with elastic waistbands
I love stretchy pants. In pregnancy, they stand by you like a loyal friend affectionately and unconditionally loving your expanding waistline, hips and limbs. And they remain kind to you long after you give birth and realise that your 20kg pregnancy weight gain was in fact 3kgs of baby and 17kgs of Nutella now in the form of wobbly thighs.
However, my baby is now 5-months-old and I don’t think I can get away with living in elastic waistbands anymore. I’ve got a closet full of clothes just begging to be worn and though they may be a little less kind to my post-children bits and bumps, I’m sure my husband for one will appreciate coming home from work and seeing his wife dressed in something other than yoga pants.
Take every opportunity to express love
I’ve always tried to show my daughters that I love them but I sometimes fall into the trap of merely thinking it inside my own head instead of showing it. So for 2013, I am going to kiss, cuddle and hug them at every opportunity, tell them how they are the most amazing little beings I know, as well try my hardest to be the best mummy I can be for them.