I’ve only got two children and neither has made their fifth birthday yet. But it turns out that while their behaviour may be bizarre, frustrating and hilarious, often all before 6am, it is absolutely normal. And so it made me think what these little tyrants might look like from outer space. Or to my self-absorbed, recently single, corporate baby brother.
They do not sleep when required.
The thing about sleep is that it affects every single part of your life. And when you are not getting any, it feels like hell. You are cranky, short-tempered, frustrated, tired, miserable. You know when you’ve had a big night and you feel a bit scratchy the next day. Well it’s like that. All the time, except without the fun party night and embarrassing photos to go with it. And instead of heading off to work to hide in an office or behind a desk, or just have a sleep in or a lie on the couch, you remain at the coalface, deep in the trenches, fending off thrown food, responding to ridiculous demands and having to complete mundane tasks like putting a complex Lego Police Headquarters together with Peppa-freaking-Pig in the background. Sorry, still raw. So aliens/ helpful uncles if you see a parent lying face down on the floor of the playroom letting their children draw a treasure map on their brand new jeans, don’t judge, just pass them a pillow.
Children can survive without eating anything other than biscuits for a long, long time.
Parents of small terrorists, tonight after you cook dinner, put it in the blender, throw in some cold water, splatter it all over the table and on the floor and then throw half of it in the bin. Because at least this way you have saved yourself the angst of attempting to feed it to whichever child is on a hunger strike. And it’s not just the cooking, it’s the shopping. Okay let’s rephrase that, shopping with more than one small child in a busy supermarket should be an Olympic Sport, or at the very least a Reality TV show. Seriously if one hasn’t escaped the trolley, or stolen food, or hidden under the shelves, or climbed the shelves, they are hollering at the top of their lungs for whatever garbage food I have said no to. Then you get it in the car, out of the car, in the fridge, off the floor, out from behind the couch and then you cook it. So when they push it away without even a sniff dear alien/uncle, that is why I have turned around and am yelling into the freezer; unlike my children, the food doesn’t have feelings.
Everything is a weapon.
I have boys so perhaps this feature is more pertinent to the House of Penis that I live in. Everything that is mobile can be used as a weapon. Seriously, pretend you are Brick from Anchorman and just start naming random objects around you right now. Yes, yes and yes, they are all weapons. The cushions from the couch, weapon and trampoline. Plastic spoon from the yoghurt. Yes. Yoghurt. Yes. Bowl the yoghurt is in. Yes. Not to mention the sporting equipment, Lego, and the latest beautiful wooden toys. All effective weapons. Sometimes everyone is in on the battle that has taken over the yard. Sometimes it is just one crazy toddler desperately seeking revenge with the washing basket. Sometimes it is a bike, thrown across a playground in fury, but I try not to do that too often! So when you buy gifts, look carefully at it and ask yourself, not whether this could be used as a weapon, but just how much damage it might do.
When small children who are not toilet trained don’t have a nappy on, they shit.
You would think as parents we would know this. And yet the amount of times a kid without a nappy on has left some chocolate nuggets on my carpet, in the bath, on the deck is beyond belief – and the kid doesn’t always live here. Sometimes they shit their pants because they are too busy doing something else. Sometimes they leave one floating in the pool. And you know what the worst part is, they cannot clean it up. So the red-faced parent is left to almost vomit on themselves as they clean shit out of the carpet/ the undies/ the shopping trolley/ the bath/ the public pool. Hell the last camping trip even had one smeared all across the jumping pillow. Yep parents you are now rethinking the bare-foot jump you had on that last holiday and aliens/baby brother; yes they actually are that gross.
All. The. Time. Sometimes it is for good reason. But mostly it is for the exact opposite of the reason they were crying five minutes ago. And man are they loud. They cry to get in the bath, then cry to get their hair washed and then cry again to get out of the bath. They cry because they are hungry, and because the sandwich is made incorrectly, and because it is on the wrong plate, or in the wrong shape on the right plate, or because it has fallen apart when they picked it up. And now because they threw it on the floor and the dog ate it. They cry because they are tired, and then they cry because they have to go to bed. Seriously half the time they don’t know why they are crying and I’m just too tired to figure it out. If you see them crying, I know they are annoying you, but at least you can leave the room, or house, or country. Me I’m still trying to figure out how to sneak into the bathroom with either of them noticing.
They are freaking hilarious.
This is perhaps the most annoying and misunderstood feature of the creature we call small children. Now it is no secret because parents have been spending every second of their offspring’s first years telling everyone who has no choice but to listen that their kid is funny. In reality, only your own kid is funny. Oh and that kid who did a commercial for a health care company many years ago. Or the one in the toilet cubicle next to yours offering a running commentary on everyone’s wee. But in your own simple world of cleaning up, entertaining, organising and parenting, the one innocent comment that makes you giggle with delight is bliss. They can crack you up, and when they do, they are absolutely delighted. It might hiding in their bed during the day telling you they are trying to get some patience, or ripping out some excellent air guitar to The Boss when they thought no one was watching, or just farting on their brother with a nude bum. It makes you laugh so hard you wet your pants, again. And you don’t actually have to understand this one, but just nod with us when it is the only story we have to tell at the latest family catch up.
You might see this from above, you might hear it talked about, you might even read some ridiculous soppy post about it on Facebook, but only cos it’s the kid’s birthday. But it’s true. They love. It is fierce and furious and feels like it will last forever. It comes in cuddles and sloppy full kisses on the mouth. It comes in the sheer delight on their faces when they see you. It comes in beautiful artwork from daycare with some cheesy pun. It comes in a midnight cuddle in bed. And when they are old enough and realise how much it makes your heart melt, it even comes out of their little mouths. It is harder to see, but you sure know when you’ve got it.