1. The Art of Acting Interested
Kids are literally the worst story tellers on the planet. When a kid launches into a story, you know you’re in for a suboptimal retelling of an extraordinarily mundane event, i.e. it’s gonna be shit.
Don’t get me wrong, kids slay with their one-liners. Stand up comedians wish they could craft a one-liner like a four year old. Unfortunately things start to unravel by the second or third sentence. By the time they’ve been going for a few minutes, things are a goddamn mess.
Mate, where’s the structure? Is there even a plot? Who are the players here? Is this even real life or did you make this shit up? Do you even know the difference? WHEN WILL IT END!?
Absolutely no sane person wants to endure it, but as a parent you are obliged to feign interest because ignoring them will make them feel rejected and unimportant and they’ll grow into an adult who’s so desperate for attention and approval they’ll end up becoming a local politician. And nobody wants that.
Similarly painful pastimes include playing with train sets and reading the exact same book for 32 nights in a row.
2. The Straight Face
It’s important to maintain the charade of ‘Responsible and Mature Adult’ when faced with the behaviour of your children. I think it’s got something to do with dogs smelling fear or bees sensing a storm or something like that. So when the time comes that your child does something clearly wrong, you’ll need to step up and provide guidance and discipline.
This can prove tricky when the error they’ve made is super fucking funny.
Like the time three year old Thud was trying to get the cap off a tube and muttered under his breath, “fucks sake, why aren’t I getting this!?”
The effort to stop myself laughing at this was so extreme, I almost burst a blood vessel in my eye. BUT I DID NOT LAUGH. Not out loud anyway.
Similar hardships include catching them doing something slightly dangerous but eminently photographable. To stop them or take a photo? Dilemma.
3. The LEGO Land Mines
There is no training for this. Just like parenthood itself, a piece of LEGO is a sharp, blinding pain, right the soft underbelly of your foot.
You will never know another pain like it. Even if you’ve given birth. Why don’t scientists devote more time and energy in discovering a cure for this? Why is it so painful?
The anguish is compounded by the knowledge you asked your child 729 times to pick the LEGO up. But children are incapable of picking up their own shit. Unless you threaten to throw that shit in the bin. Then suddenly that shit is super pick-upable.
We can also add, ‘noise making toys‘ to this category. Always, always, always purchased by grandparents who take great delight in watching you slowly lose your will to live.
4. The Sharing
Kids have a radar that alerts them to any moment you are indulging in something you don’t wish to share with them. The minute your brain registers delight at having something all to yourself, their spidey senses engage and they’ll be on you like a mummy blogger on a gifted Dyson #noregrets.
When Pop was referred for a hearing test I told them there was no need because I knew for a fact her ears are perfect. This child can hear the rustle of a biscuit packet from the other side of the house, over the noise of the TV, the vacuum cleaner, the blender and a wailing cat. I’m not even mad about it, I’m impressed.
And I’m now a fast eater #idontwannashare
5. The Grossness
Acting like your children aren’t the grossest human beings you’ve ever encountered is a special skill.
They are dirty and smelly and they always, ALWAYS have snot on them and they will always rub themselves all over you when they’re dripping with unidentified ooze and you’re wearing something easily stained.
And then there’s the violent gag-reflex, triggered by medical conditions designed to test your parenting perseverance. Looking INSIDE your offspring’s anus for the presence of actual living worms requires the composure of an Olympic gymnast performing brain surgery. It could make the strongest maternal instincts crawl back inside your uterus, claw through the lining, travel up your intestines and burst out of your mouth in an audible dry heave.
6. The Inability to Smack Other People’s Kids
One day you’ll be sitting happily at the park (lol, jokes, no one is ever happy at the park unless you’re in a hammock with a cocktail and there are no children at the park because it’s not a park, it’s an adults only resort) when some doorknob of a child walks up to your babe and pushes them off the slide because it’s “their turn” and you will leap up, stride towards them, cracking your knuckles and hissing, “IT’S LIGHTS OUT, MOFO!”
Actually, you probably won’t do this because hitting children is wrong but you’ll play that exact scenario out in your head in vivid detail while you scoop up your heartbroken child and do the wild, judgemental scan of the crowd, searching for the parent of said doorknob in the hopes they’ll feel intense guilt and remorse for producing such an inbred thug. Warning: chances are they won’t feel remorse because the truth is, some parents are irredeemable fuckwits. Not you of course, you’re great.
7. The TV Torture
You need the TV. Truly. It can save lives when you’re on the edge but the significant drawback is the inexplicable mindfuckery that passes for children’s television these days and the all-consuming rage it could ignite if you’re forced to watch any of it.
My physical reaction when faced with just two minutes of that flaccid ring-hole, Bing is concerning. I’m not sure it’s healthy to feel physical symptoms of revulsion for a cartoon rabbit, no matter how nauseating his obnoxious, whiny voice is or how vile his snivelling little bunny guardian is. When I have visions of setting fire to Bing and watching his whole pathetic world go up in flames, I start to question my life.
But my fury for Bing is nothing compared to my feelings for the four degenerates from Hoopla Doopla. MAKE IT STOP.