I was feeling a bit smug about my plan to tell my son a big secret. I’m normally more of a blurt-it-out type, but lately I’ve been channeling a much more mindful and profound parent than I really am.
In a moment of inspiration, I’d decided to take my baby boy to look at baby animals so I could tell him his mummy is having another baby. Miracle of life and procreation themes etc.
That’s right ladies and gents, despite being far less talented at parenting than I always assumed I’d be, I’m giving it another go. I figure I’m not screwing this one up too badly and I might be even better second time around, but mostly I think it’s only fair to give Thud a sibling so he has someone to complain to about his mother. Share the burden, so to speak.
We set off for Tatum Hills Farm, just outside of Canberra, in search of baby animals and heartfelt moments #poignant
When I pictured our special moment, we were sitting in a field of flowers; my boy snuggled in my lap as we watched spring lambs frolic in the sun. My little babe would gaze lovingly at my face as I told him he was going to be a big brother.
In reality the moment was with a hugely pregnant nanny goat and a hugely disinterested two-year-old.
Firstly, two-year-olds are not as tame as farm animals. Trying to get his attention and stop him running off with the rooster was like trying to put an octopus into a string bag. While bull riding in a bikini.
Even the ducks were looking at me like, “oh my god, can she not control her child?”
JUST WORRY ABOUT YOURSELVES, DUCKS. I’M TRYING.
The sun was shining,
The sky was blue.
Toddlers are maniacs,
Where’s the wine?
Wait, that doesn’t rhyme. And I’m pregnant so I can’t drink. Shit.
Thud dominated that farm. My husband and I protected some sheep, we shielded some bunnies, we apologised to some chickens and managed to have one tender moment with a hamster. Or was it a guinea pig? What’s the difference again? Who knows?
And then we found The Goat. This poor old Nanny was dragging her pregnant belly around like she was ready to murder the next Billy that looked her way. I empathised with her. I remember that stage. Where you feel like you’d be willing to eat a whole chilli, while hiking a mountain, drinking castor oil from a shoe in an effort to get that baby out. Where every step feels like your vagina might fall out and you wouldn’t really mind if it did. Poor old lady was over it, I could see it in her face.
Her huge brown eyes looked painfully into mine. We slow-blinked in a moment of solidarity.
“I’m sorry old girl,” my eyes said. “I’ve been where you’ve been. I’ll be there again pretty soon. I feel you.”
“Get these BLOODY KIDS out of me!” her eyes screamed back at me.
I didn’t want to subject her to any more scrutiny than a tremendously pregnant woman wants, but it was the perfect opportunity to talk babies.
I squatted in the dust and dragged my toddler over to my side.
“Can you see her tummy?” I asked him quietly so she wouldn’t think I was making fun of her.
“She has some babies in there!” I said excitedly, in the way parents hope will rub off on their kids’ total indifference.
He tried to get away from me so he could get back to chasing the chickens. I tightened my grip around his little waist.
“She’s going to have some little babies mate!”
He did his dying fish backflip manoeuver and then folded in half over my arm so it looked like I was trying to abduct him.
This was not going well. The wonderment and gratitude came hissing through my teeth.
I swear Nanny rolled her eyes at me. Bitch.
“Guess what Buddy?” I said in a way that did not sound nearly as sweet and comforting as it was supposed to.
“Mummy’s having a baby too!”
“MORE!” He suddenly screamed. “More more more more!”
More? More what? More goats? More food? More equality for women in the workforce?
People were staring. The goat looked even more pissed off.
“I’m sorry,” I muttered to the farmer standing close by. “We think he’s possessed.”
He broke free and took off. I eventually caught him and hoisted him up by one arm, dragging him back to the car in desperation and shame.
This will be a cute story one day, I told myself. I’ll laugh at how unsuccessful it all was and gently chide myself for being so naïve that I thought I could have a profound conversation with a two-year-old surrounded by farm animals that reek of shit.
I didn’t give Thud the special memory I’d hoped, but I did give him rich ‘life experience’ that he can bitch about with his little brother or sister in 15 years time.
This post originally appeared on Kidspot as part of the Voices of 2015 competition.
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