7th March 2016
I’ve decided that Motherhood is a funny kind of ‘celebrity status’. As far as your kids and partner are concerned – you are pretty much the centre of their Universe. They are like your entourage the paparazzi – following you everywhere scrutinising your life.
Let me illustrate:
Two days ago I was using the toilet – having a sit – if you will. And I was joined by the four year old who wanted me to examine her fingernail. Apparently it couldn’t wait. Later, as I was in the shower the seven year old came in to tell me that she figured our the species of bird that was pictured in the jigsaw puzzle we had completed the night before. Again – this couldn’t wait. Surely only celebrities (and other mothers) endure this constant surveillance.
I have heard it said that people fossick through the garbage of celebrities. The same is true for my garbage. I cannot throw out anything without it being questioned. The four year old will retrieve empty food wrappers and check them for remaining food stuffs (I feed her, I honestly do) before interrogating me on when the food was eaten, who ate it and if there’s any left for her. I try to throw out old school notes – they are retrieved for the purposes of “playing schools”. I try to throw out the oval stickers from the apples and oranges – they are retrieved and loving added to the “school work” created when they use the old school notes to “play schools”. I can’t throw out toilet rolls, boxes, cardboard, string, wrapping paper, shoe boxes, deflated balloons or newspapers that feature any Disney or Pixar animation promo on the front. I have taken to ‘double bagging’ certain rubbish items and sneaking them directly to the wheelie bin.
Celebrity bodies also come under close scrutiny – mine is no exception. “Your tummy looks like there’s a baby growing inside it,” the four year old tells me yesterday. “But there’s no baby. You’re just chubby.” Now I know just how those skinny supermodels feel when the trashy mags zoom in on their cellulite and splash the pictures all over the front covers. Yep -I know just how they feel. I’m just like those skinny supermodels. I am. And it’s not just my wobbly bits that are ripe for inspection. On Saturday morning, the obligatory “all-in family-lie-in” was made disturbingly uncomfortable when a small mole was discovered under my right armpit. The mole which has remained quiet, hidden and inoffensive for the past thirty eight years was poked, prodded and questioned before being declared “ugly”. The girls then had the audacity to ask me to cook them pancakes. I said no and I’m pretty sure my ugly little underarm mole was happy with my decision.
Walking out to the car to catch the bus is always a breathless and exhilarating time in our house. Last week I was standing at the top of the stairs having dressed them, breakfasted them, lunch packed them and bag packed them. I was still in PJ’s, hadn’t eaten and was feeling particularly shell-shocked after a crumpled note was produced declaring that I had less than a week to produce a Beautiful Butterfly costume for Book Week. Despite this I was still kissing each soft little cheek and cheerily waving them off while resisting the instinct to boot them out and lock the door behind them.
“Did you put my swimmers in?” Asks the seven year old.
“Yes – they’re in the blue swim bag in the front part of your back pack. Remember to put sunscreen on at the pool.”
“Do I have a frozen yoghurt in my lunch box?” Asks the four year old.
“Yes – remember we put a strawberry one in the freezer last night. I’ve packed a plastic spoon. Bring it home if you remember so we can recycle it.”
“Is it Library today?” The seven year old.
“Nope – Friday this week. Remember how they changed it because of the carnival and so this week’s it’s on Friday and next week it’s Wednesday because of the raffle and then the week after that it’s back to Thursdays like normal?”
By this stage, they are wrestling their bags into the car *insert Hallelujah chorus* and I am on the front deck (yep – in my splendid, chubby tummy, PJ glory).
“And Mum?” Back to the four year old. “This afternoon, can we go to the beach?”
“Hmm,” I am not ready, not willing and physically not able to think this far ahead. “Maybe.”
The final car door slams and I begin a slow exhale.
“Babe?” It’s the 44 year old.
“WHAT?” I scream. “WHAT COULD YOU POSSIBLY WANT?”
“Car keys?” His face is guilty, sorry and scared all at once.
I drop the car keys down to him and feel disappointed when he catches them. I was secretly aiming for his eyes.
Surely that experience is a celebrity feeling – being constantly in demand and everybody wanting a piece of you. Not as thrilling as I imagined, but probably what the celebs feel like all the time.
Yesterday – quite unexpectedly – the two girls became engaged in a brawl about who I belonged to.
“She’s my mummy!” The four year old insisted – trying to plunge her older sister’s head underwater. (Did I mention the brawl happened in our pool? It’s the obvious location for a brawl.)
“She is not!” The seven year old said, surfacing with hair plastering her face. “She’s mine!” And she dodged as the four year old tried to bomb on her head while shouting:
“SHE’S MY MUM!”
I remained on the sun lounge watching and listening and wondering what people passing by must think. Surely they were thinking – that mother must be a celebrity.
A few nights ago, I managed to sneak some time in my writing room while the kids were outside playing and the 44 year old was upstairs watching TV. It was hot, so I turned on the AC and shut my door. Later, as the kids burst into the house and thundered upstairs, a wonderful commotion broke out.
“Where’s Mum?” they demanded.
“I dunno,” I’m pretty sure I heard him shrug.
“I want something to eat,” nagged the four year old. “Where’s Mum?”
“I don’t know,” the 44 year old is still awakening to the realisation that these kids are here to stay. He always seems painfully slow to respond.
“We’re starving,” implores the seven year old.
“Well, what do you want?” 44 year old probably forced to sit up by now – you can be guaranteed the kids are blocking the screen.
“I want mum,” laments the four year old. “I want a honey sandwich and I want mum.”
“Where is she anyway?” The seven year old is curious.
“I don’t know!” 44 insists. I can hear him making movement in the kitchen.
“MUM!” Bellows the four year old. “MUM? MUUUUUUUUUM!”
Ahhh, the life of a celebrity.