Conversations with preschoolers: Why my son would make a great politician

My husband often says I would make a great lawyer because I have perfected the art of arguing and seldom back down when I think I am right (which is all the time). So it has come as quite a shock to find myself completely stumped when conversing with my just turned three-year-old. While Lach is keen for Max to become a pro golfer and fund our early retirement, I’m starting to think he’d be perfectly suited to a career in politics. Not only is he a master dissembler, he could sell doonas in the desert.

Here’s Maxwell’s guide to stumping Mum/winning an election.

Tip 1: If you don’t know the answer to a question, just avoid it. The key to getting your point across is repetition.
Example
Max: Mum, I want to eat a penguin.
Me: Huh?
Max: I want to eat a penguin.
Me: Why do you want to eat a penguin?
Max: I love them.
Me: So why would you want to eat one?
Max: They taste nice.
Me: How do you know what a penguin tastes like?
Max: I want to eat a penguin.

Tip 2: If you do something wrong, pretend there is nothing wrong with it.
Example
Me: Max, what is that smell?
Max: Poo.
Me: Did you poo in your undies again?
Max: Yes.
Me: Why did you poo in your undies?
Max (incredulous): Because I needed to.
Me: Was it a mistake?
Max: No Mum, I do it on purpose.
Me: Doesn’t it feel yucky?
Max (smiling): No, it feels nice.

Tip 3: When you are in the wrong, blame everyone but yourself. When you have run out of options, go back to the start. The circular argument will frustrate your accuser and they will eventually tire and give up.
Example
Me: Max did you break Mummy’s necklace?
Max: No. Hugo broke it.
Me: But Max, Hugo is asleep.
Max: So?
Me: So how can Hugo break it if he’s asleep?
Max: Wilbur broke it.
Me: But Wilbur is a dog.
Max: So?
Me: How can Wilbur break it if he is a dog and he’s outside?
Max: Daddy broke it.
Me: But Daddy is at work.
Max: So?
Me: How can Dad break the necklace if he’s not here?
Max: Hugo broke it.

Private-the-penguin

 

Letting go of tutus and tiaras

WARNING: This post contains gender stereotyping on a grand scale.

I never had any doubt about wanting children. As a little girl I would cradle my freakishly life-like porcelain doll, rock her to sleep and imagine one day being a Mum.

I’ve always been a massive girly girl. My Barbie collection was epic. Not only did I have the entire Barbie and the Rockers get-up (all band members plus stage, tour bus and instruments), I had Hawaiian Barbie, Ken and Skipper along with a custom Barbie beach buggie and a random Barbie horse on wheels. Despite being mildly pigeon-toed, I donned a pink leotard for ballet classes and stored my enviable hair accessories collection in a tin covered in Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake stickers.

So it’s no surprise that in all of my imaginings, I would one day have a daughter who loved My Little Ponys and shared my ethos of ‘more is more’ when it comes to tulle, bows and sequins.

Barbie and the Rockers

When I met Lachlan my desire for kids grew even stronger. It was only when I saw him rough-housing his nephew that I started to think how great it would be for us to have a son. You see my husband is half-bogan – he loves footy, car-racing, Melbourne Bitter longnecks and is disturbingly attached to his Bintang singlet and knee high custom made ugg boots. Yes I know some girls love camping out on the hill at Bathurst and happily deliver their AGB in toilet blocks that smell like fermented meat-heavy faeces but if a girl had half my DNA, her penchant for UDLs, arm tatts and polyester would be severely compromised.

So my new baby dream was to have the perfect pigeon pair – a boy that could help Lachlan wax his 1964 EH Holden, and a girl that I could hit the Boxing Day sales with.

We were half way there when I delivered our gorgeous little Moo in January 2013. When he arrived in all of his magnificent, howling glory, we were overjoyed. As the months rolled on I discovered that I loved being a ‘boy mama’ – Moo’s increasingly adventurous and fearless spirit entertained me more and more every day and the clothing selection on offer was surprisingly cute and varied. He became my little mischievous prince with the most affectionate and loving nature.

In late 2013 we got the shock of our lives when I found out I was expecting again. Lach was convinced we were having a little girl but I was 75% sure from day dot that another little mister was on the way. At our 20-week ultrasound my intuition was confirmed. Was there a feeling of disappointment when the technician pointed to a doodle? Yes, but it had nothing to do with not wanting another little boy and everything to do with mourning the daughter we will never have.

I gave myself a few hours to let her go and face those feelings that we are never allowed to admit to for fear of being labeled unappreciative. I thought about the ballet lessons I will never take her to, the curls I will never brush and braid and the wedding dress I will never help her pick. Then, after saying goodbye to my little ‘Eva’ (she was going to be named after my maternal grandmother), I focused on the beautiful little soul in my belly and I started to feel excited about all the adventures we would face together.

I also thought about how lucky we are to have conceived two magnificent boys naturally despite being given only a 5-10% chance. I thought about all the people struggling to conceive and all the women who desperately want children but whose life stories have veered in a different direction. And I thought of all the joy my Moo had brought me over the previous year and a bit.

When Hughie arrived on 29 July, I couldn’t imagine wanting anything other than another little man to love. Every week a stranger or a friend says, “You’ll have to have a third, go for the girl!” and I smile and say, “No, we are done. I am incredibly happy with my two boys.” And I mean it.

Another year older and full of gratitude

WARNING: soppy post ahead…

This week I am turning 33. As someone who is prone to complaining and focusing on the negative, I thought my birthday was a good time to take stock of my life and focus on the positives because in the words of one of my favourite composers, John Bucchino, “grateful, grateful, truly grateful I am”.

Today –

I am grateful for my close friends who invest their time and love into moulding a caring and meaningful relationship with me.

I am grateful for my sense of humour that has turned dark times into memories I can laugh at over a glass of sauv.

I am grateful for all the shitty, tumultuous and sometimes abusive relationships that made me recognise and appreciate a good man.

I am grateful that after seven years I call that good man my husband and that every time I see him tickle our baby boy, I fall more in love with him.

I am grateful for my imperfect body that grew and continues to nurture a beautiful new life.

I am grateful for our often messy home that is filled with warmth, laughter and personality, and for our street full of talkative and supportive neighbours (bar one).

I am grateful to have spent 21 years of my life in the magnificent, vibrant and culturally diverse South Africa and to have witnessed the end of apartheid.

I am grateful for the organic supermarket in Seddon that always has stock of Joe’s Chocolate Ripple ice cream when I’ve had a bad day and for acknowledging my patronage with a 5% discount.

I am grateful that despite being given a 5-10% chance of conceiving naturally, we managed to fall pregnant without the heartache and stress of IVF that so many people we love have had to face.

collage

I am grateful for our ‘defective’ pedigree fluff child Wilbur who loves burrowing into the back of my knees each night to share my love of trashy TV.

I am grateful that I married a man whose family is as loveable as he is.

I am grateful that my biggest financial worry is how I am going to afford a monthly facial, an over-priced maxi dress and our dog’s annual Christmas portrait.

I am grateful for Mondays spent with my mothers group who have alleviated the loneliness of being a stay-at-home mum.

I am grateful to live in a country where I can go for long walks with my baby and never feel unsafe.

I am grateful to have travelled extensively and seen sights that will remain perfect snapshots in my memory, that sunset in Santorini, walking through the villages of Cinque Terre…

I am grateful for a mother who can make me laugh like no other person in the world and who stays up past midnight every year so she can be the first to wish me a happy birthday.

I am grateful for a father whose intelligence, stability and love has created the foundation for my abundant and confident life.

I am grateful for my sister whose marathon Skype chats always remind me that I am a powerful and capable woman and a great Mum, and for my nieces who emanate all that is right with the world.

I am grateful for my son who moves me every day and who has redefined my life in the best possible way.

I am grateful that at (nearly) 33, my life is all that I imagined and hoped it would be.