It occurred to me recently that since becoming a parent, my life has had this new element of “craziness”, not just the crazy “busy-ness” of being a mummy, but the added element of crazy where you think that you might, perhaps, develop a crazy person neck or eye twitch. At times, I actually feel like I am becoming the image of a crazy cat lady……..bedraggled, frizzy hair, food splattered on my clothes, bloodshot eyes, probably smelling of faeces from the amount of pooey nappies I have changed over the course of the day. The only thing I am missing from being a full blown crazy cat lady is the collection of ninety three cats in the house walking all over the furniture and sleeping in the cutlery drawer and inside saucepans.
I am also quite sure that other people might think I am a little nuts too, I wouldn’t blame them from mistakenly thinking that they are speaking to someone with Tourette’s Syndrome, why else would I stop mid-sentence when I am politely chatting one moment and then suddenly shouting, “Stop licking my arm!” or “Get out from underneath my dress!”? Little does the person on the other end of the phone know that within 3 seconds of the phone ringing suddenly my child has stopped eating their snack happily and decided to start trying to climb up my body for a cuddle like a native tribesman up a Coconut Palm, with hommos dip all over their hands, hence covering me with the stuff, which they are now attempting to lick off my arm as I speak, and then within three seconds more they are playing hide and seek with each other beneath my dress as though it is some delightful cubby house which is totally fabulous, so long as you don’t look up and catch a glimpse of your mummy’s undies….
I am quite certain that after hanging up the phone, most people raise their eyebrows, exhale and shake their heads wondering what on earth was going on in that household…… SIDENOTE: It may help to also note that 3 seconds earlier, BEFORE the phone rang my children were eating happily alone so peacefully that I could almost hear angelic harps playing in the background and they needed nothing from me, all of a sudden it seems that the world has fallen apart and everything is an emergency that needs to be done RIGHT NOW. In the 2 torturous minutes that I have spent trying to speak calmly on the phone and giving the acting performance of my life that I live in a calm, normal household with angelic, completely compliant children, (“I’d like to thank the academy…”), suddenly the children act as though they have been unattended for weeks, hungry, thirsty, weary, dirty and unkempt. Suddenly you imagine them wearing a rope for a belt to keep their raggedy pants up, as within this arduous two minutes time that you have been on this phone call, they have had to find some random person’s much larger pants from somewhere and tie them on with a rope just to keep warm.
So I am now wondering if you just have to become a little crazy yourself, to help you surrender to and accept the craziness of life with children. Maybe this slow descent in to madness is a positive thing, which helps us cope with the daily oddball scenarios I never thought I would ever be encountered with. Maybe, just maybe, being a little crazy yourself helps you to deal with the horror that one experiences when they have to literally catch runny, breastfed baby poop in their bare, cupped hands to avoid a giant poop puddle in the boot of their car, when baby starts pooping again mid desperate nappy change (at a park with no change area) right after one has removed the previous nappy from underneath him.
I personally do think an element of craziness helps you to be able to maintain one’s composure when on a visit to a farm, watching a lady milk a cow, and a 3 year old innocently shouts out in front of everyone crowded around, “Mummy, what is that lady doing to all those cow’s penises?” meaning that I have to stifle my thunderous laughter inside and calmly explain what is happening to my son plus about 35 other people who are all looking at me, eagerly awaiting my totally mature response to that question, ensure you do this in the voice of a very calm Mary Poppins who doesn’t find that amusing at all and finds the opportunity to remain composed and finds a magical song to teach some wise words of wisdom…hand me my Carpet Bag and Parrot Umbrella, Man I have some serious composure! I can’t even imagine (and really don’t want to imagine), what my boy was thinking when he thought the cow’s udder was a cluster of penises and this odd woman was squeezing all of this white stuff out of them…..it still to this day makes me shudder and nearly vomit in my mouth.
But these experiences and more have helped me deal with things such as discovering a perfectly formed and remarkably undamaged Mr Whippy Soft Serve Ice cream shaped poo inside the toilet brush holder…..Offender still unknown and on the loose….if you have any information in relation to this heinous crime please come forward and report this to Crimestoppers (AKA me) as I would really like to know firstly, “WHY?” and secondly, “HOW” does one perform such a remarkable feat in to such a very narrow cylindrical, metallic object and keep the aforementioned “solid waste” in a perfect Mr Whippy shape – quite skilful I must say.
I have even woken up in the morning and found a tennis ball-sized rubber duck under my pillow that I have slept on all night without noticing, I guess I am NOT the Princess from the “Princess and the Pea” fairy-tale after all…..but in saying that I am always so dead tired at the end of the day, that I could possibly be sleeping with the whole Princess under my pillow and never even notice her until the next morning when she politely asks if she can use the “lavatory”.
At the end of the day, although it can be exhausting, frustrating, jaw droppingly and horrifyingly disgusting, the situations a parent/carer endures, it is so amazing to think that one sweet, little smile and a kiss and a cuddle from our beautiful, little angels can make all of THAT seem to disappear. Yes, we may look back in time and think that these some of these types of scenarios are funny, (not quite there yet………………still waiting……………ermmmm…………..might be something you need to ask me about when I am in my twilight years……), I think it is important to acknowledge that where possible, it is important to just laugh about them as much as possible in that moment and try to not let them make you even crazier….. Just when you laugh, do just try to make it SOUND like a normal person’s laugh….NOT a crazy person laugh or people might just start talking.
I am embracing the craziness as much as I can without being institutionalised, and it does help me get through. When all three boys are yelling or whingeing or wanting me at once or having a tantrum and screaming a high pitched squeal so loud and so high pitched that dogs would start running away from your area all over town , in these moments where I am feeling like I could just start screeching like a banshee and losing my cool all together, I often put on a crazy, funny face, do an exaggerated neck twitch, cross my eyes like I have suddenly gone bonkers and go “ARRGGHH!!!”. Then I scream crazy (but not too loud or scary crazy, funny crazy, if that makes sense) and say, “Oh my goodness! Everyone is going crazy, now I am turning crazy too!!” and then I chase them and tickle them all to make them and myself giggle and “switch” ourselves back to happy mode, so then we can calmly one by one deal with their wants and needs. It might sound completely nuts, and it probably is, (I never said I was normal)…….and I am not saying it is the perfect reaction, but it can be a fun way to avoid losing your cool and getting everyone to giggle, do a quick emotional shift, have an opportunity to reconnect, a tickle and a quality time cuddle and then shake it off and start fresh at dealing with what everyone needs one by one, ensuring to validate everyone.
Please remember, that different things work for different families, I would love to hear other’s coping strategies in those completely CRAZY moments where you want to avoid “Frustration overload”, this “crazy lady” approach sometimes works for me if things are completely unbearable, but other times I deal with it far more maturely and calmly, I guess it depends on the day, how much sleep we have all had and the situation! I can’t stand getting grumpy with my boys, I don’t like being that person, plus then having to deal with the inevitable mummy guilt that comes later on. This Mummy Guilt usually manifests when you go in to their room to give them a kiss and whisper “I love you” in their ear while they sleep, and they have those sleepy, perfect angel faces and you can’t believe you could ever get grouchy with something so ridiculously beautiful and perfect.
So if doing a fake, funny, crazy person noise and chasing them around with an inevitable tickle stops me from getting grumpy or even worse prevents me from yelling or saying something I might regret to my precious babies, then a fake, crazy scream and a crazy run around tickly chase it will have to be…..unless or until, it becomes a real, crazy person scream……..which could be any day now…..stay posted….. 😉