My husband and I can communicate telepathically. It comes in handy for those times when you’d like to whisper sweet nothings without the children parroting our intimate intentions at play group. Pfft, bah! Like that ever happens… yeah right. This skill is especially reserved to debate teeny tiny little instances when there are other adults present and you’re attempting to maintain the fraudulent façade that everything is per-fricking-erfect. You know those moments when if you were at home you’d just blurt out some intelligent and hilarious comeback and bask in the glory of being right? Or are we the only 15 year old married couple who uses comebacks and pays each other out? Um… cough.
Our telepathy proved helpful at a recent birthday party of a three year old dude. I was feeding the baby, enjoying the girl side of the gathering (what is with that?), chatting with other mamas and watching happy little beings go about their day, running here, skipping there, holding hands and high-fiving. Joy. It was quite lovely and somewhat miraculous that there had been no incidences yet. My hubby was on the fringe of the boy side, talking to a little five year old gal pal about the merits of gumboots (she made a compelling case, particularly the ease of on/off functionality). It was nearing the end of a really nice birthday celebration, and the customary lolly bags made an appearance (possibly ten minutes too early, but who I am to judge considering the baby got her own bag that I mostly ate).
Then… one piece of impressive helicopter cake and two thirds of a lolly bag later our children had hiked all the way to the summit of Mount Sugar-rush and decided to set up camp in the Irrational National Park. Our offspring morphed from delightfully happy party hat wearing children to crazy campers, just like that (meanwhile my own sugar in take was having the opposite effect and a foreboding sugar coma was settling upon me. Yawn. Shake it off. Wake up!).
Here’s how it played out:
Our three and half year old assumed the role of Park Ranger and marched around with a spatula in one hand and a tiny toy dinosaur in the other, pointing at people and shouting ‘let’s bite everyone said the dinosaur!’ My husband asks, ‘where did she get that stirring thing?’ Cos, yeah, that was the first thing that came to my mind too, the potential theft of someone’s stirring thing. She continued her military performance and came perilously close to swiping the dog with the stolen spatula. Fabulous.
Just in time, our two year old sits on someone else’s baby. It’s important to discern that it was someone else’s baby, and not our own baby, because he sits on his own baby sister with regular frequency. Whilst nude. With his little boy bits resting on her forehead. Although in this instance he was fully clothed and trying to ride little Jasper like a pony. Great.
Our baby is safe in my arms being breastfed, but at the alarm of a rogue party blower she reefs her head in the direction of Allah, exposing my shining, slobbered, so-not-sexy nipple to the dad dominated barbecue area. Awesome.
In summation… Wonderland #1 is threatening to bite, and possibly whack people with a spatula (the theft of which to be investigated later). Wonderland #2 is bouncing atop a seven month old squealing ‘giddy-bop’ with nudity becoming more likely by the second. Wonderland #3 is trying to get me a new husband.
All of this is happening simultaneously, in slow motion nano-seconds. Which situation demands my attention most? Hmm, well the swiftly turned-away heads of chargrill central suggest that the nipple emergency is over, although I’m quietly astonished that I remembered to tuck the offending breast away (child regulation often happens with a rascal breast on the loose in our house). And then it happens, the telepathy.
Hubby and I both have dibs on the two year old who needs to be unsaddled from the infant, but whom will be placated with simple distraction (followed by genuine apology to the lovely parents who lucky for us, missed the whole romp). The biting hazard however will require some artful negotiation (which in all honesty hubby is better at than me), possibly some chasing and facilitation to a new activity, ie, she’s not the easy one.
We lock eyes, across the grassed area. I raise an eyebrow, so slight that it’s virtually imperceptible to the naked eye. But to my husband, this single eyebrow gesture says this; “You deal with her. I’ve got him.” His return mouth twitch suggests “pretty sure it’s your turn.” I counter with a quick little brow furrow; “IT. IS. YOUR. TURN.” He goes off in search of the spatula bandit. I win. See, telepathic.
With peace restored I know that it’s time to leave before a real skirmish materialises; our brood needs to go home to rest (and be crazy in their own environment where biting and sitting on each other is marginally more acceptable). But I’m not ready to go yet. Do we have to go? I’m in the enchanting company of grown ups. Having a conversation. A con-ver-sation I tells ya! I don’t want to leave, regardless of the need to pack up Camp Irrational. But we do, we bid our gratuitous farewell and begin the forty seven minute process of assembling three kids and a pram into the car.
In our collective defence, I’ve embellished and we’re not that bad (are we? No, surely not. Are we?). Our little ones are, for the most part, just kids who from time to time do entirely kid-typical things. And we are parents who, for the most part speak like adults but from time to time prefer to argue with subtle facial expressions. Birthday parties are a tremendous little microcosm of the extremes; men and women revisiting play-ground rules with the boys and girls quadrangles, sugar highs and lows, tantrum escalation and diffusion, gift giving and gracious appreciation, and of course, marriage relations which brings me to my longwinded point; telepathy and other imaginary skills are absolutely necessary in the success of a relationship.
These are the hard years. Early marriage. Inflated mortgage. Babies/toddler/pre-schoolers. Decisions about career opportunities, child care, work/family/personal balance. Me time (what time?). Statistics demonstrate that many relationships don’t make it through these years and previous to being a mama I was guilty of daring to have an opinion about this. But the reality is that raising children is damn tough. Relationships are damn tough! In the tough moments we empathise with those couples that didn’t make it over endless obstacles and have had fleeting, flash-light moments of wondering if we’ll join the statistics (you HAVE TO tell me if you relate to this!). In the less tough moments we can admit that we’re lucky to have each other and know the wonder that is parenting. But the most prized blessing is my epiphany about the relationship of parents during the early years of raising a family; our life together is young and we’re really just babies ourselves.
Working out the finer points of child-rearing with telepathy is sometimes necessary, in fact, it’s kinda fun (plus it’s the only secret eye contact I get these days so I’ll take what I can get). Amid the nappy changes, linen changes and light bulb changes a few things remain constant at this point in our lives… tantrums, triumphs, genuine (warm, fuzzy, tingly, giggly) love and the occasional spatula smacking, turkey slapping, breast exposing episode – and they’re just the regular bits!
Yay, we’re still married… isn’t it a Wonderland!
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