I’m trying to move from Pregnant Lady mode to Mommy mode. I guess I’ve finally gotten used to the fact that I’m pregnant, which gives me just about enough time to adjust to the final product: a pooing, spitting baby. There is a reason God gave us all 9 months. Some of us – like yours truly – have a real slow learning curve.

I’ve been handed an impressive swag of baby-rearing books, thanks to the love and kindness of friends. And then there are others who tell me I should never make the mistake of trying to study for this, because Lord knows this isn’t an exam and babies don’t come with manuals. Truth be told, I can’t bring myself to read any baby lit yet. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never been a willing reader of self-help books because they put me right to sleep. And I’m too excited about being a mom right now, to want to put myself to sleep.

All is not lost, however. Because years ago, Tony and I attended parenting classes.

Growing Kids God’s Way is a course we did together about 3, maybe even 4 years ago. The series goes by a different name in Australia and as with lots of Christian literature, the artwork on the front cover of our manuals was 1970s awful and made me want to barf up a Farah Fawcett hairball – but the lessons hold true. I can’t remember most of it, but the one thing that has definitely hung around is the idea of demanding first-time obedience, and the whole concept of “Yes, Mommy”.

“Yes Mommy/Daddy” is basically what you get the child to say when they’re able to. It’s a fan-tas-tic way of locating them in crowded shopping malls, because the idea is that you call their name once, and they’re supposed to come running out with bouncy golden curls, beaming “Yes Mommy!” It’s like that game Marco Polo, except there’s no swimming pool, no blindfold, and the kid is running to you when you call.

It’s also like a verbal contract between the parent and the child. The idea is that when you give your child an instruction, you get an explicit acknowledgement that they have understood and agreed to your terms. And yes, eye contact and good attitude are important.

Well, somehow that lesson must have been bouncing around the subconscious for a while, because I had yet another dream about Blobette a few nights ago except this time, we’re in a shopping mall and she had just chucked the biggest tantrum. Or something. I don’t remember the details.

What I do remember is thinking, “I have to discipline my girl!” and there’s some half-hearted twacking of the bottom because in dreams, every harsh movement is kinda gluggy – like you’re trying to bat a baseball underwater. But that’s not the worst bit, because the rest of the dream involves my cute-as-a-button daughter with her creamy skin and her jet-black hair and her shiny, shiny eyes (still looking Chinese) squatting stubbornly outside Coles Supermarket with this eerily familiar scowl of determination on her face. The epitome of two-year-old passive aggression staging a coup d’état while her mother – that would be me – is screaming,

“SAY ‘YES MOMMY! SAY ‘YES MOMMY’! SAY IT! SAAAAY IT!'”

like a bloody lunatic. And it’s a hopeless cause, and I wake up and think, Dang. I’d better start reading one of those books real soon because I know nothing.

They say the pregnancy is the easy part.

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