Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places


24 January 2012

Needing patience now

So far, Motherhood has been a long exercise in patience. No surprises there, huh.

Except… I’d always thought that the patience was needed for the baby. That the love, compassion and long-suffering was about dealing with the baby, you know?

The endless crying during Arsenic Hour.

Her uncanny ability to create the biggest mess juuuuust after you’ve slid the soiled diaper away, and before you’ve had the chance to jam the fresh one under.

The fights before sleep time.

The clumsiness, hand-in-hand with baby stubbornness.

The house in perpetual mess.

The fact that it takes 50% longer now to do everything you’ve done before – like leave the house for a walk or a drive, for example.

The fact that you have 90% less time to do things that used to be important to you before – like brushing your hair and matching your clothes.

I mean, all this is true. And it requires patience. But the patience for such things comes naturally, ungrudgingly. With little grumbling or complaint. Effortless.

No. The kind of patience I’m talking about – the kind of patience that needs to be wrung out of me – is patience for others.

Because until I had Arddun, I hadn’t realised how stupid and inconvenient people and things around me can be.

BECAUSE it takes such effort to cart a baby around, BECAUSE she is vulnerable and defenceless, I’ve turned into a grouchy mother bear. It is a fight every day not to growl at strangers for being obtuse to the needs of my poor defenceless baby and her struggling mother with the pram and the 21 other things hanging off it.

Things that threaten to set me off include:

  • Competitive, selfish, boorish, impatient drivers who delight in cutting you off, who turn every roundabout into a drag race and/or come within a hair’s breadth of dinting the side of your car where the baby is seated. RAAAWR!
  • Big Fat Cars parked willy-nilly beside you so you can’t open your car door to get baby in or out.
  • Mothers who don’t wipe down baby chairs after they’re done.
  • Smokers near entrances and exits so when you walk through, it’s like entering the Vortex of Baby Lung-Blackening Hell
  • Customer service with Attitude (I’m already growing my own teenager. I don’t need your angst or sarcasm. Especially if you’re paid to help.)
  • Shopping trolleys left inside the last convenient parking lot, so you and 38 other cars before you were deprived of the one good lot nearest to the lifts (near lift = less time with pram on road with impatient drivers)

etc etc.

And sometimes, it’s manageable. Sometimes, you just grit your teeth and soldier on. But other times, you just want to freeze everything around you so you can get to that selfish stranger (with your crying baby on your hip), and with your free hand, grab that selfish stranger’s neck and shake it so hard you can hear his or her teeth rattle, while yelling,


(Which is, you know, a euphemism for Ass.)

And while things like that used to bug me before, THEY REALLY BUG ME NOW. Because I have more to lose. Because I’m her protector. Because it’s harder and because I have less time. Because Arddun doesn’t understand, doesn’t read a clock, and doesn’t have patience.

And yes, I am aware of the irony – that while I’m jumping up and down about the supreme selfishness of such acts, I am in fact making it all about ME. I have, in fact, grown a huge entitlement complex. It came free with the stretch marks and permanently widened hips.

And so I try not to take things personally, because that’s half the issue. I’m not suddenly special because I’m a mother, and I’m not suddenly a target because I’m a mother. I’m just a mother.

And so I try to slow down. Do one less thing while multi-tasking. Bear to be late for events. Give 4WDs, Utes, taxis and Audi drivers a wide berth. Smile at rude sales staff after they’ve insulted me, and let them think I’m simple. Because the cure for impatience isn’t patience – it’s submission. I am not in control of everything or everyone and never have been. The universe is large and my troubles, on balance, are trivial.

If we’re having a bad day, pull over and hug the baby. Both of us might feel better after the time out.

Peace like a river, baby.

The boy who showed me his underpants

Hi everyone, this is Arddun. Just wanted to tell you about my great day with my friend Eli and his mommy.

Eli is a boy I hang out with every Sunday. He’s almost a year older than me and pretty much looks textbook Cherub – long golden curls, beautiful blue eyes, and the cheekiest grin I’ve ever seen. He tells me how it’s done, shows me the ropes, y’know? Also, he’s very enthusiastic whenever he sees me – yells “BAAY-BEEE!” across the room and that’s how I know Eli’s in da house.

Eli and Arddun
Early days - when Eli came 'round to say Hello

We went to his house today – his older sister Lily was at her grandma’s, so me and Eli just hung out. I showed off my new-found crawling skills after Aunty Kate tucked my dress into my leggings so I wouldn’t face-plant (Mommy NEVER thinks to do that), and then Eli showed me his impressive stash of age-appropriate baby toys and the building blocks that once lay part of Lily’s latest architectural masterpiece. Naturally, I went for the blocks and the pink pipe cleaner, and stayed clear of the baby toys.

Mommy tried to make me take a nap in Eli’s cot, which was a futile enterprise because I can roll and stand almost as soon as she leaves me alone, and when she wised up and basically pinned me to the bed, I yelled and kicked so hard and so long that Mommy got a backache and said, “PHAIL!” (she says that a lot.) “Let’s try the pouch.”

Which eventually led to, “Let’s consider this nap a wash out, and start with dinner.”

I got to sit in Eli’s high chair again! It’s EXACTLY the same as mine, except without the stripy cushion. I must have made a mess, because table service was very prompt.

First you wipe the table...
... then you wipe the patron.
"Do you mind? I'm kinda in the middle of dinner here."

My after-dinner entertainment included Eli showing me his underpants. Yuh. Brand: Cotton On Kids. Very Now.

(Mommy on the phone with Daddy.)

Mommy: Eli just showed Arddun his underwear! Heh heh!

Daddy: Eh? What, he’s running around with no pants on?

Mommy: No, no… he’s just fished one out from somewhere and showed it to Arddun. His pants are still on.

Daddy: Right. So our daughter’s not scarred for life, then.

Mommy: Not today.

Later, Mommy said, “You’ve seen Eli’s underpants now so I guess you’ll have to marry him.” I think she was kidding.

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