I want it NOW
Freddie Mercury might have had the dress sense of, well, Freddie Mercury, but he still had a wee bit of knowledge about the childish mind. “I want it all, I want it all, I want it all….and I want it NOW.”
Bless him for being able to articulate the words over a set of teeth so bucked he could rest sweeties on them, and also because he has so expertly summed up the complete lack of pre-consideration a child does before asking their parent something.
This morning was a classic example for me. Sapphire turned seven last week, yet is still at the stage of wanting things now. The concept of waiting or thinking about how to appropriately set a time for something is still completely foreign to her. Hence, at 7am this morning, I was bent over, putting on a clean pair of knickers. Completely starkers (except for the knickers, which had only reached my knees) when there was a tap and an immediate walk in.
“Muuum?” Sapphire asked, in her ‘I-want-something-from-you-Mum’ voice.
Me, still wrestling with the undies in my embarrassment: “What is it Sapphire?”
“Can we do the embroidery stuff now? You said we could….”
“It’s 7am and I am NAKED. NOT NOW!”
Sapphire scuttled out, but not before showing me a dramatic expression of hurt and betrayal on her pale little face.
Oh well, at least my loose wetsuit of a body didn’t put her off her quest, and my bent-over profile seems to be the one that garners the most requests. As I was unloading the dishwasher about twenty minutes later, it happened again: “Muuum?”
Me, sighing (I’m a rotten Mum but I just couldn’t help it). “Yes, Sapphire?”
“Could we unwrap the embroidery set and just check to see if all the materials---“
“SAPPHIRE. We are going to eat our breakfast, drink our milk, clean our teeth and pack your bag for school and mine for work. We don’t have time now. You’ve got to think about how much time you and I have got before you start asking about---“
“Ok, Ok,” she muttered, slinking away. I could recognise the ‘how many times have I told you, so sit down and listen to my lecture’ tone in my voice and hated it.
After school and after work, there was a tap on the toilet door. “Muuum?”
There was a pause for a few seconds whilst I contemplated the wisdom of answering: maybe she’d think it was Love Chunks and go away? Nah, no such luck. “Muuum!”
“Can we do it now? Please? You said later two times already today and now is later.”
“All right, but can I at least do my drops and plops in privacy please?” She’d already gone, skipping out into the lounge room, to get the hellish little set ready and I felt pretty foolish yelling irritatedly at a wooden door.
You see there are two issues here. The most obvious one is that my child considers me the hub of all key activities and yet invisible when it comes to my own ablutions; and, secondly, I can’t sew for nuts. How the hell was I going to help her put on an embroidery hoop and sew up the butterfly pattern shown on the front of the packet? It was time to play one of the oldest and most handy parental tricks – the ‘Your Old Enough Now to Do it Yourself’ manoeuvre.
“Sapphire, have you read through the instructions?”
“No, because you----“
“Hang on, hang on. You’re a great reader. I think you’re old enough to read through the instructions and try it yourself.”
Surprisingly, this last comment was processed and accepted. “Ok.”
Ten minutes later and the room was filled with her happy singing. “How’s it going, Saph?”
“Great. I did what the instructions said, but didn’t like it, so now I’m making up my own pattern.” I forced a bright smile of appreciation on my face: if a cancerous lower intestine is the pattern she’s looking for, then good for her.
At 6am on the Sunday morning, there was a gentle tap on my cheek. “Mum?” she whispered.
Brushing aside my uncharitable thoughts that having a child was like a hangover every morning minus any fun the night before, I raised my head off the pillow and replied, “Mmmm?”
“Mum, I’ve just been sick in my bed. It’s dripping on the floor and Jesse the Cowgirl is covered in it.”
Oh geez. “How do you feel now, do you want me to get you a bowl, or---?”
“No I feel good again Mum.”
“Want to get in here with me and Dad?”
She somehow used my hip bone as a springboard to wedge herself in between us in two seconds flat. “Now, try and go back to sleep. It’s still night time.”
All was silent and restful for about 30 seconds before there was a tapping on my back. “Muum?”
“WHAT?” I whispered furiously, flipping around to face her.
“Well, what about, my, you know, my sick?”
“It can stay where it is until it’s time to get up. GO TO SLEEP.” What my voice lacked in volume I made up for with an angry glare from red, sticky eyes.
Miraculously, I could hear her regular breathing within a couple of minutes. Instead of taking the opportunity to go back to sleep, I couldn’t help but turn over to look at her. It seems that it is only when our kids are asleep that we get the chance to really study them; to look at their soft, young, trusting little faces and feel dazzled all over again at their beauty. How lucky we were to have such a gorgeous, wonderful little ….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…….
Tap tap, tap tap on my forehead. “Muuuum, it’s light outside now. When are we going to make those pink cupcakes you said we could make?”