Up until 11 weeks ago I was a mother of one, and although it had its challenges, looking back now it was pretty damn breezy! My eldest son is 5 and he is quite independent with most things. He is now my big boy who is easy to take out and about. We had gotten to the stage where we could enjoy a meal at a restaurant with him and he was happy to tag along to the shops with Mummy and browse all the ‘girly stuff’ patiently if I promised (bribed) him that we would end the day with a visit to his favourite game store.
I thought I had this parenting thing down pat. I mean how much harder can life be with an extra little man in the family? Right? WRONG! Life bitch slapped me in the face with reality! Now don’t get me wrong, my newest little man is a very happy and content little bubba. As long as he is fed and has had a good sleep he is all smiles and spit bubbles. But having more than one child is a WHOLE other ball game (I can picture those with more than one child nodding their heads emphatically!).
There was a time when we could decide spur of the moment that we felt like going out, and we would bundle our five year old in the car within minutes and enjoy a day out with minimal preparation. Now our outings must be pre-planned with military precision to ensure we have a successful day out. We need hours to prepare the following: ensure both boys have their clothes ready to go out, are showered/bathed, are fed (no restaurant visits for us at the moment!), that the baby bag is stocked with supplies (nappies, dummies, bibs, a few changes of clothes for when that damn poo explosion happens in the car seat), to clean up the babies pre-travel poo explosion that always happens the second you walk out the door…you get the picture (yes life is still revolving around nappy changes at the moment)!
I’d never really noticed the happy yet weary faces of parents with more than one child. That look on their faces that can go from pure love to absolute exasperation in an instant when their munchkins go from super cute to tantrum throwing nightmares in the blink of an eye (why do children gang up on us?!? Is there a sibling code which ensures that they must all scream/cry/throw a tantrum at the same time? Is it a test?). Sure I’d throw a sympathetic smile their way and then get on with my day, but now that I am a parent of two and part of the club, I can relate to all those weary faces. And they are everywhere. And I get it. Boy do I get it!
Over the Easter Long Weekend we decided to go out for a drive and ended up at Victor Harbour. Let me rephrase that – we planned weeks in advance that we would go to Victor Harbour that day and despite all of our planning we still left much later than we thought thanks to our plans going to shit as usual and by the time we left we were only going to have a couple of hours of warm daylight left before it got too cold for the baby and we had to make our way home.
Being a holiday weekend it was bustling with families who had the same idea as us – get the children out of the house, let them run wild to the point of exhaustion and then hopefully they would pass out ensuring you got a good night sleep! Jokes! Maybe….
Mr Baby was not a fan of the great outdoors. He hated it. With a passion. So much passion that the second we took him out of the car he started crying – A LOT. He hated the sun. He thought it was too freaking bright. He hated the wind. It was too freaking windy for his liking. So I get him out of his pram and put him in his carrier – he hates the freaking carrier. I put him back in the pram and cover it so he is out of the freaking wind and freaking sun and he is in his own little bubble – he likes that! So much for taking him out and about. I figure this kid is going to be a hermit baby. He finally falls asleep – SCORE!
As I leisurely stroll over the bridge towards Granite Island with Mr Baby quietly sleeping I notice two things. Firstly the families that are walking towards Granite Island are all happy and excited to explore with their children, big smiles on all their faces, the kids can’t wait to get across and happily walk/skip/run alongside their parents – love is in the air. Secondly, I notice that all the families coming back from Granite Island have tired and weary expressions on their faces, most parents are carrying their grumpy wriggling children who can’t be bothered walking anymore, there are tantrums, tears and many Dad’s juggling more than one child in their arms. I stupidly wonder – what’s the deal with that? I jinxed myself – dumb arse!
Once I set foot on Granite Island and pick a picturesque seat to rest upon while I quietly appreciate the view, Mr Baby decides he hates the freaking island. And he cries – A LOT. No amount of walking, rocking, cuddling or singing makes him forget how much he hates the great outdoors. So I have to make my way back to the car and I join those weary parents, pushing an empty pram while I juggle holding my wriggly crying hermit baby in my arms. Yep it all makes sense to me now. And I vow I will never leave the house again!
So after spending half a day preparing for the outing and three hours of travel time, we are barely at Victor Harbour for an hour before we pack up the car and make our way home.
Yep I give up – after all the facial expressions that passed over my face in that one measly hour that I was outside I swear I look ten years older. I am in great need of a new anti-aging skin regime, because if I keep this up I will look 100 in no time.
Lessons learnt? Mr Baby doesn’t like being in the elements. He doesn’t give a shit about the beautiful views and picturesque walks. The only mountains he is interested in at the moment are my boobs.