So last weekend I got a taste of parenthood which came about because my husband volunteered us to look after my niece. For. Four. Days. Yes I know four days isn’t much when it comes to a lifetime of care, but for non-parents who do give a toss what happens to their charges it’s definitely a window into the breeder’s world.
I honestly think you lot might be a little bit tapped in the head.
Don't get me wrong hanging out with kids is easy, fun even. Getting to know their personalities, hearing what they think and why they think it. Working out which is the best character in Frozen (the snowman right?) and watching them all sleepy after a hard days drawing. All heart-warming stuff indeed.
Looking after them for a few hours is pretty good too, it just requires a bit more attention to detail and depending on their age proofing/bolting doors to drinks cabinets etc. But parenting - which I've decided is what happens if you're in charge of a lil' bit for more than 24 hours - is a whole different shit storm.
It starts with breakfast if the kid in question is fussy, which from what I can see a lot of them are, and continues until they go to sleep. We cheated and spent at least one day hanging with ‘real’ parents which was a God send until bedtime. There's a certain jolt of fear that you’ll only have ever felt if you've encountered a cross armed, cross faced little girl who is refusing to sleep in a "boys bed". They’re very good at wearing those in charge of them down aren’t they? Repeating the same sentence again and again and again like a 15 second Groundhog day. It was Mexican standoff of epic proportions and required the steeliest of nerves. Had there been an alternative in this situation I would most likely have caved.
And do you have the voice of temptation, pleading with you to negotiate for a quiet life constantly playing in your head? Cos I did, what to watch, how long to watch it, when to give in and when to stand firm. Eventually, given the lack of sleep, seeing as the blighters are up with the lark and brain numbing power of Monster High (some odd cartoon full of skinny, preteen-monsters in 6 inch heels and short skirts) any non-parent is bound to do something wrong. Now you’re faced with this insane guilt at handling a situation badly and the image of a teary face that will haunt you for the best part of forever. How can something be this much fun whilst simultaneously being this bloody exhausting?
So kudos to all you that are raising anything more than an eyebrow. I now think of you as clinically insane superheroes. In possession of powers which enable you to weave your way through the minefield of dinner time dramas, retrieving socks/shoes from under trampolines/behind sofas, stopping fights and starting stories. All whilst finding new and interesting ways of getting vegetables eaten, teeth brushed without being made to feel like you've stabbed the kid repeatedly with a carving knife and answering the age old question ‘but why’?
Honestly. Well done!