Happy Mother’s Day…

blue bubbles

Today is Mother’s Day in Australia, the day when Mums of young kids get a sleep in, cremated toast, luke warm tea or coffee and loads of hugs and kisses from overly excited little people, who will thrust drawings of stick people with triangle bodies and four fingers at them.

Those with teenagers may hope to get grunted at less frequently today, be eyeball rolled only a dozen times, sneered at with reduced lip curl and told that they suck only once. I don’t have a teenager yet, but I’ve been told that this is the teenage version of affection towards a parent.

Mums of adults who are parents themselves may receive the recognition they have worked so hard for – a simple, but heartfelt, Thank you Mum.

I have asked my four boys for one thing today – that there be no fighting between them at all – all day! Not one push or shove, not one snarl or growl, not one evil eye or scowly face. No dobbing, no picking on, ganging up against, teasing, pinching, flicking, snapping, rolling of eyeballs, displays of frustration or anger, tanties, or whinging.

Now what are the chances of that happening?

And the reason I have asked for this seemingly enormous gift?

Firstly, because I usually ask for a bottle of Cointreau or Midori when it comes to any form of present. Seeing as it was my birthday less than a month ago, I am concerned that my boys will think Mummy is a drunken lush if I score another bottle. (I must clarify that the Cointreau from my birthday is still 75% full. Mummy is neither a drunk nor a lush, much to Daddy’s disappointment.)

Secondly, I want them to see just how lovely an entire day of not being told off for fighting, not being sent to their room for hitting or karate kicking, and not being nagged to death by a frustrated and slightly insane mother can be.

Just imagine  – an entire day where no one gets in trouble! Heaven.

But you should have seen the look on their faces when I made my request. The older ones did the maths  – up at 7.30ish and to bed at 7.30pm, that’s 12 whole hours of not fighting. Twelve hours!

Their eyeballs sunk backwards into their heads in shock, their complexion paled, and the hinges on their jaws slackened like a ten year old bra strap.

“But…what are we going to do then?” one of them asked.

“Indeed! What are you going to do?” I replied.

Silence. Four little faces staring back at me with vacuous expressions, clearly at a loss as to how they would fill in their day if it didn’t involve arguing or fighting.

“How about we watch a movie, without fighting over which one it will be, or play a board game, without anyone getting cranky about losing or missing a turn, or even go to the park, without anyone getting stroppy because someone is riding a bike faster than them,” I suggested.

Blank stares from eight eyeballs – 4 brown, 4 blue, all framed with luxuriously long eyelashes. (why do the boys always get the beautiful eyelashes?)

Holy crap! What have I done? I’ve asked for the impossible!

They can’t even go to the toilet without fighting. Of the 3 toilets in the house, only 1 is used by any of them. It’s the favourite loo. There’s a major meltdown if two kids need to pooh at the same time. We have to try to schedule crap o’clock so that everyone is accommodated and happy.

The 2 older boys have electric toothbrushes that are timed to run for 2 minutes and they always synchronise  their start times. One gets upset if the other’s toothbrush cuts out before his does, even though it is outside of either boy’s control.

I mean, come on! Must you argue and fight about everything?

And the answer to this is….yes, probably.

Siblings arguing is how the pecking order is established, challenged, altered and maintained. It is where they learn (slowly) to put their thoughts forward and to listen to those of others as they gain a new perspective. It is how they evolve into small adults who are confident enough in themselves and their ability to communicate effectively, to go out into the big, wide world and function as well informed, social  humans.

So, what can I take away from this? If I’m smart, I’ll realise that siblings arguing is a necessary part of their development, and even though it drives me nuts at times, as long as they are exercising their mouths (in a polite way) and not their fists, I can be sure that they are learning how to settle their differences with each other, and live in a world that encourages many different points of view from which they can broaden their own horizons.

If not, I might empty that bottle of Cointreau a bit quicker!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful women who choose the love of your children over your own sanity! You rock – and don’t ever forget it or let anyone tell you otherwise.

Day spa for Clowns…

Two years ago my son’s grade one class held a surprise mother’s day event in their classroom. I made an effort to look less like a gym junkie/hobo  and styled my hair and even threw on a little makeup – eyeshadow and everything!

The crowd of mums  assembled outside and awaited our surprise. Was it going to be cake and cream? A smooshy card , providing generous stroking of our mother-egos? Perhaps a concert? A little box of chocolates? No…it was a…Mother’s Day Spa. Shiiiiiit!

My son, Rylan, was bouncing with excitement as he greeted me at the door and ushered me inside. The room was set up with different pampering stations – there was one for massage, one for hair styling, one for manicures, one for refreshments and one….for…make up. Arrrrrrgh!

“Where do you want to go first, mum?” Rylan asked me. “How about the manicure station?”

His sweet little face was lit up like a birthday cake for an octogenerian, his deep brown eyes twinkling with pride.

“Ummmmm,” god no, not the manicure station – definitely not the make up area either. “How about a massage? I love a long, long massage and you are so good at it,” I said.

So we made our way to the massage chairs – tiny plastic chairs that are only meant to hold the weight of a six year old, not a grown woman recovering from another pregnancy. I prayed that the legs wouldn’t break, or flop out to the side like a peeled banana. How embarrassing would that be?

Like a typically over excited six year old, Rylan gave me a three second massage and then asked me where I’d like to go next.

I grabbed his hands and placed them, firmly, back on my shoulders.

“That is so good, Ryles. Why don’t you keep going for a bit longer?” I said. How long was it until hometime? Thirty minutes? Shit!

He shrugged his shoulders and took it as a compliment. Thankfully he couldn’t see through my ruse – my desperate attempt to avoid the make up station at all costs.

Most of the other mums were also avoiding the make up station, but some had been corralled into the mani/pedi area and were now being painted by little hands that had trouble colouring in with pencils, let alone painting fingernails with nail varnish.

It wasn’t a pretty sight.

“Mum,” Rylan said. “Come on, there’s no one at the makeup. Let’s go there.”

“How about a drink first? Is that lemonade over there?”

“Oh yeah! I’ll get you some.”

He raced off and came back with a half drunk cup of lemonade. He isn’t allowed lemonade at home, so the temptation must have been too much.

“Is the tide out?” I asked, laughing.

He smirked and blushed.

“Tell you what, why don’t you have the rest? Mummy’s got some water.” He beamed at me as though I was the bestest mother ever.

Then he ran over and got a brush and started to stroke my hair. All I could think of was that if anyone had nits, there was going to be a breakout of epidemic proportions in the coming week.

“How about a manicure?” he asked hopefully.

My heart rate was increasing. In fact, it was knocking against my rib cage in an attempt to flee the situation without the rest of me.

“That would be lovely, thanks Rylan.”

The station was set up with half a dozen different nail varnishes – none of which were clear.

“What colour mum?”

“Ummmm, how about that really, really pale pink one?” I said, pointing to the most innocuous of all.

He sat down opposite me and drew the brush out of the bottle, a huge drip bulging off the end, and then splatted it down against my nail. The varnish pooled and ran over my finger as he smeared it around.

I looked at the woman next to me and smiled.  Her son had painted her fingernail, finger and each phalange up to her wrist. In bright red.

Her eyeballs bulged out of her head as she stifled a giggle.

Another mum staggered by, having survived  the make up station. She had one bright blue shadowed eye, and one bright green. Her blush was akin to two strips of fairy floss that had been placed across her cheeks – from the corner of her lips the end of her eyebrow.

I tried, really hard, not to laugh.

“I have to take him to soccer after this and my daughter to dance class,” she said. “I’m going to look like this until six pm when we get home.”

Soon there were three or four mums leaving the make up station in a daze. Each one looked worse than the last. I think Mrs Ronald McDonald was amongst them – her daughter’s little hands had no hope of drawing her bright red lipstick within her lip line.

Thankfully, after painting each fingernail (to the knuckle)  pale pink, Rylan was tired of pampering me and I managed to avoid the make up station all together. I went  to chat with one of the other mums instead.

“Awwww,” she said. “Did he get you over to the make up station, you poor thing.”

It wasn’t a question she was asking. In her mind, apparently, I had been attacked by inexperienced hands and was in need of sympathy and compassion because my face looked so hideous that she was about to offer me a shoulder to cry on.

“Ahhh, no. He didn’t . This is my own attempt, I did this to myself before I came here,” I said.

Her eyes were the size of hubcaps as she clapped her hand to her mouth, “Ohhhhhh, no! You look great! Really! I was going to ask to be made up like you.

I couldn’t help but laugh. What a doozy! It’s like asking a woman when she’s due – only to find out that she’s not pregnant. Luckily we both had a laugh about it, although I mainly stick to mascara and sheer lipgloss now!