As some of you already know I have four whole children. I’ve counted and double counted and it’s true – there really are four of them! It’s bizarre. I can’t always quite believe it myself. But there you are.
They entered the world like this:
- another girl
When my then six year old son heard that his third sibling would be yet another girl he was so
pissed off disappointed that he said, “Bloody hell!”, crawled under the dining table and refused to come back out.
Bringing up four whole children is wild. Seriously.
Firstly, you spend a lot of time counting heads to make sure that you haven’t left one somewhere. Or added one accidentally. You learn, quite quickly, the importance of making sure that you haven’t double-counted the same head, because that leaves you with the false sense of security of having all of your children present and correct.
You swiftly learn, to think on your feet when your children well and truly drop you in it. You also develop the art of the quick getaway.
Saying sorry becomes second nature, so much so that you often say it as a precursor to an event, the moment you enter the room/shop/tourist attraction/bank/doctor’s office (delete as appropriate).
You find going out with adult friends difficult because you find yourself continually compelled to ask them: “Do you have your key?” And, “Are you sure you don’t need to go to the toilet?”
Finally having child free time with your partner, you ban talking about the kids and then stare into space until you both give in and start talking about the kids again.
You never, ever have any money in your purse. It’s like money has some kind of aversion to your purse. You regularly find yourself going into the butchers and the bakers only to find yourself penniless. Thus having to explain to the not-always-so-patient shop assistant that you, yet again, need to nip over to the hole in the wall to grab some cash.
You can never remember the name of the child standing in front of you. Especially when you are annoyed. So in the middle of a telling off you have to shout, “What’s your name again?” before dishing out the punishment.
Food vanishes. You shop and shop and shop. You cook and cook and cook. But every time you attempt to make yourself a quick snack or snatch a biscuit: there’s nothing left.
Your house is filled with germs. For two reasons. One is: you have lost the will to clean. And the other is: they bring home every conceivable type of germ from even the remotest part of the region and then they share it all around.
At some point you get the Norovirus. In your house. For three weeks solid. You lose your mind. Especially when your children admit they might just have spread it around again because they shared a sandwich.
You become an expert nit picker.
You also become a taxi driver, counsellor, mediator and pharmacist.
Seriously, visitors come to your house just to admire the array of medicines in your cupboard and to compliment you on your ‘tried and tested’ pharmaceutical knowledge (all the while kindly ignoring the clutter that surrounds you).
You laugh a lot. It would be true to say, not always at appropriate moments. But you develop a deep, belly laugh that suddenly booms out of you uncontrollably. Finally your children feel embarrassed. At your loudness. At your lack of restraint. They whisper, “Mum!!” with agitated voices.
But you know, from experience, that one day they will say, “One of the things I love most about you, Mum, is your huge laugh!”
And you’ll say, “I learned to laugh so much because of you.”