Looking after a baby and toddler is hard. But this time will be easy to romanticise one day | Bridie Jabour | Opinion

I read someone say that the way they are getting through lockdown is to think of themselves as 70 years old, and how they would probably do anything at that age to come back to just one more day of the kids, the hugs, the chaos, the noisy house.

I appreciate the sentiment but I think my 70-year-old self will be too busy enjoying taking up smoking and knocking back whisky cocktails at 4.30pm to yearn too much for these limited days. Looking after a toddler is hard. Looking after a baby is hard. Looking after a baby and toddler is very hard. At the moment I miss my sisters desperately. One is in Melbourne and one is in Queensland, while I’m in Sydney. We are all banned from seeing each other. I would like to hug them and I would also like to hand them my kids for a morning. For a night as well.

This time in my life would have been tough whether there was global health pandemic or not and I am using a variety of tools to get through the day. Sometimes I ignore my kids and read a book. Sometimes I eat six Tim Tams at 11am. Sometimes I simply say “I can’t” to my husband and stay in bed. I have just finished Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout. It is in one of my favourite niches: books about ordinary people doing ordinary things. It is the type of book that makes me look a little more closely at the world after I’ve put it down. I notice things more. I notice the way the leaves move in the wind. I turn my face to the winter sun and close my eyes for a few seconds. I notice the kayakers on the dirty river, calling out to each other, being a bit competitive even though it’s Sunday.

After a morning of arguing with my toddler (“You can’t tip the coffee down the sink!” “Why not?” “It’s my coffee!” “Why?” “Because I like it” “It’s my turn for coffee!”) he grabbed my hand in the back seat of the car and pulled it roughly towards him. I thought he was going to bite me and I was trying not to yell at him. Instead he held my hand against his face. “There you go, Mum,” he said, pulling me closer to him so he could look at me. I really noticed this.

When my toddler falls over he clutches his knee screaming at me “KISS IT KISS IT KISS IT” then when I do it is cured and he skips away happily immediately.

I know this time in my life will be easy to romanticise one day. The physicalness of it. The smallness of my children. The pleading to lie next to them in bed. Their hot breaths on my face. Always on top of me, in my space, with no concept at all of ‘my space’.

I am trying not to write about my kids too much but all I think about at the moment is my kids. When I am 70 I will be glad that I did these years, and I will be glad that they are over.

Source: The Guardian

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