Thursday, November 27, 2008

Past Deadline: Finding Quality Time in the Bathroom

Here is the latest "Past Deadline," published Wednesday, Nov. 26/08 in The Perth Courier. Yep, it's kinda bathroom humour....

Finding quality time in the bathroom

One day my mother-in-law passed me a little newspaper clipping, as she is wont to do. Although I cannot currently find it amid the clutter (I am pleased to report that earlier this fall I started my spring cleaning from 2002), the gist of it was that once a child turns three, a mama should stop catering to her every need and encourage her to do more for herself. You know, drive the car, carve the roast, chop the firewood – big girl stuff.

I’m not sure whether the article was useful advice or a subtle observation that I live with HRH Bossy McBossypants. Either would be true.

I remember the period with Boychild when I suddenly felt less like Important Provider Mama and more like Cinderella. He would have been about three. I also remember the feeling of immense freedom when Boychild could do more for himself, which gave me time to do blissful, luxurious things like, say, go to the bathroom by myself. Sometimes I could go in there and no one would even call my name!

My name, incidentally, is: “Mom? Mom! MOM!!” My middle name is “Ineeda.”

With baby number two those glorious minutes of solitude disappeared like so many dust bunnies rolling under the couch when someone walks through the living room. Now she’s three, and we’ve returned to Cinderella time. Girlchild has Attitude. Half the time she can darned-well-do-it-myself-don’t-touch-me-thank-you-very-much, but the rest of the time she’s in full blown diva mode, conveniently unable to put on socks or pants. (Who could blame her, though? Why wear socks and pants if you don’t have to?)

Like any exasperated – I mean patient – mom I try not to scream – I mean I try to encourage her to hone those skills and be a big girl. Sometimes, though, you’ve just gotta get out the door, which means cramming flailing legs into snow pants and showing little interest in whatever Tragedy Has Befallen Our Heroine, be it that Mars and Jupiter are not aligned or she doesn’t want to wear those pink mittens but, rather, the pink ones with the silver hearts on them.

First child and second child also develop an interesting little conspiracy. Suddenly there are a lot of things first child forgets how to do because he sees mama doing them for second child. “Apple juice, please!” Sometimes it takes a while for a sleep-deprived mama to catch on to this.

So, whether you call me Cinderella or MomMomMom Ineeda, I want to know – if the shoe fits, do I get a prince or just another shoe to clutter up the place?

In my spare time which, I assure you, is not spent in the bathroom because that is most certainly when I will be needed urgently for something, I find myself wondering about the olden days of child rearing. I know other people think about this, too, because it says so in Sunday’s Ottawa Citizen.

I have a newspaper clipping on my desk (not actually from my mother-in-law) called “Listen to the ‘suck-it-up lady’” by columnist Elizabeth Payne. It details how popular Ottawa clinical psychologist Maggie Mamen (author of The Pampered Child) is a proponent of parents regaining control of their families and learning to say “no” to kids. Her theory is we have become a “child driven” society and that many parents feel the need to keep their children happy at all times and to meet their needs immediately. This leads to many parents behaving like servants.


Ms. Payne suggests this need for immediate gratification and the inability to wait for things is part of the reason we now have a global financial crisis: people have been going out and buying things they want right now even though they can’t afford them. People have lost the ability to save, and wishing for things, Ms. Mamen says, is one of the joys of being human.

Again – hm.

Patience is definitely something little folks I know need to practise. Perhaps one of the first new house rules I’ll impose is “don’t disturb MomMomMom Ineeda in the bathroom unless there is carnage or mayhem.”

A few quiet moments in the bathroom! Dare to dream, Cinderella.

1 comment:

momma's heart said...

Outstanding, humorous writing! This is one of my favorite posts! I might have a little diva on my hands. Perhaps I'll check that book out at the library.