The strange and hilarious antics of a parent
The other day I was rushing out the door to meet my family at a local soft-play centre and was in need of some cash; I had managed to secure two bedside tables on facebook marketplace to be collected later that day — yep I am one of them. Whilst my Dad treks the fields of local boot fares for bargains, I sit on my big bottom scrolling through my phone. My family and I love a good bargain.
Anyway, I knew I wouldn’t have time to pop to a cash point, well I guess I would of but that wasn’t inconvenient, so instead I raided Louis piggy bank. There was a split second of pure guilt, but then I reassured myself that I would replace it.
But the action made me chuckle and it got me thinking about all the funny things that probably only parents do; some are just silly, others are pretty epic parent fails.
I started compiling a list and so far I am on number 26. I am sure many of these are relatable; let’s see.
1. Raiding Your Child’s Piggy Bank
So number 1 as described above, is borrowing money from your child’s piggy bank. I reiterate again that I WILL replace it, pinkie promise. James and I have agreed that we will set up Louis with his own little bank account and put in a starter fund to make up for any shortfalls. But times are so different now aren’t they. I mean my Mum and Dad come from a generation that draw out just enough cash for what they need each week. They don’t frivolously pay for things on their debit card and using contactless is pretty alien. I never carry cash, unless I have raided my hubby’s change draw to pay for parking. I use my card for everything. So much so that some days I honestly don’t even know what I have spent. £2 here. £10 there. Beep. Beep.
2. Poo Finger
This is a classic parent fail, when you do the finger check to see if your little one has a dirty nappy and you pull your finger out of the nappy with poo on it. Yep rank! What’s worse is that no matter how much you wash your finger you can just smell poo under your fingernails for ages after. If you are sat here thinking that this has never happened, then well done you, I applaud you. I mean to be fair it makes sense, why would anyone think that poking your finger in a nappy is a good idea? It’s something I used to see my Mum do to my nieces and nephews so I blame her.
3. Baby Wipes are your best friend
I said the other day “I don’t know how I would live without baby wipes”. Pre-child I hardly ever used them. Maybe on an occasional family outing when your Nan pulls a packet of wet wipes out after eating a cheese and pickle sandwich (has to be Branston) or back when I was a teenager when using wipes to take off your make-up was the done thing. But now, I use them for everything. There’s the obvious, bum changing, cleaning hands and mouths. Then the wipes get used to wash down tables and clean furniture. I’ve cleaned my glasses with them, windows, handbags, car seats with puke on. I dish them out all day long. I wonder if I can still get away with carrying them around with me even when Louis has left home (that feels like a weird statement) or when I go on a rare night out-out: clutch bag with — phone: check, money: check, pack of baby wipes: check!
4. Human Dummy Cleaner
Now your little one may not use a dummy, pacifier, or whatever you call it but Louis was given one when he was just a few days old. When he was born he spent seven days in the Special Care Baby Unit and one night when a bit distressed, the nurses decided that it would be a good idea to give him one. James and I just went along with what they thought was best. The dummy or as I often call it, the moody protector, is a godsend. It’s like catnip for small children. I am not sure how I will feel in a few months when I try and coerce him out of having a dummy at bedtime, but I have been told that you just say that the dummy fairies are coming, put them in a bag and bobs your uncle, they wave goodbye and get over it (yeah right). But the epic fail is when your little one drops their dummy, and you pick it up, put it in your mouth to supposedly ‘clean off the germs’ and then pop it back in their mouth. Now when they are very little, we have sterilising wipes for emergencies like this, but as they get older and are, let’s face it, walking germs themselves, we become more relaxed. When the dummy drops, I don’t even think about it, or consider what it has fallen in, it’s autopilot. In my mouth it goes. I mean if it happened to fall in a big steaming pile of cow shit in a field I would probably just throw it away. But still, who knows what germs I have contaminated my mouth with — it’s a horrific thought.
5. Eating your child’s scraps
I remember people saying to be careful when you have a child about the weight you put on, not just the lack of exercise (maybe you can’t find the time or like me are just genuinely a bit lazy) but eating their food. Eating their food? What pureed apple and carrot, I think I’m ok. Well this is what I used to say. Now with a little one aged 2, I know what they mean. Louis rarely leaves food as he eats as much as a grown adult, and takes after his Dad whom I call a ‘human dustbin’, but on occasions I have finished off his piece of cake or stolen a few chips here and there. Sometimes when I have made too much pasta for him I have shoved spoonfuls into my mouth at the cooker as a pre-dinner starter.
The worst though is when they are eating something that they decide they don’t like and it’s easier to eat it then find a bin for it. The other day Louis had a bit of lettuce on his tongue that was making him gag a bit. I pulled it off and then popped it in my mouth without a seconds thought. Another time Louis spat out some bread and James ate it, like a bird regurgitating his food for his young, but in our case in reverse. Both circumstances are pretty disgusting when you think about it. I mean in what other context would you get away without being judged, eating someone else’s spat out food?
6. Showcasing Your Child’s Talent
Louis was an early talker and everyone always comments on how well he chats to people. So James and I do that proud parent thing of showcasing his articulate language by doing things like making him order his own food in a restaurant much to the annoyance of the waitress who is far too busy to actually care. 10 minutes later she scurries off in a rush to wait on her other tables and we sit back feeling warm and fuzzy at just how clever our little one is.
7. When kids say embarrassing things
If you have a little boy then you will know that when they are little you have to make sure that their willy, or winky woo woo as we call it, is facing downwards when putting on a nappy otherwise you may get wee spilling out the top. The other day I was changing Louis and needed to do the same thing, as it was pointing up. Suddenly he shouted “don’t touch it Mummy”. I stared in shock and then laughed. I was just so glad we were in the privacy of our own home.
Recently when sharing a hotel room, after I thought he had gone to sleep he sat up and shouted out “Mummy, have you farted?” and when playing at a friend’s house he suddenly came out with “this is boring”.
8. The hurt we feel when they don’t want to play with us
It is inevitable in every parent’s life that there will come a day when we realise that our little ones are becoming independent. This happened to me recently when walking into Louis playroom, he looked at me and said “leave me alone Mummy, I’m busy”. Yep, my 2 year old actually said that. I walked away trying to feel happy that he had this new found independence to play alone, but deep down I felt hurt and a little panicked. I mean what if he didn’t need me any longer. Rest assured, 5 minutes later he was back annoying the hell out of me asking for anything and everything so I needn’t have worried.
9. When they repeat a naughty word
There comes a time in every child’s life where they repeat a naughty word. I remember it happening to all my nieces and nephews and actually can recollect my own memory of being a young girl sat on the living room floor, I turned to my mum and said “mummy it’s pissing down outside”, she was not happy and needless to say I never said it again. But the other day, when battling with the car seat in pouring rain, no let me correct that, it was torrential rain, I shouted “for fuck sake” in frustration to which Louis then repeated. Suddenly the seatbelts all snapped in place and I changed the subject and didn’t reference it. Touch wood he hasn’t said it again.
10. Lunchtime is more like Breakfast
Eating early becomes a normal habit when you have a child. Some days I am up at 5am so breakfast might be 6am, although I normally try to stretch it to 7am. Because of this, in our house lunch is early. So when someone asks me for lunch and says how does 1:30pm sound? I’m thinking, that’s more like dinner as I normally eat at 11:30am! Buy I just nod and ‘go with the flow’ after all we all try and kid ourselves that we are still spontaneous people right?
11. Picking your kids nose
This will make some of you cringe but I am sure many of you have done it. When you pick a massive bogie from your little ones nose without having a tissue to hand. You then walk around looking for something to wipe it on and end up one-handedly coaxing a baby wipe out the pack. My mum looked at me in disgust when I did this the other day. I thought it was a dry crusty one, but out came a slipper slug of green snot. Weirdly it doesn’t bother me in the slightest but maybe I am a minority.
12. Parent and child parking
I have done this several times and I don’t really know why. But having a child gives you precedence to park in the parent and child parking bays. Yes these amazing bays that give you a lot of space either side of the car to make it easier to get the kids in and out. But so often, even when there are spaces nearer the entrance of the shop with ample space around, I still drive around looking for a special parent and child spot. It’s my right don’t ya know.
13. Speedy Restaurant Orders
This is a classic ‘parentism’ (ooh I like this word). When you get to a restaurant and order your kids food before anyone else in your party has had a chance to even open a menu! From a young age we have always taken Louis into restaurants, knowing that eating out was something that James and I enjoyed immensely, we wanted this to continue to be part of our social life. But as I am sure you have all experienced there are occasions when it can be a bloody pain in the backside, and you wish you opted for an M&S sandwich on the go instead of a sit down meal. If your little one is extra tired that day or if the food takes too long to come out, keeping them chilled and occupied can be an absolute mission. As soon as Louis has food he is satisfied. This rushed order approach has back-fired a few times when Louis has wolfed his food down so quick before we have even hit starters. Then it’s either Mummy and Daddy taking it in turns to entertain him or instead everyone at the table just piles scraps of food on his plate to try and prolong the dinner.
14. We can memorize children’s menu
Parents can normally guess the children’s menu of every restaurant before even looking. Chicken nuggets and chips, fish and chips, maybe a burger or hot dog and chips, occasionally you get a healthy side option like a baked potato, some peas, vege sticks or sweet corn. In the Italian chains you get breadsticks, pasta and pizza as options too. The drinks are normally water, apple or orange juice or a fruit shoot. And dessert is normally either a healthy fruit snack or ice cream… Louis always opts for the ice cream (what a surprise!).
15. Bribery is a key parenting tool
I hate to admit it but I am sure like me, many parents use bribery to help their little one’s complete even the basic of tasks. “If you get in your pram you can have a biscuit”. “If you get in the car nicely you can have your dummy”. “If you eat all your carrots you can have a chocolate yoghurt”. It’s terrible but hey it works and sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.
16. The child alarm clock
Since being a Mum I have stopped using an alarm clock. Louis is my alarm clock, every single morning of every single day. Normally anytime between 5am-6:30am. Sometimes it’s a gentle ‘Mummy’ other times I am woken by him shouting at the top of his voice.
17. Contradiction of talking to strangers
Why is it we encourage our children to not go up to or talk to strangers but then get really frustrated and annoyed when they start having a panic attack when we want them to sit on Santa’s knee for a cute festive photos or get a fun snap with the theme park characters to add to the family album. When you think about it, Santa can be pretty scary. No offence but it’s some heavily bearded, sweaty man tapping his knee and asking if they have been good. If someone did that to us we would think ‘CREEP’!
18. Queuing for nothing
On this same vein, another classic is when your little one wants to queue to meet their favourite character, you know maybe after a kids show when on holiday. You queue for 10–15 minutes and when it’s your turn, like road-runner, they turn and sprint off bursting into tears. What a waste of time!
19. Battling your children to eat their vegetables
Getting your little one’s to eat their vegetables is like trying to negotiate with a hostage. The bribery kicks in and then you do whatever you can to make them eat them, careful not to go as far as to actually get the fork and shove it in their gobs. It has to be ‘their’ decision. Louis recently made a really lovely friend at his nursery called Holly. One night for dinner he had a portion of his Nanny’s hotpot, which is delicious and my absolute favourite home made meal. There was mincemeat, potatoes, peas and carrots and he turned his nose up. I was tempted just to let him leave it so I could eat it all but continued on my negotiation. I told him that Holly loved eating carrots and he ate the lot. Then I did the same for the potatoes, and same again, he ate them all. I continued this for a week or so but I think he finally realised what we were doing as it seemed to fizzle out, and he decided that he actually didn’t care what Holly liked!
20. Secret Eating
You can never eat in peace or have any random snacks without your little one spotting you and interrogating you. It’s like they have a sensor. They detect and want what you have, even if you know it is something they will hate, they want it. You try chewing out of sight, but they know, like little greedy human beacons. My friend in San Fran told me that his little one, sat on the sofa, tapped the sit next to him and said ‘Sit Down’ so that he could eat his Dad’s bowl of cereal! Hilarious! James used to hide in the kitchen eating or else Louis would want his food. So often now if James and I have a later breakfast we make extra as we know Louis will want to tuck in. It just occurred to me that I talk a lot about Louis eating… I should probably keep a track on that when he gets older!
21. Gymnastic Bed Sharing
Sharing a bed with a toddler is like sharing a bed with an acrobatic, over excited monkey. Since Louis has started sleeping in his own bed at night, I realised just how awful it is to share a bed with him when recently staying at my Mum’s house. We were sharing a double bed, and when I slipped in next to him, at first all seemed fine. He was sound asleep and I had a good portion of the bed to myself. But an hour or so later, he awoke and for the rest of the night drove me insane. Coming up so close to me on my pillow that we would constantly head butt me. Then he would move his leg over so he was straddling my face. Then I would move him over, and then his legs, like little octopus tentacles would start slipping back towards me. I moved to the other end of the bed to top and tail, he followed me. Eventually I just gave in and let him find a position, horizontally across the bed and I just curled up in the space I could. The next morning I vowed never to share a bed with him again.
22. ‘Don’t poke the bear’
Little ones can lose their shit over the smallest of things especially during the terrible twos phase. Some days I find myself walking on eggshells; trying to get a happily balanced atmosphere in the house without poking the bear. Yes the bear being the cute little smiley person that lures you into false securities and makes you paranoid. Just today Louis lost it because he decided he didn’t want milk on his cereal, then the colour spoon he had wasn’t right. He wanted green not blue. I mean Diva or what. But there is a line we go to. Giving in to try and keep them calm. With Louis it’s normally 3 strikes with me and then he just has to get over it!
23. Relaxing holidays are a thing of the past
No matter how hard you want them to be, holidays are never quite as relaxing as they used to be. Even on a recent luxury trip to Mexico where all we had to do was eat and sit on a beach, there was still a constant layer of anxiety — have they had enough suncream?, are they safe playing over there?, have they had enough water?, are they getting over tired?….it never ends.
24. You become a walking snack shop
I never leave the house without snacks. Even if I am going out for lunch with Louis I always have emergency snacks. Oat bars, raisins, pomm bears, they are always in tow. It’s amazing how offering a snack can diffuse a multitude of situations. I think to myself, this walk is taking hours, “Louis why don’t you get into your pram?”. “No.” he says. “What about a snack, here’s some raisins?”. Louis jumps in the pram — happy days!
25. When you desperately want to sit and watch a film together
I love watching Disney movies; I mean who doesn’t! James and I have always had this vision that on Sunday afternoons we would all snuggle on the sofa as a family and watch a film together. Unfortunately at the moment, no matter how hard we have tried to get Louis to watch a multitude of films, the only thing he will watch for longer than about 30 minutes is Thomas the bloody Tank Engine… that actually sounds like an over 18-horror version doesn’t it! Toy Story, 28 minutes in and he got bored. Cars, 33 minutes in, he got bored. He asked for this again the other day and I was overjoyed. But no, this time 12 minutes in, he got bored. Then I sat down to watch Tangled, a film I’ve wanted to see for ages. Again he got bored after 16 minutes but this time, I let him go and play and I finished watching it (yes a guilty secret I have just admitted).
26. Sleep time is the best time
Not to be mean but it is semi-true. It’s not actually the BEST time, of course the quality time we share with our little ones and the memories we create is the best. However that feeling of freedom when they have a nap or go to bed is priceless. Suddenly you are transported back to pre-children when you made decisions for yourself and did what you wanted. I mean it’s within limits now and usually still housebound but wow, the TV shows I want to watch come on, my latest romance novel comes out or sometimes I write or even catch up with work, the exhilaration of the silence adds to my productivity! There is just an inner feeling of satisfaction and joy; like a big roast dinner after a long walk or an ice-cold lolly on a boiling hot day.
So there you have it, my list so far — 26 strange and hilarious antics of a parent.
I am sure that as I continue on my journey through motherhood, there will be many more silly and ridiculous antics added to the list.