I’ve bought a house and sold a house. I’ve been married and been divorced but the most grown up thing I’ve done by far is have babies. Why is it then that I’ve spent much of the time since then feeling like a child?
Is it just me?
I’m a parent but I feel like a child!
I felt it from hours after having Aoife, I hadn’t noticed that she’d been sick in her cot in the hospital and so hadn’t cleared it up straight away. I felt like I had let her down and there was no hope for her. She’d be better living with someone else. After a kip I realised that maybe I’d been a tad melodramatic and it wasn’t the end of the world, but it wasn’t the end of feeling like a child out of their depth.
When she was about 3 months old Aoife decided we should probably go to a baby group.
THAT was a barrel of laughs.
You know when you feel like you’ve walked into a party then realised you’re actually at the wrong place? It was like that, lots of little cliques. Lots of “My baby can roll can yours?” “My baby can almost sit can yours?” “My baby can tap dance can yours” “No, my baby just lies here and smiles a bit but I’m cool with that, no rush”.
Then, as babies do, Aoife got hungry. I whipped out the bottle of vodka, popped a teat on it and proceeded to feed her (It was formula of course) the room fell silent. I realised I’d committed a terrible faux pas by not being a breast feeder. I found myself mumbling to no one particular about how I’d tried to feed for weeks but it didn’t work and so we’d moved onto bottles and it was working now. Like a child trying to explain why she drew on the walls. We didn’t go to that baby group much more.
As we’ve gone through the years the opportunities to feel this way have reared their heads more often than not with tantrums in shops and meltdowns in parks (more me than them) but I’ve coped. I’ve learnt to laugh and stop taking myself so seriously. I’m all over it.
Then we started Reception Class. Standing in the playground as a parent is EXACTLY like standing in the playground as a child. The parents who have been here a while all have the places they like to stand. If you accidentally stand in their place they’ll let you know by invading your personal space until you move – like a mental shove. They’ve established friendships that can’t be infiltrated.
Us newbies are meant to stand over there, only able to cross over to the cool kids if you have an older child too. I have a friend who has an older child than Aoife in the school. Once inside the school gates she stands with her group and I with mine (like at actual school when your friend in Year 9 was embarrassed to be seen talking to a Year 7).
It doesn’t even stop when we get home. Aoife knows her own mind and is terribly grown up. At least once a day I find myself regressing to the 5 year old me, bickering with Aoife. “You’re not my mummy, you won’t be ever again. What do you think about that?” “Well fine, if I’m not your Mummy I don’t have to make your dinner” “Yes you do or I’ll starve to death” “Yes, you’re right I do!” *stamps foot and leaves* (me not her)