I set the kids up in the dining room with a biscuit and a piece of fruit and tell them, “I’m going to the bathroom. By myself. Alone. You’ll be fine here for a few minutes. You won’t need me. Just stay here.”
As I edge towards the door, I repeat for good measure, “Just stay here. I won’t be long. You’ll be fine. Do not follow me!”
I make it to the bathroom without an entourage. I self-congratulate while brushing my teeth.
Well done, Eva. How did you manage that?
I use the toilet and the kids must hear it flush because they’re at the door in less than two seconds.
“Can’t I just go to the toilet by myself?”
One replies, “But you did. We heard the flush.”
Someone else pipes up, “Can we do craft now?”
Craft. Yes, let’s do craft…
Tell me I’m not the only one who has to preface a toilet trip with a morning tea set-up and a public service announcement.
This is real life parenting. I’m not sure what they teach you in pre-natal classes because I never went to them, but this is the real stuff. This is how it works with little people.
You organise, you negotiate, you instruct, you set them up for success… and they still follow you everywhere. You are it. You are their all.
You are your child’s favourite toy.
Sometimes you feel like your batteries are going flat. Or as if you’ve been dropped and broken. But no one told you that they dropped their favourite toy, so you’re really not sure why it’s so hard to move. So hard to be that awesome toy that the shopkeeper promised you would be… way back before your children chose you and took you home.
But this is it. This is life. This is parenting. This is real.
And what a glorious privilege it is to be the world to someone.
Even if they don’t respect personal space and hygiene boundaries!