By Lyndsey Bramble
Do you remember that time BC (before children) when someone whispered in your ear “tell me your fantasy” and you felt a mixture of tantalised and really creeped out? The mental images delightedly jump to George Clooney. Channing Tatum. Infinity pool. Tingling senses and clothes floating away. Notice the full stops? The fantasy is short, sharp, and to the point. Now it’s more like, George Clooney cooking dinner, bathing the kids and putting them to bed while Channing Tatum prepares lunches for the next day cleans the house and delivers wine when requested in the infinity pool.
You have heard it all before, children are amazing! They bring so much joy to your life, yes it has it’s tough times, but you’ll never regret it. It is all true they are amazing balls of love, laughter and goo. Do you know what is also amazing? Spending an entire day without snot on your clothes.
Here are the 5 magical fantasises of the toddler time mum, the dreams you use to drift off to sleep. Until waking up with your hairs on the back of your neck standing to attention knowing someone is watching you sleep. When you open your eyes you see eyeballs so close you can not quickly discern if it is one of your children or the family pet.
Fantasy 1: An entire day of your personal space remaining personal.
It’s story time and you are snuggled onto the couch with the kids. They are elbowing you in your ribs to get a better view. Kicking each other over you because one is closer than the other. Everyday your body has hands, elbows, knees, arms even a nose shoved roughly into it. Every inch of your body. Every single day.
Imagine the day you wake from a perfect night sleep with no knee in your head. Then go through your day with your personal space breached only when it is cuddle time. When out in public at no stage are you in fear of your pants being pulled down, or skirt lifted. Now that is a naughty fantasy.
Fantasy 2: Not being spoken AT from the moment the house wakes up.
The morning rush is mid swing and the house goes from a dull beehive to cicada mating season volume in 2.8 seconds. “Mum I want milk”, “Mum I don’t want this for breakfast”, “ Mum I want you to put my shoes on”, “Mum I can’t do it, you have to”. All at once, all AT you, not TO you, there is no traditional call and response happening. Your head hurts you haven’t had your coffee and you just want to call timeout.
You longing wish for a conversation, “How did you sleep?”, “Well thank you Mummy, and you?” “Really well, thank you for asking. What would you like for breakfast this morning?” “What ever you give me Mum, I know it’ll be a healthy, good for me option”. Fantasy complete, go drink your coffee in silence with that little gem dancing around in your mind.
Fantasy 3: Getting an answer when you ask a question.
You’re getting everyone ready to leave and you ask your eldest to put their shoes on. You are in a different room and you know they can hear you. Nothing. You say it again. Nothing. And again. Nothing. Frustration has mounts, you stamp into the room saying “why are your shoes not on?” and there they are standing at the front door, shoes on. Your entire emotional system is in overdrive. Yeah you have your shoes on you clever, wonderful, adorable child. Why didn’t you answer me, so I could stop asking!
Just to be acknowledged when heard, what a delicious fantasy. Maybe even a month of silence when your children move out (at the age of 50, but that’s a whole different conversation about our current economy and how our kids will manage).
Fantasy 4: Walking barefoot in the kitchen after meals.
Ever felt avocado squished between your toes? Rouge rice unexpectedly comes out of hiding and you were wearing socks? That needs to be picked out, in your spare time. Which means, you now have a rice-cotton hybrid sock, it goes nicely with Arrowroot shirts and Vegemite pants. There are solutions to the major mealtime messes. Like a Food Catcher around the high chair. The truth is of course, regardless how much easier you make life you are going to step on a pre-sucked biscuit at least once.
Fire up that kitchen fantasy to feel completely safe to expose your tootsies once more. Then you will dance like the floor is clean while George does the dishes.
Fantasy 5: Toilet time alone.
It is hard enough to have an audience at home. A rotating door of “Can you feed me”, “Can I watch Jimmy Giggle”, “Mummy I want a cuddle”....there is no better bonding experience than a cuddle with your toddler while sitting on the loo....except maybe anything else, ever. Take that experience into a shopping centre bathroom. All squeezed into one cubicle with the door lock constantly being fidgeted with, kids touching everything and someone discovering loudly that two, loo and poo rhyme.
Close your eyes and fantasise. The day will come when they no longer need to join you and you will be all alone to enjoy the call of nature the way it was intended. Alone in a locked cubicle or bathroom with no need to hurry.
One day your toddlers will be at school, they will be older, more independent and insist on putting on their own pants. The next stage will come with new level of fantasises which will probably include all contact sports being banned and a manual for navigating the teenage years finally being published. When that day comes you will mourn the touching, the neediness of being spoken at, being unintentionally ignored (as apposed to intentionally) and you will even miss the feeding frenzy of mealtimes. Jury is out on toilet time though, that one may run its course and no one will wish it to return again.