Two’s company, three’s insane

It’s 2006.
After a busy morning picking Weetbix out of the carpet, holding the shaky feet of a toddler trying to climb a small fort and rock-a-byeing a bear on repeat, Master One is finally down for his afternoon nap.
I sit down with a toasted sandwich and a cup of tea and start the fifth season of the West Wing. He’ll be down at least two hours and nobody deserves the break more than me.
I give myself a pat on the back.

Fast-forward to 2013.
It goes pretty much the same, except this time it’s Lil Fatty.
And Breaking Bad.
The now-Master Seven is at school so I have to cap Lil Fatty’s sleep at two hours to go and pick him up.
I get back home with my two boys and take a coffee break.
Nobody deserves it more than me.
I give myself a pat on the back.

Fast-forward to 2015.
My morning is spent being dragged around by one child, while trying not to drop another.
That’s after I’ve taken the third to school.
I pick Weetbix out of the carpet, wipe pureed fruit off the lino and scrub poo off the couch.
I hold the shaky feet of a toddler trying to get on to the trampoline while a baby tries desperately to sleep in my arms.
Baby sucks furiously on my boob while I hold the potty under the bum of toddler.
I bath baby and make my bed, only to have toddler wee on baby – on my bed.
Toddler rolls out of towel while I try to put a nappy on baby.
Baby rolls out of nappy while I try to re wrap blue-lipped toddler.
I do the Hot Potato, mashing potato.
Mashed Banana, peeling bananas.
And desperately eat what’s left of their Cold Spaghetti for lunch.
Before a visitor arrives, I clean the toilet.
Then find a half-filled potty under the coffee table after they’ve left.
I put one child down for a nap only to hear the other wake up.
Right on cue.
Every day.
I was standing at the back door talking to my 70-year-old neighbour recently.
With Fairy Floss dribbling down my arm and Lil Fatty holding my free hand (and, with his free hand, his doodle), I moaned as I described the giant leap from two to three children.
But she already knew.
She had three herself.
“And I had to have the house clean, dinner cooked, and the kids bathed and ready for bed by the time my husband came home.”
That’s how it was done in her day.
I get one out of three.
Learner Dad invariably comes home to a hot dinner.
He also comes home to wet towels on the floor.
To kids that smell like poo, or wee, or spew, or all three.
To a bench strewn with carrot peel, blobs of ice-cream, stripped corn cobs.
His wife may or may not have washed her hair that day.
Whichever the case, it’s in a ‘mun’ (mum-bun).
And she’s most certainly wearing the same track pants her baby vomited on three days ago.
It’s not that mums of today are less capable than our predecessors.
It’s that the emphasis has been tipped from ‘good wife’ to ‘good mother’.
Instead of ironing hubby’s shirts, we watch our kids play on the trampoline.
We fuss over cupcakes rather than rump steaks.
And we make Lego cities that render vacuuming simply impossible.
If our husbands dare complain, they are quickly put in their place.
Which, in Learner Dad’s case, is eating his rapidly cooling dinner while balancing one child on his lap and reading a story between mouthfuls to another.
While mummy sits down to anything not on ABC4Kids.
And gives herself a well-deserved pat on the back.


A little MORE conversation…

“I’m in the Kmart car park and I can’t get the bloody pram open,” I blurt out when Learner Dad answers his phone.
Then: “Okaaay,” he says, from his desk.
In his office.
At work.
I wait. I know I’m being all manner of bitch right now.
I mean, what can he possibly do about it from work?
“Have you tried pushing down the grey bar?” he asks.
“I would if there was a f****ng grey bar,” I respond.
I rarely swear. He must be frightened.
“Everybody’s looking at me, I have to get things at the shop before I go to school to pick up Master Seven and…”
Oh shit, I’ve just noticed a grey bar. I can’t tell him that now.
“Oh hang on, I’ve found a black bar,” I lie. “That seems to be working.”
Much to his relief, I let Learner Dad go and get on with my shopping.
As I push Li’l Fatty around the store, I start thinking: ‘Is this me becoming a wife? A dependent? The ball and chain?’
Learner Dad and I got engaged at Easter and I seem to be nailing the part of wife-to-be.
But then, maybe it’s not so much me becoming a Mrs as me returning to the life of a SAHM (acronym for Stay At Home Mum and the term we cool ones go by now thank you very much!)
Being a SAHM brings with it a certain kind of starvation… a hunger for adult conversation.
You can only say ‘bububub’ and ‘ging-ging-ging’ so many times a day.
Sure, Master Seven’s arrival home from school takes the conversation up a notch but you get sick of bum and poo jokes pretty quickly too.
I satiated my conversation hunger in Master Seven’s early years, when I was a single mum, by calling my own mother regularly.
She got the “he’s vomiting”, “he’s smiling” and “how do you get his finger out of the DVD player?” type calls.
But I would never have called her at work to say I couldn’t open the pram.
Those kind of calls I’ve reserved for my lucky future husband, Learner Dad.
And with that, I must dash and call him.
I think Li’l Fatty just made a new noise…