“What part do you like least?” said my friend on facebook chat (not the bachelorette friend, a more recent friend.)

I hesitated, trying to think of the part of parenthood I like least.

“…the screaming?” he added helpfully.

“No,” I said, “um. No.”

The screaming is not the worst part. We don’t have the colic at our house. We don’t even have the unreasonable “the world is too much with me!” screaming with Fresco that we had with Trombone. (Yet. Mostly. I don’t remember.) And you can get used to poop and spit and everything smelling faintly of pee and not having a shower nearly often enough considering how many bodily fluids are coating you at any given moment. You can get used to the toddler saying, “I want that! No, I don’t like that! I don’t want that! I want that!” and then dissolving into tears because you didn’t give him THAT which he did / not? / want while the infant goes from happy Ernie (seriously, the kid sounds just like Ernie right now) to disgruntled Ernie to full-on sympathy sobbing and you don’t know which to console / reason with / duct tape shut first or whether you should maybe just go to the bathroom and turn on the ceiling fan.

Really. I can get used to all of that because it passes in a few minutes. I don’t really hear it anymore. And if it breaks through, I just hum a little tune in my head and get through it. Off we go, hm? Chippery do! La la la sad babies!

What doesn’t pass in a few minutes though, what feels like it will never end, these are the things I like least. Or maybe the one thing I like least is that there ARE such things, things that feel like they will never end and not in a good way, like life. The interminable, redundant endlessness of it all.

By far not a comprehensive list.

– I cannot believe how tired I am. Almost to the point where I am considering getting my blood tested because no human being should be allowed to take care of other human beings when she is this tired. Fresco sleeps at night; 6-7 hours straight and then another 3-4 sometimes. It could be so much worse. But I ache from my toenails to my hair follicles, my eyes sag and I feel as though I will never stand up straight again because it is Too Much Work.

– The unpredictability of small children. Today one sleeps the other doesn’t, tonight one doesn’t sleep 6 hours straight but only 2; tomorrow one doesn’t nap, only pounds on his door for an hour; in two days the sight of the Muppet show will bring the older one to tears; in two hours the younger one will only want to stare at lights and woe betide anyone who tries to get between them. Dudes. I just want to go to the fucking park. It’s for your own good. Let’s GO.

– The worst aspects of my personality rising to the surface like pond scum. I thought I knew myself pretty well but it turns out no. I have anger, greed, selfishness and sheer maliciousness sitting right there like obedient dogs, waiting for the barest of whistles to summon them. Anger: A couple of weeks ago when Trombone was in his fake-crying phase (like, for an HOUR when he was supposed to be napping) I realized where the phrase “Oh I’ll give you something to cry about,” came from. Just thinking it made me feel like Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire. Greed: I got to go out for beer the other night, while both my children were looked after and I had money for the spending. I was happy. Then, I wanted more. MORE. I liked the life I had where I drank beer with people and stayed up late. I want it BACK. Selfishness: “Mommy’s just going upstairs to, um, switch the laundry.” ..and while you’re strapped to your booster chair deciding whether you like peanut butter today or not I am going to surf the ‘net. Talk amongst yourself. Sheer maliciousness: Messing with Trombone’s newly acquired desire for Order and The Right Answer, I change the lyrics to songs, derail his toy train, pretend I don’t know where his current favourite toy is. I can justify all of this by saying it will build his character and creative problem solving skills but at the root there is sometimes a very mean girl getting her own back.

I am horrible! Whose idea was it to write all this down? (Am, for the record, writing this down because the good stuff, the cute conversations and giggles and milestones are easy to remember and photograph and document through anecdote and email. The bad stuff will vanish into “labour pain? what labour pain?” if I don’t record it.)

The thing I like least, I guess, is being so raw, so aware, so close to the surface. Coming from a life-long habit of repressing emotion, holding back truth, being Nice and Easygoing, it is hard to feel sometimes like I might break, like I might actually sit down and crumble into dust, like I might lose control, derail my own toy train.

But it’s also one of the things I like best. To be touched and to touch, even if sometimes it is too much. To remember to say I love you multiple times a day, if only because someone is apologizing. To see what a gift it is to be discovering my anger, finally, to let it out safely and sanely. I have started to really think before speaking, before acting, before making a rule, before breaking a rule. No longer on auto-pilot but actually flying this plane.

By necessity, I am emotionally available, even if the emotions are sometimes Very Big and I wish they would go away. This is a great thing, even while it kicks my ass.

No, it’s not the screaming. Today, in fact, my least favourite thing about parenthood is this post. It feels disorganized and wordy. To edit is impossible and will undoubtedly result in no post at all. So, because nothing is perfect, The End.

This entry was posted in Fresco, more about me!, the parenthood, trombone, two! children!. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Authenticity