It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Well, that’s refreshing

New Baby arrives in her mummy’s arms. She looks a little out of sorts. So does baby. Both their normally cheerful faces are out of kilter. Baby looks solemn-bordering-on-grumpy, and mother has tension lines around blue-shadowed eyes. Not a good morning, I’m guessing.

“Not a good morning,” Mum informs me.

She thrusts baby at me. This is not standard. Usually mum holds baby for a minute or two while we chat, and hands baby over only as she is leaving. (This as per my instructions. Far less misery all round that way.) I’m thinking mum has reached her tipping point, poor thing.

New Baby, beginning from a baseline of grumpy, and now startled to be in my arms so abruptly, bursts into howls of outrage.

“She’s had a rough, rough morning,” Mummy informs me over the ruckus. “I’ve never seen her so bad, ever! She woke up at five, and it’s been cling, cling, cling ever since. She wouldn’t let us put her down for a second.”

We ascertain there’s no apparent health issue. No fever, no snottiness, bowels normal, no rashes.

It’s probably teeth, mum suggests, and I agree.

In truth, I don’t have any strong feeling re: the teething. But at this age? It’s always “probably teeth”. If you can’t figure out what the heck else to blame it on, teeth are a pretty fair bet, since they spend much of the first two and a half years of their lives teething.

So if mum needs a reason, we can blame it on teeth. Why not? Could very well be. (Or not.)

Mum leans in to her red-faced daughter. “Have a good day, hon,” and plants a kiss on the sweaty head. She looks up at me. “To tell the truth, I’m kind of happy to be leaving her right now.” Her glance falls to her still-roaring daughter. She kisses the now-snotty nose. “Cheer up today, missie, or I might just not come back!”

I burst out laughing. “Nothing like a mother’s unconditional love!”

Mum laughs with me, and the lines of tension around her eyes ease. She heads off to her nice, quiet office. I’m pretty sure I detect a visible bounce in her step.

I like the frank parents. Parents who can admit when their child is being a pill, parents who can admit when they’ve had about enough of it, parents who can admit that they don’t always enjoy this whole parenting gig, even when the child’s not being objectionable.

Parents who don’t expect perfection of themselves don’t expect perfection of me. Parents like that can laugh at the child’s foibles, don’t get tied up in knots if another child hits a milestone first, or if their child goes home with a bump, a bruise, or (heaven forbid, but it does happen) a bite. They don’t get all angsty or competitive. Parents like that are just… easier.

I like New Baby’s mummy!

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May 16, 2011 - Posted by | daycare, parents

11 Comments »

  1. I’m glad you have such a great new client!

    Me, too. New Baby, I should clarify, has had a very easy transition, and is normally a calm and contented little butterball who smiles readily. Something’s up today, that’s for sure. We’ll hope it’s teeth and not the next round of the plague.

    Comment by IfByYes | May 16, 2011 | Reply

  2. Wonderful.

    Comment by Bridgett | May 16, 2011 | Reply

  3. You would ADORE me.

    Comment by Bethany | May 16, 2011 | Reply

  4. And I suspect that she really likes and appreciates you!

    Comment by Z | May 16, 2011 | Reply

  5. I like her too. And I bet when new baby is in school and misbehaves her mom will not insist that her little darling was the victim of some other kid’s evil deeds.

    Comment by jwg | May 16, 2011 | Reply

  6. I’m also glad that you have a great new client!

    I’ve been reading a long time but haven’t commented before. 🙂 Love your perspective. Mary, do you have any recommendations on how to best interact with the angsty parents? A good friend had a baby two months before we had our now 14 month old. Our babies are quite different and I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I’ll listen to and support her, but just not tell her anything about our family unless she asks. It’s too hard, otherwise. And I wish it weren’t so…

    Good luck warding off the next round of the plague. I and our son have been sick for about 3 weeks, just getting over it, and it seems that the dad has now possibly succumbed to it…

    Comment by L | May 17, 2011 | Reply

  7. Perhaps all moms should drop out of the Mom of the Year contest right off the bat. It takes the stress off!

    Comment by My Kids Mom | May 17, 2011 | Reply

  8. And I really think that cheerfully saying tongue-in-cheek things like “I might not come back” actually HELPS. It just seems to lighten the situation and break the tension a little. I learned this from a dear friend of mine who has 6 kids, and she always cracks me up with the “horrible” things she says so blandly to her babies.

    Comment by rosie_kate | May 17, 2011 | Reply

  9. I’m a looong time lurker on here but never comment, well until now. Just wanted to say I love love love your blog and look forward to reading it. I’m a first time parent and I like to think that reading your blog has helped me not be one of Those mommies that freak out about everything.

    Comment by Melissa V | May 19, 2011 | Reply

  10. You have already seen this, haven’t you?

    http://www.boingboing.net/2011/04/26/go-the-fuck-to-sleep.html

    Comment by Homestead | May 19, 2011 | Reply

  11. I think any parent who is willing to be honest has those times, and she clearly knows it sometimes relieves the tension to makes those little cracks!

    Comment by kittenpie | May 29, 2011 | Reply


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