I’m quickly learning that one of the most important attributes to keep sane as a parent is a sense of humour …
Image: Flickr / leodelrosa
Parenthood seems to be full of entertaining daily challenges. This is based on less than three weeks experience. I can only imagine what the future will hold.
If the challenges everyone faces are the same, the only variable is your attitude to them. I’m trying to adopt the ‘laughter is the best medicine’ approach and find the comedy value in all these incidents.
Yesterday, from one angle, was a disaster. My plan was to take dog and baby for a walk round the local park before lunch. It fitted perfectly with Little V’s feeding schedule. I’d forgotten that the feeding schedule is mainly in my head, and she will happily ignore it if it doesn’t suit her mood. So we did the three-hourly routine: feed-change-feed-activity-sleep. Only the sleep part, as I placed her gently in her buggy, was almost immediately followed by squawk-y crying.
This wasn’t how I planned it! What was she thinking messing up my carefully laid plans?! After trying a few settling activities and eventually deciding she needed to feed again, the greedy little monster, I ended up being ready to go to the park two hours after my original plan. By now the dog was very irritable and I’d replaced lunch with chocolate digestives.
Finally we left the house. Little V still grizzling – clearly was going to be an all day grumble-fest. We arrived in the park, after I’d battled one-handed buggy steering and trying to rein in a dog that want to pull my arm off to get there. At which point full-lung screaming began. Trying to ignore the people staring at me (it’s quite possible they weren’t staring but in my imagination everyone in the park had stopped what they were doing to glare at the hopeless Mummy with the wailing baby), I spent some length of time gently soothing my little Princess. Eventually, finally, she started to drift off to sleep and I took the opportunity to start pushing her buggy – usually guaranteed to settle her. Almost immediately my dog decided she needed to stop right in the middle of the grass in front of everyone for a big poo. Which meant me stopping the buggy to do my responsible owner pick-up. I tried my best to do this at lightning speed, but that minute of parked buggy stillness was just enough to start the full-lungs baby wailing again. Brilliant.
We did manage some 20 minutes of pleasant walking in the end. Feeling victorious, I thought I’d end with a quick supermarket stop as our house is getting unsettling low on basic provisions. Other than chocolate biscuits. Leaving the dog outside the supermarket I did the aisle dash, baby still sleeping. Got to the till, baby still sleeping. I was going to make it round without any crying! But no – the one person in front of me at the queue was a lovely old lady who wanted to pay for her shopping very slowly, using only 5 cent coins. It was predictable and inevitable. Halfway through her very slow rummage through her purse, my baby started crying again. With it now my turn at the checkout there was only one option: pretend the whole thing wasn’t happening, and pack and pay for my shopping as normal. Ignore the sympathetically pitying face of the checkout girl. Rush back out. Get the dog off her post and ignore the fact she was now irritably chewing at her lead. Pretend as I headed back home that pushing a crying baby and a frenzied jumping dog was just totally regular. Zen face on.
So, to the sense of humour. I could probably have got upset about all this. Or, I can see it as a funny story and rite of passage to share with friends and on the blog. Taking the second option, I’m not afraid to repeat the whole experience again and again. Maybe next time baby and dog can come up with some new inventive twist and I’ll have something else to write about.
In the words of Mark Twain: “The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.”
How do you deal with these testing incidents? And how do you tell a baby that it’s messing up your schedule?!