My husband and I were lunching at IKEA the other day with little Miss2 and Mr3. At the table next to us sat a mum and her little Miss3.
Mum offered little Miss some of her salmon which little Miss declined, Mum then helped herself to one of little Miss' chips...... So now little Miss is screaming and writhing on the floor and mum's shoulders have slumped, I feel her remorse, IKEA chips are just not worth this torment.
We look at her and smile, knowing the feeling well enough to know that sometimes you just need a bit of empathy to get you though.
"They're all the same." I say, "Some days we can't do anything right by them."
She looks at my two, "I'm glad I decided to stop at one. I hear it gets better though."
Hmmm, I didn't have the heart to tell her, nor did I have the time to explain as we were moving on and kids don't like it when mummies talk, "Yes, it does get better," I lied.
It's not that we are intending some cruel joke, it's the opposite really. We all need to hear that there is a light at the end of that screaming tunnel of Baby wearing, toddlerhood and preschooler hell. (As much as we love our little darlings, they are down right frustrating to say the least)
It starts as early as pregnancy when the all day morning sickness has us holding our breath past every butcher, bakery, cafe, nail salon and fast food joint in our path..... "It'll get better."
Oh yes, in a way that is right, if you are lucky enough not to suffer 9 months of morning sickness you will be able to walk down the street without choking on your own bile eventually.
Unfortunately, you now need to use every restroom you pass on this walk but hey, "It'll get better."
By the time you're 8 months pregnant, you're keen for the magic date. Back ache, lack of sleep and that ongoing pressure EVERYWHERE have you almost begging for the excruciating pain of labour. "It's not that bad" other mummy's will reassure you. "You'll be fine, it'll be over before you know it."
Just a few weeks later when you're a screaming writhing mess and an hour seems to go on for days, that advice will seem like the biggest whopper you've ever been told!
So now you're a mother, Congratulations!
Fathers who have been pushed to the side during the pregnancy can now step back further into the background to make room for baby, if you don't mind? Thanks.
6 weeks in and sleep deprivation will have you leaving your keys in the fridge, burning.... well, everything you cook, and forgetting to check pockets for tissues before washing.
But don't worry hunny because once again, "It will get better."
Your child starts to crawl. What a proud moment! Now your little angel won't need to rely on you as much for entertainment (Um, yeah sure). You now need to move everything at least 4 feet from the ground and get those power points seen to as soon as possible.
Bet you didn't know they could move so fast.
They'll move through the milestones, standing, walking, climbing, jumping, falling. They'll fling food and cry because it doesn't come back. They'll kindly remove a dirty nappy on your favourite rug. If they are already sleeping through the night, they'll suddenly stop ...... But it does get better.....
It get's better - The empty promise.
It doesn't get easier, the challenges change. Instead of screaming and kicking on the floor, they scream and slam the the bedroom door.
Welcome to the world of teenagers!
Having a 13 year old and a 3 year old under the same roof, I can tell you that there is a very good reason the word 'Threenager' has come into existence. The title applies to both of them!
Instead of getting better, we've just completed a full circle.
"You'll miss these days."
With all the promises that it will get better, why would you say I'll miss this?
Am I really going to be sitting in a quiet, tidy room, with a good book on my lap, wishing there was a screaming child pulling at my leg?
Perhaps downsizing my washing machine and only washing two loads a week will have me pining for Mount Washmore?
The dried food "artworks" on the wall? Definitely worthy of being missed, I am sure.
Of course I will miss it, like I miss my childhood or my school days or those first years of adult independence..... Selectively!