Surviving parenthood…

cat-278845_1280It’s often said, and it’s true. You need nerves of steel to be a parent. All those little day-to-day situations you have with kids – Put your shoes on, please… no, we can’t take the cat… because it’s raining and you’ll catch cold barefoot… please leave the cat alone… okay, your wellies, then… the cat does NOT want to come shopping… I don’t know where your other welly is… will you PLEASE… no, you can’t just hop…

We’ve all been there. It’s not just patience you need, it’s something akin to endurance. My best hair-raising moment with son 1 was the time we went to Spiez here in Switzerland for a weekend with my aunt and uncle, on holiday from England. Son 1 was about two at the time. You can picture the scene: a quaint little alpine town, the lake in front with a backdrop of glorious mountains, chalet-shaped hotels with geraniums dripping from window-boxes, and crowds of multi-culti tourists wandering along in the sunshine. Son 1 and I stepped out onto our first-floor hotel room balcony; he shoved his head through the bars to get a better view… you can guess what happened.

chalet-694851_1280Ten seconds later I was dealing with a stuck and screaming toddler and a growing crowd below offering helpful suggestions in at least six different languages. The advice ranged from ‘Butter his ears’ to ‘Call the fire-brigade’. My husband had taken the car to the hotel car park some 200m away, and returned through the crowd under our balcony. Once inside, however, he cannily solved the problem by turning son 1 upside down and sliding him out. The crowd cheered and clapped and went on their way…

It was almost two decades later when son 2 raised my (rapidly greying) hair to a similar extent. The scene now: at home, twelve noon on a Thursday in the summer hols. I was writing in my office room when son 2 appeared in the doorway. (This was unusual; he didn’t normally get up so early in the holidays.) Our conversation went something like this:

bottle-328857_1280Son 2: Um… you know those metal tops you get on beer bottles?
Me (engrossed in my text): Uh-huh…
Son 2: Does it matter if you swallow one?
Me (he had my full attention now): Tell me you haven’t swallowed a metal beer bottle top?
Son 2: Um… I have.
Me: WHEN did you swallow a metal beer bottle top?
Son 2 (leaning forward to peer at the clock on my computer screen): About nine hours ago…

Fast-forward to the end of the story – Son 2 was a day late joining his friends in the Ticino. And in case anyone ever needs the info, it may or may not matter if you swallow a metal beer bottle top. Son 2 was lucky. (And many thanks to the Swiss Medgate telephone advice service, a local GP, and the endoscopy department at Münsterlingen hospital further down the lake.)

Of course, it’s all so worth it. Bringing up your kids must be the one of the most life-enriching things you can do. Looking back on the last twenty-plus years with my two, there isn’t really anything I’d have preferred to miss out on. You learn so much, you make so many memories, and there’s such a lot to look back on and laugh about together.

But you do need nerves of steel…

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4 Responses to Surviving parenthood…

  1. TanGental says:

    so very true; they absorb years of our life, don’t they.

    Like

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