Today marks six years since I started my career as a mother. The Big Sister and I have come a long way since I carried her gingerly out of the hospital and, blinking, we stepped into the bright light of the big world.
Last month, saw us pack up the nursery and return it to an office. In the draws on the lowboy where I’ve kept our babies’ clothes, I found so many reminders of the past six years. There were favourite shirts, wonder suits embroidered with love, disposable bibs - bought with good intentions but always forgotten.
Three discoveries stuck out the most. Each somehow representative of how I’ve changed since the freezing, rainy night when the Obstetrician finally decided the Big Sister would need some help to join us.
Five ridiculously tiny mismatched socks. I found newborn socks to be an exercise in futility. Both our girls seemed to consider removing them a challenge. Over time they became very talented at the kick and drop. I spent too much of my life back-tracking through shopping centres in an attempt to locate abandoned, ridiculously tiny socks. Eventually I learned to let it go. There would be more socks and if there weren’t the girls would wear odd socks like their parents.
Three dummies. Before we were parents, Bearhands and I pontificated about what kind of parents we would be. We would eat dinner as a family at the table every night. We would by no means tolerate tantrums in the supermarket. Our kids would certainly never have dummies. Ha. What a joke. What noobs we were. We changed our minds about dummies, dinner and just about everything else pretty quickly. The Little Sister is never far away from doing her nana. I’ve come to terms with supermarket tantrums, beach tantrums, kitchen tantrums, park tantrums, car tantrums. I’m yet to make my peace with the public toilet tantrum though, under no circumstances will I let her throw herself on that floor.
One amber teething necklace. I’m a woman of science. I grew up thinking if it couldn’t be proven, it must be poppycock. Alternative medicines were for hippies, I wanted facts and data sets that could be replicated. As a mother, I’ve found myself willing to do just about anything for my kids. If there was even a slim chance that beads made from fossilised tree sap found at the bottom of the Baltic sea would offer my daughters relief, then they had them, faster that you can say eBay.
Bearhands laughed and asked if we’d moved to Nimbin the day he came home to find the Little Sister wearing her necklace.
Through my search for the best options for the girls, I’ve found myself more open-minded. During their latest bout of ill health when modern medicine was out of options, our GP treated their little bodies with laser acupuncture.
I’m couldn’t part with those three treasures. They’re in the top draw of my bed side table, nestled somewhere between my rosary beads and the condoms they give you in hospital in an attempt to avoid a rapid reenactment.
One necklace, three dummies, five socks = six glorious years. Reflecting on that equation, I realised that parenting is simply maths.
The odds of having two girls was 25%.
The odds of having two girls who weighed 4.2kg? Less than 0.1%.
These past six years, I've been mothering by numbers.
With all this talk of numbers, I have one more probability for you. What do you think the chances of making it all the way to your sixth year of your parenting career without encountering a stool submarine in the bath? Zero point poo poo percent! We fell just weeks short of the mark there. Guess I should count myself lucky that it took so long!