kids

The unexpected things that your kids surprise you with.

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In amongst the tantrums, the tears, the furrowed brows and the folded arms, kids are glorious little bundles of hilarity, humour and love.

My two under four surprise me every day. Sometimes it’s a surprise I’d rather not receive, like a turd in the undies on the one day I forgot to pack a spare set before the leaving the house. Or those moments of unwelcome honesty like, “Mummy, your tummy’s nice and squishy.”

Other unwelcome surprises include my three-year-old popping his penis out the side of his undies and saying, “Look, it’s Mr Frankie Furter,” and my 18-month-old beaming as he points to his magnificent artwork, drawn with permanent marker on a wall of the newly-renovated house. But in between the exposed genitals and the frequent destruction, there are surprises that are downright delightful and just a little bit hilarious.

what to expect as a parent
Jacqui's two sons digging into lunch. Image: supplied.

Like the other day it was bucketing down on our drive to kinder and Mr Three started singing. After his usual, “Rain, rain go away,” he launched into, “It’s raining, it’s pouring, Grandpa Sandy needs a Panadol.” While the change of lyrics initially perplexed me I soon realised that Grandpa Sandy (his paternal Grandpa) is the old man who went to bed and bumped his head. Because, obviously.

Or when my kids like to surprise me with baffling crimes against fashion. Who else but a preschooler would elect to wear a tutu with ugg boots and swimming goggles? On more that one occasion Mr Three has insisted on dressing himself and we’ve headed out with him in the bottom of his Gruffalo costume, an inside-out pyjama top, a Batman mask, mismatched socks and a swim nappy, or a similar concoction of oddness. Luckily, other mums just give me a knowing smile when they see my apparel abomination skipping towards them in aisle six sucking on a tantrum-diverting squeezie yoghurt.

They also surprise me with their persistent flair for drama. After Christmas Mr Three declared that Santa was gone and he was, “Never ever coming back again,” before protruding his bottom lip and throwing himself face first on the couch to accentuate his distress. A similar demonstration of his angst was acted out in relation to the Easter Bunny, the end of Granny’s visit and the lack of cheese in his scrambled eggs.

Then there are the surprisingly tender moments they like to spring on me. Like when I was sitting on the couch make-up free and braless in my trackies and a baggy t-shirt with my hair piled on top of my head in a knotted mess and Mr Three said, “Mum, you is my princess.”  While this week I’ve been replaced by Audrey from kinder as his princess, it’s a moment that I remember every time I look in the mirror and find something to criticise.

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One of the few days a crime against fashion was not committed. Image: supplied.

I’m also always a little taken aback when I end up on the receiving end of parenting advice. No, I’m not talking about the “well-meaning” childless stranger at the checkout. I’m talking about the surprising advice dished out by my preschooler.

After a particularly exasperating morning with Mr 18 Months that involved several pieces of food flying at my face accompanied by two hours of ear-piercing screams over a broken banana, I jokingly threatened to put him on the thinking/naughty step. That’s when big bro put down his smoothie and firmly stated, “No mama, you can’t put him on the step, he’s too little. Maybe just try giving him another cuddle.”

Minutes later he was getting his baby brother in a headlock over a car named Mine and the fleeting glimpse of sibling love and concern had dissipated. But it still made a great story for mother’s group.

At the end of the day we all just want to do a good job and bring up nice people. So it’s great when your kids surprise you with moments that demonstrate they aren’t complete ratbags. After Mr Three’s first day of kinder, he noticed his best mate was crying because his mum was a few minutes late for pick-up. He gave him a big cuddle, told him it was ok and refused to leave until his friend’s mum arrived. In a world that’s all about rushing around ticking off to do lists, it was great to see an innocent little soul stop and care for a mate. It made me realise I was well overdue in ringing my best friend.

Every day my little ones surprise and delight me with their intricate personalities, boundless love and unique perspectives on the world. And every time they do I can’t help thinking that this parenthood gig is pretty awesome – poo, penises and all.

How have your kids surprised and delighted you?