I think the hard part of parenting is the lack of acknowledgement from our kids for the big, audacious acts of love we shower on them.
In the world of kids, more importantly little girls, there is nothing bigger in the world right now than Frozen. My daughter Millie is no exception; she’s 150 per cent obsessed.
There is nothing bigger in my world right now than my daughter Millie — I’m 150 per cent obsessed. And so I thought, in my infinite wisdom, I would combine the two.
Last week I had a rare few hours alone in the house while everyone else who resides in our commune was out. I say commune because currently I live with my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, husband, au pair, two dogs and, of course, Millie. And because of the large number of humans living here, it’s not uncommon for other friends and family to be in the house as well.
Sometimes it feels like Westfield on a Saturday; it’s so busy and you can never take for granted that you are truly alone. Something I learnt when I took my top off to change quickly in the hall only to have my husband’s cousin walk out a door at the same time and yell “OH MY GOD” at the sight of my naked torso.
(The cousin is in his early 20s and I still don’t think his eyesight has recovered. If I had been in my 20s, pre-breast feeding, I’m pretty sure his response would have been “Oh hey, sorry, hahaha”, instead of the shrieking “OH MY GOD MY EYES ARE BURNING” response I got.)
Anyway, as I was saying, last week I was truly alone with no cousins lurking in the halls, and looking back now I don’t know what came over me. I should have stripped off and sunk into the bath with a glass of Red, but instead I downloaded the piano sheet music for Frozen’s Let It Go and decided to learn it for Millie.
I haven’t played for years. This was going to be an audacious act of love. It took me hours to revive my inner pianist, but being the mother to an obsessed two-year-old, I thought it’d all be worth it. I couldn’t wait to see her astonished face — firstly from seeing me play the piano, which I haven’t done while she has been alive, and secondly from playing the song that is the soundtrack of her little life. Then I dreamt of the mother / daughter bonding time we would have; me playing the song for her and her dancing and singing to it happily.
It was going to be a beautiful memory. She would LOVE me. I was going to totally deserve my coffee cup title of World’s Best Mum.
So I picked her up from day care and told her “Mummy has a big surprise for you at home”. Oh boy, she couldn’t wait. All the way home she was guessing what the surprise could be.
Chocolate? New Playdoh? Daddy is home from work early?
“Better than that”, I said. Well, OK, maybe not that, but pretty close. We walked in the door to the piano and I sat Millie down for the big surprise.
I play, I play my heart out, and then I start to sing. Of course I think I’m sounding great when all of a sudden the kid jumps down from the seat, and yells “No mummy, NO DON’T !” Followed by…
“I wanted a sticker!”
Millie was totally, 150 per cent underwhelmed by my effort. I was 150 per cent devastated.
It was like I’d been caught with my top off again. The response was not good for my ego.
But it did teach me another Mummy life lesson. We slave away baking the latest and greatest character cake when all our kids want to do is eat a cake, any old cake. We buy beautiful, expensive clothes when they just want to race their bare butt around the yard, and we spend hours putting together the fancy new trampoline and they are just as happy jumping on the bed. Our big, audacious acts of love are often audaciously unnecessary and audaciously underwhelming for our kids.
So I handed her some of those free Jamie Oliver stickers I’ve collected from Woolworths which made her as happy as a 60-year-old Lotto winner. She then insisted on sticking them all over my new expensive Ralph Lauren handbag. Now I’m lugging around a pink leather bag covered in fruit and vegetables which she thinks looks spectacular, and when you think of it, that’s an audacious act of love from her.
She shared her special surprise with me and guess what — I’m totally and completely underwhelmed by it.