As much as I am loathe to bring up Disney in my blog (I get enough of it at home, thank you), I was musing the other day how “It’s a small world” is another of those songs that has taken on a new meaning since I became a full-time Stay At Home Mum. (For other shapeshifter songs, see “Music to a Mother’s Ears“).
You see, my head is filled with the small details of our lives – shopping lists, dates of birthdays and immunisations, shoe sizes, medical histories, culinary likes and dislikes, the whereabouts of toys and other beloved items (but not the shoes, never the shoes), milestones such as when each child got their first tooth or started to answer back… Of course I can’t always retrieve this information when I need it, but it’s there somewhere. With the shoes.
There are the little things that I get a kick out of: the kids and I got unreasonably excited when my husband parked the Love Bus the other way around in the driveway because it felt like we had a Brand New Car. I still get a little thrill whenever I’ve just freshly iced and decorated a platter of cupcakes. And then there was the time Mr Justice insisted on wearing a single black glove to school. And the time KC tried to encourage our collective children to get moving at the zoo by singing “I like to move it, move it” and we had to wait an extra five minutes while T. McGee danced and sang “Mood it! Mood it!”. Or whenever The Pixie climbs up onto my lap for a “huggle”. Or when someone walks into my severely organisationally-challenged house for the first time and exclaims “I love your home!”. And that hard-earned glass of wine heartily enjoyed when the kids are finally in bed at night.
Then there are those things that I like to put a little positive spin on. Such as the time The Pixie went through the fruit bowl and took a single little Pixie-sized bite out of every single apple. Some might have said “What a waste!” but I preferred to say “My daughter ate some fruit!”. Or whenever the children empty the entire box of little lego all over the loungeroom floor and start merrily jamming it into every crack and cranny. Some people might say “What a mess!” or “I just tidied that room!”, but I choose to say “They’re having fun!” and “At least they’re not hassling me!” (although I do say those other things, too but probably with a few more exclamation marks or some expletives thrown in for good measure).
Of course there’s also that expression “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. Fine for someone who’s world extends further than the four walls of a little suburban house. But for a stay-at-home mum like me? Not so easy. For example: I felt bad all morning the other day because a a cyclist passed me just as I threw something into someone else’s garden and his face said it all and had he been a Shakespearean actor of some repute (which he wasn’t), he might have exclaimed “Get thee behind me, ye slovenly ho!” . But before anyone else judges me, let me just tell you that it was a handful of partly-chewed banana which Tiddles had made a point of spitting onto my palm and I had Nowhere To Put It. And because the cyclist passed us so quickly, I didn’t get a chance to blurt out “It’s organic matter, already partially broken down by my son’s own teeth and saliva”. I then went on to spend the next hour alternating between being embarrassed that there was a member of our community who thought I wasn’t doing my Civic Duty and thinking how that cyclist wasn’t in any position to judge me because he wasn’t wearing a helmet, which is mandatory by law, thank you very much. Small stuff? Sweat-drenched, baby.
And then there are those small things that threaten to push me over the edge: sticky-rice feet, my husband eating crackers in my ear, scratched DVDs that skip or Just Won’t Load just when I really need the kids to spend some Quality Time with the TV, the fact that The Pixie never just comes when you call her but always does it in a way that suggests she isn’t coming because you’ve asked her to but because it was her idea to head that way anyway. And those Wiggles songs where they’ve sped up the voice track so it sounds like they’ve done a collaboration with Alvin and the Chipmunks.
And then there are those toys with a million little separate pieces which come into our home and upon being opened for the first time, immediately explode so that every little piece is distributed widely throughout the house, never to be reunited with its brethren again. I have jars and boxes full of these small objects that I add to every time another piece is found, in the hope that one day we’ll ‘get the band back together’. It’s a small dream, but one that I can cling to for quite some time (before finally emptying those jars and boxes directly into the bin).
But of course the most important Little Things of All are the children themselves – who in turn, frustrate, amuse, thrill, confuse, infuriate and fill me with love, pride and wonder. They throw their little arms around my neck, press their small mouths to my ear and say things like “You’re the Bestest Mummy in the Whole World”, which I know is quite some way from the truth but am so willing to believe for the duration of that precious hug. Ah, whoever would have thought such wonderful things would come in such small packages.
“We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
— Mother Teresa