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Posts Tagged ‘crap advice’

Imagine being one of the Chilean miners still waiting to be rescued from the mine and getting a message from one of the guys who’d been already rescued saying  “Enjoy yourself down there while you can! Above ground is sooooo overrated and there’s nothing on TV tonight,  anyway.”

Well, that’s how a little how it felt when I was wrangling a wailing newborn and a shouty toddler at the supermarket and some random stranger would pat me on the arm and say “Enjoy the baby years, love. They go past in a flash!”

(It should be noted that generally, the kind of people who offered such advice, would have just spent their life savings on a Winnebago so they could enjoy their grandchildren at a healthy 400km+ distance. Whatevs.)

Still, here I am, actually standing on the other side of that long dark tunnel called “The Baby Years”. The moment Tiddles McGee turned three, it was like someone handed me a large martini and said “Enjoy yourself.” Well, it was more like “Enjoy yourself a little more than you have been enjoying yourself”. There’s still the early mornings and the washing and the cooking and the laundry and the dishes and the picking up of toys and the perpetually unsolved mystery of the odd socks – but everybody can wipe their own bums now and (mostly) sleep through the night, even if they often do so a mere 1cm from my face, holding onto my ears. (That’s my Tiddles McGee for you).

And now it feels like I was never in that ‘dark place’. That place where days lasted years and I thought I might never wear an item of clothing that wasn’t either stained with hindmilk or had an elastic waistband that came up to my armpits. That place where the idea of ever being able to walk across a room without a small child clinging to my leg seemed impossible and where three hours of unbroken sleep was the greatest gift I could ever be given and would make me weep openly with gratitude.

But it was also a place where gummy smiles were my bestest reward and my days were punctuated by unbridled laughter and the kind of joy that banging an empty plastic bottle on a table can give a little person. A place where small arms automatically reached out to me the minute I walked into view because, to my children, I shone brighter than the sun and they were only truly happy when they were safe in my arms.

So yes, random strangers at the supermarket, you were right. Those baby years really did pass by in a flash. And I do wish I had stopped and enjoyed them a little more — and not least because I can see a flashing sign coming up in the distance saying “WARNING: TEENAGE YEARS AHEAD”…

Oh, shit.

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Today, I have the great pleasure of giving away a copy (or two) of ‘Cocktails At Naptime‘, by Gillian Martin and Emma Kaufmann. Described as “a woefully inept guide to the early years of motherhood”, it also boasts itself as being the only parenting guide that doesn’t offer any actual advice.

To have a chance at winning a copy, please leave a comment below describing the most useless or annoying advice to a new parent that you’ve ever heard. The winner will be drawn randomly on Friday 22nd October at 2pm AEST (or thereabouts).

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A very good friend of mine – who I shall call Mr B – once gave me some great parenting advice. “Instead of lollies, ” he said, “Give your children bags of mushrooms”. 

Mushrooms! Of course!

I need not add that Mr B gave this advice before he actually became a parent himself. In his defence, he did base it on Actual Culinary Events involving Real Children. What he didn’t know at the time is that these kids were no ordinary children: they were freak mushroom-eating children. 

I’ve yet to produce a mushroom-eating child. My battle to get Mr Justice even in the same room as a mushroom continues to this day. He’s certainly progressed from the small baby who subsisted entirely on yoghurt, lamb cutlets and ‘peachy num-nums’. These days, along with my other two children, he eats broccoli. Broccoli! For a while there I was going to have to write a book entitled “My Broccoli-eating children”, with a cashing-in-on-success sequel called “My Cauliflower-eating Son”. But I started this blog instead. 

Getting your children to eat vegetables of any variety seems to cause undue stress. I have a friend who fled a war zone as a child and who now finds getting her son to eat anything green comparably traumatic. Well luckily Jessica Seinfeld feels our pain in the book “Deceptively Delicious”. For those of you who aren’t in the know, Mrs Seinfeld (according to the Oprah website) “shows moms sneaky ways to get children to eat their veggies!” (the exclamation mark is entirely Oprah’s – she’s an enthusiastic lady). From what I can tell, this mostly involves a lot of steaming, pureeing and freezing of vegetables and then hiding them in brownies and cakes. I suspect, however, that after all that steaming, pureeing, freezing and baking, the vegetables would have roughly the same nutritional value as a paper bag. So who’s fooling who, eh, Jessica?

For what it’s worth, my own child-friendly recipe for mushrooms is as follows:

STEP ONE:  Buy a bag of lovely fresh mushrooms

STEP TWO: Throw two-thirds in the bin immediately.

STEP THREE: Take the rest, partially chew them and throw them at the kitchen floors, walls and cupboards, taking care to smear some on the permission slip you’ve yet to return to the school. 

STEP FOUR: For that little something extra special: make sure to put one partially-chewed mushroom in the zippered compartment of your favourite handbag. You’ll thank yourself later.

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