A situation with Ben the other night got me thinking. He was in his cot, supposedly getting ready to sleep and I was sitting on the bed, doing a bit of work.

Ben stood up, gave me a little smile and then lobbed his dummy / bottle / teddy across the room. I got up, retrieved the dummy / bottle / teddy, placed it in back in his cot and assumed my position on the bed.

Five minutes later his blankie was expelled from the cot along with his Nemo. Once again I got up, stooped down, collected Nemo and blankie and placed them back with Ben.

Several minutes later same thing. This happened five, six, maybe seven times. And then suddenly I clicked. Ben’s squeaks every time I put the things back in his bed weren’t pure joy. He wasn’t laughing with me. He was squeaking at me. He had suckered me THAT many times. I fell hook, line and sinker. And parents are supposed to be smart?

A few days later I was with some friends and we were discussing the stages our kids are, or should be. I was complaining that Emma still wears nappies at night and other moms were telling me that their little bundles were toilet trained at two.

One or two moms were saying their kids are at speech therapy because they’re battling with certain vowels and consonants. I beamed because Emma speaks really well for her age. Another mom raved about her daughter playing the piano, which had me mention Ben’s hot skills on his xylophone.

Getting up for a cigarette I walked past Ben and some pals sitting in the sand pit, laughing, squealing, giggling. Ben pointed at me and I smiled and waved. As I walked away I could hear them laughing some more. Only louder.

And then it hit me. They weren’t laughing with me. They were laughing at me. Ben had probably just told them the story of the ‘throw and fetch’ game he had me playing, which had their fat little bellies all heaving with laughs. Him pointing at me wasn’t affection.

They had probably asked who the dufus mom was who was failing at her KPA’s (Key Parenting Areas).


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