One of the things that has stood out to me since becoming a parent, is the now vital importance of certain phrases. Previously, they would not have stood out in anyway, but have since come to provide essential lifelines of hope in a world governed less by order and rules and more by complete anarchy. I do often think that John Lydon would be very proud of my children’s ability to reduce most civilised situations to one of disorder and disarray. And not in any sort of drastic revolutionary way, in a subtle, coercive, blindsiding sort of way. (Take that Marx)My pork pie hat is raised! And I am dedicating this blog post to my one year old daughter, who with a flash of her dimples and bat of her eye lashes will not only turn a sitting room inside out, will find, rearrange and forever alter even the most organised of DVD collections.
- Wipe clean – Most major furniture retailers have realised that when you walk into their shop, the best selling point of anything is, its ability to be wiped clean. I won’t start a list of things that need to be wiped off a sofa when there are children present, I don’t have the time.
- It’s a phase – This is my favourite phrase, namely because it might be just a phase, but what they don’t tell you is that one phase leads directly onto another…… but in the meantime, this does work wonders to calm the parent of the most fussy and dedicated toddler. Yes, he will only work backwards, but it’s ok…. It’s just a phase. Applicable to most things e.g. pouring their own milk, buttering their own toast, sleeping with their coat on and pushing their own pram.
- They will sleep eventually – Said mainly by parents of children who do not/will not sleep as they rock back and forth of the top step of their stairs at approximately midnight. They will of course sleep eventually, I don’t know many adults who manage without any sleep day or night. Well, I don’t know any without small children for whom the option has been removed. The trick to success here is not to put a time limit on it. And to stick the kettle on.
- Tomorrow is another day – No matter how long the day, (for a six o clock start maketh for a marathon day) nor how chaotic the house is, it is very important to leave the baking/playground/loneliness/discipline disasters behind each day. This is a long term game, and even if the battle is lost for one day you are still winning the war. No wait, parenting, I meant, parenting.
- Don’t Panic – I am seeking my inspiration from Douglas Adams here, with Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a surreal romp through the galaxy*. Don’t panic is perhaps the most important phrase, and it gives you that little bit of space to see that even though you have a screaming child in a doctors surgery when they are running a bit behind, you will in fact be seen, your child will calm down and all will eventually be well.
*Highly recommended for that top step at midnight.