When I lovingly rubbed my pregnant stomach, thoughts meandering on the beautiful relationship I was going to have with my child-to-be, birds tweeted and blossoms bloomed in my rose tinted vision of girlish giggles and hand holding happiness. I wanted an honest relationship, one where I talked to her openly, and she learned from my wisdom and off we trotted into the sunset with bunnies hopping beside us.
And then I became a mother. A real one. Not the fantasy type we see in magazines, and parenting books.
We do have an honest relationship, my two year old and I – as long as the truth suits me of course.
I never thought the best bit of mothering advice I received would come from my brother, but one day he cunningly told my neice that the zoo was closed for repairs when she was hounding us to go. I raised my eyebrow in admonishment (only being a mum to a baby at this stage, I was foolishly allowing myself that sanctimonious ‘that’s not how you’re supposed to do it’ air people-who-are-yet-to-do-it’ have).
“Deceive to achieve, Sis. Deceive to achieve. It’s the only way,” he claimed as my neice sauntered off to play with her doll, satisfied she was not missing out on the elephants.
I was shocked of course. This was not how I was going to do it. Oh no no.
Oh no indeed. It’s astonishing how quickly one’s sanctimonious know-how evaporates the second children reach the Age of Un-reason.
Now I actually pride myself on the creativity of my deceptions. It amuses me in ways my husband finds rather disturbing. My latest Uber-scam (if I may be so modest) is the Brocolli Bombshell. After months of feeding my beloved organic, home-cooked, multi-coloured, multi-nutritional, multi-tasty morsels, the wretched Age of Stubborness took hold and all things green became the deal-breaker on culinary negotiations. Here was the deal – she would not break.
As I pleaded with her one day that she could not have Pesto Pasta for every meal, the little devil of deception that lives in the dark recess of my brain whispered back to me…. “Oh yes she can…..”
My eyes fell upon the frozen bags of pureed vegetable cubes I’d just made for my baby. Aha!
Now Daisy can have Pesto Pasta as often as she likes – she just has it with two cubes of pureed broccoli, or green beans, or courgette – absorbed and hidden by the strong flavoured, green coloured pesto. Riding high on my success, I now chuck a cube of cauliflower in with her pasta cheese sauce.
I can’t win them all. And nor should I. She has plenty of scope to get her way. But those moments when I secretly win – the ones when she is happy with my answer, and I rub my hands with witch-like glee – Score One for mummy! Yes I know, I really should get out more…
(c) AKG 2008