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Diary of a young mother

Diary of a young mother

Issue 4 Mar / Apr 2004

In case you thought that Diary of a Young Mother was all about doom and gloom and the perils of modern motherhood, here’s a list of things that you never knew about the joys of being around small children:


You get to learn a new language. Babies and small children , while they may not yet be able to talk properly, are nevertheless able to communicate using an astonishing array of improvised words, some made up and some nearly approaching the real thing. For instance when my two year old nephew comes running into the kitchen shouting “Wot pliss! Wot pliss!”, I know that he’s feeling a bit thirsty and would like some water please. When my two year old daughter informs me that “my baby’s jak-jak knock-knock!”, I know that she’s found her dolly’s cardigan that she’d been looking for in the living room.

Knowing what children are trying to communicate to you is a very useful tool to have, not only to quell the child’s frustration, but also to score one over your husband when he’s desperately trying to understand why the child is having a tantrum. Just what his face when you miraculously stop the tantrum by taking one look at the child and putting the Pingu video on. It seems that that’s what the child had been trying to tell her dad for the past half hour.

Small children never actually smell unpleasant. This is true despite the fact that they always have to wear nappies. Unlike adults, children still smell OK if they haven’t brushed their teeth or had a bath recently. Their breath still smells sweet whatever they’ve eaten and their little bodies, despite their physical exertions never really smell of BO. I can’t say that for many adults I’ve met.

Children give you a whole new perspective on the world. You might have thought that you were very familiar with the contents and layout of your living room but have you ever viewed it from underneath the dining room table? I have been underneath my dining room table a number of times to retrieve the two year old who obstinately refused to come out and have her dinner. The last time I was there I sat down for a while to catch my breath and was pleasantly surprised by the view. I found my house keys under there and a letter from the library reminding me that the books were overdue. I also found the missing piece of the four year old’s Maisy jigsaw which she was really pleased about.

Small children will love you for who you are.

They don’t care if your clothes don’t match or if your hair’s not been washed for a while – as long as you’re prepared to play with them and entertain them they’ll enjoy being with you. Children compel you to act honourably. You know that you are an example to them and that the way you behave will quite possibly influence their behavior and thinking, therefore you are obliged to act in a just and well-mannered fashion. This is not actually a burden – as the children learn from your good behavior you feel quite gratified that they are unwittingly acting as the keeper of your morals and thereby improving your own good behaviour.

Children give you a chance to act like a child yourself. Admittedly, this doesn’t happen very often, but when the opportunity does arise, it’s nice to roll around on the floor pretending to have a tantrum, or go around shrieking that you’re going to die because you’ve cut your finger. Just don’t do this when the in-laws are around.

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