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Something really curious has happened to me over the last year, and like a lot of incremental changes, I'm not quite sure when it happened, only that it has.

On Sunday we went to an incredible street festival in the centre of town and, as befits the law of averages, one of the three children was on the verge of melting down on a rolling basis throughout the day.

First to go was Alfie who, on discovering that his sister had eaten all the dumplings while he had been off watching a batucada band, flipped both his lid, and the remaining dumplings clean out of my hands.

While soy sauce dripped off my nose and pooled in my bra, I took a deep breath and refocused on what needed to happen.

“Alfie” I said gently, getting down to his level “look around you. This is my favourite top, and those were your sister’s dumplings. I know you feel sad, but now we feel sad too.”

And then we hugged, and he said sorry to me and to his sisters.

And then I said sorry because now he had soy sauce all over him too.

Throughout this little scene, I’m pretty sure – no scratch that, I KNOW – that there were people around us looking on in disgust. I could hear them, I could see them, and I could feel the waves of disapproval at my parenting approach.

You know how much I cared?

About as much as I care who wins the current series of the latest must watch “reality show”, which is to say, not even the slightest bit: It is actually impossible to quantify the lack of fucks I was able to give at that point, numbers do not go down that low. Minus fucks only extend so far, and I was way off the end of that scale.

Later on, Miss Olive reached the end of her day which, because she is only 2, was about 4 hours before the rest of the family reached the end of their days. I don’t think it is an over exaggeration to say that there was a hella ton of woes, with a generous side helping of doom expressed attached to the situation.

We were in a makeshift bar garden, where extremely cheerful adults were in the process of enjoying some extremely alcoholic drinks and some extremely pleasant music. None of them had planned to add an extremely loud toddler tantrum into the mix.

I wanted to share how I reacted to that one too, because for some reason, one of the other adults who was there with us grabbed my camera and took a photo:

This is what it looks like to finally get my parenting priorities right.

I was shocked when I downloaded my photos and found this; shocked enough to want to mark this as something important, both in my life and the children’s.

Right here, is me giving all of myself to my children, and none of myself to the judging of others. Right here is me being 200% present for the people who need me. Right here is me being able to do that without the knot of nausea I used to feel when my children “kicked off” in public.

I have no idea when it happened, I just know that it has.

1 comment

  1. That photo is just everything. Beautiful moment. - Carmen


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