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Entries in oneupmanship (1)

Wednesday
May012013

I Win At Having Kids (or I Could Have Been A Lemming Mother)

 

So here's something they don't ever fully prepare you for... the oneupmanship and overacheivingness of the other parents. Wow. It's proper full-on! And my favourite part, insidious and creepy like unchecked arse cancer.

Lemming Mothers I call 'em. All lined up. All ready to fling themselves and their offspring off the cliff if you say your kid can.

It starts EARLY. Like totes early. Like while you're still in hospital trying to come to grips with your swollen milky jugs. "How's he feeding?" she asks, smugly.

"Sitting up using utensils." you lie.

"Sleeping through the night yet?" says Lemming Mum, while she breastfeeds twins, simultaneously.

"He's barely 24 hours old..." you sputter, as you hook up the breast-pump backwards, through your tears.

But she's not listening. She's only asked to lead to her next proclamation.

"Tarquin was sleeping through at nine minutes old." She looks you right in the eye. "We're so blessed." then she changes sides with such prowess you don't even get a glimpse of her gnawed on nipples.

What can you say? "Sleeping through, already eh? Hmmm, I hear the mentally ill sleep a lot too," is what I chose.

Don't worry, they don't hear you. The nurse who's dropped a tray of tiny baby bottles did though. She gives me a thumbs up as I shoved another wilted cabbage leaf in to my nursing bra...

Lemming Mother has moved on to the next flustered bag of hormones. "Hi, how's she feeding?" It goes on. And on. And onnnnnnnnn

Admittedly, I should be used to it by now. My kids are 6 and 4 and the three FULL days of breastfeeding I did with my two are long forgotten (you never forget) mammary memories yet I still find the existence of Mother Lemming, confronting.

Most recently we encountered her when Mo bought home Boris, the Kinder Toy to spend a few nights. Boris arrived in a bag that contained a folder filled with pages documenting the visits he'd had with some of the other kids in Mo's class. What we learned from this exercise is some of Mo's classmate's mothers LOVE to scrapbook. They love it hard and they take it capital S, seriously. Four pages of the creative art of added photos, memorabilia, journaling, and embellishments. To be perfectly frank, Boris'd had the shit art directed out of him! 

 Hilarious B, to whom I am betrothed said I should just slip a blank DVD into the folders pocket to intimidate the next mother. Hilaire! Mo and I settled on a comic strip kind of thing with photos and hilarious prose. Take that, Georgia's unfunny mother with too many different kinds of pinking shears and stamps!

The competitiveness is in full force at sporting events, where you expect it. Football mothers scare the shit out of me and not just because they're toothless and drunk. The tennis coaching fathers who've taken a leaf from Damir Dokic's book and the Laurie Lawrence like enthusiasm poolside during the "just get your face wet without having a meltdown" pre swimming lesson classes is all there. But you know, you expect it there.

My girlfriend confided an hilarious story to me not so long ago about one of these Lemming Mothers in her kid's class. She'd directly asked Cindy*not her real name what level reader her Prep son was on. Cindy*her name doesn't even start with C had been subjected to almost a year of this crazy woman's incessant quest for oneupmanship so she'd refused to engage. "I have no idea?!" "But you must! You must know what level he's on!" Crazy Lady insisted. "Nope, no clue." lied Cindy*she's more a, Tori "It's on the small sticker on the back of the book!" screeched Lemming Woman. "Meh." said my friend. The next day Cindy noticed that Lemming was standing back. Soon, Lemming's child approached Cindy directly. "Hi Harry's mum, what level reader is Harry on?" "Level 14, Ethan. How are you this morning?" She tousled his hair and he ran back to his mother. All was quiet across the playground until Lemming Ma heard from Ethan. She stood upright and spat. "What bullshit, ullshit, ullshit!" she said out loud.  It echoes up here in the hills. 

It's not in the baby books. It's not on the parenting websites but you should know. Forewarned is forearmed and you can have fun with them as Cindy*Cindy IS her real name, you know :-)  and my B have suggested.

Are YOU a Lemming Mother? If not, I bet you know one.

fahey x