• Oliver Messner

Maturing as a parent

Updated: Jan 19, 2021

I think I may finally have started maturing as a parent, not so much as an adult but I'm definitely getting there as a parent. I've gotten to a point in my life where, while still getting irritated by all the inevitable pitfalls of parenting, I have none the less begun to react in a more subdued, relaxed manner and accept what happens as just another chapter in the long-winded drama that is raising children.

I came to this conclusion after I was done changing the little one's diaper a few days ago. Now changing diapers has always been my number one worst child related chore, bar none. When my first daughter was born and started her prolonged diaper spree, I tried a bunch of differing tactics to make the whole idea of a loaded diaper less horrifying. I even went so far as to always have a tub of Vicks VapoRub on hand and used to smear a big dollop of the stuff up each nostril, thereby flooding my nasal cavity with the poop-nullifying scent of eucalyptus, being one step ahead of an impeding diaper change when my wife wasn't around. My diaper-wrangling anecdotes have caused my wife more than a few laughing fits over the years, which she will gladly tell anyone who wants to listen about. From being noisily sick while changing that very first, really bad diaper ( you know the one ! ), dry heaving, gagging and then also fully freaking out when some of the 'stuff' got all over my hands, shirt and pants. I never really got used to that part of parenting and was extremely relieved when my eldest finally got out of that nasty phase.

Fast forward a couple of years to when my second kid came around and it was much the same, as it began all over again. She's turning three this year and is still on the diapers with no apparent end in sight. She just refuses to use the potty, no matter what we try and so we are stuck in diaper-hell for the unforeseeable future.

I was running late for a meeting, had dropped her off at my mom's place and was just rushing back to the car, when she pulled 'that' face, pointed at her diaper and proudly proclaimed,' I make the poo-poo.' I went about the everyday but still hated procedure of the diaper change with the same enthusiasm that this always inspires in me... namely none, none what so ever. Removal, followed by immediate disposal, cleaning, powdering and then putting on the new diaper. Some of the 'stuff' even got on my hand again because she thinks it's hilarious to squirm around while she's getting changed. Of course she is alone in that assumption and even though we've tried explaining to her at length how unfunny that little habit actually really is, she could not be bothered less and continues to wiggle about, doing her best to mimic a crazed baby walrus that has just rolled onto a sharp stone, giggling with glee as I struggle to clean her up while trying to keep her legs under control.

I only realized this after the fact, but I did not raise my voice, curse my own ineptitude, the situation or life in general even once during the entire procedure. I even calmly pulled a wet wipe from the satchel when done and cleaned my hands without a single swear word crossing my lips. While it is the middle of school holidays here and the kids have predictably drained us all of some vital energy reserves, it could be that I am just too tired to care and couldn't be bothered to stress the little things. Or, I have finally reached that stage of parenting that I have witnessed others display. That almost zen-like state of being that some parents display in scenarios that would have me flip my proverbial lid and leave me staring on in slack jawed awe and envy as they handle the situation with grace and no apparent fuss whatsoever.

It's all probably wishful thinking and in all likely hood really is due to just being physically and emotionally too drained to care but, whether true or false, I would very much like to consider myself one of those parenting-gurus, the ones that are able to deal with any and every given emergency and then make it look easy to boot.

Here's to wishful thinking.

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