1. While I love my children very much, I have less love for them when they stand in the way of me and breakfast. I love breakfast so much that I am sometimes excited to go to bed at night because it means breakfast is near. Don't judge me. It's better now that Matt's home from Poland. He, very wisely, makes it his job to facilitate a smooth morning, where smooth means that he hands me coffee and toast as soon as my feet hit the kitchen floor, while he sits on the girls long enough for me to inhale my breakfast. Do I feel any guilt about my breakfast selfishness? No way. I have spent a total of twenty months growing those children, oh, and I nourished them with my breast milk for months and months and months (and I'm still going). They can let me have my fifteen minutes of breakfast bliss.
2. Much to my husband's discomfort, I love teaching Alyce about all the parts of her body. I mean, all of them. I think bodies are up there with the coolest things on earth and we should know how they work, even when we're three. So I applaud Alyce for declaring to her Papa last week that she has uterus, and that it's bigger than Shira's, but not as big as Mama's. Because Alyce, you are absolutely correct.
3. Some nights, after both girls are in bed, I think about all the mistakes that I've made that day as a parent. I think about how I should have had more patience for Alyce when she wanted to spend twenty-five minutes on the toilet and not pressured her to get on with it already. Or how maybe it was cruel to take away her precious library books when she hit me in anger before bath (it wasn't cruel, it was necessary, but that doesn't make me feel any better because either way, her little heart was broken). Or how I could have spent more time reading with Shira who, as Second Child, gets a lot less attention. But then I take a deep breath and tell myself to get over it. And I usually do.
4. I tell my children that fairies are real. Because they are.
5. I am absolutely in love with those moments when, out of nowhere, I am a smothered by the kisses of my two daughters. Nothing erases an irritating day like an slobbery open-mouth kiss from dear Shira, or the way Alyce tucks her legs into herself and sneaks her face under my chin when she gives me a full body hug, or, more accurately, as she tries to crawl back in my womb, which is bigger than her womb (see #2).
6. I have learned that all parents have those things that drive them to madness, things that push them to the edge. No matter how patient I am, or no matter how much I love my children, there are certain things that will forever send me to the dark side: smeared peanut butter on furniture, The Wiggles, whining, and when they chew on the ears of a stuffed animal (I'm gagging just thinking about all of those things).
7. I love making crafts with Alyce, but I'm sometimes not very good at letting her learn at her own pace, alongside her own mistakes. I don't care what she paints or glues or colours, but I'm not very good at holding myself back when I see her holding the scissors the wrong way, or smashing the paint brush on the page. As soon as I say something to her I feel like a jackass, especially when I can see that my words have discouraged her.
8. Almost every day I think back, usually just for a moment, to the day I gave birth to them. (Also: It's not completely true that you forget how much it hurts. It's mostly true, but there is still some muscle memory, if you know what I mean.) Sometimes I just close my eyes and find myself feeling sweet over how nice it was to meet them, one on a very cold day in December in Toronto, and the other on a perfect May morning. Looking at them now, and remembering their bright eyes on the days we first met, never gets old.
9. My parenting secret, that thing I always keep in my back pocket for support, is a ridiculous, wise-cracking, and handsome Matt, who is able to remind me when I'm being ridiculous (it happens). Mostly it's just fun to have someone else to laugh with when Alyce making up an elaborate song about princesses, or when Shira tries to give Hille on of those slobbery open-mouth kisses.
10. Nothing I've come up with so far seems to stop them from growing older. I find that irritating.