All children do and say things that make their parents cringe. At least, I hope that’s the case – please tell me I’m not the only mother who flushes red when my kids spew forth unfiltered comments. Sometimes their honesty can be endearing, but mostly it’s plain embarrassing, like the time my little angel saw an obese man walking towards us, pointed at him as though he was a criminal, and announced to everyone standing in a 100m radius, “He’s so fat!”
I wanted to run for cover, but I couldn’t leave my child alone on a busy street. Well, I could have, but that would have left me looking as immature as her, so I glared down at her instead.
“What?” she said defensively. “He is fat.”
“What are the two things I say you should never call someone?”
I nodded. “And?”
I consoled myself with the excuse that most children are the same, and I blamed the innocence of youth on my daughter’s behaviour. There’s no way I could justify her next unfiltered episode though.
When the nurses at the medical clinic tried to draw blood from my daughter’s arm to test for dengue, she refused to sit still. In between their calming words she screamed, “I don’t want a needle! Don’t touch me.” Her legs kicked. Her arms flayed. “No needles. Mummy, no, no,” she hollered. I held her struggling body tightly in my lap while the nurses jabbed the needle in her arm on SIX separate occasions without drawing blood. By this stage she was inconsolable.
“She has deep veins,” the nurse said. “They roll when the needle touches them.”
The other nurse pulled out a Band-Aid. “Why don’t you take her to the hospital for the blood test.”
The hospital nurses, after witnessing a re-run of my daughter’s dramatic performance, resorted to holding her down on the procedure bed like a psychiatric patient. It took FIVE of them to hold her still.
With no weapon left but her mouth, my daughter screamed, “Go away! Don’t touch me!”
I was waiting for her to start cursing like a sailor, then she surprised me. She did something worse. She spat at the nurses. Not once, but twice, her saliva flying towards them like missiles as they jumped back with looks of horror.
I learned that day that it’s not always what kids say but what they do that can make you want to sprint to the nearest cave and hide for a day.
It’s no wonder, one whole year later, when I had to take my daughter back to the same hospital for another blood test, that the nurse looked at her and said, “I remember you.” At least the nurse knew what to expect this time and immediately went for the straightjacket option. The poor woman was able to avoid my daughter’s kicks and hits, but she did cop a tirade of verbal abuse again.
After apologising profusely to the nurses, I got out of that hospital as fast as I could, dragging my daughter behind me before she could do any more damage. When we got to the car she said, “Mummy, you look so old.”
I barked at her, “What are the two things you should never call someone?”
“Fat and old.”
I did feel old. The hospital drama had sucked every milligram of energy from me. All I wanted to do was go home and have an afternoon Nana nap.