The Mum Network

When your kids surprise you – the good, the bad and the ugly

Well shut the front door and knock me over with a feather.


Have your kids ever surprised you?


I’m not talking about  a trip to Bora Bora or a perfect report card full of A+++’s. Nor am I talking about brekkie in bed on mothers day with a gift from the school mothers day stall that doesn’t make you want to cry. That’s the kind of surprise we live for. I’m talking about every day stuff where your expectations are so low that the cherubs getting dressed on their own simply fills you with joy.


Well that has been my week.


Surprise 1


Mr 8 is my slightly forgotten child (three out of five are often forgotten, it’s purely a numbers game here). He’s number 2 in the pecking order. A soon as I slightly raise my voice, he scampers. Like a rat. Away. Far, far away. He must have a radar that senses when I’m about to lose my shit and he just finds a safe place to hide until the storm has passed. He’s not sneaky, he just flies under the radar, a lot. He’s also the one I’m usually trying to find as his shoes are always left on floor, lunchbox left in bag with sandwiches to fester, drum sticks left out for 1 year old to put up his nose, wet towels on floor, cannot sit still on sofa and clearly has an allergy to neat cushions and throws them all on the floor whilst doing backflips on sofa. He can’t sit still and is my child most likely to be arrested with his BFF for doing something terribly noble but probably stupid like riding motorbikes through dense bush at breakneck speed to catch a robber. No fear. No pain. He’s my rip shit or bust kid.


Apparently he’s a different child at school. He got an award this week for “Consistently representing our school values” on the school’s feast day (this is not a day to eat but the day of the Patron Saint the school is named after) It’s also not an ‘every kid gets it award’ award. It’s a once a year award. Bloody hell, in catholic school terms, values are A BIG THING (so is not swearing as my children constantly remind me). I had to think twice as I was fairly sure last time I checked the school values didn’t stand for lost hats, pencil cases, home readers, lack of effort with homework, no naplan revision or pure refusal to complete the Premiers Readers Challenge. Nope, this meant he was genuinely a nice kid (I hope). Naturally I missed the big moment but surprised? YES. Proud, HELL YES, slightly concerned that I don’t know my own child too well – um YUP! As someone said to me this week however, better to be a home devil and street angel than a home angel and a street devil. Think about it!


Surprise 2


When I was a youngster, Dad wanted me to play piano because he did. Fair enough. His baptism into the world of music was endlessly playing scales followed by boring Mozard, Chopain and other fancy composers that I’ve now deleted from my mind. I played for 7 years. He pushed and pushed and pushed me because that’s how he learnt and he’s a fabulous pianist. That’s the only way he knew to help me learn. I hated every minute of it (he did too apparently). The Harry High Pants nerd called Josh who had lessons with me and could play Fur Elise at the age of 6 didn’t help either. Loser. Either way, I didn’t love it and now I can’t play a note. Poor Dad, I must be a disappointment.


On this basis however, when Mr 9 mentioned that he liked basketball MUCH better than rugby, I was all for throwing in the towel and letting him stay with the sport he loves which is far less likely to cause him a broken neck. The Big Guy was not convinced and even put his hand up to be coach this year to give Mr 9 a reason to (ahem…push him to) enjoy the game. After weeks and weeks of protesting, tears and pleading with me to talk to the Big Guy about quitting, I was at my wits end. I was ready to put my foot down and say ‘enough, don’t push him the same way I was pushed as he’ll end up hating it and us for pushing him into it.” The Big Guy can see a lot of himself in Mr 9 and therefore knows which buttons to push. He persisted. he must have known something I didn’t as he returned with Mr 9 from rugby on Sunday and it clicked. He had some great runs with the ball, great tackles and played his best game ever. Mr 9 came back from the game as pumped as I’ve seen him after each basketball game. He loved it. HA – surprised – yup, what would I know!



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