I can’t remember not being a mother to someone or other. As a child, I was obsessed with dolls of all shapes and sizes, but particularly my baby doll, and later my Sindy doll.

Princess had a tall doll with long brown hair, (that I would literally have adopted if I could have). She kept her where I could reach her however and didn’t voice any objections to me playing with her other than to occasionally call me a “spastic”.

Oh, but how I loved my own baby doll. Swathed in bunny rugs, I would promenade her around the house, up and down the long hallway, because she was unsettled. I would feed her little plastic bottle into her puckered lips, burp her over my shoulder and fuss over her all day.

I was the best mother.

Magoo couldn’t stand it. She had to tell me her terrible secret. She recalled watching me through the doorway one day in my room when I was around two. Apparently clasping my “baby” to my chest and gazing lovingly down at her, only seconds later throwing her across the room in a fit of fury!

I listened in horror. My baby slowly dropping out of her blankets and onto the floor…

I was not the best mother after all.

I still have baby doll’s head. Because Magoo decided one day to remove her torn body from her head in order to give me my “special keepsake”. That was a few years ago now, these days we keep her at the front door so people know we’re weird as shit.

*Speaking of weird as shit, here’s an old family Christmas story from back before I was born. (I don’t even think Princess was a thing yet…)

My eldest sister, (the “Empress”) and my two older brother’s unwrapped a teepee, a baby doll and a cowboy suit for Christmas one year. Instantly a game of “Cowboy’s, Indian’s and Settler’s” began in the backyard.

It took the boy’s around 10 minutes, but by the time Magoo responded to the Empress’s increasingly horrified screams, the Cowboy had teamed up with the Indian and scalped the Settler’s baby!

You can’t make this shit up..

After Magoo destroyed my hopes of canonization as “possibly the most nurturing human on earth”, I turned to lusting for a Barbie doll.

All my friends had one! My neighbour and childhood friend, “Schultz” had several Barbie’s and heaps of accessories with which she hoarded and bribed me.

I told Magoo that I would most likely die if I didn’t get a Barbie for Christmas…

She turned to me with that twinkly, knowing “mother eye” and said “If you’re a good girl, maybe you will..”

Game, set and match, bitch. I was the best girl.

The Sindy doll was Barbie’s far less skanky counterpart and Magoo’s first choice for that reason, (and probably one of cost with 5 other kid’s to buy for), but I’ll never forget the loser t shirt I slipped on that day to inform Schultz of Magoo’s ineptitude in fulfilling her youngest daughter’s deepest dreams.

Far from a bad choice, Sindy was soon the envy of all the neighborhood girls, Schultz included. (Magoo you crafty minx!)

Within two Christmas’s and Birthday’s, I had the Sindy Bedroom Suite, with the little bedside lamp that had a switch and worked!  All the beautiful quilted bed covers, the dressing table with stool and finally the Sindy Hairdryer!

sindy bedroom suite

A thing of never seen before battery-operated complexity, the bloody thing dried the doll’s hair! People everywhere were mesmerized by this toy, especially Schultz and I.

sindy hairdryer

She had a Ken doll, and now that all the Barbie’s were only playing supporting roles as skanks in “Sindy and Ken’s Love Story”, she needed me.

On a warm summer afternoon after school, Sindy and Ken Doll, became the proud parents of a couple of tiny smooth faced babies we’d flogged from Schultz’s sister’s toy box.

Moments later (because childhood – it was probably a few months), we packed up and left that house and Sindy never saw Ken or the twins again.

We had two real babies in the new street and I was all over both of them. Looking back I wonder how annoying (sarcastic font), it must have been for those mum’s who got free babysitting most afternoon’s of the week and weekends?

(Where the fuck was my friendly, polite, neighborhood baby-whisperer? Karma has ripped me off about 14 and a half times already this life!)

I went off babies for a while and chased boys instead. I planned on never having a baby of my own, but becoming the favourite, eccentric and modestly rich Aunt who would breeze in from overseas bearing gifts and good will. Then leave when the children became fractious.

I believe I was influenced at the time by characters from novel’s such as “Auntie Mame” who epitomised the role of an independent woman. Seeming absolved of any ties of authority or discipline over her charge, she lived a glamorous and serendipitous life.

You gotta be careful what you wish for. You want to make a plan? The universe wants to shit on your face.

Moments later (stretch that to years), I find myself as a Live-in-Nanny to my two nieces and my nephew.

To cut a long story short, I spent a good twelve months with those kids. Their father had an extremely horrific accident and took most of that year to recover. The Empress lost her mind trying to keep the family, their business and her husband afloat. The least I could do with my young, single and free life was go help? I quit my job and started looking after her 3 kids.

The baby was 8 or 9 months, but very agreeable, my 4 year old niece was a piece of work, (but I learned how to talk her out of wearing a bikini top, tutu and gumboots to preschool in winter!) My 7 year old nephew was a very clever young man who endevoured to make sure I never knew whether he was taking the piss or commiserating with me about the state of my life.

The Empress spent her time between the hospital, the office and the bottle shop, the end of my day signaled by the rattle of bottles at the front door and the entrance of sparkling wine. The least we could do was drink while we sat around wondering what the fuck we’d done to deserve this and how we were all going to deal with it?.

I suddenly had 3 kids and a household to run. Fuck me!

For a twenty-one year old, I did okay. I wasn’t the kind of Nanny who did craft, but I did a reasonable job of keeping my end of the deal together. I learned to fold a stroller one handed. How to balance the baby, (and the 4 year old having a melt-down), on the bus as it careened around the corners toward the shops. How to mop a white tile floor and have it destroyed in seconds. How to wash and fold and repeat endlessly. How to shop for a family.

Mostly I learned the truth about motherhood. It was a thankless job with very little time off. An ability to survive incessant levels of stress and switch off from “white noise” was a must. I had neither, but we coped. Those kids were troopers. I also learned “selflessness”. The act of doing something for someone else because you can.

I’d met a local boy who was steaming up the windows of my room most Saturday night’s, (as Saturday afternoon’s and evenings were mine), and he provided my one escape from the domestic prison I’d found myself in.

Over all I think I got some fair mothering experience, which was a good thing, because when I left the Empress’s family, I was already pregnant with my first child.

Yeah, back then, before I was a mother…

Advertisements