One thing I love about being a Mum to three young children is, in their eyes, I know everything there is to know about the world and I can do everything. And for someone who likes to think they know everything, but knows they don’t, this is the perfect situation to be in.
As a journalist (in my pre-kids life), I’ve learnt how to pretend I know what I’m talking about. I’ve learnt to ask questions. I often try to bluff my way out situations when in actuality I have no idea what to do or no idea what people are talking about. At dinner parties when someone starts talking about topics I don’t know about I am pretty good at picking the right moment to go to the toilet or help clear away the dishes, but in my own home it’s a different story. I want my girls to try everything (within reason) and I don’t want the fear of not being able to do something to stop them. There’s been many a time I have given up a new venture or activity because I can’t do it perfectly straight away (knitting, painting, cooking, even harmonica). I worry that maybe I’ll never know how to do it properly or, when I take the risk, I fail? So, I have tended to shy away from trying to learn new skills for a fear of failure – a trait I am desperately trying to address as I get older.
This doesn’t seem to be the case with my children though. Anything they throw at me, I attempt with gusto.
Play soccer. Oh, I know how to do that. Watch me do this wicked header (ouch, my heard hurts). Play the drums. Yep, I can do that too (I took drums in year nine music class. Eat my dirt, one-armed, Def Leppard drummer). Cook. I’m a master at cooking (quick kids, look that way while Mummy pours the packet mix into the bowl). Draw a kangaroo. Simple (no kids, that doesn’t look like the dog I drew or the cat, yes they are similar, but look here, this kangaroo has a much longer tail). Ask me any question, I’ll know the answer and if I don’t I’ll make it up.
However, the other night, I felt I was pushing it a bit far. You see, I was reading a counting book to the kids – one crow, two goats… you get the idea. Little did I realise, the book also had the words in French. Okay, yes I did do French up until year 10 and I know a few simple phrases and numbers, but really, is it cool to just wing it when it comes to another country’s language? I am pretty sure vingt moineaux (twenty sparrows) isn’t pronounced veengat mornay. And dix grenouilles (ten frogs) isn’t dicks granules. I must say I did feel pretty good when I was “reading in French” to the girls. My eldest looked at me all wide-eyed. I could tell she was impressed. But later I felt some guilt (as any good Mother does). Perhaps I should ring a French friend of mine and get the correct pronunciation, that way the kids and I will both learn something the right way.
And while I am on the topic of bluffing, maybe I should also stop telling the kids fabricated responses (lies), like: “Your Dad has to shave his head because he refuses to comb the knots out of his ‘hair'” or “If you keep sucking your thumb it will shrink to nothing like a lollipop”. Soon they are going to realise I’m a fraud.