Embracing the chaos

I WAS washing dishes and thinking how many things I had to accomplish the next few days.

There was the school paperwork to fill out, a trip back to the dentist to reignite discussions about one child's crossbite, gifts for three newborns to post, sort out our insurance, write a column, study, take toddler to doctor for a suspected fracture that happened two days ago (I know, trust me, I know), get times for the athletics carnival, plant the tree we were given over a month ago and is starting to look ... dead.

All of this on top of the usual school runs, homework, discos and my other job.

This isn't a busy week though. This is about normal.

I sighed (I do that a bit), turned to hunt for more dirty dishes and was surprised to see the rest of the family still in the room.

They generally make themselves scarce during post-dinner, pre-wash-up hour.

But there they were - one was reading loudly over a blasting stereo, one was carrying an empty clothes basket in one hand and dragging his baby sister atop a bean bag with the other hand. Said baby was naked and brandishing the dustpan brush at her passing father.

Since I have so much to remember already, I rely on my phone to capture the everyday magic for me to look back on. And as I filmed this moment of madness, I realised how we've adapted over the years.

From nervous first-time parents who panicked at everything. Literally everything. To multi-tasking machines that have embraced the chaos.

And it is chaos. No embellishment needed.

It wears thin sometimes. The noise of our general life stops being cute when it requires an ibuprofen.

But sometimes, like that day in the kitchen, I get emotional imagining a time when they're no longer yelling about fairy princesses and playing games unsuitable for inside the house. When they're quieter and absorbed in their own worlds. When they're not desperate for us to look at their new Pokemon card or show us a handstand they've perfected.

When they no longer need us to kiss them better when they've jumped off the trampoline and possibly fractured their ankle.

A day like that will probably pass into obscure childhood memories, but it's so much more for us parents. It makes you wonder who needs who more. Where we'd be without them.

Peta Jo is an author and mother of three. Her youngest does not have a fractured ankle and Peta suspects she just likes being carried everywhere. Find Peta Jo on Facebook.

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