‘Adventure’ used to mean skinny-dipping on remote Fillipino islands, trekking on a plodding, muddy elephant in Chang Mai, or climbing the mountain adjacent to Machu Picchu in Peru (we got lost). Now, with two wee ones, it means a trek into Wellington to watch The Wiggles.
For those who don’t know about The Wiggles, they are an Australian group of four who entertain children through music, colourful, funny sketches and familiar, repetitive routines. They are on children’s television a lot, with their faithful band of characters: Captain Feather-sword (something for the mums), Wags the Dog, and Dorothy the Dinosaur (I kid you not).
Now, I can assure you, Dearest Reader, there is just as much adrenalin involved in taking my two little girls to see The Wiggles in concert as in any of the activities mentioned as part of my opening paragraph. I love my daughters more than life itself – but believe me, handling that elephant in Chang Mai was considerably easier.
One of my children was a baby the nurses politely termed ‘spirited’, which meant she cried a lot and barely slept. For 18 months, it felt like I had her permanently attached to my bosom, and she’s still fascinated with my boobs today, even though she started school this year.
The other was, in contrast, termed an ‘angel baby’. She slept abundantly, ate with the enthusiasm of a teenage boy, and was always smiling. She is, however, now two years old and all that has changed. She is turning being a ‘terrible two’ into an art form and is currently cantankerous, stubborn and exhausting – and ridiculously, hopelessly, gorgeously cute. Miss five, in turn, has grown to become fantastic company.
I was, as usual, in the minority being a solo parent, with whole crowds of mums and dads and grandparents being subjected to the Australian foursome on stage. I wasn’t the only one, but it meant that while I had to wrestle with my howling, struggling ‘ terrible two’ who was desperate to get on stage and join in the show, my eldest, that spirited beautiful girl, was left to enjoy the show on her own terms.
She wore her Wags the Dog ears and tail with pride and was completely absorbed in the silly music that had been such a big part of the soundtrack of the first five years of her life. She knew all the tunes and all the moves. As I physically struggled with Miss Two, I watched Miss Five as she was swept along with the show, completely absorbed in it.
I remembered back to watching Sting and INXS as a teenager, and later U2 at Wembley in my twenties, those massive arena concerts that are so intense and thrilling. Afterwards it’s like you dreamt it, except your ears are ringing and your clothes are clingy with sweat. Fantastic times. I was just as exhilarated to watch my eldest daughter have her first taste of it in that little theatre in Wellington, as I’ve been on my most exotic of adventures.
Parenthood is proving to be by far my biggest adventure then. Sure, it’s about sacrifice and it’s exhausting and stressful, not to mention the fact that my once beautiful body is wrecked. But is it worth it? Would I do it again? I would do every single minute of it, and thank you for every single stretch mark and for the disappearance of my career. It’s the love, you see; that limitless, amazing, unconditional love we have for our children. There’s nothing else like it, and it’s so much fun.
And, by some miracle, I managed to restrain myself from throwing knickers at Captain Feather-sword: bonus!