COLUMN: I was once a tutting childless eye roller

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I remember many an evening spent in restaurants rolling my eyes at wayward children.

I recall huffing at rustling wrappers at the cinema. In fact, I was pretty horrible to any family that may have disturbed my childless self.

I suppose that’s what you call karma. I am now mother to that child who finds the flip up cinema chairs fascinating, who rustles bags of popcorn and gives away vital plot information.

She’s the child standing on the chair in the restaurant or scampering under your feet. She’ll drop forks, wear the napkin on her head and probably make up a loud and raucous ditty about poo.

Until I had a child I thought that wild behaviour could easily be nipped in the bud. I was wrong. I’ve tried everything. My daughter has her own personality that cannot be controlled. She is a tiny bundle of energy.

I dare not give her a slushy and I honestly believe if she even got a whiff of an energy drink she would create so much energy that a nuclear reaction would occur and that would be the end of the world.

She is exuberant, joyful, adventurous and fearless. What she lacks in stature she makes up for in spirit. This is a truly wonderful thing to see, but she is exhausting and exasperating.

Since having her I’ve aged approximately 497 years.

Going out for meals is difficult. Crayons won’t hold her attention for long and I’ve had to get over my disappointment of her not colouring in the lines. She cares not about the lines.

She’ll want to explore the toilets, chatter continuously and avoid eating anything you have paid for.

Recently after an exhausting evening of trying to control her I wearily asked: “Why can’t you behave?” She simply looked at me, the only time she had been still all night and said unapologetically: “That’s just the way I am. I am just so EXCITED!!!!”

She doesn’t care that she’s not like others or if childless couples are tutting and actually that’s great. How I’d like to go out and not once think about what anyone else thought of me. That kind of mental freedom must make you exuberant.

Even though my daughter tires me out and embarrasses me daily. I love her just the way she is and I need to learn from her because who has the better outlook on life. The optimistic, go getter afraid of nothing or the careful worrier who stops herself from fear of failure.

Who knew my best teacher would be a four-year-old girl. And if you ever see her around cover your coffee, one whiff and it’s the end of life as we know it.