My kids are 13 and 8 now. Easy - most of the time. I had almost forgotten about Murphy's Law and how it is exponentially magnified when it comes to parenting. I was reminded of that fact loudly and clearly at 5am the other morning.
Time has taught me that parenting is a lot easier with forward planning. I now have a secret stash of greeting cards and gifts so I can avoid the last minute panic of gift shopping 30 minutes before a kids party. Etsy has the cutest array of well, everything, and I regularly spend a happy evening stocking up on their site for my part-time job as assistant Tooth Fairy, Full Moon Fairy, Leprechaun etc etc
So when the 8 year old's wiggly tooth popped out of her mouth just before bedtime - I was unfazed. You might say I was pretty smug. Secure in the knowledge that the Tooth Fairy had pre-delivered the cutest little Anna 'gnome' doll to my secret supply closet a few weeks back. I tucked my expectant, excited girl into bed, calmly. I made myself a cup of tea and curled up on the couch to watch an episode of Veep, secure in the knowledge that by the time I was finished enjoying the comic genius of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the 8 year old would be asleep and the tooth fairy could easily deliver a wonderful gift.
At 5am I woke with a start and an expletive. I had walked down that well worn path of parenthood and forgotten to aide the tooth fairy. How could I be so predictable? How do you plan so well then fail at the crucial moment? It's like tripping two inches before the Olympic finish line. But - it was only 5am, the 8 year old was still asleep. I crept into her room.
Murphy's Law unfurled itself like this: On any regular night I can go into either of my children's rooms and put away their laundry, while chatting on the phone and they'll sleep through it. On any regular morning if I went in at 5am and tried to wake them they would be unwakeable, but tip toe in (naked) when you have to assist the tooth fairy and they turn bright eyed to question your presence in their room.
Why naked you ask? It's summer, I'm menopausal. OK?
So there I am at 5am, crouched, (naked) at the end of my child's bed, trying to hide myself and Anna Gnome behind a wide spaced and slatted, bed foot-board. You will be unsurprised to hear, I was unsuccessful - she spotted me and asked me in a distinctly suspicious way what I was doing. My explanation was weak (to say the least,) the 8 year old was highly skeptical but just sleepy enough to save her inquisition until 'morning.' A short hour and a half later.
Breakfast brought my smugness to a complete halt. No forward planning can help you in parenting if you fail to execute. It's simple - move the Elf on the Shelf twenty four times in December, do tricks with green dye on March 17th and remove a tooth and replace it with a goody in the deepest, darkest (sleepiest) time of the night and don't forget. Fatigue, workload, pets, spouses, bills - none of it is an excuse - just don't forget.
I did forget and I closed the window of belief another inch or two. But hey, Anna Gnome is pretty cute and wait until you see Elsa...