The very quick answer is… not me!

Since becoming a Mum I have discovered a new level of bravado that I never knew I had.

Pre-babies, it was fine for me to scream and go ‘doolally’ over the sight of a spider scuttling across a room. But now, I don’t want to pass on any ‘irrational’ fears to my offspring. The downside is, of course, that I have to try and appear brave even when I’m terrified on the inside.

There have been a few occasions where I’ve managed to catch a spider in a pint glass, showed it to Olivia to make sure she doesn’t get scared by them, and then taken it outside to set free.

That’s the moment when I can do what comes naturally; squeal, flap my arms about and shake the spider out of the glass at arm’s length. Then it’s time to run back into the house as fast as possible to make sure it doesn’t follow me.

I also make sure I rub myself down in case the spider has somehow managed to jump onto my clothes. It makes me shiver just thinking about it. When I’m back indoors, the mask of relaxed bravery goes back on and all is fine.

One time, I handled a large spider without realising it until it was too late. I had picked up one of the children’s toys and felt something very strange in my hand. When I saw what it was, I had to use all of my self-control not to shriek and throw the toy (plus spider) across the room.

Another time, I picked a black lump from the floor thinking it had come from a piece of clothing. It was, in fact, a beetle. I nearly passed out.

And then there’s the dreaded dentist. I’ve never had a good relationship with these guardians of oral hygiene and I know I’m not alone in fearing the sound of the dentist drill. But, I don’t want it to be the same for my children.

The other day was D-day (that’s ‘D’ for dentist if you’re wondering) for me and Olivia. This was her second proper check-up so she wasn’t really worried about it. I, on the other hand, was. I always brush my teeth as well as I can and have even bought an electric toothbrush thinking it would do an even better job, but lately I always seem to come away from these appointments needing extra work done. It’s like the dentist revels in my pain.

Needless to say, Olivia was a star. She sat very still and quiet in the chair and dutifully opened her mouth as wide as possible.

I wasn’t sure what the verdict would be considering that she prefers to just suck the toothpaste off her brush rather than actually clean her teeth, plus the fact she becomes a real madam when I try to take over and make sure her teeth have been brushed properly. She got heaps of praise though and her teeth got a clean bill of health. She even received a sticker for being so brave.

Then it was my turn. I felt bouyed by Olivia’s check-up and thought that mine surely wouldn’t be so bad.

I was wrong.

The dentist, a lovely cheerful man, informed me that I needed a very small filling and that it could be done right then and there. It would only take a couple of minutes. Olivia was being so good sitting in the room waiting for me that I agreed to it.

I wish I hadn’t. I’m such a wuss.

There was no injection or any type of pain relief. That was a bad start. Then, down came the drill. I could feel my tooth getting more and more sensitive. It was starting to hurt more and more. I was certain he was going to hit the nerve at any moment and started clenching the chair’s arms.

Then I started flinching.

The dentist asked me to stay still.

I flinched again.

Then I remembered Olivia. She was watching me, her supposed big, brave mummy. I waved at her and heard her say “mummy” in the quiet, worried way she does when she’s not sure what’s happening. I waved again (there’s not much you can do when you’ve got a dentist prodding about in your mouth with all sorts of terrible looking devices).

It seemed to take an age but finally it was all over. My tooth hurt like hell – which was funny considering it hadn’t been hurting in the slightest before the appointment – but I gave Olivia a big smile and was relieved that she smiled back. There were no worry lines etched on her face and thankfully, she hadn’t been scared in the slightest.

It’s really something when a nearly 3-year-old is braver than her 30-something mummy. I’m glad she is though. I hope she never loses that.

family life, brave girl mother and daughter

As for me, I may not be brave, but I think I do quite a good job of hiding it. Although I may have to start going to the dentist on my own from now on.