When my youngest boy Charlie was 5, he came home from school to tell us that the teacher had shut him in a dark cupboard to ‘learn about death’.
Anyway, after some ‘gentle extraction’, we finally worked out that they had been learning about being ‘deaf’ and ‘blind’ and that the whole class had all gone into a very big cupboard with the lights off to experience the latter…
Mystery solved (and much relief all round…).
So parenting (and understanding your children) isn’t always straightforward.
In fact, let’s not beat about the bush, it’s NEVER straightforward.
Like wearing pants on your head. (Try finding a toddler who has never done that. Why?…WHY NOT!!!)
From the minute our little bundles of joy ‘pop’ into the world, life takes on a whole new perspective. A wonderfully enchanting, intensely challenging and utterly perplexing, perspective.
So to celebrate that, I wanted to share with you some of the observations that have tickled me, from others muddling through the daily perplexities of parenting…👇
Time for Bed…???🌙 😬
“I’m not saying bedtime is hard. I’m just saying 14 stories, 9 back rubs, 3 trips to the bathroom, 1 glass of “really cold” water and 1293 “goodNIGHT”s aren’t exactly my idea of a good time.”
Yep, one of the holy grails of parenting is to get a toddler into bed and keep them there.
And when you finally think you’ve got them settled…
“My new parenting book will be called “How can penguins hear if they don’t have ears; and other urgent questions at bedtime”
Sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures…
It’s an ongoing battle. But then, out of the blue, there comes a moment when it’s suddenly all worth it:-
And we realise, that time doesn’t stand still…
BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!! 😠
“What my child hears when I say “Don’t touch the stove top, its hot” – let’s touch and see if it is actually hot.”
Parenting would be so much easier if kids didn’t have minds of their own.
But they do. So we have to show them who’s the boss. Right?? Right!!:-
“An unexpected benefit of being a parent is becoming great at fractions:
Me: Do it before I count down from 3! 3! 2! 1 and a half! 1 and 2 fifths! 1 and 3 twentieths! 1 and 7 hundredths! 1 and 11 two thousandths!
And then we agonise over whether we’ve gone too far and messed them up for life…
Ultimately, who are we kidding??
We know who’s REALLY in charge. 😀
But hey, at least with this new found independence they can start doing things for themselves! Like getting dressed?
And surely they know best what’s right for them??!!
“2 sitting naked on the couch crying that he’s “so very cold” but also vehemently refusing to put on any clothes, is pretty much all you need to know about toddlers.”
OK. Maybe not.
And maybe, sometimes, negotiation is simply not an option!
The Joys of the Family Mealtime 😝
We start parenting our children’s meals with such honourable intentions:-
“Dinner when my child started solids: Sliced avocado, fresh strawberries, steak tips, bell peppers, glass of milk, side of ranch.
So what goes wrong?? Maybe little is often is a better motto?
Alright, so sometimes it can be tricky feeding a small child healthy food at respectable mealtimes. Maybe you should just let them choose what they want?
(OK. Maybe not…)
When I Grow Up 💪
“Great thing about your kids getting older: They have the ability to help you with things.
Bad thing about your kids getting older: They don’t want to.”
So eventually there comes a time when those early years become a bit of a blur:-
- Your kids are sleeping through the night. (And some of the day.)
- They can look after themselves. (With some gentle cajoling – “FOR THE 10TH TIME!!!…”)
- They look up to you and respect you…
OK I admit I was pushing it with the last one. Unfortunately the raw truth is more like:-
We become a bit of an embarrassment. However ‘cool’ we may think we are as a parent, we’re not. There’s no escape from it.
Your beautiful, loving child has morphed from needing and wanting you 24/7 to an increasingly independent young adult, who wants as little to do with you as possible:-
“Children: Look at ME!!! LOOK AT ME!!MOM!! LOOK AT MEEEEEE!!!
Then you wake up one morning and look over at your children with so much love in your eyes…
So What Have We Learnt?! 💡🤔
After the ‘death/deaf’ experience, I liked to think I was a wee bit more prepared for Charlie’s tales about his day at school. However, I still got completely sucked in when he came bounding out one day, great big grin on his face, saying “Mummy, I learnt something really good at school today!!”
My heart leapt at his enthusiasm as I waited to hear some amazing fact about the planets, or the lifespan of a caterpillar, or (pushing it) equilateral triangles…
“Look” he beamed. And then proceeded to show me how he could now do an armpit fart with his hand. And a knee fart. 😂
I had to admit, he did it well and I couldn’t fail to get caught up in his immense pride and enjoyment of learning this valuable life tool.
The journey of parenting truly is perplexing at times and NOTHING can prepare you for it.
But you won’t regret one single, joyful, hysterical (in both senses of the word…), overwhelming-love-filled minute of it. ❤
Alison Reddihough is the perplexed co-parent of 2 boys and co-founder and writer for Tickled Moon.