Before having a baby, you might think you know what kind of parent you want to be. Steve and Rachael did too, but when Freddie came along, he soon made them change their minds.
Before Freddie was born I remember seeing a friend (who shall remain nameless) give their child an iPad and let them watch something on YouTube while they carried on their conversation. I remember very clearly thinking ‘I will NEVER do that. I won’t be THAT kind of parent.’ But it turns out that I am THAT kind of parent…. and I suspect that I’m not the only one who’s been on that journey.
So with that in mind, it got us thinking about the other things we vowed not to do that have become parenting survival essentials. Please don’t think us bad parents…
I remember it so clearly. I think I even remember doing ‘tsk’ noise in my head… or possibly out loud. I just couldn’t see myself being the kind of dad who let his son watch cartoons on an iPad at the age of 16 months. But it’s just not that simple. You see, that two minutes when he’s watching Postman Pat might just be the only two I get to myself in the course of a day.
I should say here that I love playing with my son more than anything. I love watching him learn and test things for himself and I love seeing him laugh and giggle when he knocks over a tower of blocks that daddy has carefully built. It’s magical – but that doesn’t mean that those two minutes are any less precious. So I have succumbed. Don’t get me wrong, Fred doesn’t sit there all day with a screen six inches from his eyes but Postman Pat and his adventures in Greendale have become an effective device to give me a break from chasing an excited toddler around.
Home cooked food vs pouches and Rich Tea biscuits
I’m pretty sure that before Fred was born I can remember having a conversation with Rachael about what our child would eat when he came to start on solids. Everything was going to be organic and home cooked. I’m pretty sure we didn’t factor in Ella’s Kitchen pouches into our plan.
Now I must say that I wouldn’t class us as ‘pouchy’ parents. And yes, I have heard that term mentioned. But I’m not sure there’s a great deal wrong with something pre-prepared as long as it’s full of the right things. As for the organic idea… yep, that went by the wayside too. And he just loves Rich Tea biscuits!
A strong will and dealing with tantrums
We want to encourage Fred to have a personality but when do you let him get his own way and when do you fight back? I don’t think we know to be perfectly honest but before he was born, the idea of letting him get on with a little tantrum in a supermarket seemed like a very poor idea.
But it turns out, that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do. You’re not supposed to pander to them even when it seems like that’s what you want/need to do.
He has got a strong will and he knows exactly what he wants. Most of the time, what he wants means to be able to carry our digital smart thermostat around, throwing it on the ground and then watching while daddy puts the batteries back in. It seems like a terrible idea, and even as I write this, I think it probably is a terrible idea. But the fact is, it’s sometimes easier to let him hold a thermostat than it is getting into a fight about it that might get him angry before bedtime. I certainly didn’t anticipate it being like this.
The same thing goes for lying in the dog’s bed, emptying out the bathroom cabinet and running around with a potato out of the vegetable box. All not ideal but whatever makes him happy! Don’t get me wrong, we have ground rules and we do challenge him and we’re determined to make sure our little man grows up to be as special and wonderful as we know he can be.
You think life will be over…
That’s what they tell you before you have your child. It’s an attitude that’s drummed into you. It’s probably what we expected too so we braced ourselves – but it’s just not true.
Watching at close quarters as Fred’s personality grows and develops is incredible. I think I’ve mentioned it before in this blog but it’s just getting better and better. And that means watching him learn and work out what he likes and equally obviously, what he doesn’t like.
So it’s onwards and upwards. Before too long he’ll be 18 months old and Fred will be starting Little Kickers! I can’t wait.