My little girl is two years old. In most circles, that fact is normally followed by ghostly ‘oooh’ sounds.
That bothers me.
It bothers me that there’s an assumed reaction to becoming two years old. It bothers me that an avalanche of bad behaviour is prophetically cast over wary mothers and unsuspecting toddlers. It bothers me that it seems an inexplicable and inescapable fact: The next year of your life is going to suck. Good luck!
I’m a firm believer in Ameli’s playtime. I’m a firm believer that she needs to be around other children. I’m a firm believer that she needs to learn to share. I’m a firm believer that she can’t have the best toys to herself at all times. I’m a firm freakin’ believer that she should stand her ground when whiny snot-nosed crying little boys try and take her toys off her.
Every baby is different. From conception to pregnancy through the birth and into adulthood â€“ yet somehow we expect babies and toddlers to follow a set schedule.
â€˜Is he sleeping through the night yet?’
â€˜Are you still breastfeeding?’
â€˜What do you mean she never had purees?’
â€˜Isn’t it about time he potty trained?’
It’s all about the schedule, whoever’s schedule you happen to follow â€“ generally based on whichever book happened to be given during pregnancy.
I had such a reminder again this week of the differences between children. I was unpacking a box of books when I came cross a mother & baby book I’d been given during my pregnancy.Â For 20 â€“ 24 months it says:
Climbing up and down low furniture or climb frames is probably routinely attempted and achieved
Ameli at her first birthday party, climbing off the bouncy castle.
Not my preferredway, but since she’s been taking stairs one or two at a time since 8 months, that’s apparently become boring (I can’t findÂ the video of her taking the stairs like that, but when I do, I’ll add it.)
SoÂ yeah. Every child is different, and if you’re listening to your child, rather than the books, parenthood is going to be a much more enjoyable journey.
Did/does your child do things ‘by the book’? Do you even read ‘the book’?
â€œEach of us must come to care about everyone else’s children. We must recognize that the welfare of our children is intimately linked to the welfare of all other people’s children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else’s child will perform it. If one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else’s child will be responsible for the violent act. The good life for our own children can be secured only if a good life is also secured for all other people’s children.â€ – Dr. Lilian G. Katz, professor of early childhood education.
I used this quote in a post I wrote the other day. I heard it, and it stuck in my mind. This is why I do what I do. This is why I write this blog. It’s why I hope to help other mothers, one at a time, make better decisions for their children.
I’m not always right, and my way doesn’t work for everyone, but if it at least makes other parents think about their actions, about why they do what they do, so that they can come to informed, reasoned decisions, whether they agree with me or not. That I count as success.
I hope that this blog inspires you to be a more conscious parent. Just as others inspire me.
I was reading the Guardian Life & Style Family section and â€œMy mum said I must give up my babyâ€ caught my eye. The stories are all sad, and all about the same. It was the 50’s or the 60’s and my parents didn’t want me bringing shame on their house so they took away my child and told me to get on with my life. My thoughts this morning are not on adoption, but on the conditions that are set on our children for them to ‘earn’ our love. Read more: News Of The Week: Forced Adoption And Conditional Love
One day I sat in an adjoining room to where my husband and daughter were. I didn’t know particularly what they were up to, but at one point, a full few minutes of the ‘conversation’ was her Daddy saying ‘No, no, don’t touch that. No Ameli, put that down. No, no, I said no’ and so on.
I became conscious of how often we were saying no to Ameli and discussed it with my husband. At first he didn’t really think it such a big deal, but he must have become conscious of it, as he started pointing it out to me when I was doing it too.
We began to realise how difficult it really is to exclude ‘no’ from your vocabulary once Ameli started walking, unpacking things from cupboards, and generally expressing her independence.
It wasn’t until Ameli one day did something she was allowed to, then looked at me and shook her head that I realised that it did have an effect on her.
So we’ve started making a few changes to the way we ‘do’ things:
…but words will never hurt me? Well that must be the biggest lie I’ve ever heard. Whoever first said that was surely never on the receiving end of painful words, harsh verbal onslaughts or cruel jibes. Whoever said that probably never went through putting on a brave face in public before making a hasty withdrawal and sobbing in private moments later. Read more: Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones…
I’ve been struggling a lot recently with the fact that us mamas have to multitask, while the dads seem to find it a little harder, to say the least!
I can cook a full dinner, put on a wash, hang up the washing and wash a few dishes all while my daughter toddles around the kitchen amusing herself with her toys, hangs off my legs, cries to be picked up and generally goes about her day. I’ve even been known to pop her on the counter to breastfeed while I’ve been cooking. Read more: When Mummies and Daddies Do It Differently
New parents are bombarded with information from their first visit to a medical professional, throughout their pregnancy and the early days of their babies’ lives. My daughter is only ten months old, and as far as I can tell, this doesn’t stop for some time.
The problem with this is that so much of your pregnancy, birthing experience and early motherhood is influenced and affected by the opinions of the person you’re listening to. And I do specifically use the word opinion, because being a doctor, paediatrician or midwife does not, in fact, make you an authority on any of these.