This morning I had a lovely chat with my mum. I say chat, I had a wibble and she listened. My wibble was essentially thus: I hate feeling judged as a parent. We are going through a tricky period with the Monster, nothing that I think isn't par for the course for a normal two-year old, your average terrible twos. Some people think we're too hard on Matilda, some people think we're too soft, we've been advised to take her to an osteopath, a homeopath, a psychologist, the zoo (that was my suggestion). We are trying to walk a line between being comforting and understanding but not giving in to capricious behaviour and unreasonable demands. As I wibbled to my mum, we do our best to listen to our instincts and do what is right for us as a family but sometimes it's hard to take on board and yet not be oppressed by all the opinions/advice that buzz around you. I can clearly remember when we were living the high life in London, propping up some bar with Fanf and discussing the parenting techniques of his sisters. "We'll never do that", we'd say, sipping on our mojitos, "our children will be brought up the right way." Then we'd order another mojito. Fastforward four years and two children later, and many of the things we saw Anne and Steph doing and said we'd never do... we do. Because the bottom of the mojito glass is not the best position from which to make pronouncements about parenting techniques. There are principles and then their are practicalities. Principles are for smug, young mojito-drinking libertines (I was never really a libertine, I just like to think I was), practicalities are for parents in the thick of it.
So, today's thoughts on parenting:
1. Parenting doesn't start until the mini-beasts are there clamouring for your attention. Parenting is working in the field, constant experimentation, not theorising into your cocktail.
2. It's reassuring to know other parents are going through the same trickiness as you, it's useful to know how others have survived, but only you know what to do with your child. For your own family, you are the expert. Even when you feel you haven't the slightest clue what's going on!
A big thank you to my mum for letting me expound my thoughts on parenting without giving me anything other than reassuring murmurs of sympathy and consent. I felt much better afterwards.
Anyway, by popular demand, here are a couple of films of mini-beast activity. Not particularly exciting, just doing what they do.