Being a parent is like nothing else on earth. You can only start learning the ropes when your first baby is born and then spend the foreseeable future constantly second guessing everything. Parenting not only means that you now need to look after your little human, but also what you do and how you do it ultimately shapes the person that this child is yet to become. You may wonder if dressing your little one in what you have picked for today is ok or if you gave them enough cuddles. I can honestly say that you will have dressed them well and given them the amount of attention that they need and is physically possible for you at that time.
Your child is a unique mix of your influence as well as other people that are present in their life. Your quirks, likes and dislikes will inevitably rub off on them as they watch how you navigate through the world on a day to day basis. Earlier this year, I attempted to change the course and limit noise and screen time to one hour per day…… Safe to say THAT didn’t go well!! Both myself and my fella are TV junkies and always have some sort of noise on in the background so it is only natural that our 18 month old wondered what was going on and why had the house suddenly become silent! Then I attempted to only let him watch shows that I thought were educational (and anything CBeebies of course) Cue the tantrums! Our dear son wanted nothing else than to watch “The Wheels On The Bus” over and over and over again. Luckily Kids Youtube has a variety of Wheels on the Bus styles, as we’ve found out, and they have been like gold at times. Now the little man is nearly 2, he knows animals and their sounds, counts to 10 and can tell you every mode of transport in the style I hate to say it but I actually think the screen time has been a good thing. We are slowly moving into Steve and Maggie territory which is great for learning the English language, especially putting small sentences together.
It is so interesting when you take a look at the boundaries that you have put into place and after a few weeks think ‘why did that matter so much”. At the time, we are adamant that we have the little ones best interest at heart and there’s no doubt that this is of course true, but can we just change our minds? Yep! It is ok to pull rank and say ‘because I said so!”, sometimes just so that your little people understand that some things are just not in their control. When you put some things into perspective after the fact, it is much easier to rationalise and move forward in whichever way you see fit.
On a podcast I recently listened to, Kate and Rio Ferdinand were discussing how they let their children play football in the house and Kate mentioned how alien that was to her. And me! However given the right space and proximity away from breakables, why not?? There can still be rules around the activity such as keep the ball on the floor or something along those lines. It can be a matter of changing the way you think about what your child is doing and why they are doing it. We are deep within the climbing the stairs phase. I have got so sick and tired of telling our little boy to come off the stairs that I’ve started just quietly going up behind him and letting him bump his little bum down. He isn’t doing this to test ME…. He is doing it to test HIMSELF! He is building up his strength and balance, so he is always going to want to climb, run and jump so the best course of action is to make these activities safe and encourage them. Although I have to say, I wasn’t best pleased at him testing his climbing skills at 13 months when he managed to climb out of his cot with a thud. Off came the sides of the cot and then started the reaching for the door handle and running around upstairs phase until we purchased baby gate number 2. Life with a climbing toddler can certainly be a challenge but shy of recording my own voice shouting “be careful” 400 times a day, it’s probably best to just take yet another trip to the park.
Our boundaries are always developing and we try and gauge them against our little ones development. And with every unique little one, comes a whole new set of limits and the way that they push them. Some children react with hyperactivity to sugar and others can’t drink liquid after 6pm to avoid bedwetting. I will be sure to try and ask permission from fellow parents to try to understand where their boundaries lie and I hope that you will do the same as we respect the rules that we have created for our little people.
The Monton Mama