I’ll admit to having not felt overly communicative these last few weeks. A case of not really knowing how to say the things I want to say, but there has been a lot going on.
Our endlessly surprising daughter finished her first, glorious, year at school. She proved me entirely wrong by totally excelling herself, going from strength to strength, and growing in ways I could never have predicted. I may have got a bit overwhelmed at the end, picking her up from her final day. This is how we celebrated…
And so to our first ever summer holidays. I have very little free time and just one days annual leave planned these holidays, so we made the most of a few consecutive days away from work and I single-handedly took them on our first rail adventure to my Mum’s house. I’m not sure which of us was more excited, I was definitely giving them a run for their money. I did so much planning, special surprise toys and books, the world’s greatest picnic, and a bucketload of trepidation, all for a three hour journey.
It all turned out brilliantly though, and we had an amazing time on the train, and at my mums (ignoring that one horrible when the little man fell asleep at six causing all kinds of chaos, and the time the little lady desperately needed a wee in the very centre of IKEA!!). Considering that was essentially the only Holiday part of our summer holiday, it was pretty heavenly!
Then after three short days it was back to reality and a very busy rota throughout the holidays. Bad planning on my part. New bikes were waiting for them both, though they seem to have inherited my cycling genes, and after a scraped knee each they are a little less keen than they were at the mere thought of riding bikes. I have just ordered knee and elbow pads so hopefully that might give them some extra confidence.
On our mummy-daughter day yesterday we had our very first trip to the cinema to see Finding Dory. The magic of the silver screen, and the wonder on my daughter’s face got to me a little, combined with an overly sentimental take, and I may have shed a tear or two. I think she really enjoyed herself too, which is the important thing, right?
Read an article in the Guardian this week about attachment parenting, which really annoyed me, and summed up all the things which wind me up when people write articles about parenting. Most people I know who baby wear, breast feed, and/or co-sleep are pretty normal people, who are just trying to get through each day with their kids in a way that feels right for them. A lot of them had no clear plan to parent in that way. Most of them still worry about whether they’re getting it right, and enjoy occasional time away from their children, a glass of wine, and a mainly happy, inclusive relationship with their children’s dad. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely the odd loonies out there. Thinking more about it I was reminded of the reason why I left every single attachment parenting based group I ever followed; the conversations about poisonous formula, cots of death, and babies permanently damaged from the emotional cruelty of cry-it-out. I do think it’s remarkable how those parents who most loudly espouse their unconditional love and respect for their own children who seem to have the least humility and understanding when it comes to supporting other parents.
So while I baby-wear, co-sleep, full-term breastfeed, cloth nappy, use elimination communication, and avoid punishment or reward, well I still absolutely lose my shit and swear at the kids, understand exactly how you get so sleep deprived that cry-it-out seems like the only option, feed them junk food on a daily basis, and get super excited about an adult evening away with lots of red wine. I don’t think I have any magic answer which guarantees happy children and definitely not one that guarantees happy, well rounded adults who don’t blame me for their disastrous lives. It blows my mind that anybody thinks they do! Good luck to them. And I’ll just keep muddling through and making it up as I go along.