This post has kind of come about from a discussion Pose and I were having on the way back from the ‘Festival of Children’ we went to recently in Cheltenham. The event in of itself, was quite an amiable affair with various businesses etc putting in little workshops for tiny people. Yes, it was quite clearly a clever way of promoting businesses and sharing the costs but Ollie loved it and his excitement at seeing Elmer the elephant was just magic.
Either way, we managed to tough it out for an hour or so and Olliebob enjoyed it immensely before declaring,in that split second decision making style that he’s developing a penchant for, that he wanted to leave. That was fine with us, we had in all honesty probably wanted to leave within 5 minutes or so but had soldiered on as this felt like the type of event that good parents should be attending with their children. All the other parents seemed to be enjoying themselves, or at the very least were better at hiding their true feelings than Pose and I. Maybe Pose and I weren’t the right demographic of parent for this ‘festival’. Our son was tearing around gnawing a bourbon biscuit and a child called Galahad or something similar, had a parent chasing him with kiwi fruit pieces. I am stereotyping unfairly here as I’m sure they were lovely, but honestly it was the most “Overheard in Waitrose” moment I’ve come across in ages. Either way the small grubby one demanded to leave, therefore we left.
Upon leaving however, Ollie did then decide he didn’t want to leave and we were placed in the quandry that parents often are. That quandry being the decision as to whether or not to play to a child’s whims for the easy life, or ignore it and face the inevitable couple of minutes of over the top recriminations and fake tears. In a moment of heroic parenting that will no doubt be placed in the annals of common folklore we took the mini tantrum and after it had blown over (literally took 30 seconds) we went on our merry way. Ollie literally did not care a fig once the tantrum failed to gain immediate effect. I also think he may of been concerned that
This little episode, however innocuous, did open up the discussion on our drive as to what utterly ridiculous things that we had done at our small child’s whim. On the whole we like to think we’re vaguely balanced in that we don’t let him get away with too much but do occasionally indulge him. We also always aim to never give absolutes as answers as then we actually have to follow through on them. It transpires though that despite our best efforts, we have little ‘hiccups’ in parenting along the way. With this in mind, here are the top 3 parenting fails that we have committed so far in the vain attempt to placate our tiny Mussoliniesque toddler.
1) This is the first admission that started this conversation off. Pose rather casually mentioned that when we got home Ollie could have some grapes but that she guessed she’d have to warm them first…yes you read this correctly. It turns out that to avert a tantrum Rosie has been individually hand warming each grape for our son as they were too cold. I honestly kid you not on this one, my wife the secondary school teacher who can face down a class of puberty-crazed teenagers was bullied into hand warming grapes by a 3 year old.
2) The second admission is one of my own and as with all of these I’m not massively proud of it. When we go swimming Ollie demands and I do mean demands, that I hold my breath underwater and lay down so that he can ‘walk all over me’. When it first started he was disappointed in my puny human lung capacity and made his disappointment known in a delightfully vocal manner. Instead of putting a stop to this like a normal parent I have embarked on a training regimen to improve my lung capacity. So far I’ve added about 12 seconds onto the time I can hold my breath. It’s still not good enough though. In my darker moments I’ve considered scuba gear…
3) The third admission is another corker from Pose. In her defence it did come at the end of a solid day of toddler on parent bullying, her reserves had been depleted and Oliver had somehow tapped into his ‘bouncing off the walls whilst being very loud’ mode. We’d even resorted to decamping to Grandad’s in a bid to ‘dilute’ our son. Upon playing on the floor and wanting a rest Ollie demanded that Mummy lie still and proceeded to crawl feet first under her top – all the while demanding she stop being a noisy pillow. I think the worst thing in all of it was that at no point did either of us think what was happening was out of the ordinary. We were both that beaten.
I’m utterly sure that there are many other incidents of us caving under a toddler instigated campaign of terror. However, as Pose and I are still in the horrific midst of this very drawn out guerilla campaign waged by our son, it’s hard to see them with the clarity that hindsight will no doubt provide.
What instances of parenting capitulation do you have hidden away? Remember that under constant mental and physical assault even the strongest will crack!