I used to read parenting blogs saying things like “I learn as much from my kids as they learn from me” and I would roll my eyes and make the ‘wanker’ sign.
I would put them in the same pigeon hole as ‘people who think homeopathy works’ and ‘people who think they can communicate with the dead’.
I’ve now realised that I was being unduly harsh, there are some genuinely insightful and profound lessons to be learnt from your kids. A parental pedagogy, if you will.
Here are some of the major lessons I feel that I, as an individual, have taken from my son.
Never Giving Up.
The boy has started to walk and is now making attempts to run. He still hasn’t quite got the not-smashing-his-face-on-the-floor thing and he stumbles around with a massive grin and multiple bruises on his face.
Despite the obvious pain he must be in, he still gets up and tries again.
It seems to me that we all give up too easily sometimes. Probably.
Keep Your Goals In Sight.
The boy has developed the habit of, when being held in our arms, pointing at what he deems to be of interest and looking imperiously. If movement in that direction is not forthcoming, he will look quizzically at us before pointing again, jabbing hist stubby little finger for emphasis.
If, this repeated instruction is not acted upon, we will be dealt with either a hearty clip round the ear or an Earth shattering shriek.
Don’t Take No For An Answer. Literally.
Now the boy is independently mobile, he has access to a raft of potentially dangerous and/or expensive items. As and when he picks up something that can hurt him (like the cat) or jam something unappetising is his gob (again, the cat) we say a stern and no-nonsense ‘no’.
At this point we sit back and congratulate ourselves for being good, boundary-setting parents.
Of course, this is a very short-lived experience as he pays absolutely no attention to us.
In fact, he usually continues what he is doing whilst also locking eye-contact and looking levelly at us, seemingly daring us to actually stop him.
This can include, but is by no means limited to, trying to eat anything within grabbing range, putting fingers in random wall openings, trapping his head in cupboard doors and trying to launch himself off the end of the bed.
First Hand Experience Of Soviet Style Collectivism.
Apparently our house has become some kind of microcosm of Stalinist Russia without me realising. Before, we had simple but rigidly delineated concepts of ownership.
Imagine, if you will, a Venn diagram where one circle represents me. This circle has things like Playstation, guitars, craft beer, that cool fridge magnet that the wife hates, and the like. The other circle, my wife’s, is full of make-up, shoes, hair crap, crushing disappointment at marrying me, and such.
Where these circles overlap are things like cutlery, sofas and jam.
What I didn’t realise was that our cosy Venn diagram was actually only a subset of a bigger, all encompassing diagram simply labeled ‘The Boy’.
What that means is that everything we own, have owned or will possibly ever own, is the boy’s. Apparently.
I would continue to list the other lessons I have learnt from my son. Things like why getting poo on you isn’t a big deal, how to do everything one handed and how to make several hundred different aeroplane sounds but I have to go and stop him feeding biscuits into the Playstation.
I’ll say no, and explain that it’s mine but I don’t think it’ll do much good.