Back in 1983 our parents had it easy. Sure, they didn’t have disposable nappies or Netflix but nor did they have to endure all the Good Parenting sincerity we have now. They were blissful in their ignorance & enjoyed a simpler approach. They didn’t need to worry about Twitter trolls, creating healthy balanced diets or exercise. They didn’t need to concern themselves with mundane activities like installing a child seat in the car.
Instead they could parent with gay abandon; out on bikes until the sun went down, giving their kids 10p to gamble on a fruit machine at a family meal to the Berni Inn and sips of Campari at the end of family parties. It was all free reign on the parenting back then.
But is it any wonder we are not more freewheeling when everything else to do with raising or children is so earnest? It’s bad enough that we can’t embrace mediocrity as we battle to be high performing middle class parents. Then there’s the pressure of every worthy well-meaning health advisor who makes us obsess over every detail; breast or bottle? Co-sleep or cot? Milestone or fluke?
I’ve highlighted the most worthy examples of parenting I have spotted in the last week:
Children’s concerts – sure you want your baby to have a sensory experience and sure classical music makes your child more intelligent (unlikely) but Bach to Baby? Please.
Calling fruit a delicious treat – don’t we tell enough lies to our children? Yes, fruit actually tastes OK and of course it’s good for you but so does water. It is in no way a treat.
Captain Barnacles from The Octonauts – this modern day hero is a 50 year old polar bear whose costumes include 1)pyjamas and slippers with a hot cocoa and 2) tuxedo for evening events. He delivers catchphrases such as “We need to save the creatures in the net” with no irony or enthusiasm.
This piece of artwork
Encouraging the use of anatomically correct words for children’s private parts. In my opinion, when a toddler says “penis” or “vagina” rather than “winkie” or “front bottom” the world is a little bit of a sadder place. And all in the name of empowerment and independence.
Conversely, discouraging silly language in which toddlers delight. There is nothing like seeing a toddler reduced to hysterical laughter in the face of an adult saying dead pan “Hello, Mr. Poopy Head”. This is the same group that feel the need to have a stern word in the face of marathon farting sessions. There are worse things people.
These objet d’arts created during “International Week”
It might sound like I’m being curmudgeonly but the truth is I’m not. I’ve fallen victim to it all and been to my fair share of toddler yoga and toddler friendly classical music recitals with an overlay of urban “improv” poetry. But I do wonder if we’ve gone too far. The Earnest Toddler – what examples have you seen?