I wish I’d written down all of the things I swore I’d never do. It would be hysterical to look back on it now and muse on how high my expectations were. I’d like to interview my former self and find out exactly how she thought she could get it all right, every time, without resorting to prescription painkillers or parenting professionals. I read Gina Ford whilst pregnant with my first child, we even tried some of the techniques before we realised that parenting by numbers was never going to suit our child, or more importantly us as parents.
One of the things that I remember feeling most strongly about was television. Now admittedly I’m a bit of a telly addict, but I do have issues with children sat comatosed in front of the digital babysitter all day. It’s one of the reasons that I gave up on a childminder way back when…I hated the fact that the television was permanently on. The boy wonder obviously didn’t like it either, in the three hours he spent there twice a week he refused to eat or drink and I soon realised that both of us being completely miserable wasn’t conducive to any kind of work/life balance and found other ways to manage.
Apart from a very brief flirtation with Milkshake, the rule in this household has always been ‘No TV in the mornings’. I’d prefer no TV at any time to be honest, it turns my children into monsters….all that pent up energy has to come out FAST and, for the boy in particular, that’s a big issue. But I’m not a complete horror of a mother, they do have TV, generally after school, after they’ve got changed and had 15-20 minutes of ‘productive time’ – oh no, I take it all back, I am a complete horror of a mother…
The ‘no TV in the mornings’ rule has always extended to weekends too. We’ve never really thought about why, it just has, and none of the children has ever thought to question us, well not a great deal, and not enough to change our over-expectant-parent minds. In turn we appear to have bred three relatively intelligent children with very active imaginations.
Take this morning for example, the OH has been ill with manflu and needs his recuperation time. I’ve been feeling a little tired too so it was no surprise that we slept till 8am. Waking up to a bed devoid of children was a surprise though. Then we heard the gut-wrenching sound of hysterical giggling, followed by lots of shushing when little people tuned in to our awakeness. A vaguely sweet smell wove its way up the stairs before the 4yo bounded into the room in a cloud of baby talc.
Me: “What have you been doing?”
4yo: (glancing at the 5yo who has also just crept into the room) “Mummy, next time you go ice skating can we come?”
Me: “Well, I don’t know, do you think you’d be able to ice skate?”
4yo: “Yes, we can, we’ve been practicing in the kitchen, you do it like this…” (makes swishing noises and glides around the bedroom)
Reluctantly I made my way downstairs, not really knowing what to expect. This is the site that greeted me:
Guess who’s allowed to watch TV on weekend mornings now….