Growing up fast (and other clichés)
This blog post has changed during its formation. Just a few days ago I was in a bit of a parenting ‘low’. To set the tone for what’s to follow – be prepared for a few clichés! – I was (almost literally) pulling my hair out.
The draft title for this post was ‘Growing pains’ as I was pondering the pressures related to a few significant changes that both children have gone through in recent weeks.
To cut a long story short, here is a brief summary of my recent issues:
New school. In the mad world of UK pre-school childcare, child #2 has started at the pre-prep department of a local private school. Unbelievably, over 12 months this is the cheapest option available to us which involves my wife keeping her job (and who wants to voluntarily surrender employment while a few million others are also seeking work). Anyway … within a few days of starting at this new school she has become (here comes another …) 3 going on 13. The teenage years have come way too early: tantrums are now accompanied by bucket-loads of ‘attitude’, and her stubborn streak has developed a vice-like quality that will refuse to concede any ground. Feel free to judge me for it, but even bribery doesn’t work any more.
Homework. I had a horrible first experience of helping child #1 with ‘proper’ homework. Perhaps not helped by attempting it half-asleep on a lazy Sunday afternoon after some lunchtime wine, I had given up even before he did. My own school report would surely include the phrase ‘must do better’.
Sleep. The nightmare of bedtime has returned. Child #2 is back at her worst, refusing to settle down at bedtime. There are a few things which could have contributed to this, but the fact of the matter is we just don’t know why. And so we are left completely helpless and solution-less, which is hugely frustrating. I just hope we get back to normality before too long. After five years of broken/disturbed evenings and nights, I’m quite enjoying have a bit of life and a bit of sanity back.
But I have moaned for too long.
As suggested at the top, I am now refusing to dwell on these negatives which dragged me into the parenting doldrums. I will choose – in the immortal words of Monty Python – to look on the bright side of life.
I’ll put all of the points above down to ‘growing pains’. But rather than point a finger at the changes in my kids, perhaps I should examine my own role in it all. Perhaps I had just settled into a bit of a routine, and wasn’t prepared to face the next step in the never-ending adjustment of parenthood. Now I’ve acknowledged that, I feel ‘back in the game’ again.
As that most over-used of clichés says, they do indeed grow up fast – and sometimes I just need a bit of time to catch up.