Monday, 19 August 2013

I've forgotten more than I ever knew.

You learn a lot, as a parent.  And you forget a lot too.  For example, I would struggle to settle a newborn these days, even though for 4 years all I seemed to do was settle tiny children.  My brain has dumped a lot of information from my children's early years.  Or perhaps it's just well kept, in storage, and if suddenly put in charge of a newborn again (no no no no no no) I could settle them like a champion.

Anyway, here is some information I've retained.  Things I've learned along the way.  Mainly that every child is a unique human being.  They have their own unique tastes and areas of interest.  And sometimes, even as parents we don't recognise this and force them into our own expectations of what they should enjoy.  I say do it only once people, then learn your lesson and move on.  Or better still, learn them from me first and save yourself the trouble.

Lessons I've learned (so far):

Not all children like petting farms.  

Beware the goat. There's always a goat and the goat is usually evil. 
I've seen them screaming.  I've seen their parents trying to convince them to pat a sheep or pick up a guinea pig.  That kid is not having a bar of it.  Animals, especially baby ones, are far too random for some children.  They might bite, or sniff them, or touch them or something.  Parents, if you do have a child like this, please don't force the issue, their screaming frightens the animals (and the other parents), this is especially true at the Royal Show where the number of hysterical, terrified children in the vast petting area nearly outnumbered the happy ones.

Not all children like costumes.

Not dressing up themselves, nor others dressing up.  The sight of a Banana in Pyjamas or a Dora impersonator with a big head, is enough to make them run, shrieking in the opposite direction.  For these kids, a dress up party is just a terrifying opportunity for all their friends to freak them out while wearing masks.  Forcing kids like these to the front of the crowd to get closer to the large creature in a yellow banana suit is NOT the solution.  Unless you want to be deaf, and kicked to pieces by your sobbing offspring.

Not all children like the movies.

Now here I'm lucky because my three will sit, like statues, wearing 3D glasses like three little Harry Potters, and not move for the duration.  They eat their bag of treats (purchases beforehand at Coles, not the rip off cinema) and stare unwaveringly at the screen, while fully inhabiting whatever world has been created for them there.  But I have invited friends to the movies who are like little jack in the boxes.  They're up, down, back, forth.  They're off down the aisle, and they're busting for the loo.  They're bored, hungry, thirsty, need to sit on my knee, want to leave now, is it over yet?  They just can't help it.

Not all children like ice cream. 

Quite frankly, I find not liking ice-cream very hard to understand. 
Issy is one.  She can only eat smallish fruity ice poles eg. Calippos.  No Magnums or bowls of Blue Ribbon with lashing of Cottees chocolate topping for her (and no this isn't an ad, this is my childhood and perhaps why, for the whole of year five, my nickname was Porky).  Issy gets a terrible tummy ache if she eats too much of anything too cold.  Some kids get headaches.  Goodness I wish that happened to me when I was 10, it would have saved me a year of anguish.

I don't know if Issy properly qualifies as a disliker of ice cream because normally if you ask her she'll have one, and risk the painful consequences.

Not all children like spaghetti bolognese

The go-to staple for harried mothers all over Australia is not universally loved?  Who knew? Well, I did when Sarah told me she didn't like it.  I was gutted.  I thought it was a family winner.

Poor old spaghetti bol.  Not everyone's favourite. 
I felt, frankly, unAustralian.  But I soon realised I wasn't alone.

I also have a friend whose daughter used to cry when she was told it was spag bol for dinner (she has since grown out of this).  And to be honest, Joshie still cries if I make Tacos.  So I still make Spag Bol, but not as often as I used to, and Sarah eats it under sufferance.

I have not yet met a child who dislikes chocolate.  But I'm sure they're out there.

Any generalisations used in this blog post are mine...all mine.  *laughs evilly*

Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos/tom curtis, suat eman and rackratchada torstrap.