Until you’ve parented a three year old you can’t appreciate how easy babies are. Yes they wake in the night and guzzle on your boobs until you feel like you’re going to pass out, but they are a breeze in comparison to life with a toddler. Everyone knows about the ‘terrible twos’, but seriously, it doesn’t really get going until age three. This is the point where you have to start doing actual proper parenting, yeah you’ve done your fair share up till now in preparation but by the time three comes around you have to start doing stuff like discipling, explaining how the world works, installing boundaries, creating values, those sorts of crazy ass things you know you’re going to have to do but somehow are never quite prepared to do. It’s freaking exhausting.
Babies are, on reflection a much easier bundle to manage, in fact I think it would be a grand idea for new first time parents to have to spend a week with a 3 year old. By the time the new born comes a long they’ll feel like actually they’ve got it easy and be far more chilled out.
Babies do not move
Babies do not answer back
Babies do not grab you round the ankles when you’re about to walk down the stairs shouting ‘you’re a bottom man with custard on your head’
Babies do not insist on going everywhere dressed as captain america…in a knights cape…with a pair of binoculars whilst holding a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle
Babies do not ask for a ‘gogo gogo jelly gun on your head’ for christmas and then stamp their feet when you casually observe how that’s not an actual real thing
Babies do not find a way to get the word ‘poo’ into every sentence
Babies do not ask you watch real life diggers shovelling dirt on you tube…for half an hour
Babies do not demand that you to re-enact a complicated scene involving pirates, the hulk and a cuddly fox puppet….at 5.45am
Phoenix is bonkers. Like actual, proper nuts. He is so hilarious at the moment I just want to bottle up his spirit and imagination and keep it forever. He’s seriously hard work, but the pay back is pretty immense. His little mind is working overtime and he has all these thoughts, feelings, memories and ideas that are bizarre, adorable and damn right whacky. A while back at work a child psychologist who was working with us around the subject of children and play described this age as the ‘golden-age of play’. Experiencing it as a mum, I can really see that up close; it’s a time of pure fantasy where’s there’s such a strong belief in the magical and mystical that anything is possible and everything’s an adventure.
On the weekend we went to The Natural History Museum, he had his binoculars with him (obvs) and was spying lions, dinosaurs and custard heads all the way there. You may have noticed custard features a lot, he has an obsession with ‘custard guns’, and ‘jelly guns’. In fact jelly anything jelly… Jelly head, jelly man, jelly cat, jelly bottom…it goes on. The ‘golden-age of play’ is great but man it takes its toll on you. There was an afternoon last week where everything that he said was followed by ‘gogo punch head’. Can I have biscuit gogo punch head? Pretty funny huh? After 5 hours it can really grate on a woman to the point of wanting to gogo punch myself in the head.
Play does feature heavily in our household, I love nothing more than just to see kids play. I kind of get a bit freaked out by the ‘over parenting’ of kids at this age. I was pretty shocked when I realised some of the kids in his nursery could pretty much write! Well, sort of wobble their name across a page as opposed to jotting up War and Peace, but still, seriously impressive. I haven’t really got into all that with him yet, we draw and make things but there’s such a life time of school and education which is so hard core these days I just think, ‘dude, you’ve got to get in all the Lego you can, while you can, it’s coming for you, the homework is coming’.
Stories also feature heavily in our lives, I was also massively into reading as a child and really think its had a huge influence on how I think and approach life in general actually. It’s a such an important thing to breed a love of books from early on, I can’t wait until he can read himself and disappear into a good story, I’m such a fan of children’s literature, reading is just so cool when you still have a foot in the world of ‘anything’s possible’. I believe play and storytelling are or should be, the building blocks of a child’s education before they go to school. And whilst I’m glad he does all that other stuff at nursery, and as I say, do a bit of it ourselves at home, I do think the world has gone a bit mad with what we expect from our kids before they can even tie a shoelace…(which he also can’t do by the way, god bless you velcro).
I am continually astounded by Phoenix’s memory; it’s insane what that boy can remember. I asked him today if he remembered going to see father christmas last year and he said ‘yes there were those woods, with lots of little gold owls in them’, which was exactly right! Freaky. It does make it incredibly hard to tell fibs though, there’s no chance at all of saying ‘you can have an ice cream later when we get home’ and expecting he’ll let it go. He WILL NOT forget it, but will run to the freezer the moment we’re through the door. And his memory is also helping him with a new talent which he entirely gets from his dad – quoting from films. He’s three, and its started already. He loves to pick out his favourite lines and wait for them in the film before falling around in stitches and putting on voices to recreate them. And everyone loves a good film quote right? No harm in that, but his repertoire of films are hardly iconic or recognisable to anyone other than 3 year olds, so it kind of makes him just seem like he’s got mild tourettes when you’re out in public and he shouts one of these ‘classics’…
“My man, my maaaaain man” (Wreck it Ralph)
“Corn……It gives you gas” (Planes)
“Bottom” (Dispicable Me 2)
“We need a plan of attack. I have a plan. Attack” (Avengers – he hasn’t even seen this, it’s a quote that’s come via Ben!? Quote osmosis)
So between these beauties and living with a husband who flutters between Alan Partridge, Gandalf and anyone from a Scorsese film, I feel like I’m living a nut house.
So no, babies do not send you crazy in this way, babies are not as hard work as toddlers.
Babies wait…..until they’re three.