You are probably expecting that I will tell you about a mum who was acting like a know-it-all, or maybe I’m writing about an overall loathing of parents who act like they are walking parenting books. But alas my friends, this post is about me. I am the know-it-all. *looks down in shame* I used to dole out advice about sleeping and eating and discipline as if I was the reincarnated Dr Spock.
When I had my daughter, just over six years ago, I found the first three months to be quite stressful. But then at 11 weeks old, Moozles began sleeping through the night (in her cot in her own room). It was amazing. And when I began weaning her at 5 1/2 months, she took to eating without any problems. She ate just about everything, practically every meat and every vegetable. She began talking at 20 months, and by the age of two she knew all the colours and could count to 10. She skipped the Terrible Twos entirely. There were no tantrums. We used to take her to very nice restaurants where she would eat from the adult menu, sit nicely, do some colouring and not make a mess. She was such a ‘good’ child. And I surmised that I was obviously a good parent.
Boy, was I wrong. What I was, was lucky. Two years ago we had our darling son, Dubz. And now the truth has finally sunk in. Dubz did not sleep through the night til he was 10 months old. Although he ate everything at first, he is quite picky, even sometimes turning his nose up at pizza. Pizza! Some days he will eat broccoli, some days he won’t. Most of his food ends up on the floor. He began his foray in the Terrible Twos at 22 months old. He will shout and shriek and hit. We have occasionally gone out for meals at Pizza Express and Wagamama but have spent the entire time counting down until we can leave.
But Dubz is not bad. And I am not a bad parent. Every child is different. This is the biggest lesson I have learned since having two children. There is no good or bad. Some children are more spirited. Then again, Moozles has more than made up for her lack of Terribles Twos by having an extreme case of the Ferocious Fives.
So the next time you feel like giving someone parenting advice, ask yourself if the advice is needed. You do not have a perfect child. There is no perfect child. Some children sleep better than others. Some eat everything, and some only eat bread or sausages. Sometimes we genuinely need advice. But sometimes we all appreciate some understanding when we are complaining about our children. Advice is not always wanted.