- Yours are perfect and everyone else’s are horrible.
- Childminding is a huge expense, and why isn’t it tax deductible?
- They’re smaller than you. You can pick them up. Just as well, really; you need some sort of head start.
- They generate so much washing. Sick-covered washing. Lots of tiny baby grows.
- Nappies. Yuk. Need I say more?
- There are no secrets. You bath them, you cuddle them, you wipe their bums.
- You have at least some idea what’s going on in their heads; hot, cold, hungry, lonely, sore, pee, poo.
- When they’re sad, you can cure most things by jiggling them about a bit.
- They generally stay where they’re put. Until they learn to crawl, that is.
- They eat what you give them.
- You can talk gibberish to them and they’ll pretend to understand.
- They trust you.
- They smile at you and it’s like the sun coming out.
When they start primary school
- Yours are cute and everyone else’s are monsters.
- Childminding – still expensive, still not tax deductible.
- They’re still smaller than you. But you really can’t pick them up, so stop trying.
- They generate so much washing. Sick covered on car journeys, mud covered at weekends.
- There are some secrets. You get to shut the bathroom door when you go to the toilet, for instance.
- You know exactly what’s going on in their heads because they tell you at every opportunity. And then repeat it in case you didn’t hear first time.
- They no longer stay where they’re put. In fact, they run faster than you so you’ve no chance of catching them.
- When they’re sad, you can cure most things with a sticking plaster and a cuddle.
- They drop one thing after another out of their diet, all those good things that you were so smug that they ate.
- They talk gibberish to you and you pretend to understand.
- They trust you. They hold your hand when they cross the road.
- They smile with you and it’s like the sun coming out.
Once they’re teenagers
- Why can’t yours be perfect, just like everyone else’s?
- Childminding? Why did I think that was expensive? We’re heading for tutoring now, not a place I ever thought we’d go. Still, I suppose it’s less than school fees.
- When did they get so big? Did you blink? And they can pick you up.
- Washing. Oh, the washing. Perfectly clean washing. Worn for 10 minutes, it’s dirty. Washing generated by tidying up the bedroom floor – washing basket not drawers is the teenage mantra. Clothes so big that one change can fill the machine. Bring back baby grows!
- Life is one big secret. Although friends, and friends’ parents, can be a source of insight and knowledge.
- I have no idea what goes on inside their heads. Until they have a rant, of course.
- They stay where they’re put. Normally in front of the computer/games console/television. Unless they’re not there at all, of course, in which case you have no chance of locating them.
- When they’re sad, it’s generally your fault and there’ll be nothing you can do or say to put it right.
- They eat pretty much everything. But it’s not enough. Dinner’s just finished? Time for a sandwich and let’s clear out the fridge while we’re there.
- dey txt gibberish rthR thN tlk +U try 2 undRst& bt it S, aftr ll, a 4N lang dat no XXX shudve 2 deal W.
- Trust you? Puh! And what’s worse they’ll say “Let me do that Mum” in a certain derisory tone. Or (I got this one the other day) “Watch out Mum!” as you cross the road.
- But occasionally, just occasionally, they still smile with you and it’s still like the sun coming out. Oh, and they know some pretty good jokes by this stage.
…and it doesn’t stop there. They are just as “interesting” when they are all growd up. And then come the grandchildren and greatgrandchildren….
Welcome, Ann! Is it not true that part of the joy of grandchildren is being able to hand them back? And being able to hand back responsibility? I have to confess to those days when my children are particularly interesting but I do wish they belonged to someone else!
Shape of things to come. Thank you for a look into the future.
You’re very welcome, Helen!
I blog-walked from the Potty Diaries, and I have to say *wow* the US is actually doing something right for a change (the exception that proves the rule!!) as childcare is tax deductible over here.
You still have to pay through the nose of course!!
Loved this post, I can only relate to the first instalment, but it made good reading all the same!
Hi Alison – so glad you enjoyed it! It was born out of some wistful looking back from the teenage years to those long ago days when I was in control… Make the most of it if that’s where you’re at!
What’s that saying “Little kids, little problems’ big kids, big problems”. So true – and always my fault of course.
Great post GPM – I may print it off and stick it on the fridge so that when Husband says ‘is it just Boy #1 / Boy #2, because I’m sure it is’, I can say No! with some justifcation. Rather than simply with hope, as I do now…
Oh yes, EPM, always my fault. But aren’t all problems big until you’re on to the next one?
Some things are definitely universal, PM. Although surely there can be no other children with the talent to match your own sweet darlings… and I do keep thinking of bits I missed out of the post. I must try not to edit.
I love this post. Laugh and cry sort of stuff.
Hi Iota! I’m not sure whether I was laughing or crying when I wrote this. Crying, I suspect.
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