Peck them like Beckham: Me and my boy
Parenting, it seems, is a pursuit that everyone has an opinion on – and no one is shy about sharing those opinions.
From breast-feeding or bottle feeding, crying it out or cuddling to sleep, cots or co-sleeping, smacking or naughty stepping, nursery or nanny, every stage of parenthood, so it feels, brings with it another should or shouldn’t.
And it turns out that even one of the world’s most famous men – David Beckham – isn’t immune to the circling vultures of criticism.
What’s surprising though, is the part of his parenting that he’s been hugely trolled for online.
Lest we forget: My boy and me
Sometimes the ways in which motherhood changes you as a person are big.
You give up sleeping. You don’t get to go to the loo on you own. Your jeans never fit in quite the same way again.
And sometimes the changes are slight, subtle, barely discernible, even to yourself.
I had one of those moments on Remembrance Sunday.
I took Sonny Jim over to the service at the Paddocks, Canvey. His grandma is one of the island’s reverends, it’s where I grew up and I sometimes feel the pull of home when certain occasions come around (Christingle is one. Mothering Sunday another.)
And as I sat (thank you to the lovely lady who saw me standing with my almost-3st-slightly-scared-of-crowds-tot in my arms!) I felt a chill that had absolutely nothing to do with the bright, sunny morning.
Soft play session: Sonny Jim and pal
I’ve been pretty good at avoiding soft play. Particularly – and especially – during school holidays.
But the other week, I capitulated. And Dante’s circles of hell have nothing on these padded-cell like death traps as far as I’m concerned.
I understand to the uninitiated, this probably seems unreasonable. What could be better for parents than indoor wonder worlds of mazes, slides and ball pits? So, consider this my attempt to enlighten you. Here’s exactly why I hate soft play centres…
1 Other people’s kids: You’d think no parent would want to be the one with feral kids. You’d think wrong on this. I don’t know what happens, but when kids get inside these centres they turn faster than a Mogwai in rain. Continue reading
First day: Off we go to pre-school
So, last week was the week.
The week I’ve been dreading. The week I’ve gotten tearful about more times than I’d like to admit. The week I’ve been so tempted to push back. To put off. To ignore until I can’t ignore it any more.
Last week, Sonny Jim started pre-school.
It was only two mornings. A grand total of six hours. But it has left me something of an emotional wreck.
On his first morning, I was stunned in the best way, when my rather shy boy shed not one single tear when I left. Simply gave me a kiss, a big wave and a reminder to be “back soon mama.”
It didn’t last.
Big step: Pre-school starts this week
This week Sonny Jim is going to start pre-school.
He’s almost two and a half, it’s only for two mornings a week and it’ll do my rather shy little lad the world of good.
But, however I dress it up, for me it’s a big HUGE (I’m channelling Julia Roberts here) thing.
It’s my boy’s first real steps of independence. Of venturing out into the world without mummy (or daddy) there to hold his hand. It basically marks the end of his babyhood.
And although I think he’s so ready for it – I’m not sure I am.
In this respect, I don’t think it makes any difference what age your little one first starts nursery/pre-school/school – it’s still a wrench.
Giggles: At the last family wedding
LATER this summer, Sonny Jim will be flying to the south of France to attend a family wedding.
My second cousin once removed (or is it third cousin?!) is getting married and while I HATE flying and am dreading the 4am taxi with toddler in tow, I really wanted us to go.
This cousin was one of my best playmates when I was little. There’s just six weeks between us, and a mere couple of years between us and her older sister, and almost all of my favourite childhood memories feature them in some way or another.
We didn’t live especially close (me on Canvey, them in Goodmayes) but every school holiday we could be found at each other’s houses.
Heart breaking: This image has haunted me
Millions of people have now seen the photo of a two-year-old girl screaming, while a US border agent pats down her mother.
Taken last week the snap has become symbolic of the “zero tolerance” border policies in America, which has caused hundreds of children to be separated from their parents.
My Sonny Jim is the same age as that little girl.
And I haven’t been able to get that photo out of my head since.
To be entirely honest, I’m not big on world news. So much of what goes on around the globe seems to shoot straight over my head as I battle the will of a toddler who doesn’t like eating dinner or being indoors.
Yet that image, when it flashed up on my Facebook feed, cut through all the little mundanities of my day. Continue reading