You’ll have to excuse me today. I’ve just finished watching all 4 episodes of Little Boy Blue (seriously, if you haven’t seen it, you HAVE to) and I’m a bit emotional!
As the final recorded episode finished, our Sky box automatically tuned into the last channel we were watching (Comedy Central, obvs) and the brilliantly funny Chris Ramsey was talking about life as a fairly new parent. He started talking about the whole world of pressure and responsibility on a new parent’s shoulders, and I sort of zoned out after he uttered these words.
“When you bring a life into this world… you have one job above everything else… Do not raise a dickhead”
I zoned out at this point because I genuinely started to consider just how well we are doing with this one.
I’d like to think that our parenting skills have helped to instil a number of un-dickhead qualities in Amelia so far, but I can equally say that she has the capacity for full dickhead mode whenever that switch flips.
It felt like it took forever to crack the manners thing, and at points it just felt like we were repeating “please” and “what do you say?” over and over and over again, until one day something seemed to finally click and she just got it.
So yeah, her manners are great, and I regularly get compliments about Amelia’s ‘beautiful manners’ from staff at nursery, friends and family, and random people we happen to talk to. But then there are the times when it all goes a bit awry.
Seriously, my threenager has perfected sarcasm (I wonder where she gets that from……..), so when she forgets her manners and I look at her expectantly, there are genuinely times when I get a roll of the eyes and a totally dickhead-ish and insincere “puh-leeease”. Then there’s the times like yesterday when she actually yelled at me from the living room;
“Get me a snack!”
Yeah, beautiful manners.
I’d like to think that I model empathy as much as I can around the kids, and I definitely try to make sure that I’m putting myself in their shoes sometimes.
For the most part, Amelia is fabulously empathetic. She shows true concern for the feelings of her friends, and once took me into a shop to buy a meal deal for a homeless man when I couldn’t tell her where he was going to have dinner (I didn’t want to lie and tell her ‘at home’ and she found that quite sad)
And yet, just a few days ago (she was being a bit of a dickhead) I explained that her actions had not been kind, and that actually her actions had made mummy feel a bit sad. She sort of looked around the room, and then responded “Ok. But I’m not doing that now. Can I have a cup of milk please?” Feeling at a bit of a loss, I asked her if she cared that mummy was sad, and she simply responded “No.”
Well that’s that then.
Pennies Make Pounds
So has my 3-year-old perfected the art of not being a dickhead, or has she actually perfected the art of saving? When I say saving, of course what I mean is saving up all of the shit for us at home!
I know that she is definitely capable of displaying excellent manners, and of caring for others. She happily tidies away toys at nursery, and treats things with respect. She asks nicely for things, and shares with others. Sometimes, she will even let me have a Malteser or two (parenting win of the day today).
So what the hell are all those other times about?! Are they just momentary relapses? Are they a test? Does she see me as more of a pushover than, say, the staff at nursery?
Honestly I don’t know, but I suppose all any of us can do is celebrate the wins, and tackle the rest one by one. There’ll be an end to this, right? Right??