The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart. (Mencius, Chinese philosopher 372-289 BC)

Thursday, 27 June 2013

You Can Tell They're Growing Up When ... You Worry About Different Stuff

When the Dubmeister was born he brought untold joy and excitement. We marvelled at his chubby little fingers, his gorgeous gurgling noises, his perfect skin and that indescribeable smell with which all babies are blessed.

It was one of the best days of our lives.

(c) Roger Hargreaves
But, when a baby enters your life he also introduces a whole new level of worry. You worry about everything - from the temperature of his bedroom to the number of times he feeds via the evil inferiority complex creating myths propagated by millionaires made rich by writing books about how to raise the perfect baby. 

We even worried that our cat would devote himself to finding an opportunity to go to sleep on baby Dubmeister's face. Of course he didn't as that would involve being in the same room as the tiny screaming banshee that we had introduced into the house which was obviously out of the question!

At the same time well meaning friends and family reassured us that the phase would soon pass and that as the Dubmeister grew so would the worries pass and life would become a worry free Disneyland where the sun always shone and Dubmeister developed at a textbook rate.

They were wrong!

When a baby grows up you cease to worry about the temperature of his bedroom and the number of times he feeds and you soon realise that the books written by childcare experts are designed to create a sense of panic in the minds of couples going through the most intensely stressful sleep deprived period of their lives. However, that does not mean the worry stops. It just means that the focus of worry changes.

What we worry about now

  • So now, rather than worrying about the temperature of his bedroom we worry about what he gets up to in there instead!
  • Instead of worrying about how often he feeds we worry about how often he sits down to do his homework. Is he doing enough? Could he do more? Shouldn't he be doing better?
  • Rather than fretting over an evil cat who is determined to kill him by fur suffocation we worry about the evils of alcohol and drugs and pick up leaflets from Doctor surgeries and school reception areas which raise the stress levels even further.
I remember as a kid noticing that, if you caught a glimpse of my mum and her friends when they didn't know anybody was looking at them, you could see a far-away, concerned expression on their faces.

Now I am a parent I know why they looked like that. They were parents, they were worried. The two states of mind go together. No matter what the age of your kids might be. Be they four months, fourteen or forty you worry about them.

Speak soon
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