When you’re pregnant with your first child and just after you’ve had it, you enter a period of utopia where you imagine everything to be perfect.
Clean, fluffy blankets. Everything is new. You imagine a set of ideals in your head, a goalpost of sorts which you measure everything against.
Some time later, these goal posts are thrown out of the window. Usually when reality kicks in that we are not perfect.
I thought it would be funny to share what my goalposts were and how long it took me to get rid of them.
The idea-I would take to breast feeding like a duck to water. Baby would latch on and I would continue doing so until she was 17 or so.
The reality-she wouldn’t latch on. Even when I rang the midwife to help me, baby latched on like a dream until the midwife left the house. I lasted two weeks and then, reluctantly, bottle fed. I still feel guilty about it but there it is.
I blogged about this recently (see http://farmerswifeandmummy.com/2014/02/08/dummies-the-heroin-of-the-nursery/ I really, really didn’t want Boo to have a dummy but guess what? Three years later she has one. There are worse things at sea-I can cope with this one.
Pre-packed baby food
The dream-my inner domestic goddess would appear. I would cook wholesome little meals and freeze them in ice-cube trays.
The reality-while I did stew apples, liquidise carrots and try to get to grips why broccoli wouldn’t purée, sometimes I was just too tired. I might forget to get a little tub out of the freezer or the hubster would be hay-making so I would only have soup for dinner. Not to mention the phase we went through where Boo would only eat Ella’s Kitchen pouches. It could have been worse. At least Ella’s Kitchen is natural and was the closest to tasting like what I cooked. Some people are of the mind that if children refuse to eat your meals they should go without but babies aren’t doing it on purpose. Boo came out of the pouch stage on the other side.
The dream-Boo will never eat chocolate. It is a non-food with no nutritional value.
The reality-I lasted until she was nearly one before she had her first taste of the creamy stuff. I thought that was good going. I understand there is no nutritional value in it but at the same time, it is a lovely treat so, I didn’t think, in the end, that having chocolate was so bad. When I saw other one-year-olds enjoying it, I felt a bit sorry for Boo that she was missing out.
The dream-Boo will never eat processed food.
The reality-for some reason, the first taste of chicken nuggets is like an awakening in children. Have you noticed that when you eat out they are on every menu? I remember when we went out for Boo’s first birthday and I ordered spaghetti bolognaise for her, the waiter actually said he was impressed because it was the first pasta he had served to a baby-‘they usually order chicken nuggets.’ Now fast forward another two years and, I’m afraid, I do allow the odd chicken nugget to pass those lovely, little lips. Like chocolate, in moderation, chicken nuggets can be a nice little treat.
The dream-When I was pregnant and I used to see all of these little outfits with featuring Peppa and George, I used to wince. ‘No child of mine will ever wear anything Peppa Pig,’ I told my mum.
The reality-what a fool I was. Peppa Pig is ingrained in our society as much as red post boxes I’m afraid. It is a right of passage for tots to oink at their parents, jump in muddy puddles and demand Peppa is put on the TV. I’ve stopped fighting now and do you know what? I actually enjoy Peppa Pig now-maybe I’ve been brainwashed…if you google Peppa Pig, there are a lot of conspiracy theories out there about that lovable little pink hog.
The dream-where we lived before, one of our neighbours used to shout at her child all the time. Boo was only 18-ish months when we moved to the farm so I vowed to myself that I would never shout at Boo.
The reality-I try not to shout when she is doing naughty things but if what she is doing is going to be a danger to her own life (or the dog’s) I admit it, I shout. If only to get her attention to stop her from falling into the bath head first, force-feeding banana to the dog or stopping her from launching herself off something. Before I had Boo, it was easy to have this rose-tinted idea of what discipline would be like. However on the front line of parenting a cheeky little girl, it is very hard remaining calm. I have even taken to watching the way other parents discipline their children and copying. One woman used to get down to her child’s level and say (sternly) ‘this is mummy’s sad face’ waving her finger in a circular movement around her face. I liked this technique and adopted it myself but Boo started waving her own finger around her face while I was doing it and it took all my strength not to laugh. OK, I laughed. Once you laugh during a stern ticking off, the discipline is over. Back to the drawing board,
The dream-Boo would not watch television every day. Like chocolate and chicken nuggets, it would be an occasional treat.
The reality-see Peppa Pig. We started off with CBeebies which I actually enjoyed. Only new parents can have full blown conversations with their friends about whether the creators of In the Night Garden were on drugs, how much they like/dislike Nanny Plum’s voice and which character they like best in Peppa Pig. At the dinner table the other night, I said to the hubster-if you were a Peppa Pig character, you’d be Mr Bull. Who would I be?’ Being the funny farmer that he is, he admitted he had never thought about it. No, Boo does watch television most days. We turn it off if we’re playing or doing an activity but seriously? I wouldn’t get any house work done if it wasn’t for Nick Junior or Cbeebies.
Sleeping in Our Bed
The dream-every time Boo gets up in the night, I will duly march her back to her own bed and sit with her until she goes back to sleep.
The reality-I am tired. It is easier to drag her into our bed and have, what I call a full house. Thankfully we have a kingsize bed but even that can be a squash with a star-fish toddler and a big, burly farmer. It doesn’t happen every night but we can go through phases where she might sneak into our bed for a few nights in a row. The rule is, if her feet touch the floor when she wakes up, the chances of getting her back to sleep in her own bed are slim. When you have to be up at 5 the next day, what else can we do? Hubster has said it would have been easier if we’d just put Boo’s bed in our room but I am determined to muddle through.
The dream-Boo would only play with wooden, natural looking toys that had some of educational purpose. There would be no plastic in this house.
The reality-my house is full of plastic, much of it pink and Boo loves it. It makes a horrible sound, most of it has horrible tunes that infiltrate into your brain like a virus but look round the shops-most of the toys out there are plastic, so when people buy your child gifts, this is what you get. They key is to embrace the great plasticity. Don’t fight it, you won’t win.