When Little Z came along, no-one ever told me that I would become an extension of him. I discovered that parenting doesn’t just involve physically caring for your child but it means going through all their emotions with them. I’d have to relive childhood again. The good parts including lots of giggles and laughter. The bad parts including working through their anxiety and fears. The nerve wracking parts that are yet to come like friendships, playground politics, pre-schools, school, teens. Of course, as he grows up the strength of his character and confidence lets him detach himself from my apron strings ever so slowly. In a proud, sad, happy way all at once.
It’s a slightly strange feeling going through childhood again. It’s a lot of fun and you hope and imagine that the journey from the first time around has equipped you with sufficient resilience to go through it all the second time around slightly more pain free. You know inside this isn’t true. You know that there will be bumps along the way but you hope your protective helmets will make the journey a relatively smooth one.
Then I recently made another discovery. That the situation works in reverse too.
He is becoming an extension of me.
He is sounding more and more like me on a daily basis. Absorbing what I say and playing it back to us, knowing when to say what. Recently the wider world has experienced first hand what our parenting technique is like in the privacy of our own home. It is sometimes like looking into a little mirror. A, mostly, very funny one.
One thing I’ve learned about myself in the last couple of months from looking into that little mirror is that I really need to reduce the frequency of the word “OK?” at the end of a sentence.
Some of Little Z’s most recent gems of advice have included the following:
Me/OH/ Member of family says a sentence including the word “stupid”:
Little Z: “Don’t say that word Mummy / Daddy / wider public. Don’t say that word again Ok? Good boy”.
Little Z to the OH: “Daddy, if you eat all your dinner first then you can play later, Ok?”
Little Z to the OH: “Daddy! Come downstairs right now and put your shoes on or we’re not going outside! Ok?”
Little Z: “You stay here for a bit. I’m going to go work now but I’ll be back later, Ok?”
Me to Little Z: “Little Z are you listening?”
Little Z: “Yes my darling”
Little Z: “Be careful Mummy. Don’t hurt yourself. Come down slowly. Ok?”
Whenever we see the neighbour opposite
Little Z: “Look! Say morning Mummy, say morning!”.
Little Z: “MORRRRNING!” (On repeat until he gets a reply)
Little Z: “Say thank you Mummy”
Me: “Oh…thank you”
Little Z: “You’re welcome”
Me: (Trying to conceal laughter)
Little Z: “Now say “Good Boy””
“You sound just like your mother”