Outside influence

The older Oscar gets, the more I realise that no matter how hard we try, we aren’t the only ones raising him. Most weeks he spends up to 40-50 hours at daycare. That is 40-50 hours a week that someone else is teaching him, influencing him, caring for him, raising him. It’s a hard fact to swallow but it is what it is.

I know they are professionals that are trained in early education and they have a passion for child developement so I’m mostly fine with it. But I do have moments where I wonder if they would handle the situation/behavior in the same way that we would. I like to think yes. After all he responds so well to them, I guess because it’s very similar to the way we are with him at home. They’re doing a fantastic job with him, that much is clear. He’s polite and caring, always giving hugs and waving goodbye to everyone when we leave. Most importantly, he’s happy there.

It’s just weird to see the way other kids react and behave. When it’s really obvious that their parents must deal with situations in a very different way, when the kids seem to lack understanding. They seem possessive or confused or angry in a situation and unable to work though the moment. My first thought is that I want to help that kid. My second thought is always curious to know how things work in their home. Maybe I’m just being judgmental. I don’t know enough about children, about humans even, to say if it is actually a direct result of the parenting. Some kids are just naturally more emotional, short-tempered, aggressive. Born that way, if you will. But I don’t think that should be the end of it. I really believe with some patience and understanding, that children can grow and learn how to handle difficult situations. I’m also aware that some are never given that opportunity and often enter adulthood lacking the emotional skills that they could have learnt as children.

I feel like I’m getting off topic a bit. This post is really just about Oscar and how I sometimes worry a little about those outside influences. I think children learn much quicker from other children than they do from adults. Candice and I pour out so much energy, patience, time and research into raising him so that he will grow up to have a high level of emotional intelligence. I guess my concerns come from a fear that all our hard work could become interrupted, derailed. The scariest part is that he is only TWO. How are we going to be when he’s a teenager?!

I say all this but Oscar hasn’t actually picked up any bad behavior habits yet. Just the usual meltdowns, the 2-year-old irrational requests and decisions. He’s a good kid and I know I probably worry for no reason but I’m a parent now. Isn’t that what we’re meant to do?

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The D word

It’s so exciting when your child starts to speak. Life generally gets a little bit easier once they begin to communicate and a lot of frustration from the parent and child disappears. Oscar has been churning out words for a while now and just recently has begun forming short sentences. I can’t even explain how cute it is to be in another room and hear his little voice call out, “Mummy, where are you? Come back!”. It absolutely melts my heart.

So all of this has been great.

Except for one tiny thing.

About a week or so ago, I was picking Oscar up from daycare. As I walked into the room, there was another parent, picking up his daughter. As he entered the room, I saw Oscar point and turn excitedly to the girl and say, “Daddy!”. I didn’t really have a chance to say anything as he saw me come in behind the man and started yelling out “Mummy! Mummy!” So that was fine, a little awkward but not a big deal. But ever since then, he’s saying it a lot. The next day when I picked him up, we were saying goodbye to one of his carers and he said, “Bye Hannah”. Then a male parent walked past us and he yelled out “Bye, Daddy”. I corrected him, telling Oscar that he was a man, to which Oscar repeated me, saying “Man! Daddy!”

I went home with a weird feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t make sense of my feelings. At this point in the story it seems necessary to mention that this day coincided with the day Trump was elected. So I was already feeling disheartened and fragile. I sat down and had a little think about it and decided to donate a handful of Oscar’s two mum/different families style story books to his daycare room. He spends 5 days a week there and loves story time however all of the books he is exposed to, that have families in them, always have Mummy and Daddy characters. His daycare was thankful for the books and I have requested that these particular ones follow him into the next room when he moves up to the next age group.

Other than that, we’re really just correcting him by telling him that it’s a man when he point one out. So far it’s not really working but it’s only been a couple of days. The other night I was out at dinner with my Mum and sister. My Mum took Oscar to the baby change rooms to check his nappy and as they were walking away he called out “Bye Mummy” and then waved at a random guy sitting at a nearby table and said “Bye Daddy”. I was mortified. I’m not even sure if anyone else noticed but I certainly did. What has surprised me is how I don’t really want to talk about it with people who aren’t same-sex parents just in case they give me that concerned look. The look that says, ‘Hm, maybe you’re really going to screw this kid up by raising him with two mums’.

I have asked Candice how she feels about it, wondering if it was just me overreacting. She’s feels weird about it too, she doesn’t like it at all but can’t really explain why. I mean, it’s just a word and it’s clear that he just thinks that all the men he doesn’t personally know must be called Daddy. He doesn’t call any of the men in his life Daddy, only the strangers. I have to constantly remind myself that he is only TWO. At the rate he learns, by this time next month, he will know to call them ‘a man’. At least I hope so.

I guess it’s just not something that I thought we would have to think about yet. It has also made me start to wonder how we will handle things when he reaches the age of 4 or 5 and throws out that big question of “How come I don’t have a Daddy?”. We have our answers prepared and have spent so much time thinking about it and how Oscar will feel, how to ease his confusion, how to validate his feelings. Something I hadn’t prepared for however, was how it would make Candice and I feel. How we will have to be very careful to not take it to heart. To understand that he is just curious.

Reading back over this I feel like I am definitely over reacting. Perhaps I’m simply looking for reassurance. Has anyone else dealt with something similar when their child was this age? Two seems far too young to really be able to explain it to him. Does it just blow over?

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Toddler logic

I’m learning things at a rapid rate when it comes to the logic of a two-year old. Or shall I say, the lack of logic.

Oscar has taught me that there is simply a right way and a wrong way to do things and that if I am to survive these years with my sanity in tact, I must adapt quickly.

This all started happening just a few weeks before his second birthday. Suddenly if felt like I couldn’t do anything right. I was foolishly offering the green cup instead of the red cup. He would throw a tantrum when I told him it was time to have a bath but then he would throw an even bigger one when I told him that bath time was over. He got upset when he tipped water on his shirt, soaking the front but then lost it when I suggested we take it off to put a dry one on. I gave up and left him in the wet shirt.

Just this week I’ve learnt the correct way to prepare Oscar a banana. That’s right folks, who knew there was a right and wrong way. When he very politely requested one, I picked a banana up out of the fruit bowl and sliced it up onto a plate like I always do. Well, that was a BIG MISTAKE. He took one look at it and started running on the spot saying, “No, no, noooo”. Quite taken aback, I put the banana to the side and picked up another one. He held his arms up and I understood that he actually wanted the banana whole. Sure, I can do that. So naturally, I peel back the skin and offer him the whole skinless banana. Well. He dropped to his knees, covered his eyes and cried. My face was scrunched up in what can only be described as the ‘what the fuck’ look. My palms were getting sweaty as I desperately tried to work out what he wanted. So, once again I reached for the fruit bowl. This time I knelt down in front of him with the sacred fruit and he watched as I started peeling, before quickly reaching out and stopping me when it had been peeled about an inch. He happily skipped away, munching on the patly peeled banana. Luckily bananas grow on trees. I let out a sigh of relief, I had survived another lesson in toddler logic.

Day in, day out, these events are happening. I get it, he’s learning and finding his way. He’s fighting for a sense of independence. It’s all normal toddler behavior.

Meanwhile, I’m over here scratching my head, nervously trying to decide if I should offer him a spoon or fork with his dinner tonight. Yesterday he liked the spoon but today… who the hell knows.

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Thanks TimeHop

Lately, thanks to TimeHop, I’ve been reminiscing about my photo a day project. I am so pleased that I stuck with it as I really cherish not only the photos themselves but the little blurb about each photo. When I look back on any random day from that year I can actually remember exactly how I felt on that particular day. I can recall each moment quite clearly and I find that so special.

For this reason I’m thinking that for the year of 2017, I’m going to do it again. Same rules as before – Use my DSLR camera (not my iPhone) to take a photo a day, for each day of the year and posting them to Instagram daily. I’ll likely ask Candice to help me out with making sure we remember to snap a photo every day, especially as we will both be working full-time. Last time I was on maternity leave for 9 out of the 12 months which made it easier but this time around we’ll have to try a lot harder.

Below are some of the 2015 photos. I’m actually feeling excited to start it!

The big two

It’s been  almost a month since Oscar turned 2!

As I mentioned previously, we decided to throw him a party again this year with just our families invited. It made the whole day so much more relaxing and easy! We didn’t feel that stress of having to be constantly moving throughout the party, making sure that we were finding the time to chat to each guest. Not having to check if anyone needed their drink refilled or had enough food. Not having to introduce different groups of people and encourage mingling. Both my family and Candice’s family are comfortable here and we knew they could just help themselves, chat with ease and best of all Candice and I could relax and watch Oscar enjoy his day.

His party was pirate themed and Candice requested that everyone (even the adults) dress up a little. Almost everyone did and it just made the day a little bit more silly and fun. It was a great day and at the end Candice was able to put together some footage and make this little video.

Oscar’s 2nd birthday video

We had his party the day before his actual birthday so that we could have a quiet day with just the 3 of us to celebrate. He has become obsessed with trains so we decided to visit the train museum where he could run wild and explore. I know a museum sounds like a weird place to take a 2-year-old but it’s actually a great area for kids. A few times a year, a giant Thomas the Tank Engine comes to visit and the kids apparently go nuts for it. For that reason we bought a family annual pass so we can take him back when Thomas is next in town. Plus it’ll be great for those rainy days as it’s all indoors, including the playground.

Here are some photos from inside the museum. He loved the bikes!

 

I feel like I have a lot to catch up on as it’s been a while since I have posted on here. I was having some issues with my laptop and for some reason, I really don’t enjoy writing from inside the study. So many times I sat down at the desk but gave up. But my laptop is now fixed so here I am sitting outside on the deck, tapping away. I have several more posts that I will try to get out this week before they get lost inside my head.