Before I had children, it’s safe to say my expectations and understanding of child behaviour was a tad idealistic, and just a little bit judgemental. ‘Why isn’t that woman controlling that child!?’ I would think when witnessing the kind of tantrums and meltdowns that I now find myself met with on an almost daily basis.
‘Why don’t the parents make that toddler sit down?’ I would think as a noisy 2 year old paced the airplane aisle for the entirety of a 2 hour flight to Majorca.
You can imagine the shock, then, when I discovered that there was not just actual logic - but real necessity - behind what many non-parents might deem parenting incompetence. TRUTH BOMB 💣#1 - Toddlers do not sit still.
The realisation that babies and toddlers have their own agenda, in spite of even the best super nanny tactics, was an ‘in your face!’ moment to my old, judgy self if ever there was one.
💣TRUTH #2: As parents, the degree of ‘control’ you have at any one time hinges on many factors. Whether they’ve napped. Whether they’re hungry. If they’ve been over-stimulated. Or under-stimulated. The complexity of ‘control’ is such that it’s no wonder that it eludes those who’ve yet to attempt wrestling a tired angry octopus into a high chair. 🐙 (Try that once and your stance changes forever!) Of course, when children are old enough to have acquired basic manners and etiquette and to be reasoned with, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect certain standards in behaviour. Until that point though, damage limitation really is the best and only approach.
And so...I take it all back. Everything I thought about those ‘out of control’ little ones, and their (in hindsight) probably exhausted parents.