Well it’s the start of a new year and there were a couple of nice milestones to celebrate with the kids. Genevieve had her first day of pre-school and Elliot turned one. So we now have a near school-age child and we definitely no longer have a baby. I am sure the school thing is going to be an adjustment. Even if it is only a couple of days a week. We have had years of just being able to do what we wanted regarding kids, the only real commitment being swimming lessons on and off or ballet classes. And though pre-school is not a legal requirement for 4-year-olds, it still seems to fall into that category of we can’t miss this on a whim. Although, we are fully intending on letting her come to all the Babes In Arms screenings which will necessitate her missing some of her time there but you know what I mean.
As for Boo, he’s getting more interactive and interested in playing with others which is great. We did have a rocky day or so at Summerfest where he was totally not happy to be palmed off at crèche, overall though, it was a great week. I think before we went to stay with our friends on the coast, we didn’t really intend on staying as long as we did but it was relaxing to spend the time just chilling with them and I really enjoyed the program at EV. Anywhere you can drop your kids for a couple of hours and enjoy some talks is pretty good. Although the more I learn about raising kids in today’s world, the more daunting it seems.
I remember my Dad’s mum saying once that she didn’t always agree with his parenting choices but she wouldn’t want to raise kids in the environment I grew up in for quids. And today’s world is a whole hell of a lot harder. To a certain extent, some of the stuff they were talking about doesn’t affect us as the kids are both too young and or still under constant supervision (mostly by us) but then standards and attitudes have to start somewhere so that doesn’t mean we can be ignorant either. More than one person stressed that you need to know exactly what apps your kids are using and what they do. Facebook, for all its evils, is not the problem and it’s no longer the it thing either. Just in case you were feeling cool and hip as opposed to old school. There was also the take home that cyber-parenting is really 10% cyber and 90% parenting. Or maybe the percentages were different than that but the basic message being that you have to be present with your kids and teach them to use their own discernment effectively. Model good behaviour; more is caught than taught.
Then there were the sex talks. The sexologist was particularly entertaining. A little old Indian lady who amongst her many stories from years in the field of study was telling us that kids are just like a Ferrari on steroids. Pedal to the metal, using minimum breaks and with no GPS. She talked about tactics for kids and porn, that is get them to name and shame. Recognise what it is, say I don’t like it and go and tell an adult. Good idea really. I know that we are a lot more liberal than some other people in our circle. I also don’t quite have the doom and gloom attitude that some seem to think justifies banning their kids from any situation they can’t control but it is a little disquieting to realise that exposure happens so much earlier now and to a certain extent, we have to hope our kids want to come and talk to us about this stuff and not hide it from us.
When you first have children and you can totally control the environment around them you are not thinking how do I teach my kids about porn. How do I make sure they don’t fall victim to emotional abusers or sex predators. How do I teach them to be confident and self-assured such that they value their body, their friends and their family? We’re having a bash at it of course and it’s easy to think we’re doing well when Genevieve asks questions and shows compassion but then seeing what friends with older kids are going through, friends who I would assume have the same morals and values as we do, well I’m buggered if I know how to avoid that…
And on that note, I will leave those bridges to be crossed another day and get on with enjoying today. We’ve got vague plans for this year so who knows what will happen.
Your Loving Wife