Pardon my P's and Q's so early in the morning, but I'm getting just a little bit peeved at the pressures put on children and parents on what they should be able to accomplish by a set point in their development or things that parents should do with their toddler before they hit school. The Telegraph yesterday ran an article on a list of landmark events I should spoon feed Grace before she turns 3 years old, activities including splashing in puddles, visiting a museum and holding a teddy bears picnic. Yes really. As if I need a reminder that splashing in puddles is fun?! Cow & Gate had commissioned the survey of 1000 Mums on their intended activities between now and then, and I don't know about you, but I don't need a milk manufacturer telling me that finger painting and listening to classical music is going to be beneficial to my kid.
It gets worse. Opening my emails this morning, a monthly newsletter from a nappy manufacturer with three sub-headings:
1) Things your 17 month old can now definately do,
2) Things your 17 month old can now probably do,
3) Things your 17 month old may even possibly do.
Hm. A week short of the 17 month marker and I'm calling an Emergency Family Meeting. Grace is underperforming, consistently falling short on targets and if we carry on at this rate, my happy go lucky todder with a heart of gold may well be put onto a performance management program as she can't yet stick two duplo blocks together or pretend to feed a doll. FFS.
Is it just me or has the world gone mad?
No Grace can't say two words together, walk with confidence, take off an item of clothing or throw a ball overhand. What she can do is be herself. Take a few steps, crawl a while. Recognise the dog, cat, sheep, cow, monkey perfectly well one day but not at all the next if she's tired. She'll sit on my lap to read a book from cover to cover, another time she might get bored on the second page. She offers her food to me and Matt the Husband before eating it herself, and given the chance she'll offer it to Mr Rabbit and the dog too. She'll lather her hair when it's being washed, ask to have her teeth cleaned, and tell us when she wants to go to sleep. Does this make her advanced or behind? I couldn't give a flying F***.
She's my daughter, warts and all. And she will friggin well develop at her own pace thank you very much. And as for listing the activities we should be doing with our children before the age of 3, there's nothing like making the working parents feel crap more than a list of things to squeeze into the hour before bed when everyone's knackered or to cram into the weekend, when all you want to do is put your feet up and spend some unadulterated one on one time with your child.
Rant over, thanks for listening! This is a picture of Grace before bed, chosing which Teddy to take to bed. She can definately do this. Probably. Possibly even. (I'm waiting on confirmation from Cow & Gate).