Saturday, 21 January 2012


No-one said being a parent was easy. They were right. In fact, it's more difficult than any other challenge we could take on in life. Or at least, that's how it feels at the moment.

Babies cry. Alot. (Well, mine did. Other people seemed to have perfect babies who only made tiny little whimpers whilst mine were bawling as loudly as a siren that attracts all the attention of those around it, especially those with disapproving faces.)

Toddlers scream to get their own way. Although it is named the 'terrible twos', in my experience it didn't start at two and certainly didn't end at 3 (or 4, or 5, or 34).

Siblings cry to get their fellow siblings into trouble. Or is it just my boys who collapse dramatically on the floor of the kitchen whilst screaming something about their brother? Perhaps that's where the footballers first develop their skills.....

Now we are in the 'pre-teen' phase, we are discovering yet more tears are afoot. I am baffled by the whole thing. Just as we fumbled our way through Toby's (our oldest boy) baby and toddler years, not really knowing if we were doing the right things or not, now it feels as though we are entering an emotional minefield in the pitch black. We don't know the way, we don't know when the explosions are going to happen and we certainly don't know how to stop them. There is no "Guide to Toby's mind" which would helpfully point us in the right direction (and away from the explosive parts) and really, we have no idea what we are doing!

It's different with Jonah, our youngest. He can't swing any tricks our way because we have seen them all before. We know how to distract him out of his silly little tantrums and we can see through his arguments and his dropping to the floor when he doesn't get his own way. We know which battles are worth fighting and which are just best left. We know what to do with him.

But Toby, he's the first and he gets the raw deal. We are trying everything out on him for the first time. We are always new parents when it comes to him. Every new stage is a mystery to us. A puzzle that must be worked out. I am perplexed when he suddenly wants to wear his trousers halfway down his bottom, revealing his boxer shorts, when only a year ago he was laughing at boys who did just that. I don't understand why he wants to keep secrets from me when he used to tell me everything. I am shocked when he argues with me and shouts at me. It feels like we are walking through thick fog, slowly feeling our way along. We make lots of mistakes on Toby. It's the sad truth about the first child. They are the ultimate guinea pig.

And so, yet again, I realise that I can't do this parenting thing on my own. I need my Father in Heaven. Wisdom is one thing I will be asking Him for alot in turbulent teenage years ahead. Wisdom and chocolate. They should do the trick nicely.

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