Like so many parents, I started out with great ambitions of healthy living, educational recreation and firm-but-fair discipline. Ha! I have fought and lost many battles against my daughter in the last two years and gradually she has ground me down, trampling all-over my rules and routines.
Looking back over 2017 it is not immediately clear when all these bad habits crept into our lives. But if I am ever to emerge the victor, I must rebuild my walls and reassemble my troops.
Here are the main targets in my plan of attack to take back control of the household from a bossy and demanding two-year-old in 2018.
1. Bed Sharing
Sitting beside the cot shivering and uncomfortable in the early hours of the morning, trying to resettle a fractious child, it is so hard to keep one’s resolve. When you hear the words, “I want to sleep in your bed,” for what feels like the hundredth time, one must summon gladiatorial strength not to fold, scooping up the hot little body and retreating to the inviting sanctuary of your own bed. Defences breached!
2. Biscuit Bribery
Long gone are any foolish aspirations of keeping refined sugar out of my daughter’s diet. But perhaps she would not have such a dependence on biscuits if I did not push them as a means of control. “If you come home you can have a chocolate biscuit.” “Please stop doing that, I’ll give you a biscuit.” “Here, have a biscuit.”
3. Phone Fun
The only time my daughter is ever quiet during waking hours – if she isn’t doing something naughty – is when she is looking at pictures of animals on Instagram. There must be better ways she could occupy her time. Social media already has enough morons. I should know. #Lazyparent
4. Video On Demand Service
It starts with one YouTube video of a Mary Poppins song, and before you know it she has watched the entire Disney back catalogue and is requesting full length movie The Snowman. As the little Beauty and the Beast fan has taken to singing of late, “There must be more than this provincial life!” Or maybe I should just, “Let it go.”
5. Food Waste
Putting vegetables on a plate that never get eaten does not count towards their five a day… do they?
6. Obeying Orders
They say you have to pick your battles. Now agreeing to sit in a certain chair or wear your hair a certain way, may seem like small issues and not that important in the grand scheme of things. But before you know it you could be living in an oppressive regime, run by a vicious dictator. Fight for your rights!
7. Fashion Free Rein
It’s all very well letting your child go out in fairy costume, or wear their favourite jumper every day until you literally have to smuggle it into the washing machine. But they can’t leave the house in a swimming costume and wellington boots when it’s snowing outside. Boundaries must be drawn.
8. Weak Will
There have been plenty of military threats made in the last year that I sincerely hope will never be carried out: Trump’s wall; North Korea’s nuclear war. But there comes a point when you have declared, “If you don’t behave we’re going home,” so many times without actually following through, that they definitely begins to lose respect for your authority. Empty threats are worthless. The trouble is, going home means you have to miss out too.
9. Little White Lies
As your child gets old enough to repeat things that you have told them, it starts to become clear that making up answers to questions you don’t know the answer to, may not be the best course of action. “Let’s go and look it up,” is my new line of defence. I envisage learning a lot about animals’ eating habits in the year ahead.
10. Putting Off Potty Training
Mopping up puddles, extra laundry loads, remembering to pack spare pants and frantic races to find a loo. This is one battle that I myself have been evading. In 2018 we shall join forces and tackle it together.