It’s always a bit hit and miss as to what type of child you end up with. Obviously you’d expect them to have some personality traits similar to the parents, but they could end up being totally different.
After seeing a few friends have children that they despaired of when it came to certain things like crying, moaning, sleeping etc versus friends who I think are really chilled out and have relaxed children, I decided to try and chill out in pregnancy (not easy when you’re naturally a type A personality and competitive), although my healthy eating intentions went downhill fast once I’d got to the ‘ooh I’m actually pregnant’ stage.
So in theory I should have ended up with a sweet toothed, piggy child (tick – loves food), strong minded (tick – but then aren’t all toddlers?), music lover and groover (tick – I danced til fairly near the end of my pregnancy and he loves music and having a little dance), good sleeper (tick – lucked out that he sleeps well like me and isn’t a light sleeper like his dad). I do think trying to chill out during pregnancy helped somewhat as we do have a really chilled out, happy toddler (and before that, baby). But I guess it all could have backfired.
Now, N continues to be a pretty low maintenance child. When we’re at home together or out and about, he does have his own little mind (always has done, think back to water wobbles and refusing to do things in class even now that he dislikes). But he’s also happy to decide what toys he wants to play with, and generally is happy to play on his own, with the occasional input from myself. He’ll attempt to set up his wooden trainset (I have to open the box it’s kept in as he’s not grasped the knack of it yet), but can leave him until he needs to fix it together. Although thinking about it, I think he’s not worried about having one long strip of railway, I’m the one who wants to have a neatly joined up bit of track! Sometimes he wants interaction – currently he likes getting his plates & bowls out of the cupboard and dishing up plates of plastic food at the table for us both to sit and eat.
But he’s usually happy to have me in or out of the room, playing or not with him.
So it’s a bit of a surprise when other children come and play who like to have a lot more involvement from the parent figure especially when the child’s a few years older.
This weekend when it came to the train set they wanted to set up, I was immediately called over by the other child to help set it up. N had already started, so I suggested that maybe they should call me when they get stuck after they have a go. Not sure that went down that well, so ended up having to help from almost the start.
I was a bit shocked, as I’d like to think children however young should learn to try things first for themselves. Maybe I’m just lazy, but I was trying to prepare dinner at the same time so am used to N doing his own thing if he’s not helping me in the kitchen.
This child is at the stage where questions are always asked, so permanent chatter is the norm, but it was a surprise that immediately after changing activity there was almost a need to check in. So different to how N is.
I would say I’m probably a relatively hands off parent rather than sitting side by side and working through every play activity together. I do sometimes sit and think that maybe I’m helping too much so try and step back to let N find his own way. It always comes down to how you want to parent, and how you hope your child to find their way and gain confidence that they can find solutions on their own. But you will never know whether you’ve done the right thing until they’re older and choosing their long term plan for life.