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Fabulous piece about The Toddler

(24 Posts)
JanH Sat 26-Mar-05 12:00:22

By Maggie O'Farrell in the Guardian today.

Makes me quite nostalgic (also relieved, if I'm honest )

jane313 Sat 26-Mar-05 12:15:32

That was really nice and sort of brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for posting it as I forgot to buy the guardian today and am at work and so missing my son but quite relieved at the peace and quiet too! He sounds just like my 21 month old except his current passion is clocks and the number 2 not bins. I was just saying to someone the other day that they are like us without any social niceties (ie grabbing everything and not wanting to share the good stuff).

tassis Sat 26-Mar-05 13:31:54

Great article - and a surprising amount of it rang true here too!!

suzywong Sat 26-Mar-05 13:47:18

Thanks for that Jan, I shall keep that.

She's very astute, I particularly relate to these bits:

They are incarnations of a fleeting aesthetic ideal. Perhaps this is nature's survival trick. When the human race is at its most exasperating, it is also at its most physically appealing.

looking after a toddler forms a kind of datum within variant lives. They are so elemental that they can only provoke the same reactions, the same pleasures, the same frustrations and challenges in us a..... this is what women do, this is what women have always done.......having a toddler has made me meditate on the private mathematics of female existence.

suzywong Sat 26-Mar-05 13:50:41

still thinking about that article, and the Patagonian laundry maids, that's exactly what I do with ds2 while I'm haning out the washing

mummylonglegs Sat 26-Mar-05 14:05:24

Great link Jan, thanks. I love Maggie O'Farrell's novels and I knew she'd had a child so it was really good to hear her thoughts about it all.

MunchedTooManyMarsLady Sat 26-Mar-05 14:13:38

What a great article. She brought forward all the joys that I have to look forward to with the DTs

suedonim Sat 26-Mar-05 15:13:53

Dh's mum spent 4wks on a boat to S Africa with two littlies (and caught measles)- and then did the reverse trip with three! But MO's portrait of a toddler isn't one size fits all. It's a Western picture; you'd find a different type of toddler in a developing country - more cherished by the community and also blessedly tantrum-free.

jane313 Sat 26-Mar-05 15:19:25

Why do you think they never have tantrums in developing countries then?

lunavix Sat 26-Mar-05 15:25:07

That article was lovely.

It's hard to think other toddlers grow up different to ours. A good example I suppose is in some countries they're potty trained or weaned right from birth. Here that makes us go

Do we perhaps coddle them too much?

saadia Sat 26-Mar-05 16:35:36

Maybe not coddle, but I think we have much more freedom to let them be themselves, and we are much more aware of new research into child psychology etc and can therefore be more sympathetic to how they think - or perhaps all mothers do this instinctively.

RudyDudy Sat 26-Mar-05 17:25:04

What a fabulous article. I have a 17mo and this really made me LOL

AussieSim Sat 26-Mar-05 18:55:30

Great article - thanks for posting JanH.

We had a real toddler moment yesterday when my not so experienced DH decided to make DS's lunch and while trying to distract him from his hunger while he was cooking talked about going to the park later in the afternoon - not realising that DS only knows 'Now', and sometimes 'later', but not after you've eaten lunch and had a nap and been shopping. We had full-on crying fit interspersed with pleas to go to the park, until I planted him in front of Pinochio, threw out what DH had prepared for lunch as it had been contaminated by the whole experience, made him some toast and later wrestled him to bed still crying that he wanted to go to the park.

serenity Sat 26-Mar-05 19:01:08

I read this article on the train this afternoon on the way home from chasing DD (17 mths) around the Museaum of Childhood. As I was reading it I hoped someone was posting a link on here, as it was a really touching piece. Thanks JanH

7pm, Dr Who time must dash!!!!!!!!

suedonim Sat 26-Mar-05 21:38:43

Jane, I'm not sure entirely why they don't have tantrums but from my observations when visiting India and living in SE Asia parents & babies are much more in tune with and have a closer relationship than we do in the West and also, they have a better community spirit in which to raise their children. For instance, parents would be horrified at the idea of putting a baby to sleep on its own in a cot - in Indonesia cots are known as Baby Boxes! Until a baby is about seven mths old they are constantly carried (it is thought unlucky to let a baby's feet touch the ground in case their spirit drains away into the ground) and held close in a selandang sling, enabling baby-led feeding and sleeping. They don't wear nappies as parents sense when a baby needs to perform and hold them out to wee or poo (eaiser in a hot country than in a chilly one!). The babies seem to have an innate sense of security because their basic needs are met early on. We rarely heard a baby cry or even saw one with a dummy or sucking a thumb.

Children are also cared for by the extended family (hence the saying 'It takes a village to raise a child') so they have a whole bank of people with whom they are familiar and can depend on. And their society in general tolerates children much more than we do in the West; in some ways children here are almost seen as a separate species (special food, special equipment) whereas they are part & parcel of life there. Although SE Asia doesn't have much in the way of baby changing facilities or parent & child parking places, in general terms they cherish children far more than we do. You'll never hear anyone shouting at a child in Indonesia and if you smacked one, you'd probably be lynched! I know our dd attracted attention wherever we went and she was always made to feel special.

FIMAC1 Sun 27-Mar-05 14:14:40

We lived in Asia when my brother and I were growing up and total agree with suedonim: children were treated as 'special' and we were given small gifts by locals if we travelled - their gifts were 'big' compaired to their income and were accepted as not to would have been rude - came back to the UK at the age of 7 and got the feeling of should be seen and not heard....

NomDePlume Sun 27-Mar-05 14:26:56

What a great article, made me laugh out loud and go a bit misty.

TinyGang Sun 27-Mar-05 14:50:55

It's a lovely piece, thanks Janh

Suedonim, I liked your post too. Makes me wonder if we've lost our way here a bit, I feel. Other countries may not have as much as us materially, but they seem far more in tune with their children and families and could teach us a lot.

suedonim Sun 27-Mar-05 23:35:38

Thanks, TinyGang. It does seem that we've lost our way to some extent, I think. I suspect that what the psychologists are coming up with these days are the things that mothers in more traditional societies have always known without even thinking about it.

FIMAC, you obviously remember being so lovingly treated when living abroad - I hope my dd remembers it too, when she grows up.

FIMAC1 Mon 28-Mar-05 09:34:51

I am sure she will and look back on it with great fondness like we do.

Spacecadet Mon 28-Mar-05 12:02:54

gosh, been there and dome that afew times!! dd1was anightmare toddler, very willful but extremely angelic to look at! ds 1 was adream and is only just starting to act up now at 11, does this mean that a volcanoe will erupt soon??! ds2 is 4, and and we are still getting the toddler behaviour, his favourite phrase at the mo is..actually I dont want to..sounds so funny coming out of the mouth of a small child, dd2 is only 8 months, so wonder what is in store?? I wonder what our kids would do if we suddenly threw ourselves on the floor in supermarkets kicking and screaming?

Spacecadet Mon 28-Mar-05 12:07:36

In portugal, they love children, when we went on holidaythere in 200, when dd was 9 and ds was 6 they were treated fantastically, resturaunts welcomed them with open arms and we found that it was unusual for the locals to dine out without the children. i was preg with ds2 at the time and was treated like a queen!according to my mum who has been to italy they are the same there too and children are welcomed everywhere.

aloha Mon 28-Mar-05 12:16:41

Very interesting Suedonim... my ds is very different from Maggie O'Farrell's so I do realise it's not a universal picture (though I think we all tend to assume our own experience is universal I think). I'm no superparent but ds (31/2) has never had a tantrum - stroppy moments, yes, but no tantrums. I wish I could say I'd never shouted at him though. I think having my mum on hand has been a huge help to me.

Stilltrue Wed 06-Apr-05 20:34:07

Beautiful! My ds3's head and a coffee table edge had a run in today. (He's 15m).A minute later, with some hot damp tears still on his face, he erupted with joy at the sight of a blackbird pulling a worm out of the lawn, and managed, through the subsiding sobs, to do his very sweet bird tweeting noise "deet deet deet". Mine also does the twisting of skin on my neck, often after he's just woken from a nap. He's exhausting, messy, curious, loving, noisy, doesn't sleep through the night but I ADORE all of it. He's my last baby and I'm really enjoying watching him explore the world with such enthusiasm.

Sorry that should have at a schmaltz alert at the beginning but what the hell I'm sure I'm not the only one out here with these thoughts.

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