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The Pioneer turns six years old: lessons learnt

So, the Pioneer turned six today. What used to be a screaming, crying, weeing, pooing premature six pound baby has now turned into a screaming, crying, weeing, pooing six year old boy. And, with all the clichés aside of:

  • “Where did the time go?”

  • “I can’t believe he’s grown so quickly”

  • “I remember when he was just a [baby] [one year old] [two year old] [three year old] [four year old] [five year old]”,

it's been a great but mixed journey of wonder, fear, awe and frustration to see this little amoeba become a fully-fledged boy that can now read swear words and laugh at his own farts.

I was asked by a friend yesterday if I would be writing a blog explaining to others the valuable lessons of an, evidently, expert parent such as myself. So, why not? Here are five gems for you to contemplate.

1. All children are disgusting

Children are pretty disgraceful when it comes to hygiene. Whether it’s stashing a few years of bogeys under the bedside table or constantly touching their privates or eating their own snot, kids are creatively repulsive in their behaviour. So, rest assured, it isn’t just your child. It doesn’t make us love them any less, it just promotes caution when embracing them before leaving in your work/going out clothes (if you still care about that).

2. All children are miracles

The odds of The Pioneer being born weren’t particularly great eleven years ago when we decided to start to try for children. Like many others, we suffered multiple miscarriages and had treatments to no effect. Then, following many years and three cycles of IUI later, out popped a premature jaundiced little miracle. But, you don’t need to go through hardship conceiving to appreciate that these little blighters are one-in-a-million (or 7.7 billion to be more precise). Cherish them constantly, love them deeply and tell them off constantly for asking about snacks for the millionth (or 7.7 billionth to be more precise) time that day.

3. All children are cool

Okay, Little Johnny may not like Star Wars or Paw Patrol like all the other kids at school and his obsession with snails or tractor wheel manufacturers or serial numbers of crisp packets may be a little off-trend and frightening at times. But, who cares!? Little Johnny is unique and that’s the coolest thing about children – they are all different and their individuality is a positive distinction to be celebrated. Unless, your child is a psychopath, that’s not cool and shouldn’t be celebrated – even if (s)he is unique.

4. All children are morons

Some of you may not need much convincing of this. Equally some of you will be appalled at the thought that the assertion that Little Bethany is anything less than an angelic genius. Well, you’re wrong, Little Bethany is a moron too. All children carry out some of the most stupid actions, whether it’s mindlessly bludgeoning another child (stranger or best friend) in the face with a toy dinosaur or eating mud or listening to Baby Shark for the 877th consecutive time. Ultimately, they make terrible decisions and when asked “why did you do that?”, a common response is a shrug from the shoulders or some attempt to blame Little Freddy for deliberately putting his head in the way of them swinging the toy hammer. They may be young and naïve but it doesn’t prohibit them from being an utter douche. You may not like it, but it is true and you know it!

5. All children are children

This may sound like nonsense, but it’s probably the biggest lesson I have learnt as a parent and, needless to say, I remain a hypocrite when it comes to this. It is sometimes hard to distinguish between expectations of an adult from expectations of your children. By that, I don’t expect my children to run a ten-minute mile or eat vindaloos without complaint or remind me of the social and political impact of the NHS funding deficit. What I do mean is that, sometimes, we forget that these are just little people forging their own emotions and personalities and it’s easy to get annoyed at their incessant whining or poor choice of tantrum timings. Ultimately, they are simply children and we may need to remind ourselves of this. Don’t misinterpret this as a case for not disciplining children. Quite the opposite, discipline away but like most things - context, perspective and balance is everything. Easy for me to say, sat behind a keyboard when the kids are asleep but am-I-right-or-am-I-right?!

Lesson is over and back to the matter at hand.

Happy birthday son, it’s been an exciting journey seeing you grow up in front of us and we are proud of the person you are becoming. We love you dearly and always remember that we are proud of your efforts and not your achievements.

Also, remember that you don’t need to pull your entire trousers down when weeing, just enough to get the sprinkler out. That would be an effort we would appreciate.

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