Modern parenting can be confusing. As a mother I just want to know how many times a week I can feed a three year old biscuits for breakfast and still not blush whenever I say ‘We don’t really eat sugary snacks in our house’.
More if they’re not chocolate biscuits?
To save yourselves such embarrassment I have produced the 2015 Dictionary of Modern Parenting. Bookmark this handy glossary of terms and remember: it’s December, which means advent calendars, which means everyone is feeding their children chocolate for breakfast, so stop worrying about biscuits.
Negative Toy Equity
Every toy has two variable qualities, (a) the duration of time a child will badger you for the toy and (b) the length of time a child will play with the toy once it is bought for them. When (a) is longer than (b) you are in negative toy equity. Bummer.
Angry Texts From Home
When u home?
Short, terse texts sent by whoever is at home looking after the children, usually typed with one hand while dealing with something bad. This is a survival technique parents have evolved to signal to those outside the home that things are not going well. Behind every short, rude text is a much longer story of a small child making a grown adult cry. If you receive one of these texts remember that bringing home wine is always a wise option.
The Crudités of Futility
Whether you hold it at the church hall, play centre or at home there is one unifying sight at every children’s party. A sorry plate of vegetable sticks being ignored. It’s there at the start of the party, it’s there at the end of the party, it may actually be the same plate of veg at every party. NO ONE IS EATING VEGETABLES AT YOUR PARTY.
Think of those sad carrot sticks, tiny tomatoes and cucumber slices as a badge of middle class parenting. It’s a plate that says ‘As parents we really want our children to eat healthy shit but they have other ideas, however we are not prepared to admit this in public because we own Jamie Oliver cookbooks.’
The plate is not there for the children it’s for the rest of the parents, they will see your futile attempt at healthy food and know that you are decent, honest people who understand the importance of pretending to do the right thing when other people are around. The polite thing is to encourage your child to move some of the vegetables from the sharing plate onto their own plate and abandon them there.
As Wilfred Owen would have said had he ever attended a 4 year old’s Frozen themed party and looked out upon a platter of gently curling carrot batons:
O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?
A random question asked by a small child that has never been asked before. I mean literally those words have never met each other in a sentence before in the entire history of man. For example ‘If a Viking built a spaceship out of Lego what colour would it be?’ or ‘How does a cat know when it’s birthday is?’
Hands Free Parenting
When both parents are dressed smartly for work and neither is able to assist the children in their morning routine for fear of getting dirty. Usually involves two grown adults shouting ridiculous instructions at a toddler.
‘Put your arms in the coat. No your coat, not in the pockets, put your arms in the sleeves of your coat. What’s a sleeve? Jesus Christ the dangly army bits. Put your arms in the long dangly army bits of your coat! Yes all of your arms. Oh sod it, it’s only a mild hurricane, just leave the coat, let’s try the shoes. On your feet. Yes both of them.’
Parental Sensory Shutdown
When two grown adults both pretend they cannot hear, see or smell something they can clearly hear, see or smell. Usually starts with not smelling dirty nappies on a baby and then symptoms can spread to not hearing the sound of footsteps or singing coming from a toddler’s bedroom whilst watching Game of Thrones in the evening and ultimately pretending not to see an entire child stood silently behind the sofa in the living room door until something incesty happens onscreen.
The Professor Brian Cox Bedtime Manoeuvre
Allowing a child to stay up late and watch Daddy’s programme in the hope it will either bore them to sleep or turn them into a genius. Modern parenting at it’s finest. Thank You Professor Cox.
An Audience with the Poop
A charming ceremony for parents of newly potty trained toddlers where everyone in the house will be required to stand in the toilet and admire a recently produced poo. Every family will have it’s own version of this tradition, one of my friends had to take photographic evidence of each turd, in our house we like to provide a round of applause and sometimes sing a song as the poo is proudly flushed away.
A mum who turns up at playgroup with blow dried hair, matching shoes and a face full of make up who then tries to chirpily explain that sometimes ‘having too much sleep can also make you feel tired!’ Fuck. Right. Off.