The Arduous Age of Why

Mummy's Writing Darling

The Age of Why

My four year old has reached a mile stone. He has entered the age of ‘Why’. I had heard of this stage but had underestimated the damaging effect of this era on the parents. My sympathy is with you if you are currently in this age.

It started about two weeks ago on our way to swimming:

“Why do we need roads?”

Say what now?

“Why do we need roads?”

Erm… for the cars to go on? (Phew, dodged that one, glad that’s over!)

“Why do we need cars?”

Say what now?

“Why do we need cars?”

To get from A to B?

It’s at this point you realise that you’re really and truly not qualified to answer life’s toughest questions, to be a parent or, indeed, to be a human.

And the Hell just keeps on acomin.

“Why do cars have wheels?”

I frantically looked around for a Primary school teacher or a scientist.

So that they can move? (I literally don’t know enough about wheels).

“Why do we have bollards?”

Who the actual fuck has taught you about bollards? Who has been using that word around you? Who are you right now?

Then just one after the other, again and again and again. It never, ever stops.

“Why do we have grass? Why do we need animals? Why do we need trousers? Why do we swim in water? Why do we eat food? Why do we have a night time? Why do we sleep? Why do we wake up? Why do we poo?”

Where is sodding Nina and her Neurons? Go and ask her FFS!

“Why do we need children?” was my question that morning.

Then yesterday came the best one yet.

“Mummy, what are those big things on your belly?”

He meant my breasts. I wondered what to call them at first – again, no one has qualified me to answer medical questions. Boobs? Boobies? Tits? What will be the worst thing he can repeat loudly on the bus when he sees another pair?

Those are breasts darling.

“Why do you need them?”

I thought long and hard….

Well, darling, they feed babies and they sometimes get me free drinks.

Education done.

Mummy's Writing Darling
The age of why

How to get through your first parents’ evening

First Parents’ Evening

He’s only four, he can’t have done much damage yet can he? Yet the mere idea of Parents’ Evening has immediately filled you with anxiety, not least, because you’re now the bleeding ‘parent’ in this scenario.

You can be a Teacher’s pet all you like … unfortunately that now means nothing.

They are now measuring your worth on what your precious first born has brought to the classroom and your guard is up straight away ready to prove he is a/ the perfect child b/ any bad aspects are purely from his Father and c/ any good qualities are down to outstanding mothering.

Your mind starts to race at what he has been up to when you haven’t been around: has he suffocated the class pet? Has he stolen someone’s free milk? Has he tied the teacher’s laces together.

 Or written ‘Mrs Smelly Bottom’ on the board?

As an ex teacher I understand the kiss-punch-kiss or compliment sandwich technique of feedback. So I sit on the tiny plastic seat hoping it doesn’t snap or get wedged entirely onto my arse and I await the results.

“He is doing great. He’s great with numbers. He’s got a fab memory.” O.k, there goes the kiss. I await the punch…

“He can get pretty angry, and he stamps his feet.” Obviously gets that from his father!

“He’s also overly tactile with other children when he gets excited and some of them don’t like it.” She finishes. We discuss boundaries.

He’s just full of love bless him. 

She finishes with lots of positives to finish her sandwich and I feel relieved. I also feel so grateful to the teacher who seems utterly wonderful and who I know from experience will be overworked and underpaid. I think about what nice gift to get her for the end of term. Box of wine should do it.

So – how do you survive?

Be prepared for the kiss-punch-kiss technique, don’t be overly defensive, remember they’re only four and be thankful they haven’t set fire to the class teddy, glued the numicons together or egged the Head teacher … yet.

First Ever Parents’ Evening