Home' Aurora : Aurora February 2014 Contents 13
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
OUT TO SEA
WITHOUT A PADDLE
Regular contributor Joanne Isaac shares some
insights into life with three children under
nine, dispelling the myth of 'the terrible twos'
along the way.
I have thr ee children who are eight, six and
two. I have read a lot over the course of
the past nine years about having and r aising
children. I study them on a daily basis in
their natur al habitat. I speak to friends and
acquaintances alike who have similarly aged
children. You would think that I would be
an exper t, that I would be confident in my
ability to mould excellent human beings. I
mean, people don't take as many year s to
complete a PhD! So why do I still feel as
though I am completely out of my depth?
If parenthood is an endur ance event then
I am barely out of the starting blocks. But
boy, am I puffed out already !
Let's star t with the eight year- old. She is
innocence and swaggering self-assur ance.
She is bright with life and woe is me
(sometimes within the same ten minutes).
She is love letter s to her parents and hair-
pulling and name-calling with her sister.
She is industrially deaf when asked to do
something and a moth to a flame when
you are talking in hushed tones. If the ar t
of distr action was an Olympic spor t, she
would win gold. She can navigate her way
through inordinate mess, eat a s much as a
grown man and could lecture for a course
titled, "Begging 101 -- one hundred and
one ways to manipulate your parents and
get your own way" ! And who would have
thought that a tiny scr atch could elicit
such howls of despair in one human being
alone? The out of proportion response to
the slightest injury is in such contr adiction
to her nor mal, easygoing nature that I
invariably end up laughing at her (which
doesn't assist in calming her down and
helping her to gain a little perspective).
Eight is a good age though. You have a
cer tain independence; you think you know
how the world works; you enjoy pretty
much ever y thing (except homework and
not getting your own way); you ador e
your friends, but still adore your family
more. You have swathes of time to
indulge in your per sonal hobbies, at the
expense of your parents' per sonal hobbies,
although they no longer remember what
their personal hobbies were! You run,
sing, dance, do car twheels, swim, read,
laugh, watch TV, eat, sleep, lear n and
play. You talk a lot. Life is still (hopefully)
Our six year-old is, of course, very
different in many ways from her big sister.
She is sweetness per sonified and ma ster
of the death stare (sometimes within the
same ten minutes). She is a lighthouse
of love and the town crier of our many
failings. She deliver s notes of adoration
and then rips them up if you cross her.
She is wily and cr afty and rejoices when
one of her plans results in the pay-off of
an annoyed sister, a frustrated brother
or a fr az zled par ent. She loves attention
and will do whatever it takes to get it.
She says "no" a lot but won't take "no"
for an answer. She hugs as though her
life depends on it. She understands me
better than I under stand her, although I am
working on it! She is so honest about her
feelings that she ha s to be lectured befor e
she receives a gif t in case she doesn't like
it, although I think we took the lecture
a bit far last year, since her response to
ever y present was a robotic, over-acted, "I
love it". She loves shoes, make-up, pretty
dresses and associated flourishes.
Six is a good age though. You have made
it through kindergar ten and can now r ead
and write (to a degree). You are gaining
confidence after a big year and are better
able to control your emotions (or is that
just my eter nally optimistic brain talking?).
You bask in the encour agement and
compliments of your parents and teacher.
You are stepping out of the shadow of
your older sibling (or own self-doubt)
and finding your own niche, your own
talents. You play, dance, sing, hang out,
watch movies, lear n, eat and sleep. You
talk loudly, a lot. Life should definitely be
Two year-olds have a bad reputation.
They are labelled in magazines as going
through "the terrible twos" and people
whisper conspiratorially to each other,
"He's two", when they witness a toddler
having a meltdown. Personally, I adore
two year-olds. Our two year-old is
laughter and sunshine, big eyes and bigger
smiles, a wordsmith in the making. He is
enjoying the moment and screaming to
be heard. He is a sturdy adventurer and
hear tbreakingly vulnerable. He is a hugger
and a wriggler, who is star ting to get the
joke sometimes. He is a sponge, a lover
of life, a carpe diem kid. He is digging dir t,
throwing sticks, investigating with intent
-- he's the CSI of the toddler univer se.
He misses nothing. He laughs hard and
falls harder. He says "Thankyou Mummy"
and "Thankyou Daddy" with such beauty
I almost weep every time he says it.
He under stands that he has his sisters
wrapped around his little fingers . They
compete for his attention and he r evels in
their love. He dances like a grandad, we
call it 'the bop and drop'. He is unfettered,
secure and magnificent.
Two is an exceptionally good age. You
are gaining some independence and at
the same time receiving all the love and
reassur ance you still cr ave. You sleep,
eat, have fun at the park, go to swimming
lessons and kinder gym. You relax in front
of ABC 4 Kids. You push toy car s around.
You follow your Dad like the proverbial
mini-me, learning what it's like to be a big
boy ! You enjoy the attention of all and
delight in the wonder on people's faces
as you conquer another word or stair or
milestone. Life can be fr ustr ating, hence
the tantrums, but it's still pretty awesome.
I think as parents we will always feel a s
though we have L-plates. Every age and
stage will be the first time we've gone
through it as parents. Feeling out to sea
without a paddle is surely de rigueur! I will
read more books, talk to more friends, lie
awake thinking about the best approach
for the unique personality and nature
of each of our kids in a million different
situations. I will worry, tear my hair out, get
frustr ated, cr y and have some tantr ums of
This year though I will attempt to be
more like them instead of expecting
them to be more like me. They are great
teachers if you watch and listen closely
enough. I might even see if I can still turn a
car twheel ! That should be good for a laugh
Links Archive Aurora December 2013 Aurora March 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page