I’m in awe of other babies and toddlers. I see them out with their parents, doing normal baby/toddler things, and think, “Wow – I wonder what it must be like to have a child like that.” I struggle to imagine it, actually. I might as well try to imagine parenting a chimpanzee, or that octopus that can predict the results of football matches. It’s that foreign.
These children have skills that the Popple will probably never have – not because she can’t master them, but because she won’t. They include:
Sitting calmly in a pushchair
I see it every day – a parent pushing a baby/toddler in a pushchair and they’re just taking it.
There’s no screaming or thrashing. The parent hasn’t had to relinquish their wallet or mobile phone to the child in order to distract them from their whinge-fest (tactics which once worked for the Popple, albeit briefly). They haven’t given up and resorted to balancing the child awkwardly with one arm while pushing the pushchair with the other. The child is simply sitting there, watching the world go by. QUIETLY.
Sitting in a high chair in a public place for an entire meal
From what I’ve observed, most babies/toddlers in cafes or restaurants seem to eat their entire meal while they’re actually in the high chair. They don’t insist on getting out of their chair halfway through the meal and finishing their meal on foot, as they run from one table of diners to another, stopping to stare at them awkwardly or possibly rummage through their handbags.
Sitting in a car seat
Will your child sit in a car seat for more than five minutes without trying to escape? Can you go for a quick drive to the supermarket without having to distract them with an entire bag of breadsticks? Can you hit traffic without worrying that your child is going to howl the second the car stops moving?
Then you’re winning at parenting. Seriously. Go do a victory lap around the block while your baby sits quietly in their car seat and plays with a toy or whatever it is that babies do when they’re not screaming bloody murder over the sound of Radio 4.
The Popple, as you’ll have gathered, is not big on sitting. It makes things…challenging. And yet I can’t picture what she would be like if she wasn’t always on her feet. Or wanting to be on her feet. Or running away from me as fast as she can go with a packet of mashed potato in each hand.
If nothing else, she keeps me on my toes. Literally. Because if I sit down, she runs off and steals stuff.