I don’t want my children to have an ok life. I want it to be extraordinary.
I’m a reader. A researcher. I always have been. If I’m going to a restaurant, I look up the menu. If I’m buying a new appliance, I trawl the online reviews. We live in the information age, no matter the question, the answer is literally at our fingertips.
Why then, when it comes to raising our children (no doubt the most important task we will ever undertake as parents), is it considered OTT or extreme to do the same?
When my daughter started daycare, I spent a lot of time trying to find the right fit for her and our family. I did a lot of research, and asked a lot of questions. Over and over again though, the answer to my question would come back the same, “She’ll be fine.”
“How will you get her to sleep?” “She’ll be fine.”
“She has intolerances, will you make sure she doesn’t have those foods?” “She’ll be fine.”
“What kind of activities do you do?” “She’ll be fine.”
“If her body temperature reaches over 30 degrees she will spontaneously combust.” “She’ll be fine.”
You get the idea.
No doubt those three words, usually delivered flippantly and with the occasional eyeroll, were an attempt to reassure me. I did not feel reassured. I felt frustrated. “Fine” is a term I would accept for the weather. Maybe even a meal (actually probably not a meal). But certainly not for the care of my children, or any other aspect of their lives.
Now don’t get me wrong, we definitely have days as a family where “fine” is all we manage. In fact we probably have a couple of days like that a week. On the whole though, ”fine” as an aspiration just doesn’t seem like enough. I don’t want my children to have an ok life. I want it to be extraordinary.
So I do the research. I talk to experts. I ask questions. I use my instincts. I suffer the eye rolls. If that makes me extreme, then I am totally “fine” with that.
My son was a very fussy baby. He only settled when he was being held, he didn’t nap for very long during the day, he was very uncomfortable after a feed (more so in the evening) and he never slept through the night.