January 31st, 2010

parenting fail


Yesterday my entire family spent the day trying to out-do each other in indolence. (Well, except for Z who divided his time between helping a friend move house and making sartorial choices about toilet seats).

The cats stuffed themselves on the extra generous portions of dried food Matei served them while my back was turned, and then slept for the next 10 hours- one at the foot of the bed, one on the sheepskin run- stirring from time to time to cast a yellow eye about for events of interest and then stretch more indecently.

I've noticed that I experience a lot more spotting when I'm up and active, so having never really needed much prodding in that direction anyway, am embracing horizontality like a new religion. Having provided a nutrituous artery-clogging breakfast for my family, Z went off to load boxes while Matei and I retreated to the living room, to curl up together on a chair so that he could watch Mickey Mouse cartoons and I could read blogs.

Afterwards, we retreated to the bedroom with our coterie of overfed cats and I proceeded to enjoy one of the most pleasurable days I have ever had with my son. Probably because I spent most of it in bed with Ayelet Waldman and tea, while Matei amused himself nearby without causing destruction (I think this was the crowning achievement of my Benign Neglect* parenting strategy and I couldn't be more proud). From time to time I would pounce upon him to give him kisses, and from time to time he would come to smile at me and sing nonsense song lyrics and this convivial bliss lasted all the way to naptime and beyond.

Lunchtime (bacon sandwich for me, biscuits and fruit for M- pretty much the sumtotal of provisions we had in the house) was enjoyed in bed also, followed by a selection of M's favourite children's books (anything featuring animals or puppets).

In the evening we went off to a dinner party with child in tow. M was successfully dispatched to bed at 9 (an hour later than planned, but still within a time which allows Z and me to feel smug) although he woke at 11pm, frightened by the sounds of foxes shagging (Is that wolves coming to eat children Mummy? No, it's foxes singing. Foxes! Hi foxes! Sing again!) which heralded an hour and a half of Z and me taking turns to lie down with him and M lying obediently down in the dark but leaping up at every sound to engage us in conversation about foxes and dinner party guests ("Come back foxes! Man walked by. He has a big head") until we gave up and let him join the party. He stayed up until 1:30am (oh parental shame!), but behaved impeccably (M is a natural host. He had a great time circulating around the room with a handful of crisps, giving one to each guest in turn. Although on the other hand he DID take the olives away from people "No, it's enough! Too salty!" so his approach needs work) until Z and reclaimed a sense of adult responsibility and hustled him off home and to bed.

I hope everyone else has had an equally lovely day.

*Promoting Independence and Imagination by letting your child get on with things by themselves as much as they'll accept.