Oh no. That time has come. The time to roll out and your best "NO" and really mean it. Every time. Continually. Even when you are shattered and just need some peace.
She is an absolute titch and is commonly mistaken for having just turned one. This isn't a problem itself, the issue with being small is that when we are in group situations, everyone imagines that she is a younger more fragile baby and their hulking toddler is about to shatter her innocent peace. In the vast majority of cases, Wriggles is always the eldest and is just as likely to swipe whatever they are enjoying and not give it back. When all the babies were younger it didn't seem that important. All babies I have met operate under 'the grass is greener on the opposite side'-whatever your friend has is ALWAYS better even if it is exactly the same. Little baffling babies clonking rattles on each others heads and stealing each others socks is quite sweet. I feel though that me and Wriggles have got to the point where I need to enforce sharing a bit more militantly. In the last week she has tried to push another little girl and grab people's clothing to try and move whoever is in her way to what she wants. She is most of the time a very placid, sociable and sweet-natured little thing and it was a bit of a shock to the system to realise that like every other child, she also has a split personality whereby she can be a terror when she wants to.
I hope I'm not being blind in that I am sure it is just a phase and not the beginnings of a selfish thug emerging. I am very conscious of the fact that she is and is going to be an only child from a single parent family. Both these things conjure up a stereotype of children who can range from precocious to unruly and have a complete lack of discipline. We all know that things are never this black and white and for every badly-mannered child from such a background there is an angelic one and that any child from any background can grow up into a nightmare that even Super Nanny would shrink from. I so want to get it right; she has been such a good baby so far I do not want to spoil things or her, and by default bring up someone who people will nudge and whisper about and hesitate over inviting to birthday parties.
Wriggles has always been quite bold and happy with rough and tumble. She is only now beginning to have a shy side which is normally only reserved for when she is teething and feels a bit rubbish. She is very much her own person and is resilient and knows what she does and doesn't want. Some things, like feeding, I have to tread carefully over and let time take it's course, but I am wary about applying this approach to everything. Over the last few weeks, I have been watching fellow parents with keen interest to see how they handle stressful situations. Obviously I only have insight into this in public and am only privy to what they choose to share, but it is useful to observe different styles. I have always had a make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach and as both Wriggles and I have been happy coasting along, have been lucky in that setting down a few ground rules and routine and otherwise being fairly laid back has not thrown up any problems. She does not always demonstrate a brilliant grasp of understanding, though is beginning to be more clear in this arena and of course by now I am able to second guess an awful lot and know her inside out. As there is just us in the house, I have for better or worse, a 'what's yours is mine' approach which has been good in building up her confidence to explore things and pique her curiosity which has helped development. Now she is a little older though, I think I am going to have to set out some slightly firmer rules about what is and isn't allowed and try and enforce the concept of sharing and patience. Having no prior experience of children, I have no idea if I am barking up the wrong tree too late or too soon.
All parenting tips welcome on a postcard!