As I sit here listening to Daphne “Change” (great track by the way, you’ll love it – or at least I will try to encourage you to love it), it’s starting to occur to me that change is somewhat dominating our lives at the moment.
We watch a cartoon called Humf, where the main character this morning proclaimed his sheer delight at the fact he could change his mind on the things he likes. Obviously the lyrics of the record I’m listening to are all about people changing their minds – I even opted for a beer from the fridge, when I had initially gone to the kitchen for a glass of wine before I started to write this.
But then those examples of change are nothing compared to what you are going through right now.
Every day it is as though something happens to flip your whole world upside down – making you do something completely different to how you start the day each morning.
Looking at them in their simplest form, it usually involves an adult telling you that we need to do something that goes against what you actually like doing. Encouraging you to grow up, without actually asking you if that is what you want to do.
In the last week you have moved up a class at nursery. This will undoubtedly mean a change of scenery, key worker, possibly even a change of classmates – though you will know most of them. It will mean leaving behind your familiar play room, the key worker who has always been there to encourage you over the last year; even those friends who haven’t quite reached the age where they can move up.
We as parents have lied to you for the first time (I think?). We’ve taken your dummy away from you – because we feel that at two, you shouldn’t be so reliant on something comforting to get you to sleep. We did this by collecting all your old dummies up and putting them in a bag. Mum then hung them on the outside of the front door. We told you that if they were gone by the time you both went to check – that other babies wanted and needed them more than you. In reality your Mum simply went out, took them out of the bag and threw them away. I don’t doubt that it will be the only time we ever use such a tactic, but it’s still something new to us; a change to the way we parent.
You’ve recently moved from a cot to a bed. This has been a massive change, as it enables you to exert some control over how you go to bed. Previously we’d give you a bottle, a dummy, put you in your cot and you’d be contained – seems a better word than trapped – until you really wanted to get up in the morning. Now you just get out of bed, open your door and let us know exactly how you feel about being stuck in your room. If it’s still night time, then we have to come and sit on your floor and wait for you to be ready – this change affects us all.
On top of all of that, we are also in the process of potty training you. This change will mean we no longer have to change you – a double change then. You will soon be able to go to toilet just as big girls do – being a big girl is important to you. It’s a difficult process. You don’t always go where you should – often behind the curtains – but your command of when you want to go is improving.
This may seem like a lot for you to be going through at one stage, but then it’s clear to me that this is just the start. We’ve night time bottles to get rid of; new likes and dislikes that will emerge. There’s another class at nursery; then there are new schools for you to go to. The biggest change I fear will come from the changes to your body. I think I might need a book to teach me how to explain everything to you properly – that, or hide behind your Mum.
The thing we most want you to understand as you grow older is that whatever changes do happen, you do not approach them on your own. Mum and I have both been through a lot of change – school, work, where we live and who we have in our lives. Just talk to us, open up to us – we are here to reassure you that nothing is set in stone. If you don’t like something – you have the power to change it; just as we have. We wouldn’t know each other had we not changed something – so plenty of good does come from new beginnings. It’s not all about lost dummies and wet carpets.
You even forced us to change.
Before you there was one life; after you were born, a completely different one. Yes we still do a lot of the same things we did before you were born, but very little matters as much as you. You were a change worth embracing, and we are grateful that you gave us the opportunity to change.
But with all of this talk of change, be sure in the knowledge that our love for you will never alter; no matter what arguments we may have, how you may feel you are being punished or even when we are being “unfair”. Our love will remain our one true constant to you.
That feeling will never change.