I Wish My Child Was More Like Yours

MD“I wish my child was more like yours…” – it’s a horrible thing for a parent to think, isn’t it?

And it’s a horrible thing to say, but these words do creep into my head more often than I’d care to admit. To me they are very unwelcome words and do nothing to appease the general feeling of guilt that I’m a bad Mummy.

It’s an awful feeling, but then I do have a very, shall we say, “adventurous” toddler – a toddler that to me always seems so much worse behaved than all the other toddlers I see out and about. The toddlers who sit nicely in their pram or high-chair, or walk along calmly with their parents instead of running away. The toddlers that don’t stand on tables when out having a meal with their Mum and Dad…

Indeed my son can be an absolute darling and I absolutely adore him no matter what, but during the times he’s in a less than savoury mood due to tiredness or hunger or boredom or whatever other reason I can’t even begin to fathom, he can absolutely bring me to my knees. I’ve never known stress like it when he goes into out-of-control mode!! Am I the only one?

However this post was not inspired by our usual run-of-the-mill Mall breakdowns (check out We May Never Venture Out In Public Again for one of those). No, it was actually inspired by a little holiday that my husband, son and I have just been on – seven wonderful days at the Atmosphere Hotel on Kanifushi Island in the Maldives. We went to the same resort last year when Zachy was eight months old, and decided to return as we had such a great time and knew it would be perfect for a now 19 month old Zachy.

And it was…

But what we failed to foresee was that a 19 month old Zachy would be much harder work for us!

Yes, unlike eight month old Zachy, 19 month old Zachy was literally into and onto EVERYTHING. Everything he could grab was his! Also, our plan to pop him into kids club for a couple of hours on a couple of days for a bit of “Mum and Dad chill and drink alone on the beach time” was a complete fail as he cried nonstop during the one and only time we dropped him there…he clearly knew our evil plan.

To put it bluntly…it was not quite as relaxing as we imagined. We were always on guard.

And I’m not going to lie – the unwelcome words crept into my head a fair bit during what I had imagined was going to be a perfectly idealistic family holiday. It was upsetting. And the words seemed most present during our evening meals when all other tots were either asleep in prams (as if), eating (overrated), or sat calmly on one of their parents’ laps (hell no!)

Indeed, it seemed that it was only our child running around, pushing over lamps, lying on the floor in peoples’ walk paths, retrieving peoples’ wine bottles out of the ice boxes…and yes, on one occasion much to my horror, he did climb on a neighbouring table and hold his arms up in triumph!!!

So to my surprise on one such night, a lovely Mum who was sat on a neighboring table started chuckling at Zachy’s behavior. She then said to me “your son is just absolutely adorable!” – I laughed and said thank you and that “it’s a good thing they’re cute at this age.” She agreed, then nodded at her 10 and 11 year old and said “yes, it’s why I only did it twice in close concession!” It really made me laugh and I said I had a lot of respect for her, the brave brave woman!

But on top of that, it was really nice to think that despite the fact I thought he was being a little bugger, other parents thought he was adorable.

On another such evening, a Mummy and her two-year-old tot came over to say hello and play with Zachy’s toy cars. The little boy (the name I can’t recall) was sucking a dummy. He looked incredibly cute and he was so polite, saying “thank you” in the sweetest little voice to Zachy for showing him his cars.

The Mummy and I were chatting, and then she brought something to my attention that had not even crossed my mind – she said, “I know he shouldn’t still be using a pacifier, but he loves it so much and I can’t get him to give it up”. I absolutely hadn’t looked upon it as strange or bad – I just thought he looked adorable. In reply I said that I have a similar thing with Zachy on the breast – “I’ve tried to wean, but he won’t let me – he loves Mummy milk and asks for it all the time, so I just let him as it makes him happy.”

She then said something which surprised me and partially inspired this post. She said “I wish that was our problem – we had so much trouble feeding and he just didn’t take to the breast – he always preferred bottle and pacifier.”

That’s right – she wished that her and her son were more like me and my son! I really want to wean but had never considered that the grass might seem greener on our side, or what guilt another Mummy might carry around in relation to something so little and cute as a dummy.

All Good Things Must Come To An End…

Our holiday, alas, eventually came to an end. We were sad to leave but excited to get home too – back to normality, to routine…to a toddler-proofed home.

We sat next to a nice couple on the flight home who had a lovely 17 month old boy, Charlie. He was an adorable little lad, but had a tough flight with lots of tears and intermittent tantrums. During one such tantrum, his Mother turned to me and said “your son is so well behaved! Charlie gives his Mummy a really hard time most of the time at the moment.”

I really really felt for her in that second. I know all too well how she must have felt. She was clearly having an “I wish my child was more like yours” moment. And it was true – Zachy was incredibly well behaved the whole flight. No tears, no tantrums. He was a model toddler (if there’s such a thing)!

But her comment really made me think about how we perceive other parents and other children. Indeed it made me wonder about all the other “bad moments” Zachy has had, and how many people might have looked on and thought his behavior wasn’t naughty, but cute? It made me wonder how many parents worry more about what I am thinking about their child’s behavior or habit, over what my child is doing? And it also made me wonder how many parents look on at my wonderfully behaved little boy during those good moments and good days and wish their tots were more like him?

I guess it’s all about perspective.

We spend so much time together and I think I spend so long looking at the bad behavior that I sometimes forget to recognize or acknowledge all of the good behavior! Indeed he can stress me out to the brink of tears, but the fact is that overall, my son IS a good boy. He IS a very clever boy. And yes, he is also a VERY adventurous little soul – but this can only be positive in the long run.

So I guess we ought to celebrate our tots for their colourful characters. They may often give us a hard time but then they give us so many beautiful moments too, and that is what makes parenthood so completely and utterly worth it!

Thank you to the three lovely Mummies who opened my eyes and inspired this post x

P.s. despite my grumblings, we did have an absolutely amazing holiday!! There are some pictures on The Son And The Moon Facebook page, and I’ll write up a little post about the resort soon. Also, here is a slightly more humorous take on some of Zachy’s holiday antics which I posted a few days ago…enjoy!

Follow The Son And The Moon on Facebook for daily updates from life in the sandpit (aka Dubai!)

Also, if you liked this post, you may also like…

My Dirty Parenting Confessions

An Ode To My Holidaying Husband…

I’ve Become The Mum I Never Wanted To Be

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23 thoughts on “I Wish My Child Was More Like Yours

  1. My son is almost 2. Recently, he has really started the Terrible part of being 2. It is hard. It is hot and cold, you know? That makes me hot and cold. I agree with you, it is all about perspective! Gotta focus on the good, even if its the few, moments of the days 🙂

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  2. A post right from the heart. I completely agree, we definitely ALL have those “I wish my kid was like yours” moments, but then they do something so darn adorable to make you forget all their wrath! haha! Grr, pesky little toddlers!

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  3. this post took me back to my daughter and sons toddler years. I’m can proudly say that they are both well behaved bigger kids now but there were so many times back then that we had the same moments you mentioned above. it is just part of growing up and parenting and surely this cuteness will be missed.

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  4. Absolutely spot on and very good timing for me. We’ve just cancelled – yes cancelled – a trip to Sri Lanka as I convinced my husband that to spend thousands of dirhams on a trip that will be stressful non stop for us both (we have three kids under 4) is just ridiculous. Secretly had a “wish my kids were more like …” Moment when my neighbour came over to tell us she was going away – to Sri Lanka with her 3 kids of the same age! So for a while, I felt a failure, maybe weak for not giving it a go until I read this so thank you for bringing me back to the real and more positive world
    X

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    1. So glad it resonated! You’re absolutely right – there were so many points during the holiday when I was like “god, we paid a fortune for this and we’re not 100% enjoying it” – you do wise to cancel if you’re not confident you’ll have a fab time! Staycations are the way forward I feel…for now 🙂

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  5. LOL. The last time I went on holiday with a 16 month old I decided they needed a sibling. That was 6 years ago. Two more kids later and we haven’t been on a holiday other than our summer escape. I remember seeing your fantastic pictures on instagram and thinking, “Wow, that was really brave of them, maybe it isn’t all that bad – look they took their baby on holiday to the Maldives” My youngest is 20 months, so it is funny to read about the actual experience. Toddlers are always going to be a handful.

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    1. Hehehe, life is always beautiful on Instagram isn’t it! There should be a ‘behind the scenes’ tab 😉 And its funny, I am thinking Zachy probably needs a sibling to “entertain him”. I guess holiday’s will be ‘interesting’ for a few more years yet! x

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  6. Great post, totally agree with your view point. I specifically remember a lunch at Carlucchio’s in Dubai mall, when my toddler gone totally wild, few people judged both of us, making me even more embarrassed. But one lovely mom invited him to her table to play with her cute, calm daughter and later told me she wished her daughter to be as much outgoing and won’t cling to her! 🙂

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  7. This feeling is a familiar one even now that my kids are ages 3yo and 8yo. The grandparents wwill remind me during those times that they are just kids and “I’ve had experince worst with you and your siblings!” I mean really, everybody loved me as a kid” Hahahaha

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  8. Don’t feel bad, we’ve all had those thoughts in our heads, whether we admit it or not. I guess as mums we’re always kinda hard on ourselves? We may think that our kids are acting horribly and then realise (especially when we get comments from other people) that we’re just being too paranoid and as usual over-thinking too much. x

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  9. This is such a lovely post – you’re right that we’re so aware of our children and their ‘naughty’ behaviour, and second-guessing ourselves or what other people think a lot of the time. I know my daughter, with her blonde curls and big blue eyes, gets a lot of attention for being cute (which obviously she is!) but most of those people don’t get to see me physically carrying her off a beach in the middle of a meltdown!

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  10. Aw I’m glad those other mummies helped you to see the good in your boy! I think when our kids have tantrums, as a parent you get all hot and flustered, well I do, and always think it looks worse to outsiders than it does! Glad you had a great holiday, you’re brave so going so far abroad! Sabrina xx

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  11. It’s all part of the mum guilt we have to deal with all the time. My eldest was the toddler that sat quietly at tables etc and now my youngest is the toddler that runs around like a lunatic. But your right only we notice it, everyone thinks it’s normal and adorable. X

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  12. wow this is such a beautiful and well written post, i know that i sometimes find myself asking the same things especially on days where my youngest behavior is particularly challenging, hes non verbal so it can make it hard sometimes, however but then i get comments of other parents about how poor there kids sleeping at night is and im like we’ll mine both sleep through ;/ and same as you there envious of me for that.. i supose its like a never ending chain like where one person lacks and feels theirs a issue another might not and have one of there own and it goes on. sorry probably does make sense lol

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  13. My 3 year old daughter sounds exactly like your son. Well done for being honest. I often think my daughter is really naughty when others think she is an angel. It’s a funny thing isn’t it. I bet the mum on the plane was beside herself of the inside. Holidays will never be the relaxing time there we before the kids could start moving etc lol x

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  14. Monkey was (still is) that adventurous boy and I suffered like you when one of my NCT mums had a little girl who would happily sit in her pushchair while we drink coffee watching the world go by while Monkey was doing his pieces because he was bored. It took me a while but eventually I learnt to embrace his boyish behaviour, let him run wild (within reason) and burn it off. I am not friends with the lady anymore because she always made reference to his ‘bad behaviour’ but it was me with the bad behaviour expecting him to sit and be bored. I will not be making the same mistake with our second. 🙂 x

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