Sunday, 3 May 2009

Who'd have 'em?

Kids. They're no fun after all. And having children doesn't make you happy. In fact, the reverse is true if this article in The Times is to be believed. Having spent a long week mopping up sick then dealing with horrendous nappies (I honestly preferred the vomit!) I can understand why - sometimes - people think that having kids might not be all that it's cracked up to be. They're hard work, however many you have, whatever age or sex. And the worry never stops. There's no point being sentimental about it. Pooey nappies are unpleasant. But are children really more trouble than they're worth?
Without going all Darwinian on the subject, aren't they our reason for existing? Isn't the single most important thing we do in life securing the future of the species by passing on the baton to another generation? And if you're not religiously inclined, then kids 'ensure our immortality' as someone once said. A little bit of us survives forever in our children, in their children, and their children's children. But there's more to it than that. Much more. Almost everyone says that Charlie looks like me. It's true the poor chap seems to have been cursed that way. There are pictures of me at his age that you could easily pass off as being of him, and vice-versa. And as I watch him play just like I did at his age, I'm sometimes struck with an overwhelming feeling that I'm seeing myself as a child. It's probably the nearest I'm going to get to time-travel. Children are the past as well as the future.
As for the present, watching Charlie growing up bit by bit each day is one of the best things that I've ever done. It's a rare privilege seeing someone slowly learning what the world is, what his body does, what words are for and how a smile can stop a whole room. It's like being able to watch a flower opening. It's real magic, and there can't be many more rewarding experiences on offer. Children are hard work, for sure. But the best kind of hard work is also the most rewarding. The sleepless nights don't last forever. And, for the record - Charlie's nappies are now back to normal!


  1. Totally agree. I wouldn't swap our Tom for all the world - even when he's having a bad day and is being exhausting. I sometimes think we have such a problem with young people going off the rails in this country because kids are seen as a nuisance and not to be desired... an idiotic notion.

  2. Good point, Steve. They certainly do it differently abroad, where you can see entire families - three generations - eating out at restaurants late at night. We're still in the 'seen and not heard' frame of mind, here.

  3. I haven't had kids yet but if I'm lucky enough to be able to do so I reckon it'll be brilliant. Tiring, expensive and overwhelming yes, but brilliant nonetheless!

    Dot I've tagged you for a meme btw - please ignore if you've already done it!

  4. Heartily agree with you. I think perhaps attitudes are different over here (abroad). We've taken our children to restaurants from when they were tiny and they are treated as people not tiresome kids. And they react accordingly.

  5. I might get in trouble for divulging this, but when I was about to move over here to Britain I was warned -- "Be careful, the English don't like kids. They prefer dogs." I knew that was wrong, but it's nice to have the written confirmation :-)
    PS Glad you're feeling better, Charlie!

  6. Being a parent (especially a single parent) is sometimes very difficult. But I wouldn't swap it for the world, for a life without kids. I have easily learned twice as much as I've taught, and I'm so proud to have two brilliant kids.

    So pleased Charlie is feeling better. Hope the rest of you are ok! x

  7. It is, Kerry. And also tiring, frustrating, annoying and heart-breaking. But mostly brilliant.

    Yes, they definitely do things better on the continent DD. Another reason for wanting to emigrate...

    Hmm, Sue. It's probably not insignificant that dogs and their ilk have a Royal society for their protection, while mere children have to make do with a 'National'.

    Nicely put Kitty. And I agree - you learn more than you can ever teach. 'The child is the father of the man' after all!

  8. I didn't know Charlie wore glasses.

  9. I'm sure it wouldn't be half as much fun if it was easy. And I'd rather sort out my baby's nappy (haven' had to do it for a long time) than scoop up dog poo anytime!

  10. I fall in love with my children on a daily basis...over and over. I also scream and cry because they're so naughty and I'm so tired. And I also mop up sick and change vile stinky runny nappies, but I would never change it for a thing. Seriously - I feel so lucky to have been able to have children. I can't imagine my world withot them.

  11. Glad Charlie is better, Tim. never mind dirty nappies and cleaning vomit, I'm sure when he puts his little arms around you and he smiles at your with his cheeky little smile, it's just like heaven. Shame on you for not letting me know you were coming to York. I would have like os much to meet gorgeous little Charlie (and the rest of his family, of course)!!! Ciao. A.

  12. Yes, I have to make do with my garden: it's a lovely feeling to care for something and watch it grow.

  13. He's actually got quite a doody pair of sunshades, Ian. Unlike his dad.

    I wish more people would scoop up dog poo round here, NB. Honestly, you should see the pavements...

    I recognise all those feelings, MT, every one.

    Sorry, Antonella - but you were in Italy! I'll let you know next time we're up there.

    There's a lot of similarities between gardening and child-rearing, Gadj. Plenty of muck down below!

  14. Well said. I prefer poo over vomit.

  15. My five year old is hard work, demanding, she wakes me up in the night and hassles me all round the supermarket every time we go; she wants everything she sees advertised on the television and all the latest Disney DVDs.

    That said, I love her to bits, she's the best thing that has ever happened to me and I wouldn't change her for the world. In fact, I could honestly say I couldn't live without her.

  16. My mum always said that nothing worth having was easy and she is spot on. Kids - they drive you berserk on a daily basis, but you wouldn't change them. Not even the pooey nappies. Although I'm with Modern Mother on this one - pooey nappies better than vomit.

  17. Now things are back to normal, AMM, so do I!

    Well said, Rosie. I agree entirely (as every parent probably would).

    That's so true, FM. The harder it is, the more satisfying.

  18. Good work dude.

    Sam was amazed and very smug when I told him that, when he was a baby, he sneezed, wee'd, poohed and puked on me, within 30 minutes.

    I hope he's a better person than I am.

    p.s. We're coming to see the Boston Stump in the summer, fancy a cuppa?

  19. Hey Eddie. Nice to hear from you again! When are you in Boston?

  20. I agree with all you said. I am amazed everyday by how I feel watching my 2 pigmies grow up. Earlier today Elliott started singing twinkle twinkle and for the first time we could actually understand sall he was saying and he was in tune :) Like you saud it is so amazing to watch them discover the world around them.

  21. It's the best part of parenting, for sure PHM!


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