M is for parenting
M is for parenting
Scott Dunlop

Hello, strong parents,

I love words. Choosing them for a sentence is like being at an all-you-can eat buffet where you never get full. I enjoy teaching my kids new ways of describing things, too, and love listening to their own buffet tables growing as they read and absorb their own inner dictionaries. Here’s something I was doing quietly (in my head) when I couldn't sleep the other night. I decided that lots of parenting experiences could be described by words beginning with the letter “M”:

Mewling: Possibly the most ineffective description of an infant, ever. We all know that when a baby cries, it’s more of a seam-splitting yell than mewling, but there you go. Still, having a baby is a moving experience. You move from the nappy to the bottle and vice versa.

Messy: Ever left a permanent marker within reach of a toddler? Manipulative is another one, although it’s also a means to an end for a child. Your toddler’s hands will also become more skilled at manipulating objects, too, so there’s a positive spin on that! They become materialistic, too, attached to metaphorical totems like teddies and dolls.

Miserable: Pre-schoolers are mercurial (ha!). They go from being downright miserable to insanely merry at the blink of an eye. They’re trying to figure out boundaries- they know what they want, but the confusion around how to get it leads to some intense moments. You may experience times of mischievousness and moaning on the way to mutual happiness.

Modest: When your child goes to school, he starts to realise that it’s not all about him. A more balanced outlook on life creeps in- unless, of course, your child is mean or the one being mocked. Hopefully the discussions you've had about morals will kick in, though.

Moody: It’s fair to say that you may encounter some moods when your child is a teen, but, thank goodness, this period ends with the wonderful adjective, “mature”. There may be patches of melancholy and plenty of melodrama, but these are momentous years.

Miraculous, magnificent and marvellous: Looking back, some of those words seem heavy, as if parenting is mostly difficult, the fact is, it’s full of magnificence, and, even in the mundane tasks we all have to do, the mystery is that we look back on it with fondness, grateful for the magical memories we’ve created.

What word best sums up where you are right now (it doesn't have to begin with “M”!)?

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