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This - 'You can spend time wondering if you’ve made it to a milestone yet. Or you could sit down, take a beat, and admire the view.' Yes.

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Ahhh Kevin! Yet again you spearhead the observations spiralling in my mind. Like a matrix minded magician. Thank you.

As recent home educators, I have become incredibly adept and inept all at once in my relationship with our now 7 year old Frank.

Having been through what I now know as PTSD and Post Natal Depression from Franks birth to my fathers death. I pride myself on being finely tuned to his frequency, what emotional needs are behind the outbursts, what his intentions are, how each ‘obsession’ is him working out his place in the universe.

Referring to your ‘white lie’ approach to the younger years, I’ve never been comfortable with that, purely as a reaction my own parents inept coercion method that continued into adulthood.

Also our Frank has an incredibly low threshold for bullshit! Even pre-verbal, he would shoot us a look that conveyed ‘seriously? Thats just nonsense’

My own mother claiming after minding him overnight, when he was around 12 months, “oh you can’t pull the wool over his eyes”

Why would you try? I thought.

I digress, deep in reflective mode and marvelling at another expression of independence from Frank, it occurred to me I never got to say goodbye to the other younger versions of Frank.

I grieve them.

I miss 2 yr old, Octonauts Obsessive. 3 yr old scooting nut. 4 yr old naked dancer, 5 yr old monkey bar king, 6 yr old ninjago/Pokémon master and now the rainbow flicking football dynamo who deep dives info about gem stones.

Ever shifting, ever adapting. The way we talked, the places we visited. He becomes less willing to just do things now, much more independent and strong willed in advocating his needs.

We observe, celebrate, we congratulate, we commiserate.

If we regenerate our cells constantly, then by that definition a child is a new person constantly. And we should relate to them so, as though meeting a new entity every time. Don’t get lost in ‘should haves’ ‘usually does’ or even worse ‘normally’

Being a parent is an ever shifting Rolodex of storing old information and being welcoming of the new. As Frank begins the 7 yrs plus range I’m reminded more than ever, how I felt at his age, my memories solidifying at this point, what did I love, what did I struggle with?

and all I ever wanted was to have a fluid support system that trusted me when I needed it and challenged me when I was ready and set me free when I flexed those muscles. No judgment, criticism or shame.

“We are not the engineers of our children, we are their shepherds, they are fully functioning individuals who just need the right environment and landscape in which to thrive”

Every time you do something with them, might just be the last. Drink it up, breathe it in.

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Lovely observations, as always, Pete. The idea of baby Frank giving you the side-eye is cracking me up.

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Such a great post! I love hearing about parenthood from ‘dads’ perspective, you have such a wonderful writing style ✨

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"it’s the one letter you share with your sister, placed at the same point, exactly midway between both of your names. There’s only one set of letters in the bath, so there’s no way both their names can be there simultaneously."

Perhaps you could arrange them in a cross? One vertical, one horizontal, both sharing the middle D.

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Cute. Love this.

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Thank you for sharing this! I’m a pediatric dietitian so I often write about feeding milestones. There is definitely a fine line between actively helping a child through a milestone, holding their hand, or viewing it from the sidelines. As parents it’s hard to distinguish which vantage point to adopt. Thank you for sharing your experience!

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I do have to say I’m really not a fan of lying to my kids and I’m a little surprised to see it celebrated here. I don’t think it’s like completely monstrous or anything but for me I just don’t really want to model that behavior. I’d rather build a foundation of honesty and trust in my relationship with my kids early on even if the truth isn’t always what they want to hear.

What’s the downside of just saying “Sorry, we just don’t have time to go to the comic store now” or “Sorry, today is not an ice cream day?”

(Ok the obvious answer is that the downside is a massive tantrum but there’s just no version of parenting that will eliminate those completely)

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Happy to hear dissenting opinions! Always. For me it’s a little white lie, one that makes the day sail past a little easier. Sure, I could have told him that he couldn’t go there today.” But I know him well enough to know that the alternative would work out better for all of us.

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Thanks for another great post - love the way you write.

Milestones are such a double-edged sword when you’re a first timer. They’re great little things to celebrate but also drive you up the wall, especially when you get into the dangerous world of comparing your kid’s development to their contemporaries.

Reminds me of one of my all time favourite episodes of Bluey: Baby Race. Sums up comparisons and milestones so well, and will make you cry as a bonus!

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