Are your children suffering from F.O.O?

May 28, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Posted in Daily Life | 6 Comments
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Last weekend I was Skyping (the phone is soooo last decade…) with an old friend and giving her a run down of our plans for the coming days – ‘we’re swimming this morning, then we’re going to make cupcakes.  Tomorrow we’re visiting Grandma and Grandad and going out for a walk and trip to the farm centre – after that we’re going to soft play with a friend.  On Sunday we’re walking along the river to feed the ducks, playing cricket with bear’s friend on the square and then if the sun stays out we’re going to the park’.  I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

And it didn’t hit me until we had a few accidentally lazy days at home together that there was a chance that bear might be a bit tired too.  I’d picked him up from nursery after a call from his key worker to say that he’d just been sobbing all day.  My heart strings stretched to breaking point and I rushed to get him.

Family Outing Overload, or F.O.O for short.

It never dawned on me that we could be inadvertently over stimulating and over entertaining our son.  Thinking back to the late stages of pregnancy and early days of parenthood, buzz words like ‘gross motor skills’ and ‘hand eye coordination’ flummoxed us into buying baby gyms, black and white board books and classical music lullaby CDs.  From that day forward you cower in fear of failing as a parent and not doing your bit to develop and educate your blossoming babies.

So as we sat on the sofa together, me and my not so little bundle, we cuddled up and watched Zing Zillas, Big Cook Little Cook, Little Charley Bear, Octonauts, Mr Tumble and the household favourite, I Can Cook.  Now shoot me down in a blast of parenting fail flames but I’m sorry, sometimes you need to just stay home and be slobs.

We got into our pyjamas early, we ate tea on the sofa, we had extra milk and we made a castle out of a cardboard box.  We read books in the castle and we played kings and queens.  And there we stayed for the best part of two days (in the lounge not the castle, bit cramped), only leaving the house for emergency supplies, like more milk.

Now this coincided with a particularly unsavoury bout of terrible two-ness which made me reconsider the recent public meltdowns and ensuing old person tutting (see previous posts).  Maybe our very vocal but not yet able to articulate everything son was just tired out with outings, and didn’t know how to tell us.

I batted the idea about a little with my husband over dinner.  We have never disagreed on parenting techniques, although he thoroughly dislikes the fact that bear lets me brush his teeth but clamps his mouth shut for daddy.  Needless to say he agreed after hearing my slightly over detailed account of recent events – well, I was quite proud of my epiphany.  I may feel it a little more so too because I think mothers are particularly susceptible to feeling pressured to be a perfect parent.  You think you’re doing right by them by taking them out here there and everywhere but actually what they really want it so sit under the dining room table and play dens and eat raisins.  Or just sit with you and do nothing, just hug.

Finally, as a mum, what’s better than having a child sit in your arms as you clamp your hands around their squidgy thighs.  Especially when they say things like ‘mummy I can’t go in my bed now, I’m busy stroking your face’.



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  1. We have slobby days every now and then. I think kids need it, and if you are always off doing things they won’t appreciate day trips and such like being special.

    I love the face stroking! How cute! x

  2. You could be right. With our days off being limited we try to fit lots into those short few days. Sometimes we forget we can have just as much fun playing at home or snuggling on the sofa. x

  3. Sometimes, some of our best days are the ones where we just chill. As the boys are getting bigger they want to play outside with their friends and it is a joy not to have to have plans all the time. Plus I don;t overload tham with out of school stuff. just swimming at the moment

    • It is nice when they get to an age when they can entertain themselves!

  4. Funny you should say that. We’ve spent the bank holiday running around, making sure Sam had a FABULOUS time doing lots of different activities. After we got home from Botany Bay yesterday afternoon he sat in his little chair with some jaffa cakes, a drink and watched Peppa Pig. He looked at me with a massive smile and said ‘I wuv doin nuffin mummy’.
    Next week we have no plans. Lesson well & truly learnt!!

    • That’s so cute! It’s so true isn’t it! We instantly fell into the same trap yesterday, it’s a bank holiday what shall we do?!! We opted to stay local and went bowling with my parents then for a coffee. But when we got home we cuddled up on the sofa and watched batteries not included, was bliss!

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