The Age Of No
In my previous life as a beauty and fashion writer, I can remember going to interview the creator of beauty brand Yes to Carrots, Ido Leffler. We warmly chatted about the brand and the idea behind it. Then all of a sudden he began talking about his baby daughter. I was a little baffled at first, but he explained how part of the philosophy behind the Yes to Carrots brand, was about being more positive in everyday life. He laughed that he didn’t want to keep saying ‘no’ to his daughter, who was presumably at that age where they think that climbing towards the fire and hanging out of shelves is a good idea. Instead, he wanted to be more positive with her and not have her hear the word ‘no’ over and over.
At the time, I was a single 20-something year old and as far as I was concerned the idea of having children was about as alien to me as going to the Moon. So I smiled politely, told him it was a cute story and quickly moved on to questions about whatever the latest product in the range was.
Fast forward to today and I now completely understand what he was talking about. It seems as if I have reached the ‘age of no’. My little dude is nine and a half months and crawling around like a greyhound out of the traps. Actually, his unique style is more like an army commando doing manoeuvres on the ground going under barbed wire and trying to sneak up on the enemy undetected. It’s not conventional crawling, it’s very much his own style, but still he manages to move incredibly fast. And as I’m quickly realising, my house is packed with potential pitfalls.
So far he has crawled over to the dogs bowl and started hurling the dry food all over the place. This happened when I was upstairs doing what I thought was the world’s quickest pee and so I can’t 100% say that he didn’t try to eat some… He routinely heads to our wine rack and tries to pull the bottles out on top of his head. He likes to go over to the bin and laugh at himself in the reflection and then try to bash the living shit out of it. He grabs the tablecloth and very nearly pulls it plus whatever is on the table on top of himself. He crawls under the table and invariably hits every chair and table leg he comes across. He crawls after the dog, literally hanging out of her tail and if I’m not on the ball, he’ll actually speed crawl over to her water bowl and start paddling in it with his hands, until he and the kitchen are drenched. He’s started to become interested in the washing machine, has tried to grab cutely out of the dishwasher and I swear the presses are next on his baby hit list! Lately, he likes to go to the kitchen door and open and close it. Highly amusing to him, but he has almost caught his fingers in the door a million times or habitually whacks his head off it. And then there’s the radiators which I’m going to have to get covers for and of course the elephant in the room, the fire. Cue me investing in a hideous cage to keep him out, because he is like a moth when it comes to flames.
And of course my reaction when he gets himself into all these bothersome situations is to say ‘no’ or maybe ‘ah-ah.’ Whatever I say though it’s negative. He looks up at me for a moment, registers the serious tone and then just carries on regardless. I then have to go in and either remove the dangerous item or him from the situation, either of which results in an epic meltdown.
Any mum who’s been through this stage knows it’s exhausting and it will only get more demanding when he is up on his feet. That’s to be expected. But what I didn’t expect is to be feeling as if all I do every day is say ‘no.’ I’ve gone from comical mummy who does an awesome tummy raspberry and hilarious funny face montage, to the world’s biggest killjoy overnight. I feel like he sees me coming and knows I’m about to spoil his fun. And I hate it. I hate being the bad cop all the time. Yet I also know these are the things that have to be done. As the parent, I’ve got to make the tough calls and as a baby he has to learn. I mean he doesn’t understand that hot things will burn him and items landing on his head will give him concussion, so it’s up to me to teach him, I do get that, but I still can’t help hating being Dr. ‘no’ a million times a day either.
I’m ready to turn in my bad cop’s uniform…
And the kicker is that daddy swans in at 7pm and it’s giggles galore with him… why does he always get to be the good cop?!