Today I'd like to share with you all a bit of an update on how being a father has effected my life.
It's been a while since my last Geek Dad post and after a wonderful afternoon yesterday it, it seemed like the right time to share my experience(s).
You see, about 6-8 months ago my little Moo discovered television. More importantly she discovered the television program Pepper Pig...
Like many before her my Mini Moo has been enthralled by the show which as far as I can see is full of inaccurate information, poorly drawn animation and mostly negative reinforcement.
Yes, there are the occasional moment which as an adult is funny, a sort of 'meta humour' but those are few and far between. Even then, I think they are only amusing because they are being compared to the drudgery of the rest of the show.
Since then her TV tastes have expanded somewhat and now alongside Pepper Pig her favourite shows consist of Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom, Poppy Cat & Pajanimals. The latter of the list despite being the most annoying with their lead characters does at least have good messages ('you can be selfish if you want, but don't expect to keep your friends', or 'even when it is dark your parents and friends are always there for you') nice little messages that I think are good for children to hear as positive reinforcement, unlike Pepper Pig, which thanks to Pepper's own bratish behaviour actually seems to reinforce acting like a spoilt child.
The thing is, if you were to only see my little Moo when she is watching television you would get completely the wrong impression of her. She appears obsessed by the shows, like nothing else matters and she will bite, punch and kick anyone who tries to take them away from her.
But that is not who she is, far from it and yesterday was the perfect example:
It was just after her afternoon nap, my wife and I had enjoyed a good hour or so playing co-op Resident Evil 6 and the little Moo was up and ready for some lunch. She was also very sprightly and in need of some playtime before she would be willing to eat.
Queue Hide n Seek!
This game lasted about 15-20 mins. It started with the Moo counting to 10 while Daddy hid from her, of course this version of hiding was far from difficult; standing by the side of doors or underneath blankets on the sofa, that sort of thing, nothing so difficult that she couldn't find me and nothing that might make her think I'm actually gone.
After she found me, I would count to 10 and try to find her, and we would alternate.
I noticed very quickly that there was a strange logic behind her hiding. If I hid behind a door, she would hide in the same place the next time. If I hid under a blanket then she would next time.
Soon Mummy joined in the game and the same logic was applied there. It seemed that no matter who was hiding, she would hide in the same place.
I don't know the rationale behind it, but it was almost like she thought: "if Mummy/Daddy think it's a good hiding place, then it must be!"
It was shortly after Mummy joined in that I took the opportunity to mix things up a little; asking the Moo to stay quiet I picked her up from behind the door she was hiding behind (the same place that Mummy was hiding behind not minutes before) carried her upstairs into our room and put her behind our floor length curtains, while I stood behind them with her as a 'just incase'.
Again I noticed something very interesting. She was super focused on the task at hand, desperately trying to stay quiet and restrain her giggles she wanted to let out, and seemed convinced that her disguise provides by Daddy was the best ever, even to the extent that when she sneezed with Mummy in the room, completely revealing her (not very subtly anyway) hiding place she kept her cool, and only when Mummy pulled back her curtain did she jump out with a "Boo!" and a beaming smile.
It's most unusual, to see your child, at one point being such a happy and sweet girl, but if you give her a TV to watch (and if she is tired, which ironically is when she wants to watch TV the most) she suddenly turns into someone more... (not monstrous) bratish.
I don't know quite what the cause is, of course we don't want to stop her exploring her own personality and tastes but I can see the connection between the personality shift and tiredness.
So how do you try and encourage the good while curbing the bad?
Well ultimately you have to let them make their own decisions. She may only be 28 months old, but she does have the right to pick her own personality - in fact most would probably argue that personality is fixed anyway (not sure to what extent I agree with that).
But for her I think the biggest and best approach is trying to limit the negative causations, which in the case of my Mini Moo is not television, but tiredness.
Now it was here that I was going to leave the post, but I need to add some additional bits; namely about a game we've been playing the past couple of weekends.
You see, it was only last week that a major step was taken. She was feeling tired, we had played some hide and seek and she needed to go for a bath. I spoke with her and asked; if we were to give her a cup of water (which she asked for) would she then go for a bath. I explained to her about promises and that they are an agreement to do something and if you do not intend to fulfil your agreement you should never ever promise to do something.
She said she understood and she promised to do as asked.
So she had her cup of water, then lo and behold, she put the cup down, picked up her towel, took my hand and walked to the bath!
This is the girl I'm talking about, the one who takes you by the hand and tries to read you a bed time story when you're tired, or who gets excited to an unbelievable level just because you've come to pick her up from nursery and she hasn't seen you for about 10 hours.
Anyway, I should sign off now as this has been a longer than anticipated post and has taken roughly a week to post as is.
Take care, stay safe and I'll see you Cryptside!
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley