Not (quite) everything can be our fault

Two kids in and I’m starting to feel that there are certain things over which you have no control. While it’s empowering to think that you control the weather and mould the characters of your little sproglets, that your behaviour towards them has the consequence of their behaviour towards you, some things just don’t fit that pattern.

The problem is that if everything is your responsibility, then everything is your fault. At the moment, J is prone to tantrums. He likes a good scream. Did we do something unknowingly that made this inevitable? I choose to think that we didn’t. He is two and a half after all. And while I shy away from catch-all phrases that are ready made to allow parents to let themselves off the hook, the fact is that the so-called terrible two phase is common to enough children that it has earned its own name. Maybe letting yourself off the hook every once in a while isn’t such a bad thing.

In our discussions about the children, A and I are becoming increasingly prone to truisms. One that we come back to often is that the influence of the first child makes disciplining the second much harder. Another (and this is the one I’m sticking with for the time being) is that certain things cannot be altered, you just have to live with them until they change.

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