As a sometime parenting blogger with kids aged 8 and 6, I find that I am occasionally disheartened by the fact that there are pictures of cute babies and toddlers everywhere.
|Caitlin in 2007|
Instagram is awash with them.
There they are in cute wellies encountering trees and flowers. They are jumping in puddles. They are prodding kittens and walking backwards up slides.
They are staring at clouds with an expression to rival that of the most earnest nuclear physicist.
Their every breath is instagrammed to the ‘nth’ degree.
And understandably so.
Because what parent wouldn’t want to celebrate the wonder unfolding in front of them and, better yet, create a living, breathing, archive of those moments to last for eternity?
But my point is when kids get over a certain age, and the development of their personalities is in full throttle, it’s easy to miss those ‘cute days’.
|Ieuan in 2015|
Referring to them with your chosen nickname may no longer be appropriate either – “little man” (which I hate), “sausage”, “cupcake” or any other term guaranteed to cause maximum embarrassment with their school friends. You are quite likely to be greeted with “muuuummm!”
I said to Ieuan only this morning that he was my “cute little Jedi”. “I’m not a little Jedi”, he said hotly, “I’m a medium Jedi”.
As they change, your relationship to them changes and the type of parent you are also changes.
I think many of us must feel a sense of loss.
They’re still cute, we tell ourselves defensively. And they are but our photograph albums now capture fledgling teens, even adults.
“Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man”, as the Jesuit motto goes.
Our pictures capture their moods, both good and bad.
You have to wonder if they sometimes get sick of being constantly photographed.
Their lives are documented in ways ours never were. For a start, when I was growing up, cameras still came with actual ‘film’ you stuck in the back and wound on.
Nobody took a selfie unless they got confused and had the camera turned the wrong way around.
So my plea is, please can we have a new hashtag which helps us to focus on the challenges and triumphs of our slightly older children?
|Caitlin & Ieuan – Double Trouble|
Can we remember to celebrate the beauty of their new discoveries now that they have the language to discuss them?
Can we carve our own little corner of Instagram just for them?
How about using a couple of the other instagram hashtags? #Soproudofyou or #Stroppy.
That should just about cover it.