Will Lodge: You don’t need a crystal ball to predict the future
- Credit: Su Anderson
Our new dad columnist Will Lodge wonders if his older children are a sign of the future
I have often wondered out loud in recent weeks about baby’s future.
What she might look like, sound like, like and dislike – that sort of thing.
But while it has been enjoyable to guess these things (‘Will she look like me or my wife’, ‘If I dislike cherries will she also’), I have only just realised the answers could be right under our nose in the shape of our three older children.
I am not saying they can predict the future.
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In fact, if their ability to appreciate that three months is not a lifetime and five minutes is actually a lot longer than it seems is anything to go by then I am certain they cannot.
However they are one of the biggest influences on baby’s life and will no doubt shape it for many years to come.
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Of course there are some obvious differences – gender being the biggest at the moment – and every child learns to develop their own distinct personality and characteristics.
Yet some things are clearly passed on around the family.
One example is how our three boys do not like eggs (except in cakes of course) which I am fairly sure is something learnt from their mother as I love eggs in almost all forms (sorry to you vegans out there).
While family is probably the biggest influence on a child’s development, the power of friends and the environment cannot be underestimated.
I was reminded of this earlier in the week by something our youngest boy, aged five, said.
Telling my wife about his day at school, he explained he had been playing mummies and daddies – not such an usual role play for him or any child to engage in, and perhaps another sign of the influence we have as parents.
But while one friend was the dog (there is always a dog for some reason), and he was the dad, the third friend in the game was not just any mother.
Oh no, she was a “teenage mum”.
Where did he get that from we pondered?
There are no teen mums in our family, and we do not watch the MTV show of that name.
It reminded me that no matter how careful we are with what we say and do – and mindful of a saying my own mum used of “Don’t do what I do, do as I say” – we can only control and influence our children so much.
Perhaps a redeeming feature of the conversation was the minimal understanding of what a teenager actually is.
Carrying on the dialogue my wife asked what the term meant, to which our seven-year-old said “a 31-year-old”.
I’m not sure if my wife was flattered or not.
It is odd how sometimes your children seem to fail to take things in, no matter how many times you ask them to turn the light off when leaving a room.
But every now and then you catch them doing or saying something and just have to smile as you think ‘they got that from me’.