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Harry has definitely sussed that something is happening. And in typical Harry fashion he has decided that the best way to deal with the idea of a new addition to the family is to ask for more cuddles. Normally, I barely get a glance if Keith is about, but recently he has been seeking me out to cuddle up to, as you can see from this rather sweet photo taken at Maldon last weekend. I’m looking forward to when the bump gets a little bigger because I’m sure he will be utterly fascinated by the kicks and extra heartbeat and hopefully, come October, he’ll be dying to spend calm, quiet, non nappy stealing time with Alfie ... *snort*

Thanks to one of my blog subscriptions, I was recently introduced to this manifesto for Idle Parenting, which I thought I would share because it absolutely speaks to me about what I want for our family in the future.

We reject the idea that parenting requires hard work
We pledge to leave our children alone
We reject the rampant consumerism that invades children from the moment they are born
We read them poetry and fantastic stories without morals
We drink alcohol without guilt
We reject the inner Puritan
We don’t waste money on family days out and holidays
An idle parent is a thrifty parentAn idle parent is a creative parent
We lie in bed for as long as possible
We try not to interfere
We play in the fields and forests
We push them into the garden and shut the door so we can clean the house
We both work as little as possible, particularly when the kids are small
Time is more important than money
Happy mess is better than miserable tidiness
Down with school
We fill the house with music and merriment
We reject health and safety guidelines
We embrace responsibility
There are many paths
More play, less work

One of the things that I have really struggled to get my head around in the last 5 months is quite how many people have diametrically opposed views on the “right” way to raise a child. It seems that parenting has become the new self help aspiration, and in the same way that there are millions of magnum opi on how to succeed in business, there now seem to almost as many of books on how to succeed as a parent, each of which attracts followers with an almost religious zeal. I suppose in a world where families are increasingly fractured and a lot of received wisdom is lost between generations then it makes sense that something would fill the void, but it makes me sad that it is one more area in which we as people have little faith in our own ability to work it out.

Having read a few of the main players in the market, I suspect that we will take selected highlights from the routines of Gina Ford. Her approach seems to suite the kind of people that we are, it gives us a fighting chance of being in a good state by the time I need to go back to work, and it also means that Keith will have a structure to his day when he’s left quite literally holding the baby. That doesn’t mean that we will follow every letter of that book, because quite frankly that is also the sort of people we are, and as with all things, I truly believe that the value of these ‘methods’ is in giving guidance, rather than instruction. You take what you need to suite you and your family, and the rest of the time, well, see above.

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