Interview with dh – now and next

For the first time, I’m really enjoying them at this point. I’m not racing towards the next milestone and I want to enjoy them as they are for a bit, before they go to school.

We always really looked forward to them being old enough to take out and do trips to the zoo. Last Summer was the first time we took them out a lot and enjoyed doing stuff with them.

It’s daft things, like them suddenly shooting up recently and growing out of lots of their [3-4 years] clothes. They’re more aware now too. I said to Ruth this morning that she was growing up really fast and she said ‘Don’t worry Mummy. I have to grow up to be big and strong’ and she gave me a hug. I was like WAAAAAH!

We don’t need the next year to go by quickly, because they’re nice as they are. They’re very sheltered at the moment. It’s nice that they’re going to school when they’re older…they’ll be nearly 5 when they start.

It’s a dreadful cliché but they’ll always have each other

It’s nice that they have someone to play with all the time. After breakfast they’ll just go off together and play. If I look busy in the kitchen they’ll leave me alone! If I go and sit on the sofa they come over!

What are you looking forward to? Don’t say ‘Leaving home’!

I’ve always looked forward to them being a bit older because it’d be nicer but not so much now. They’re at the right age. I’m looking forward to teaching them to read, and reading with them. At the moment they don’t seem terribly interested in words.

Grace recognises lines of text and asks me what they say

Reading with the properly seems a long way off. I’m looking forward to helping them with the school stuff as well – homework.

Lots of their friends are off to private school in September – and the girls aren’t. Do tell me your views on fee paying schools…

We can’t afford it and it seems like a waste of money. They biggest difference in how well they do [at school] is how much the parents are involved, rather than having a slightly nicer school. It can be detrimental to be so sheltered for so long [at private school] as well. You’re likely to be very naïve when you leave school. If you look at kids that don’t do well at school, it’s generally down to the parents. They get far more out of you reading with then and doing things with them.

We’re both very lucky because we come from very ordinary backgrounds but our parents read to us and helped us with schoolwork.

We’re also lucky because we live near two nice [primary] schools. I’m not worried about them having to go to a really horrible school. It’s also down to individual teachers rather than how well-funded it is. There are good and bad teachers in all schools. It’s not just about doing exams. You have to learn about different people as well.

Their [the girls’] thing with babies at the moment is hilarious.

All of their friends have brothers and sisters. They are both quite fascinated by babies…

Grace in an abstract way and Ruth in a ‘I like stroking them’ way! We’re not doing that again are we – why is that?

I’ve been cut off!

Do you ever regret that decision?

No!!

I don’t either. It’s a big thing to do. Lots of blokes wouldn’t do it.

People do ask if we’re going to have more babies and when I say no they ask me why…I just say ‘Cos I can’t’. Then they say ‘oh you might change your mind…’ No. Really no!

It’s weird, the process you have to go through. You first went to ask about it when the girls were really small and they said no…

They want to make sure you’re really sure about it. There seems to be a cut-off. If you’re less than 30, they won’t do it. When I went back second time and I was over 30, they were fine. They ask you what you’d do if something happened to one of the girls or if you died and…they have to make sure you’ve thought it through.

How would you describe your parenting style, if you could sum it up in a sentence?

I’m very involved. I find it strange that that’s unusual, but I know that it is. That’s what I wanted.

I’m very grateful for that. I’d find it odd if the balance was unequal, in the sense of me doing the majority of the childcare and you weren’t showing any interest. I think the girls have benefitted hugely from the involvement you’ve had in their lives.

I hope so.

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