Dad's Diary: 'There are some aspects of his former carpet-crawling character that he still clings to'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

COMPETITIVE PARENTS. It's a phrase that's sure to send a shiver down the spine of any right-minded mother or father. Of course, every parent wants their precious little darlings to shine, but there's a fine line between being supportive and being pushy and obsessive. Cross it at your peril.

As the father of a strong-willed (aren't they all?) toddler, it's a joy to observe Krishan interacting with each change of environment, absorbing new words and phrases, and rapidly leaving the baby world behind. The truism that "they grow up quickly" carries a whole new resonance when you've got a child of your own.

But there are some aspects of his former dimple-kneed, carpet-crawling character that Krishan's still steadfastly clinging on to.

First up is his sippy cup. The little man seemed to have no problems moving from breast to bottle and then to baby cup. But switching to a vessel without some sort of spout? Forget it. At least that's what's been happening in our world for the past few weeks. Even buying a brightly coloured cup emblazoned with his current obsession du jour, Thomas the Tank Engine, seemed to have little effect. Apart from a soaking wet top and trousers. And tears.

That's just him. Perish the thought, at times I've found myself comparing Krishan's development with that of other children. The suppressed competitive parent gene has started uncontrollably bubbling to the surface. I've even found myself scowling at other toddlers who deftly handle a brimming cup of juice... but thankfully, I've been able to reign these impulses in.

I've also found that simply chatting with other parents is the best way to redress the balance. It's obviously ridiculous to compare and contrast toddlers as they all develop individually. Where one might excel at eating, another will possess a far greater vocabulary or perhaps kick a ball with all the power of a pocket-sized Wayne Rooney. But sometimes the competitive gene kicks in and clouds your vision – the secret is, naturally, to sit back and try to look at the bigger picture.

So how's the cup training going? Pretty well, actually. We adopted a little trick picked up from Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance, Channel 4's compulsive (for parents, at any rate) series that looks at the myriad common problems facing families.

To wean a clingy young girl off her bottle and dummy, Supernanny Jo suggested putting all of the girl's bottles and teats in a bag, and then hanging it on the front door of the house for the "fairies to take away and use instead".

We've skipped the fairies bit and instead opted to tell him that all of his cups and bottles have gone away for a wash down – just like in Thomas and Friends – and now that Krishan's a big boy, he's allowed to use a proper cup.

And it's working! Sure, there are a few spills when he's distracted (usually by us either praising or egging him on), but he's actually drinking from a cup without a spout. Fingers crossed, he'll soon be deftly handling a brimming cup of juice himself.

The other, perhaps more pressing, aspect of babydom that Krishan shows little sign of relinquishing is his nappy. I make no excuses, potty training seems to have been relegated to the back-burner in our house for some time. It's got to the stage now where he will say "No potty training, no" at the mere mention of the subject. And to be honest, we've hardly pressed the matter. There always seems to be an excuse – from us – as to why we aren't pushing him.

Toilet training is the final major hurdle of the early years, the holy grail for the new parent. Those first few moments of ineptly juggling a wriggling newborn, cotton wool balls and meconium seem so long ago. Just the mere thought of poo and pee can send non-parents into paroxysms of fear. But like every other parent of a toddler, it's now second nature to us.

Maybe that's it. Fear of the unknown on our part, as well as his? Whatever, it's time that all three of us addressed the issue. So we've taken some positive steps.

There's been a potty in the bathroom for a while, but he seems so disinterested that by the time you read this we'll have invested in a training seat. There's already a drawer full of training pants. And reward stickers.

The rest is up to him – and us. Maybe we'll be the first of our friends to have a potty-trained toddler?! I'll keep you posted.

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