My kids are only 18 months old and, as is normal around this age, they sometimes experience separation anxiety, and are sometimes a bit clingy to mummy.
Not that they are incapable of playing on their own, or even being left with the one or two people that I and Multidaddy trust to look after them in our absence. And they often toddle off and explore things by themselves at playgroups and on playdates.
But sometimes, sometimes all they want is the reassurance of a mummy hug.
Today, BabyBoy was having a ‘mummy moment’ in our playgym class. He just was not in the mood to try out some equipment. He clung onto me when I tried to hand him to the teacher and made it very clear that he just did not want to have a go. And you know what, I was fine with that. At this age, I don’t think that sort of thing needs to be forced.
To give the teacher credit, he wasn’t going to force BabyBoy either. But he ‘encouraged’ him. And this ‘encouragement’ took the form of saying, ‘Come on, you’re the boy, you’ve got to be brave, boys don’t cry’.
Thank goodness BabyBoy is too young to understand. To me, this is just felt wrong. Partly because of the gender stereotyping, and partly because this seemed to be a way of shaming my son into doing something that he didn’t want to do.
And….because the method of shaming was to imply ‘you wouldn’t want to be like a girl, would you?’