Winnie the Pooh has offered me so much in the way of parenting advice over the last eighteen years. It seems to me that he makes more sense than almost anyone else I know; certainly more than the ‘gurus’ who offer their opinions on child rearing willy nilly. He set me on my road to relaxed parenting, this is how.
Back in the early days I had three small people all at home and I felt I was losing myself a bit. When the adult world was moving on and I was sitting in a puddle of porridge, Lego and paint he reminded me that ‘It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’ and made me realise the importance of the small things and the long days.
As my family grew and kept on growing and the things which used to seem so important suddenly seemed a bit silly and my heart was full to bursting but didn’t actually burst, I would look at them and Pooh’s words would pop into my head ‘A day spent with you is my favourite day. So today is my new favourite day.’
As I pulled my hair out over the mountains of mess and the chaos which surrounded me while two small boys and a wild haired girl whirled past me, over me and around me, Pooh hushed me: ‘Always watch where you are going. Otherwise you may step on a piece of the Forest which was left out by mistake’ and I stopped bothering and joined in. We made such glorious messes and such creative chaos.
He made me laugh and I heard him in my children’s chatter, simple thoughts tumbling out and revealing themselves to be simple truths, and he encouraged me to let them explore words and ideas and to make sure they weren’t squashed and squished on their road to discovery: ‘My dear Pooh’ said Owl in his superior way, ‘don’t you know what an Ambush is? … An Ambush,’ said Owl, ‘is a sort of Surprise.’
‘So is a gorse-bush sometimes,’ said Pooh … Pooh, who now knew what an Ambush was, said that a gorse-bush had sprung at him suddenly one day when he fell off a tree, and he had taken six days to get all the prickles out of himself.
‘We are not talking about gorse-bushes,’ said Owl a little crossly.
‘I am,’ said Pooh.
But most of all he has given me advice about love, friendship and family. He’s told me how it’s the small things which matter and if you worry about the big things you miss out on what’s happening right now which, when you look back, will probably turn out to be the big things after all.
So – as my eldest child prepares to leave and I prepare to let him go, I’m turning to my current favourite quote from Winnie the Pooh because it makes me feel better
Illustrating my favourite children’s book quote using Alphabetti Spaghetti seems particularly apt since my older children spent quite some time spelling words out using them when they were small. Bonus Boy has been rather limited by spaghetti hoops which don’t really go much beyond ‘O’ and ‘OOO’ and extra Os after that is just getting silly, frankly. I will still offer hoops though, probably on days when we need to get somewhere for a certain time but maybe, just maybe, I’ll cook up the alphabet again soon, just for old time’s sake.
For Winnie the Pooh activity ideas look here, for a lovely post about sharing the Pooh stories with children look here – I seem to write about Winnie quite frequently!