I'm a bad parent.
I read all the books. And then some. I know how to be a good parent but unfortunately, I lack the self discipline to turn the theory into practice. Our life is not a structured domestic oasis of calm, organic produce and baby yoga.
In fact. I even hate adult yoga. The only downward dog my babies have ever seen is the dog next door during her post pee stretch.
And as a parenting methodology I have to say it is proving a success.
They are growing up independent, imaginative, fierce and a little wild. They are kind. They are decisive. They use good manners. They dance naked. They choose their own shoes. They hug. They kiss. They know how to say NO and mean it.
My kids use words like Impossible. Hilarious. Sausages. Boobs. Abuela. Bonjour. Milk. Friend. Best. Love. Gross. They go to strangers. They know the sign language to make a dog sit. They can open the fridge. They laugh with their whole bodies. They go barefoot in public. They hold hands when the cross the road and know that the time limit on a public tantrum is two minutes.
They sing. They play. They fight. They have cross faces. They have happy faces. They aren't scared of their parents and they assume adults are trustworthy. They aren't fussed about being left behind because they know we are coming back. They expect joy. They don't like to tidy but they like to clean. They aren't bothered by mess but like order. They sleep anywhere. And better still - they transfer.
Sometimes they misbehave. Sometimes they whinge. Sometimes you can say 'You know what?' and they'll absent mindedly reply "I love you too" and that wasn't even what I was going to say. They scribble on their faces with coloured pens. They get paint on their clothes. They can't keep a hair clip in for longer than... nope, already gone. They like books, big yellow ducks and music.
We're not great at routines. We hug through crying jags bought on by temper or tiredness. We scold. We feed them what they'll eat and assume they'll eventually get bored of corn, sausages and tuna. We don't allow juice or sodas but there is a place for chocolate frogs. We yell. We have dance-offs with our children. They think we can sing. We don't vacuum the house as often as we should because the girls are strangely terrified by the noise of domesticity. We're secretly proud.
Our house is called 'Bonkers' and our car 'George'. Just ask them. We are trusting that most people don't graduate from college sleeping in their parents bed as our 'sleep resolution' approach. We bitch. We let them watch TV sometimes when we can't be arsed playing Duplo anymore and when the wind blows we stand outside with them, faces forward and screech "HA HA HA LOOK AT US LAUGHING IN THE FACE OF THE WIND".
I profane with abandon and my children have never sworn. They are stubborn, focussed and imaginative. I know that our kids are smarter than us and we hope they understand that to be the best people they can hope to be, they need to trust themselves and not our parenting.
In so many ways, they are proof that nature is stronger than nurture. And with everything they do, they delight us. I admire the strength in their opinions, the ferocity of their emotions and the calm in their contentment. They know how to live in the now and they fight for the right to do it all and they want us to be willing accomplices, unconditional allies and the boring character in all their role plays.
And I delight in the results of my rogue parenting. I'm comfortable with being a bad parent. I wonder how such perfection could possibly be improved by imprinting my own imperfections on them.
So I wont.