Last week I wrote a letter to my former self, back before I had kids. I had a lot of fun writing it and it seemed to go down well with readers. Then Vanessa, one of my regular followers, suggested that it might be fun to follow this up by writing a letter to my future self. Never one to say no to a challenge, here goes …
As you can imagine, I have lots of questions for you about what life is like in the future and whether we’re doing the right things now for our family. (Also, exactly how white is my hair going to get? At the current rate, very.) But I’ve boiled it down to what I think are the most important ten. So if you could spare a few minutes to answer the following, that’d be great.
1. What would you say makes each of the kids distinctive as an individual? At this particular moment in time, I would say:
- Isaac (6 years, 3 months): A voracious appetite for all things academic and his empathy for others – he’s so attentive to his siblings and is always the first to offer up a cuddle when he thinks someone needs one.
- Toby (4 years, 2 months): His creativity and practical nature. He loves to put his imagination into drawing, Lego or Meccano – no need for instructions, he just gets on with building.
- Kara (1 year, 10 months): General toddler cuteness allied to an iron will. I love how loud and happy she is when I walk in through the front door. I could live without how loud and angry she is when we try to make her do anything against her will. The girl has lungs. And staying power.
2. How did you cope with Isaac once he realised he was smarter than his old man? (This one’s becoming quite urgent – I fear I may have already missed the boat on this …)
3. As the middle child – a situation exacerbated by him being the most introverted of the three – I constantly feel that Toby doesn’t get as much of my attention as he deserves. What worked best for you in terms of giving him the time he needs?
4. What should I do about Kara’s first boyfriend? Should I give him the benefit of the doubt, cyber-stalk him or should I just jump straight to fitting her up for a chastity belt?
5. Does stepping on Lego in the middle of the night ever become less painful?
6. Given that Kara is already capable of navigating her way around YouTube on her own to find the video for Naughty Boy’s La La La and Isaac is probably already hacking into various government databases in an attempt to recreate the film WarGames, what am I supposed to do on that fateful day when the children realise that a computer’s parental controls can be used by tech-savvy kids to lock their parents out, rather than the other way round? (A bonus point if you can work out what music video Kara is watching in the photo below.)
7. Can you please provide some hints as to what the best way to go about having ‘the talk’ with pubescent boys is? I know it’s awkward, but at some point they’re going to have to teach me about the birds and the bees. (What do you mean it’s supposed to be the other way round?)
8. What’s it like to have an empty house again? What with all the playing and shouting at the moment (Kara’s by far the loudest) I’m having to wear industrial ear protectors like the ones they wear in Formula 1 garages to block out the din. I’m thinking about standing in the front row at a concert just for a little peace and quiet.
9. Is it worth scrimping and scraping to try to support the kids’ education? Or should we just give up now, turn them into reality TV show wannabes and book some holidays instead?
10. Finally, the most obvious but also the most important question of all: are they happy? I know it’s impossible to look back and think you’ve done a perfect job, but are they well-balanced individuals who have the opportunity to be whatever they want in life? (If push comes to shove, I’ll settle for “not in prison” …)
Please send answers quickly!
P.S. It would also make life a lot easier if you could just tell me what next week’s lottery numbers or sports results are. (You’ve seen Back to the Future 2, you know what I’m talking about.) Thanks.