Be Nice

10 Jun

A fortnight ago we were at our local Farmers Market, I love me a good Farmer’s Market, it’s a chance to ignore your city roots, talk to farmers about their crops and the terrible weather they’ve been having. For Max it’s a chance to gorge on free tasters and flirt with the farmer’s daughter. This particular farmers market was a soggy affair.

Max is very quick these days to pick up on a bit of moisture in the air and if there’s the faintest hint of a possibility of a puddle he is reaching for his boots and anorak. The Boy beats Peppa Pig at her own game and every puddle from the most meagre right up to puddles that are on the verge of ponds are all fair game. After eating his way through several plates of gourmet cheese, half a kilo of organic sausages, a handful of toasted chestnuts, some freshly squeezed juice to wash it all down and a kiss from the farmer’s daughter, he noticed one of the largest, muddiest, puddles known to man or pig.

The way I see it you have two choices Daddio, you can let The Boy have his moment of ecstasy in the puddle and accept that he will be muddier and wetter and colder than ideal or you can endure a morning of high frequency, surround sound tantruming with the volume turned up loud. “Go on Max, show the others how it’s done!” He started off at a slow canter, built up to a gallop and by the time he hit the puddle he was going flat out. There was a collective gasp from the audience that had gathered as he plonked himself down right in the middle.
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The next twenty minutes were spent watching on in delight as Max, ran, jumped, splashed, charged, skipped and spun his way in and out of the muddiest of puddles. The audience had grown and Max had worked them into a collective frenzy, if I was wearing a hat I would have walked around and rid them of the contents of their purses and wallets. Just then I heard a very serious looking gentleman asking who the child belonged to. Aaaahhh shit here we go, some do-gooder is going to lambast me for letting my child play in the filthy, cold water. A few fingers pointed in my direction, the chap came striding towards me and I assumed the brace position.
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“Is this your son?”

“He sure is”

“Could I just say what a delight it is to see a parent let their child be a child”

“You most certainly can say that and thank you”

“I’m actually a photographer and I’ve got some amazing shots that I’ll forward on to you”
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I am so grateful to this man that I had never met before, not only did he capture a moment that brings a huge smile to my face but he said nice things about the way I choose to parent. So many people assume the role of expert and judge where parenting is concerned and too few people take it upon themselves to point out the good in other parents work. It’s very easy to be critical of what others are doing but having been on the receiving end of some kind words I will be looking to spread the parent love myself.
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We squelched home that day, Max high on adrenaline and me high on love.
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Have you ever been on the end of some kind or unkind words from a stranger regarding your own parenting?

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34 Responses to “Be Nice”

  1. Kassey June 10, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    Amazing photos. Especially that splash!
    How fortunate for those moments to be captured so well.

    • daddownunder June 10, 2013 at 9:12 am #

      Yes, the splash is THE one. It must have bee fate to have such a big, muddy puddle and a kind hearted stranger with a bloody expensive camera to boot. Thanks Kassey

  2. GodGirl June 10, 2013 at 6:18 am #

    Lovely. I’ve had people fret when I let my boys climb ‘too high’, and it has made me second-guess my choices. But you have to trust your instincts.

    • daddownunder June 10, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      When i look back on ym childhood it was packed full of exciting adventures and occasionally you come a cropper but the memories wouldn’t be quite as vivid or special if I was wrapped in cotton wool. Let them climb, thats what kids were built to do

  3. Jacana June 10, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    What amazing photos – what a Dad!

    • daddownunder June 10, 2013 at 9:15 am #

      Wow – thank you and huge enormous thank you’s!

  4. Kylez @ A Study in Contradictions June 10, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Those photos are beautiful, definitely ones to treasure. I am very lucky so far to have never received any of the harsh or judgy words from other people but I have been lucky to get lots of sympathetic smiles when Punky has chosen to lose her shit in the middle of the shops or wherever we happen to be. Makes me feel not so bad coz the smiles say it all “been there, I know how you feel and it’s not your fault”.

    • daddownunder June 10, 2013 at 11:18 am #

      We’ve been on the receiving end of those smiles too, nice aren’t they. I hope you bump into a photographer to capture punky losing her shit so you can show her how much hard work she was when she’s older ; )

  5. 1st World Dog June 10, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Great photos and what a wonderful stranger to see the joy in the moment.
    We enjoyed a similar moment today with my 2yo daughter and 2 of her playmates and paint….
    Let kids be kids :0)

    • daddownunder June 10, 2013 at 9:17 am #

      Oh yes paint also lends itself to some pretty spectacular fun and photos. Yes eternally grateful to the man with the expensive camera, he definitely captured the moment. Thanks for commenting Mel.

  6. clairereid June 10, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Beautiful shots, Matt! How fortunate for you that the photographer was there, so talented, and shares your parenting ethos. Hope you get these shots framed. 🙂

    • daddownunder June 10, 2013 at 10:14 am #

      They’re already on order Claire : ) Makes me want to learn some photography

  7. JillB June 10, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    The joy on your boys face has made me all teary! Sometimes all you need is for someone to tell that you’re doing a good job, and clearly you are!

    • daddownunder June 10, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      Thanks Jill and yep every time I look at the pics I get a little cloudy eyed, they are getting blown up and framed, love them

  8. Alison @ Talking Frankly June 10, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    You made me go tearyish. Loveliness is such a gift – you lucky man. That fabulous gent. Wonderful photos x

    • daddownunder June 10, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      I got tearyish too when I first saw them, I need to invest in a proper camera I think,the pics are priceless. Thanks Alison

  9. Neets June 10, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    You have to put those in a frame! You are a such a cool dad Matt…good on you for letting Max be a child. I had a lovely man offer to help me with my grocery bags after her saw me struggling to contain my two energetic toddlers in the street. It was a lovely gesture & I was so grateful that I got to the car without dropping the bag with the gherkins in it!!!

    • daddownunder June 10, 2013 at 11:36 am #

      A little bit of kindness goes a long way doesn’t it Anita? Glad you made it to the car without getting covered in gherkin juice. And yep the pictures have been sent off to get blown up and will be dished out for every grandparent birthday for the next few years ; ) thanks for saying hi

  10. Amelia June 10, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    Great pics!! I once had an elderly lady compliment me for not dragging my then toddler through the shops, but rather let him set the pace and casually walk along. I think of that each time I feel in a rush with Mr2 and then slow down. The shops aren’t going anywhere, but we’re exploring 🙂

    • daddownunder June 10, 2013 at 11:44 am #

      Yeah it takes a brave parent to step back and let the toddler navigate the aisles but its much more fun when you do. Plus its not you who has to pick up the fallen tins and packets and bottles so who cares : ) thanks for sharing your Amelia

  11. Mary J June 10, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    Just beautiful photos of joy! You are right, he out Peppa-ed Peppa! Round here an actually muddy puddle is a rarity, we have very sandy soil in our neighbourhood! Thanks for sharing Max with all of us.

    • daddownunder June 11, 2013 at 2:30 am #

      You’ll have to import some good quality mud Mary, your kids will be the envy of the neighbourhood : ) Thanks for stopping by

  12. scattermum June 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    What a gift this photographer has given you – in more ways than one. How nice for Max to have those precious photos to look back on. Everything of me from that age screams ‘not another photo!’

    • daddownunder June 11, 2013 at 2:31 am #

      I think the key to it was he was deliriously happy so was willing to compromise on some stranger pointing a camera at him. Thanks for commenting Scattermum

  13. ann letcher (@buesey) June 10, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    Had our two girls out to dinner recently (6 & 8) and they were playing in the kids area, both wanting to parent the younger kids in there which had me having a few quiet words with them, as the family of the younger children left the father stopped to tell me what lovely children I had. It was the most encouraging moment.
    Glad you got one too!
    Cheers
    Ann

    • daddownunder June 11, 2013 at 2:32 am #

      Its really affirming isn’t it Ann to have someone, especially a stranger say something nice about how you do things

  14. Carly Jacobs (@ladysmaggle) June 11, 2013 at 2:24 am #

    That’s so lovely! My dad has similar photos of when my brother and I were kids and our mum went to work and he was in charge of looking after us. He let us play in a giant mud puddle for hours. It was awesome.

    • daddownunder June 11, 2013 at 2:33 am #

      “It was awesome” – you’re awesome! Can’t beat a puddle when you’re a little person

  15. vicky June 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    This made me teary, with joy. I have a photo of my girl splashing to her hearts content. My kids have had mud fights, played in the warm summer rain, had water fights when it’s been cold outside, and tonight, bubbles from the sink while the gangsta teen was washing dishes were deposited on top of the tri hard teen (6), and then promptly deposited on my head. Thank you for sharing the joy of your little boy. It’s reminded me that joy can be found in lots of places, and often when you least expect it.

    • daddownunder June 11, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

      I think when you can find fun in the smallest things, like washing up, you’re onto a winner Vicky. Sounds like you have some interesting dynamics going on with gangster teen and try hard teen, I think all teens have a little gangster phase in them. Thanks for sharing

  16. dan June 12, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Great pics. Keep up the good work dad! I will keep dropping by for parenting inspiration

    • daddownunder June 12, 2013 at 11:26 am #

      Thanks Dan, is this the Dan I think it is, Dad to be?

  17. Have a laugh on me June 13, 2013 at 3:18 am #

    Wow he looks like you in some of these shots! I think you’re a fab dad for doing this – I let mine get in to puddles, although they’re not a common occurrence here in SE Qld! Great pics x

    • daddownunder June 13, 2013 at 3:47 am #

      Nobody ever says he looks like me, its always Mum and then they’ll notice Im practically in tears and tell me he has my fingers to cheer me up. Thanks Em, I love having you and your positivity about the place!

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