OK so I’m the parent, I give the permission round here. I like to think of it as giving, not restricting because I’m a horrendous old hippy at heart. But in terms of who has to adhere to guidelines for their own good, it would be The Childe.
Except (and I honestly think this is a product of me absorbing way too much from the media, and social media’s, love of trial-by-mob, call out culture and virtue signalling) I do seek permission quite frequently. From whom? From people who have no place in granting or taking it away: and often people who don’t wish to influence me in the slightest. Usually this leads to bemusement, but over the years I have become increasingly aware that it can also lead to habits. Habits which finish up with me resentfully thinking “hang on, when did they become the boss of me?”. Because I wasn’t really asking for permission: I was asking “do you approve of this?” and “will you judge me behind my back?”. My anxiety was anticipating gossip and judgement, having seen what a random keyboard warrior posted somewhere once, and needing to avoid that anonymous judgement by avoiding any judgement from anyone. Ever. Which is impossible, I know. But living in the real world, I have bitter experience of what social disapproval and gossip can do – both personally and as a witness. It can be frightening, but there has to be a better way to address it than asking permission.
Anyway, here is an example of having needlessly asked permission this last week: “Can I go out this Saturday night?”. I mean, it was already on the kitchen calendar (legal document and borderline sacred text), and of course my husband doesn’t control my social life. He only looks like a character out of a Victorian melodrama (as does The Childe). What I should have said was “I don’t want to go out if it will leave you over tired or prevent you going out, as we don’t have a babysitter”. My husband stared at me, agog, like I was a complete freak and essentially said that he was beyond happy with the arrangement as it would mean he could put Childe to bed then lie on the sofa gorging pizza instead of looking at holiday brochures with me. I mean it’s another whole blog post why anyone wouldn’t want to cross reference the pros and cons of Hoseasons vs Park Resorts (with a full range of highlighters and a calculator to check for best value) but each to their own I suppose. The night out was pretty good (in part because we did spend some time chatting about self catering mini breaks, in a trendy pub with a band, we are that cool).
Luckily I don’t think this bad habit of mine has rubbed off on The Childe. She prefers the statement and a raised eyebrow with a “hmm?” if the statement is particularly outrageous, like “I am going to take all Daddy’s snacks instead of eating lunch. Hmm?” or “You are going to let me stick these stickers on your face, yes?”. To be fair, this usually results in as much bemusement as my deference does. Perhaps I need to take a leaf out of her book and assume permission a bit more … although I’m not as cute, I’m (slightly) more reasonable in my modest demands now.