Thursday, 23 February 2012

A three-year-old's birthday bucket list

I know bucket lists tend to be 'things to die before you die'-type of things, but last month I read a newspaper article about the things your child should experience before they turn three-years-old - a type of 'birthday bucket list' if you will.

I have very recently been thinking about that article again. It has struck a chord with me because this week, my little girl (who really isn't so little anymore) turns three-years-old. Three! I'm really not sure where the time has flown; one minute she was a cute, gurgling, smiley baby...

And the next?  The next, she is an increasingly independent, cheeky, beautiful, fabulous little girl.

Sophia - I am so proud that you are my daughter.

So back to this 'birthday bucket list'.  The article, Things kids must try before they're three, appeared in The Sun back in January.  It got me questioning whether or not I've allowed Sophia to embrace enough experiences and have as much fun as possible.

And that made me a bit annoyed. 

Okay, so this list was compiled by 1,000 mothers (what, no dads involved?) but why is The Sun touting it as a list of "must do's"?   I'm buckling under the pressure already.  And why must these things be done by the time they are three-years-old?  Why three?  Does this mean that, come next week, if Sophia hasn't managed to do absolutely everything on this list, I have failed in some way?  Should I suddenly be labelled a bad mother because I haven't completed the birthday bucket list that every three-year-old should supposedly follow?

Deep down I know this was meant as a light-hearted and fun news story, but I'm very sensitive at the moment.  I am shouldering enough guilt what with going back to work full-time and am tending to automatically find the 'you're not doing a good enough job as a mum' angle to the most innocuous of things.   I can certainly do without some sort of list screaming out to me that I'm not doing a good enough job.

I have to say, scanning down the list of activities, it does look like we've done around two thirds of them.  But she's not missing out by not having completed the rest yet.  We'll get round to doing all those other things on the list at some point.  I really don't think it matters if a child does them all by the age of three or not.

Anyway, the thing I like (although it can sometimes make me want to tear my hair out) is that there are no rules to this parenting lark.  There is no instruction manual; we are all just doing the best we can.  So, I've decided to rebel.  I'm ripping up the 'birthday bucket list for three-year-olds' and doing it my way *breaks out into best Frank Sinatra impression*.

In my opinion, having a list of 'things every child should do' is far too prescriptive.  It doesn't take into account individual personalities and traits, likes and dislikes.

As for Sophia, so what if she's never grown cress in the shape of her name?  I'm not going to lose sleep over something like that.   The most important thing is that she is happy and healthy.   Oh yes, and she is going to have a fantastic birthday, maybe even her best one ever so far, in one of her all-time favourite places. It's not on the 'three-year-old's birthday bucket list' but so what?  I can't wait and I know neither can she.


  1. The SUN !! That would explain it then !!

  2. Shamless blog-plug alert: did you ever read my post on this?

    Happy threes to your gorgeous girl. Even if she's never grown cress in the shape of her name, she looks pretty happy to me!

  3. Sophia is just gorgeous and looks happy and healthy to me.  Can you believe how much they develop in 3 years?  When you look at comparison photos like that it can be hard to believe.... yet so much to be proud of.  I hope she enjoys her party. :)


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