Shyla, co-host of What Origin?, talks about creating a family. Shyla opens up about the deep emotional issues experienced, and the ups and downs of her journey with her kids. She’s raising a 1 year old and 4 year old. For mothers, there’s something to relate to, and for those without kids, there’s nuggets of wisdom and advice to dealing with kids and the surrounding social conditions.
SHYLA: 00:00 There was one time he had some crayons, and all of a sudden, he was just shouting. He was shouting random. He was chucking these crayons and then shouting words. He threw something and he went "ee." And then he threw another one and and he went "oo." I was like, "Oh my god, he's saying the colors." And my husband was like, "No he's not. He's not saying the colors. Don't be silly. He can't. How can he say the colors? He doesn't even say his name. How is he going to say colors?" I go, "He is." I held another one up and I said, "Alright, so what color is this?" He went, "Brown." I was like, "Oh my god he knows his colors! He knows his colors!" It was such a nice feeling. And I felt like, "He's only learned those colors from watching these repetitive YouTube videos."
GAVIN: 00:50 What Origin, from muse to manifestation: exploring why and how people create things. Since we are kind of unknown, the first few podcasts are going to be about us, the hosts and creators of What Origin. In this, I feature my cohost Shyla, and she talks about creating a family, kids. We will be improving the audio quality in the future and working towards having better editing. We're learning as we go. But we appreciate all our new listeners, and if you're catching up on this later, thank you for learning about the show. You can find out more at whatorigin.com. It's available on all of the popular streaming platforms. Without further ado let's get into the interview.
GAVIN: 01:35 If you had to talk to yourself five years ago before you had the kid, what kind of words of wisdom and advice would you have given yourself that you've learned now? What would you tell yourself so that you could be more prepared?
SHYLA: 01:51 I probably would say to myself, "Don't go back to work." That's the first thing. Don't go back to work that requires you to leave the house so early and everything else and come back so late in the evening. But secondly, most importantly. I spent a lot of time worrying about how my child compared to other kids, and that really affected me. Because he was a fussy eater. I'd get up in the morning and I'd have anxiety that I don't know if he's going to eat. Why is he not eating? And I'd pressure myself. Then there'd be all these sort of external sort of messages from everybody else with all of their recommendations. He should be sleeping in a cot. He should be doing this by now. He should be doing this by now. Because there was that pressure, for example, for him to have a certain bedtime. I'd put that pressure on myself.
SHYLA: 02:48 If I didn't meet an expected target or that goal of him sleeping in his own bed, I'd beat myself up for it and I'd hate myself for it. Like, "Oh my gosh, I can't even get my kid to bed on time." Or, "He doesn't want to eat because it's my fault; I didn't give him boiled carrots when he was three months. I waited a month later," or whatever. You kind of blame yourself and you retrace what you did and think, "Oh, where did I go wrong?" But really, that kid is going to grow at whatever pace he wants to grow. He's going to sleep through the night when he wants to sleep through the night. I felt like there was so much pressure. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to meet society's norms that people were chucking at me. I couldn't keep up to them and it really brought me down.
SHYLA: 03:37 I think with my second one I didn't do that. When people said, "Oh, does she sleep in your bed?" "Yeah she does." "Oh, she should be sleeping in a cot." "Yeah, I don't care. She doesn't. She will one day. She'll sleep in her own bed one day. But right now she sleeps in my bed because I like it. I'm going to cuddle her because she's my ... I'm not having anymore kids. I'm going to cuddle this baby to sleep if I want because I want to cuddle her. That's it."
SHYLA: 03:57 There was this whole, "Don't keep picking your child up." People would say, "Don't keep picking your child up. They'll get in a bad habit." I was like, "Get in a bad habit of what? Affection? If my kid wants affection, I don't think that's a bad thing, if my child craves a cuddle. I think that's a lovely thing. I don't think ... she's not going to crave a cuddle when she's 10 years old. She's craving a cuddle right now and that's her time for me to give her that time and that affection, so I'm not going to feel bad for my child being a needy child. Do you know what I mean?
GAVIN: 04:27 Yeah I do. I think what started this was this joke that I sent. I'm not sure what it's from but it's woman and a man. The man's sitting at the desk reading a resume and he says, "I see on your resume that your last position as a stay at home mom included system management, financial planning, clinical diagnosis, arbitration, family therapy, computer support, and strategic thinking." I thought that was actually true because as a mom you do have to do system management, financial planning for the kids, clinical diagnosis if they're sick. They're sick all the time. Arbitration. Do you feel like it is the hardest job?
SHYLA: 05:03 Yeah, definitely. I think the hardest part about it is that people tell you when ... not you because you're a guy ... but people will tell you when you're pregnant, "Make the most of your sleep because when you get a kid, there's no such thing as an early night or a lie in." And you kind of think, "Yeah, yeah. Maybe for a bit I won't have any sleep. But when my child starts sleeping through I'll be all right." But it's not the case. They just constantly have all this energy even throughout the day. They've got so much energy. Then it comes to their bedtime and you're like okay, they've been bouncing off the walls all day. I've take them to the play gym. I've fed them, hoping that they've eaten so much that they can't move. You know if you have a potato, a jacket potato. What do you guys call a jacket potato? A baked potato. If you eat one of those you get all sluggish. You don't want to move. You're just like ... sleep. I think that's what's going to happen to the kids and it doesn't.
SHYLA: 06:09 Then they're just ... my daughter, she wants to lie in bed with me to go to sleep. And she'll just be prodding my nose and my eyes and pulling my eyebrows. Then she needs her pacifier. You guys call it pacifier, a dummy, right, to go to sleep. She'll just chuck it. She'll just throw it away even though she needs it. Then I have to switch the light on and look for it. My point is, with kids, you think it's going to get easier and it just doesn't. When you've got one, it's okay. You kind of get used to it. And then you make the mistake of having a second one. And then ... Well I say mistake. But it's just one thing after another. They don't sleep through the night. They still want you there. They'll wake up randomly in the middle of the night and stuff. I do think that's the hardest thing, the sleep deprivation.
GAVIN: 07:06 How old are your kids now?
SHYLA: 07:08 One's four and the other one's one and a half. The four year old is nearly five. He's going to be five in March. That's in three months time. But he's still like a two year old. He has the same tantrums he used to have when he was two. If we're in the car, he'll drop something on the floor, and because he can't pick it up he'll just keep screaming and then he'll start head butting and backwards and things until you stop the car and pick up that toy car or whatever he's dropped on the floor.
GAVIN: 07:36 The things that the kids that the kids do that make you laugh, like falling or something like that?
SHYLA: 07:40 The other day. Yesterday he was doing something with his hand. He was putting his thumb through his ... He was making a fist. Then he's putting his thumb through his fingers, slotted in between underneath his index finger. So I said, "What you doing?" He said, "Look mommy, it's a wanker." I don't know what he means. I think, "What?" and I try and ignore it. He says it. I'm sort of half in shock like, "Is that what he's really said?" He said, "Yeah mommy it's a little wanker." It's just these random things that he picks up form school. They make you laugh all day. He'll say the funniest things all day. When they have a tantrum, or when he has a tantrum, he is relentless. You can not ... there's just no switching that kid off. He will just start head butting and throwing things. Even if I'm driving on the motorway, I'll have to pull up on the motorway on the hard shoulder to pick up a car or something that's on the floor. Or if he's on the iPad and the connection's come off because I normally tether the wifi or whatever; if that switches off then that's it. Oh my god.
GAVIN: 08:58 It seems like technology has kind of made it a lot easier for parents though.
SHYLA: 09:02 Yeah they just suck it up. They're there for hours. They can just sit there and entertain themselves for hours and watch these nursery rhymes in different languages or whatever, for hours. My mum always says, "Ah, the kids just sit on the iPad all day." And I'm like, "I'm sure you used to make us sit in front of the TV all day. At least it's interactive." I don't think it's as bad as what people make out. My son, he's got a speech delay. The reason why he's got these behavioral problems is he can't express himself because he couldn't talk until a very late ... poor kid, he's slow. He was meant to start talking and saying two word sentences when he was two years old. He started saying his two word sentences when he was four years old. He's always had an issue expressing himself and he's not been able to talk or to be able to say I need this or I need that.
SHYLA: 09:54 He'll just scream or he'd have like say three words in his vocabulary. What I mean is he was able to ... He went to speech therapy for months and he had such a short attention span that whenever they'd do an activity with him in these group sessions or in these speech therapy sessions they couldn't get what they wanted out from him. Because he just wouldn't pay attention. He was like a one year old mentally at that point. So he couldn't really give them what they wanted in those sessions. So there was that feeling as a mother you feel, "Oh my gosh. When's my kid going to be at the same level as his peers?" I've got a few friends that had kids at the same time, and you can see them being all independent and growing and talking. And you could see my son, he was slower, much slower, and much delayed.
SHYLA: 10:50 There was one time he had some crayons and all of a sudden he was he was just shouting. He was shouting random. He was chucking these crayons and then shouting words. He threw something and he went "ee." And then he threw another one and and he went "oo." I was like, "Oh my god, he's saying the colors." And my husband was like, "No he's not. He's not saying the colors. Don't be silly. How can he say the colors? He doesn't even say his name. How is he going to say colors?" I go, "He is." I held another one up and I said, "Alright, what color is this?" And he went, "Brown." I was like, "Oh my god he knows his colors! He knows his colors!" It was such a nice feeling. And I felt like, "He's only learnt those colors from watching these repetitive YouTube videos over and over and over again."
SHYLA: 11:39 Because he learned those colors, we were able to communicate. For example, if he wanted a blankie, he'd say the color of the blanket. He'd say, "I need it. I need it. Brown one." That's what he would say. That's how he would demand things. Or if he dropped his car. You know, I said he'd drop a toy car in the back of the car or wherever. He'd start saying, "I need it, I need it, blue one, blue one." Then I'd know what he was talking about. Otherwise he would just be crying all the time and you'd have to guess what it was that he was crying about. At least now you can narrow it down to a color. For us it was massive progress. He learned all those colors from YouTube. He never learned it from anywhere else. I wasn't sitting there with him teaching him colors. I was more concerned about him saying, "My name is ... " I wanted him to be able to have a conversation. I kept concentrating on "my name is." But he had already learned these colors by himself. I just think that was through YouTube, so yeah I thank YouTube and iPad, and all these devices.
SHYLA: 12:32 It did help us in a way. Also there's apps on there that are really good. He's got some apps where he creates words, and he can read those words even though they're not words that he would have read in a book. On this app, he recognizes words visually. For example, the word x-ray, he knows the word x-ray or he knows the word birthday by looking at them. This he started doing earlier on with the iPad before he even started school.
GAVIN: 13:01 Find out more at whatorigin.com. Thank you for listening to this episode. Look forward to many more to come.