Cameron Reynolds is the dad who created and runs Groove Baby: events for parents and carers to enjoy music concerts featuring jazz, groove and contemporary improv artists. I first went along to a GB concert just after my little Button-Pusher turned one. I love music of all types (well maybe not loud shouty thrash metal) and I loved how amazingly B-P responded to any music I played her. So a concert where I could discover new artists, and just relax and enjoy an hour while B-P crawled around happily? What’s not to love?
I asked Cameron whether he ever has his buttons pushed, now he’s a dad:
Mrs Baffled: Where are you from and where do you live?
Cameron: From Queenscliff, Australia. Live Islington, London.
MB: What did you do before becoming a parent?
C: Anything I could do to make money out of music and arts.
MB: And after?
C: Anything I can do to make money out of music and arts… [I] chose to continue to make very little money out of a completely eclectic freelance nightmare of a career. That I mostly enjoy.
MB: How many children do you have?
C: One child, 2 + 3/4, Irenie.
MB: I write B&TBP as the mum of a toddler, recently turned 3, which brings many challenges! How’d you relate to this stage?
C: About 2 months ago I thought that this whole terrible 2s thing was a bit overrated and that we were taking it all in our stride. I did not realise that there was a whole layer of HELL yet to be unleashed upon me. It’s like living with a bipolar baboon on cocaine.
MB: Ha! How does living with the bipolar baboon make you feel?
C: Tired. And amused.
MB: Do you struggle with it?
C: I challenge anyone to not struggle with it without 24 hour child minding. Or a soundproofed prison cell.
MB: Aside from the tantrums, toddlers can be such cheeky little monkeys. Does it make you smile?
C: I went into the deal knowing that I would be a pretty bad parent when it came to discipline and I am definitely the parent others role their eyes at. I am firm believer that children should be crazy. That’s their only redeeming character trait. Otherwise they are just the worst flatmate you have ever had. In one of my jobs – as Groove Baby producer – I am actively trying to get children to break out and go a bit crazy. What else are they here for?
MB: Does it ever make you nod your head in sympathy with other parents, currently negotiating the terrible twos stage?
C: Only in a completely selfish ‘thank God someone else is suffering’ way. Then I assume that they are probably making it up and that their child isn’t half as bad as the horrendous creature that lurks around my home.
MB: Any examples you can share of how Irenie pushes your buttons?
C: Last night, my child had a screaming tantrum because I wanted to get into my own bed and go to sleep at 1am. That brought me pretty close to infanticide.
MB: Any times that caused frustrations? Guilt? Annoyance or anger? Tested your patience?
C: Isn’t that pretty much every minute of the day?
MB: Ha! How about causing embarrassment or shame if they say, did it in front of your friends or family, or even just in front of strangers out in the street?
C: Irenie shouted ‘For f><k sake!’ in the playground the other day. That’s my girl…
MB: It’s all language development! Do you think she pushes your buttons more when you’re tired? Unhappy? Busy? Hungover?!
C: They just keep trying until they hit something don’t they? You have to admire their perseverance.
MB: What about the happy buttons they press? Pride? Love?
C: My child is definitely a genius. And the sweetest creature in the playground/nursery/restaurant/insert location here. I feel sorry for other parents that aren’t hers.
MB: Ahh just like my B-P then?! Any moments in particular stand out that always bring a smile to you face?
C: She made up a story about a crow and his seagull friend the other day. That’s going to stick with me.
MB: So I now have a Threenager in the house – and people keep saying it’s worse than the terrible twos! I’m going to have to up my game to manage it! D’you think how you manage the button-pushing, will change as they, and you, age?
C: I have definitely started the emotional blackmail. Maybe too early. I might only have emotional abuse to go to in a year or so.
MB: Do you think it will be different when they’re in their late teens?
C: That question keeps me awake at night.
MB: D’you think, different challenges same buttons of frustration or annoyance being pushed?
C: I work with teenagers a lot as well. I’m pretty practised at making them feel like my problems are bigger than theirs and they should just shut up.
MB: Do you think that because the ones we love the most have the power to annoy us the most, it means that our children will still create these crazy emotions in us when they’re in they’re 20s, 30s 40s?!
C: I’m hoping the NHS will have a pill for it by then.
MB: If I’m being honest, I’m pretty sure I still drive my own mum mad! Is that just a mother / daughter, parent / child thing d’you think?
C: I’m pretty certain that mothers + daughters have a whole level of insane antagonistic relationship that cannot be compared to anything else. I can’t see a time when my child will never make me frustrated. You know each other so well and yet you still can’t explain why they think that way or do that thing.
MB: If you had one piece of advice to offer to parents of toddlers having their buttons pushed, what would it be?
C: Don’t put down newspaper on the kitchen floor and then head to the pub. The law frowns on that sort of thing.
To find out more about Groove Baby events and to buy tickets to the next concert (featuring multi award-winning guitarist Femi Temowo) at The Southbank on 1st September, click here. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.