100 Toys Talks to... Iris de Kan
Tell us a little about your family…
Our little family consists of me, Eds and Kiki. We just bought a farm in West Sussex where we live between the horses and the apple trees. I never thought I would end up staying in the UK but I am truly happy here. I work fulltime as an airline captain and Eds works from home, so Kiki always has her father around. I hope one day she will realize how privileged she is being able to grow up like this. Kiki is two years old and goes to nursery two afternoons a week so she can socialize and learn from other children. We found a lovely little Montessori nursery nearby and she is very happy there. Eventually I would love to give Kiki a sibling, but we have to wait a little bit because of my career...
What are the 3 words that define your parenting style?
That is quite a difficult question!! I would say laid back, strict and involved. I know that sounds quite contradictive but it is everything but. Basically we want to give Kiki quite a lot of freedom and we do not want to say ‘no’ all the time. However, that freedom has boundaries. There are rules she has to obey. On paper it all sounds pretty easy but I find it a massive struggle finding ‘the right thing to do’ all the time. Sometimes I wish there was a manual on how to be the perfect parent. Especially since Kiki is a child that tests the boundaries a lot! We do our best and I think the main goal is not to let her turn into a dragon. So far it seems to be working. When I look at her I see a warm, open, creative and communicative child. I feel blessed that I am her mother and get to raise her.
What is your child’s current favourite toy?
There are three toys she really loves at the moment, besides all her stuffed animals. She loves her pull along horse, her tea set and her Grimms button threading set. The threading set keeps her occupied the longest; she is fascinated by it.
What is your - and your child’s - favourite toy of all time?
I love everything made out of wood. Kiki’s favourite of all time is without a doubt ‘Toos’; the Steiff teddy bear I got from my late grandmother when I was born. Kiki absolutely adores him and she won’t even consider going to bed without him. Oh and a ball! Any ball will do. It’s funny how we as parents think it has to be complicated when in fact it is all so very simple.
What is your fondest childhood memory?
It is probably really weird but I don’t have one specific memory. My childhood seems to be one big bundled memory of my parents always being there for us, taking us on trips, chats at the kitchen table and in the kitchen floor. Now that I write this I suddenly know the answer haha. The one thing I wanted in our new house was a large kitchen with preferably a heated floor and a big table, so that we can have chats in the kitchen just like I did with my mum. That must make that my fondest childhood memory, since I wanted to recreate that.
What have you found most surprising about your child / about being a parent?
She is exactly like me. From the outside she is her father but from the inside she is almost an exact copy of me. I find that very confrontational at times. Parenthood brings out the best and worst in me. I want to do right by her, I want to guide her and make sure that in the future she won’t make the same mistakes as me. Seeing her grow up excites me, but it also scares me. I see how she is vulnerable and sensitive and that doesn’t always make life easy. I know that from experience...
Do you have any tips for other parents? About toys, learning or anything else…
My tip would be to follow your heart and listen to your child. Don’t think your child is too young to understand things. I don’t believe your child is born like a blank canvas. I really believe your child is born with a personality, a character and that it is your job to guide that. See the amazing side of your child, praise him or her for it. But don’t be afraid to see the not so nice parts of their personality. Acknowledge them, work on them. Loving your child is seeing them for what they are. With all their beautiful imperfections. I am far from perfect and I have no idea what I am doing most of the time but I love my child dearly. I hope all the love and effort we put into her will pay off.
Follow Iris via Instagram @mumazed