The joys of parenting – the toddler years

And so continues my joys of parenting series…

Being a parent is an amazing feeling….

You have survived the baby years, the night feeding, the nappy changing, the weaning and all of a sudden your little one has become a toddler.
Some crawl, some shuffle, some just stand and off they go, but all too quickly they are on the move.
And they talk too – nonsensical babble at first then they copy what you say.
Many new pitfalls appear…

If you have a toddler girl then you must read this post by brummymummy of two! So funny and so true! I bet you all have a “bag o crap” don’t you??!

YOUR HOUSE
When your child starts to move it signals the start of a whole new phase in their life , as well as the life of your home style and décor.
Everything has to be moved upwards out of reach and then upwards again as they grow and stand.
Anything at floor level becomes fair game. The cat or dog food is very appealing…. the toilet rolls are crying out to be unravelled a la andrex puppy…. the pretty ornaments on your hearth want to be broken… and everything but everything, really wants to see the inside of your toddlers mouth.
And gone are the days of choosing new cushions or rugs – instead you have to spend your money on other interior decor items such as baby gates, safety catches and plug inserts.
And the toys are everywhere. The expensive ones, the free mcdonalds and magazine plastic tat, puzzles with missing pieces, trains, dolls, dollhouse furniture – it gets everywhere.

And its not just toys. Your nicely painted doors and beautifully decorated walls are adorned with stickers and sticky fingerprints and the occasional nose print or worse bogey. Then they get hold of the pens and crayons, or god forbid the talcum powder………….

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Your once show-home like house now looks like a tornado has ripped through it and silence generally means mischief is brewing…
Oh yes, toddlers are fairly indiscriminate in their total destruction of your house.

BATHROOM FUN
Once an oasis of calm – where you could sit on the loo in peace or laze in the bath reading a book – now a viewing gallery, the latest spectator sport, or even worse than that, they want to, nay demand to, join in.
I don’t remember the last time I bathed without a small person trying/succeeding to get in with me…. let alone the squeezy toys and plastic dolls that have to bath with you too.. And I am sure I am not the only one with a plug shaped dent in my backside.

Then of course alongside the bathroom fun are the joys of toilet training..

POTTY/TOILET TRAINING

Yes this has to be done.. Some children grasp it pretty quickly and others take longer. It’s probably wise to cover your house in plastic sheeting to protect your floors and furniture from the probable “accidents”.

Changing nappies becomes a thing of the past – but you can’t help but reminisce about how easy things were with nappies.

You can’t do a supermarket shop without a small child wanting a wee, half way around. And they don’t have the sense yet to plan ahead, so when they say they need to go, they really do need to go – right there, right then – cue deserted shopping trolley as you madly dash across the shop to the nearest toilets…

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DINNERTIME
You have several options for dinnertime – None of which involve enjoying a pleasant dinner at home or out with your other half.
Now that your child is on to solid food, if you haven’t managed it by now, losing that baby weight isn’t an option. Mum’s get the job of having to eat the discarded food that toddler no longer wants – well otherwise it would be wasteful. Or you feel the need to show them how to eat it. Or they feel the need to forcefeed you their unwanted dinner.
Cajoling becomes your dinner conversation, followed by threats, followed by bribery, followed by giving in to ice cream just so you know they have eaten something.
As for actually having your own dinner, the microwave becomes your best friend for a while, at around 9pm, when you have finally escaped from their bedroom…..

SLEEP
And you thought that, as your baby grew, sleep deprivation would magically disappear? Poor, poor foolish you.
There are nightmares and night terrors to deal with. Once they are out of the cot then you get nightime visitors. If you are really lucky this only lasts for around 4 years….
You learn new sleep positions – curled at the bottom of your own bed as toddler lies widthways across your bed, squished in a single bed as toddler won’t sleep alone and you are too tired to fight it, on toddlers floor, on your own floor, on the sofa bed, on the spare bed etc etc.
You wake up with bruises from the restless kicking and flailing arms and aches and pains in places you never knew you had.
You dream of,or in our case actually buy a bigger bed, in order to accommodate the extra person/persons.
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And any chance of further closeness with your partner/hubby becomes a vague memory… the toddler being the only proof that you ever did have ‘fun’ together.

TV
Despite all your greatest intentions the tv is on a lot. But not so you can watch the latest and greatest offerings – it’s all cbeebies, nick junior, disney junior.
You find yourself humming the theme tunes to Peppa Pig, In the Night Garden and Henry Hugglemonster whilst sitting at your desk at work. And how often do you sit and watch these channels of an evening before you realise that your little one has been in bed for the last 2 hours?? My hubby is actually word perfect on most episodes of Doc Mcstuffins and Sofia the First…

BODY PARTS

When they first start to talk and learn about their body parts its quite fun. “Where is your nose?” “Say eye” “Show me you tummy”.

But they also discover their private parts. And you have to deal with the embarrassment of your 6 year old telling all and sundry, when asked what their little brother likes to do, that his current favourite pastime is “humping” – and yes this happened when we went to visit his first nursery school.

SEPARATION AND SCHOOL

By now, most working parents have returned to work, and others too may choose to start looking for alternative childcare – be it childminders, nurseries and then later schools.

You will probably visit a few places, before making your choice.

But then you have to deal with separation anxiety. That painful decision to give them to someone else to look after will no doubt be accompanied by tears – mainly yours, but also theirs.

It can be emotionally exhausting having to peel your clinging child off you legs every morning, day in day out and leaving them behind, screaming for mummy. Of course, mostly, within five minutes of you leaving they are fine and have a whale of a time, but all you can think about is what an awful parent you are leaving them so distraught. And of course, knowing that it will all happen again tomorrow doesn’t make it any better.

Then you have to start thinking about schools. Gone are the days of putting their name down when they are a baby to ensure they get a place at your chosen school. Now you have to leave it to the fates to decide whether your two children will end up at the same school, or whether you will have to work out how to do two school runs, at the same time, every day.

TANTRUMS

And I cannot end this post without mentioning the well beloved temper tantrum.

At some stage your child will turn into that screaming,crazy devil child. You know the one you used to see in the supermarket and tut at the parents?

Yes, now that parent is you…

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Oh yes, parenting a toddler/small child does not get any easier than parenting a baby , and in some ways, it gets more difficult…

BUT

When you have negotiated all these pitfalls, you have to remember that being a parent is an amazing feeling.

Some things are unbelievably wonderful.

When they tell you that they love you and really understand what it means, when they draw or paint you a picture, when they make you they first mothers day or fathers day card, when they snuggle up to you and give you a great big sloppy kiss in the middle of the night, when you see their little personalities coming out.

Your heart swells, and you are still helping to mould them, to teach them, to create your legacy for the future.

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