Tears, tantrums, terrible mood swings and that’s just me. Being a parent to a toddler is a massive mission that requires the negotiation skills of a hostage liaison officer. Things that seem so simple are actually tasks that require precision planning and preparation with an exit strategy thrown in for good measure. Below are a few of the things that Toddlerhood makes difficult.
- Medicine administration: Not only is having an ill toddler a stressful nightmare in itself but then you need to administer medicine. Generally there are two options to take: spoon or syringe. Now one of these methods you would assume would be a swift and easier option than the other – wrong! They’re both as tricky as each other and there usually ends up being a gloopy, sticky Calpol related mess on the carpet, sofa, clothing, wall etc. The spoon gets knocked away, the syringe is met with a lock jaw that refuses to allow the vessel entry. Mummy needs a large glass of her medicine after this task has been completed!
- Car Seat securing: All neurotic parents love a good, secure car seat and if you’re like me then you’ll also love an extended rear facing one. The only trouble here is when your darling toddler decides they do not wish to sit in said car seat. Then all the fun and games begin. The shrieking of ‘No’ is usually the first sign that this will not be as simple as strapping the child into the seat. This is then followed by the back arch. For those of you who are yet to encounter the ‘back arch’ this is where your child decides to become completely rigid and arch their back making it nigh on impossible to hold, manage, move or manoeuvre them. At this stage I am usually exasperatedly throwing a random range of bribes and threats at my child in order for them to sit in the seat. This is even worse when in a public car park or when you need to urgently be somewhere and have not factored in the time it takes to handle a car seat refusal. I have found downloading Peppa Pig episodes onto my smart phone and giving them to my toddler is the most effective bribe for getting toddler to sit in the car seat (cue judgy mummy derision). Any other suggestions would be most gratefully received!
- Sleeping routines: Toddlers don’t seem to enjoy bedtime, or at least mine doesn’t. It is a constant battle to try and get Pudding down to sleep. In fact as I type this, darling hubby is trying desperately to get Pudding down to sleep… with limited success. There is no rhyme or reason to how bedtime will work out – sometimes a massive curveball is thrown and bedtime is an easy and smooth transition, at others it requires all the skill, patience and diplomacy of UN Peacekeeper. Then there are naps. Again, nothing is more frustrating to deal with than an overtired toddler who refuses to go to sleep, especially when they are about to have a meltdown because they are so tired. This also makes the day infinitely a million times longer ….
- Food consumption: Everyone needs to eat. Everyone gets hungry. In toddler land though preferences can change in a matter of minutes. One minute, it’s all about the scrambled egg. Yummy. A Pudding favourite that is guaranteed to be scoffed. The next – point blank scrambled egg refusal. ‘But why?’, you cry in desperate frustration. What has possibly changed to make what was once the only food to possibly be consumed suddenly the most derisive food imaginable? Then there’s the food of bribery – yes, you never thought this would be you. You imagined it so differently before you had a toddler. It would all be fresh, homemade goodness and sugar free. Sigh. Now there are bribes of Kinder Eggs (granted these are never actually eaten it’s the shitty toys that hold the fascination) or worse still, chicken nuggets. Easy, convenient and beige. Yes, desperate times call for beige food that is not hearty or healthy but will at least get sustenance into your little precious. The shame…
- Inconsistent moods: This one is the worst and helps make everything else all the more challenging. In fact it is perhaps what underpins all the aforementioned points. One minute it’s all good; the sun is shining, the birds are singing and parenting is a breeze. The next – it is a scene of devastation and destruction. Tears, shouting and stamping feet. Cries of ‘No!’ echo around the room. It’s all about to go tits up and the reason? Paw Patrol has ended. Yep. Massive meltdown as the credits whoosh past on the screen. You scramble for the remote, desperate for anything to distract and prevent the end of the world. Or another tantrum ensuring occasion is making the wrong food. Yep. They asked for pasta and tomato sauce. You lovingly made the pasta and tomato and sauce. Then, ‘I don’t want this!’ followed by tears. Again you stand bewildered and confused. Sod that. Or the battle to dress a toddler and then selecting the wrong outfit or shoes. Or even playing the wrong game – the game they wanted you to play with them. ‘But you told me you wanted to play shops!’, you cry in exasperation! This is a game where no one is winning.
Generally, with toddlers it’s all a random game of roulette. There are no rules or safe strategies – it’s every parent for themselves. Feel sorry for your toddler – trying to process and understand the world which is so bemusing and frustrating for them. The road ahead is one that requires patience, persuasion and bribery. Lots of bribery. There’ll also be lots of laughs as at times those meltdowns can be pretty hilarious (sorry Pudding but when you foot stamp that’s just too amusing and adorable for me)! So sit down and enjoy the ride! It’s going to be bumpy. Oh and grumpy.