Toddlerism? More like terrorism!
Um, where has my sweet, darling angel-faced baby gone and who is this human wrecking ball left in her place?
Just when I was beginning to think I had gotten the hang of this parenting thing, Arabella goes and becomes a fully fledged toddler – and BAM – I’m back to having no cooking clue what I’m doing.
It seems like yesterday I was shoving a mirror under her nose just to triple-check she was breathing and literally having to stop myself from throwing her a party when she first said ‘dada’ – these days I’m trying to come up with creative ways to stop her from eating her food like a dog and I have to turn everything into a song to actually get her to do anything.
I know that I probably said this when the newborn phase was over, but seriously, this whole toddler phase is by far the most challenging bit of my parenting journey thus far.
My husband is tired.
And our toddler is tired of us being tired.
The Baby Days Are Over…
Congratulations, we made it!
On the kinda yay side, baby time and the terrifyingness of it all is definitely over now – no more swaddling attempts, night feeds, constant worries of SIDS and smothering.
I say kinda yay because it is absolutely unreal how fast the time flies by and I miss my tiny little girl (I also miss how I could just plop her in her play ring with a shiny toy or two and do the dishes in peace!)
I truly do encourage you to make the most of the baby days, because there are so many things you will miss (and they turn into toddlers next!)
Toddler Days Are Here To Stay!
Whilst you blink and the baby days are over, it seems that the toddler days last forever.
Prepare yourself for definite bargaining, possible bribery, crying in the shower and silently muttering veeeery bad words under your breathe a million times a day.
Get ready to find yourself doing all the things you swore you’d never do when you became a parent.
My uncle Milo once told me that human babies are so cute for a reason – that reason being otherwise we would eat our babies, like in the animal kingdom.
And I hate to say it – but some days I get them animal mommas.
Here Are Some Tips To Help You (And Your Kid!) Come Out Of The Toddler Years Intact
1. Toddler-Proof Your House.
To a toddler, the power sockets look like just the best place to stick their fingers!
And every cupboard must be hiding unspeakable treasures, otherwise why would they have to open it, unpack it’s contents and swiftly move on to the next one?
2. And Toddler-Proof Your Life!
Toddler’s break things.
Unless you are okay with your necklaces being used as a weird kind of dental floss, or your grandmother’s china being turned into confetti – pack your breakable stuff away.
Just like you protect your kid from the terrors of the world, you need to protect your stuff from the terror of your toddler.
3. Toddlers Will Eat Everything…
I mean everything.
Absolutely anything that falls into their hands will make their way into their mouth.
4. …Except Food!
Work with their eating habits.
I used to buy veggies in bulk and spend a full day preparing them, cooking them, blending them and freezing them.
And it absolutely sucked when one day Arabella simply decided she didn’t want none of my ‘Pumpkin a la mom’ anymore. She didn’t want to eat anything but banana yoghurt for two full days.
And for fear of her accidentally starving herself, I let her.
By that point I was just grateful she was eating something, as long as something is going in – you’re okay.
5. Toddlers Are Tougher Than They Look.
This is something that took a while to sink in to my mind.
Toddlers sure do make the most of mobility, they will walk, run, and smash themselves into adventure at every turn.
And that’s okay.
When Arabella tripped and had her first ‘blood’ I don’t know who cried more, me or her!
Bumps, bruises and blood WILL happen, regardless of whether you are a helicopter parent or not.
All you can do is deal with it.
6. Stop Comparing, like, Yesterday!
Don’t compare your kid to others (either your kids before this one or the kids of other people) I won’t lie – this is something I still struggle with.
I hate that I do it, and I know I shouldn’t – but I do.
7. Respect Your Toddler’s Developmental Pace.
This ties straight in with comparing your kid to others.
Keep an eye on their development, and of course encourage it, but don’t try and squish them into a box the internet says they ‘should’ be in by now, and don’t get bleak with yourself (or them) if they aren’t where they should be at certain points.
The only thing toddlers have in common is that they are completely unique.
8. Toddlers Are Master Manipulators.
This came as a massive surprise to me!
I thought this would come much later in life.
Like ‘teenager’ later.
Hah! Jokes on me.
The puppydog eyes, crocodile tears, and quivering lips are their weapons of choice. Also pitting mommy and daddy against one another is a favourite tactic of theirs.
9. Take Care Of Yourself.
Eat the chocolate you told them was finished.
Take an extra two seconds in the loo to stare yourself down in the mirror.
Buy the damn bath bomb you are constantly seeing on your feed.
Your kid doesn’t need (or even want) the Pinterest mom.
They don’t need a perfect mom – they need a happy one.
10. Always Expect The Unexpected!
Your toddler’s favourite toy today could possibly be the toy they hate tomorrow.
Sure, they love apples on a Monday, but try to give one to them on a Tuesday and they act like you are trying to poison them.
Their likes and dislikes change as quickly as they do.
Just roll with it, there is really not much else you can do.
11. Fear Silence.
Unless your toddler is soundly asleep, they are never quiet unless they are up to no good.
12. Your Toilet Is Now A Toy Box / Dustbin / Awesome Hiding Place!
If it CAN end up in the toilet, it WILL end up in the toilet.
Keep that bathroom door closed at all times.
Arabella was visiting her Yia Yia the other day and the remote control for their gate ended up in the toilet, I could have died.
13. Outside Time Is Your Toddler’s Friend (And Yours!)
Like pretty much everything, in order to survive (and to keep your house clean for an extra couple of minutes) your toddler needs outside time, sunlight and fresh air.
Arabella spends plenty of time in the garden, collecting leaves and twigs for momma and Daddydaims, digging in the dirt and when the suns out – paddling pool’s out!
14. Brush Up On Those Negotiating Skills.
If a toddler wants it, their little brains can’t comprehend that there is a possibility that they can’t have it.
Honestly, I was not prepared for the amount of hardcore negotiating I was in store for.
15. Accept That They Think They Don’t Need You…
Toddlers embody a spectacular spirit of independence.
It honestly sucks the first time they tell you ‘no’ they don’t need your help.
16. …Embrace That They Actually Do!
You are at the center of their universe (use this power wisely!) and even though they can’t do everything on their own, they will still try.
And they will succeed gloriously and they will fail tremendously, and they will always need their momma.
17. Say ‘Yes’ To ‘No’
Lately this has been repeated all over the office and it is something I have embraced in my mom life too.
Arabella tells me ‘no’ approximately 20 billion times a day and I have realised it is crazy important for me to say it back.
One must say no, and mean it, even if saying yes is the easier (tantrum-free) option.
18. Take Loads Of Pictures.
Dude, the toddler years are freaking hilarious!
I mean ultimate 21st birthday material kind of hilarious.
If your kid wears their underwear as a hat, take a picture – it will last forever.
For reals though, taking photographs is an amazing way to capture some of the memories you and your toddler make together – just pretty please don’t be one of those moms who believe the moment didn’t happen unless she can share it on social media.
Be present, but keep your phone or camera handy for those extra-special (and one day embarrassing!) photo-worthy moments.
19. Every Mess Can Be Cleaned Up.
This has become my mantra.
There will be an eye watering amount of messes.
And every single one of them can be cleaned up.
Get used to never having a tidy house for more than 15 minutes a day.
20. Enjoy it While You Can!
Raising a toddler can (and does) feel like the most difficult thing in the world, but as I have learnt so far – the rewards are endless.
You are literally moulding a human being.
I have to keep reminding myself (especially on the more difficult days) that my little human will one day be a big human and not need her mommy so much.
Just like I’m now doing with the newborn days, one day I could be saying how fast the toddler days flew by.
We Have Made It This Far.
Guys, parenting is no joke and the toddler years seem to test everyone – even the ‘I have everything together at all times’ mom who wears linen tops that never seem to have anything spilled on them and who doesn’t pull crumbly biscuits out of their handbag (and definitely doesn’t consider eating them. Psssshft, who would do that?)
Just like your toddler, some days you will fall flat on your butt and it will feel far too tempting to take a leaf out of their book and throw yourself on the floor and have a full on tantrum because they JUST DON’T LISTEN.
To anything you say.
But, there will also be days when your kid randomly runs up and kisses you with such a sense of urgency, as if it was the most important thing they have ever had to do.
And those are the days that keep us going.