Sometimes it amazes me just how different my two children are…
I don’t think that ‘I’m’ any different… I mean, I thought I did a pretty good job the first time… in fact, I thought I’d do better second time round as there’d be no surprises… no winging it… I’d be a pro… it’d be easy… yeah…? (Idiot.)
I wasn’t. I’m not. It isn’t.
Thinking I knew it all was pretty bloody stupid in reality… I should have KNOWN that trying to second guess a two-year-old is futile… Like packing a hat for a toddler… It’s bloody pointless…
My second toddler is almost a polar opposite of my first. Maybe it’s a boy/girl thing… that’s what most people seem to think it’s down to… But whatever the reason he is an alternative breed to his sister…
So here’s my guide to 1st and 2nd Toddlers: The Shit You REALLY Need to Know…
It’s winter and your toddler won’t wear their winter hat at the playground… It’s ok… You bribe them with a few rice cakes and swap their hat for the specially adapted one you’ve bought with the chin tie… they barely notice. You feel like parent of the year. You snap some photos on your iPhone and put them on Instagram instantly to bask in your hat-related-mummy-winning-glory…
People have begun to stare as you wrestle your now-screaming-toddler into a bobble hat. Your child is surprisingly strong. And overthrows you. And runs full-pelt into the sandpit taking out a dog and unsuspecting group of one-year-olds on the way there… When you catch up with them, they go ‘Jason-Bourne’ on your arse, and fight you using a weapon they’ve fashioning from a Sippy Cup lid, a biscotti and a Peppa Pig glitter pen you foolishly left in the buggy… They are temporarily distracted by the Jaffa Cakes you’re frantically waving at them, but as you attempt the hat-fastening-biscuit-substitute manoeuvre you realise they are in fact quite proficient in the art of Japanese Knot Untying (who knew) and have now begun running back to the big slide, where they plan to leap enthusiastically from the top with their eyes closed, so all the other parents can be fully aware you have ABSOLUTELY no control of them whatsoever. (You don’t Instagram it.)
You spend hours making tiny little veg-packed home-made treats for dinner only be subjected to complete refusal… they eventually wear you down and you resort to hidden veg in the same 5-meals on rotation for the rest of life to date… You serve up the pizza/sausage/chicken dippers/spag bol every night with a side order of guilt (also known as cucumber to us mere mortals) But at least they are predictable… and still consider yoghurt a treat…
They’ve seen your weakness. They will eat everything or nothing… there’s no way of telling… but either way they will do it naked, whilst standing up, holding the Ninky-Nonk in one hand, and your cutlery in the other, wearing a homemade-crown fashioned from the rotting rice-cake-shards that sit underneath the footmuff in the buggy while you weep into some fish fingers… (the Omega-3 ones. It makes you feel like you some vague sense of control then…) (You don’t… you’re too scared to make eye contact with them past 5 o’clock each evening… #wineforthat) In other news… yoghurts no longer work… they know you have Toblerone.
It MUST be the Hello Kitty bowl, with the sparkly fork, and the purple cup. Or a cat gets hurt. But its ok… you can handle that… (plus the cat’s pretty irrelevant now anyway…)
They will consider allowing that into their face if it’s in the correct colour bowl, in the correct consistency, facing the sun, regurgitated by virgin llamas and eaten whilst performing an interpretive jazz dance for the cats wearing only a nappy… they’ll eat the lot and demand seconds… Then the next day. You provide the exact same meal. And they look at you like you just curled one off on their plate… and shove it in the DVD player while you cry. (The virgin llamas also cry.) (And no-one’s seen the cat for a while to be honest…)
You’d make it to Toddler-Group… you’d be late, but not late-late… just normal-late… you’d use snack bribery and give them a 20 minute iPhone-Peppa-Pig-YouTube-session to occupy them as you sped-walked yourself there… (In Converse-trainers, leggings and a nursing top from 2011. Obvs.)
It’s Wednesday. You’re still wearing the same nursing top. You arrived an hour late to toddler group… mainly because you were pushing the buggy alongside your kamikaze toddler the entire journey, trying to prevent them from playing chicken with a Bus in the red-lane… When you get there, you realise the Toddler-Group is on Tuesdays. And go home for some wine. And a little sob at all the houses you can’t afford on Rightmove.
You Nursery-Rhymed, Sensory-Balled, Snack-Bribed, iPad-ed, CBeebies-ed and generally used everything at your disposal to be an awesome toddler-mummy who actually had their shit together pretty often now you think about it…. Actually, you rocked it. You created a super-cute-awesome-amazing-strong-willed-tiny-person… you probably deserve some sort of medal really…
They’re awesome, but toddler force is strong with this one. Nothing works… So you wing it. (And do gin.)