It would appear we have a toddler in the house. Hunter is only turing two in July, but the truth is she’s already well on her way to making her presense known as as noisy, demanding, independent and strong-willed little girl. She’s a real force to be reckoned with my dear friends. And anyone with a child around the same age will know what I mean when I say I fear for what the future has in store for us. I find myself getting a little nervous thinking about the unchartered waters that lay before me as I navigate life with a girl toddler.
Okay I’m may be blowing things little out of proportion just a tad. She’s really a lovely sweet child with the most beautiful way about her. She listens well for the most part and has an incredible understanding of what is required of her at such a young age. She smart, like really smart and is able to express herself well with little frustration. She’s calm and curious and so so funny. (I think we laugh at her at lease a hundred times a day!) But there’s also no denying that she’s asserting some serious independence! Which made me wonder, what is it about his age that is so challenging? It’s by far the cutest age for me as their minds absorb the world around them and they learn to talk and tell you thing in their own way. There is always something about them that sets them apart everyone else, their uniqueness coming into its full glory – the way they lisp, or say a certain word, the faces they pull or how they sing their own words to a song. It’s a time of wonder and magic as you discover so much more to who they are and what kind of little people they are becoming!
But for crying in a bucket, why do they all of a sudden reach this age where they think they know best? Like overnight that go from trusting you to questioning everything you do and challenging you on every little thing. I mean I know why they do it, I know it’s healthy and all part of asserting their independece, but for the love of all things good in this world, how can someone so small, rule a household with five other much larger humans living in it?
Here are 10 signs you have a toddler in the house:
- It’s always noisy. Bone-achingly noisy. Except for those few precious moments a day when they are sleeping. Other than that be expected to deal with constant banging, talking, whining, chewing, unpacking of tupperware and nursery rhymes blaring from one of many devices at any given time.
- Your house is in a constant state of disarray. While this is given even if you have a small baby with mounds of washing and dishes piling up or with older kids in the house who forget to make their beds or pack sports equipment away, you can expect things to take to a whole new level of savage with a toddler in the house. I often watch Hunter unpack her toys with so much enthusiasm and with very little intention of actually playing with them and wonder if I can hear the song “Wrecking Ball” playing in the distant background. I swear this kid makes her way through bedroom after bedroom faster than a than can say “Tidy up and Pack away!”
- There’s always food left all over the house. Yup ALL over the house : Behind curtains, under rugs, down the side of the couch, in the tupperware drawer and sometimes even in the washing machine. It’s for this very reason that we have to ask Hunter so often “What are you eating??” Or “where do you get that?” in fear she might have ingested half of last week’s hotdog or the remains of her brother’s 2 week old lunch box. It’s not for the faint-hearted but luckily by child number three you believe more strongly than ever that healthy bacteria is good for a healthy gut. And so most of the time you just say a quiet prayer and fly with it.
- Everything you own, including your kidneys, belongs to them. They are constantly telling you that what’s yours in fact there’s. I cannot keep track of the amount of times Hunter fights with one of us on this. Everything is hers. The cellphone, the coffee table, the fruit bowl, the TV remote, the car keys, the chair I’m sitting on, the sandwich in my mouth. I seem to have lost ownership rights to just about everything since the day she learnt to say these two dreaded worlds : “That’s MINE!!”
- They are constantly hungry and asking for snacks, which in turn means that you are ALWAYS running out of them. It’s constant and time sensitive and you better be prepared at all times. Any hesitation or failure to deliver will most certainly result in tears or worse a full blown meltdown. Moral of the story : be ready and equipped at all times.
- They always want to be where they shouldn’t. You can buy them the worlds most expensive toys but they will find much more joy and satisfaction in the toilet and with the toilet paper. Tell them they are not allowed to climb up the bunk bed and they will try everything in their power to get up there. About 673 times a day. Tell them they cant sit on the table and they make it their mission to get on top of it every chance they get.
- They know what they want and will walk over anyone to get it. It’s in your best interest to not get in their way, try to distract them or tell them that that they can have something else instead. They’re not stupid and will fight take your eyes out. If your adamant not to give in, best you avoid making eye contact and simply walk away. Unless of course they are in danger or about to break something. Then by all means, tackle them to the ground if you have to.
- There will always be a painfully irritating theme song blaring from at least one devise at all times or being sung no matter how hard you try to avoid getting sucked into it all. At this point in time, be assured that Baby Shark will be coming out of my ears until the cows come home. I weep for what tomorrow may bring, literally WEEP!
- Your’e always fighting them on when to do what – nap time, bath time, dinner time, home time, tidy up time! And as much as these are things they need to learn, it’s a constant struggle keeping up with any sort of routine. That’s if they have one. Just as you feel like you’re in a good “sleep, play, eat, repeat” routine they cut another tooth, decide they no longer like their cot or need more dummies and soft toys or simply despise sleep and all hell breaks loose. One bad night messes everything up and you’re left questioning whether you have what it takes to sleep train them all over again or just let them do waterier it takes to ensure you get at least 5 hours of solid sleep.
- They love an early morning and wake up with enough energy to climb Mount Everest. If you’re one of the lucky few who have a toddler who enjoys a good sleep in, pat yourself on the back and wipe the smug smile off your face. The majority of the parents I speak to say their toddlers wake up at the sparrows fart, just as my dear little peach chooses to do. Day in and day out no matter how late we put her to bed.
I freaking LOVE my toddler. I love her so much, and as challenging and as full-on as these months and years may be I often find myself being reminded of how vital my role is in her life right now. I may joke about her being bossy, but if that part of her is natured well, she could grow up to be a brilliant leader. I laugh and make jokes about her being strong-willed but truth is these are the qualities I want to encourage and cultivate in a healthy way. World-changers never took no for na answer and they sure as heck didnt let anyone tel what them they could and could not do.
I realise it’s obviously super important that she knows the boundaries and is taught what is acceptable and what is not. I also need to have age-aproproate expectations and nurture her temperament in a way that doesn’t crush her. I need to be firm and guide her with kindness and gentleness but above all, let her know that her mama is her biggest supporter, even when she tests me to my limits.
What advise can you give someone raising a toddler? What has been your greatest piece of advice when the going gets tough?