Oh the joys. These little people who have just mastered their first life skills – walking and talking – have so much to do in such little time. And for these pre-pre-schoolers that don’t yet understand the concept of time, I guess to them that means they have so much to do, and it all has to be RIGHT NOW OR I’M GOING TO BURST!! I’m in my third toddler season at the moment, and so far I have learned a few tricks and copped many an earful of screams, but this is probably my toughest one yet. The kid is like an energiser bunny, physically very able, and a great talker, making him quite demanding, and that’s being polite. The other day I was at the supermarket with him, mid-morning on a Wednesday. It was like a toddler festival in there, they were everywhere! Around me all I could hear were tired, cross and cranky mums and kids, frustrated sighs, shouts of “Hamish put that down” and “Sophie come here” and of course the constant background noise of “labalabalaba… labalabalaba”. I was doing my usual “look where you’re going” and “don’t crash into that lady” hearing myself repeating over and over and over, it’s like Groundhog minute.
Toddlers are odd things, simple yet very complex. They are a conundrum. And mine is a perfect example. At the beginning of that shopping trip he wanted a kid’s trolley. Fine by me, so I explained to him that we needed a token from the front desk, to which he threw a tantrum to end all tantrums, luckily I wasn’t standing right next to him so no one who walked by thought he was mine. Phew. And then I felt stuck. Do I reward his behaviour and still get the trolley? Or do I let this be a lesson to him that throwing a massive wobbly doesn’t get you your way? I got the damn trolley and disappear into the aisles as quickly as I could, doing anything to stop the clamour.
Other things that send my little Tassie Devil into a spin are:
- Getting his clothes off before getting into the bath – not that he wants to go in fully clothed, but that apparently it takes too long for me to help him to derobe. Constantly shouts at me “TAKE MY NAPPY OOOOOOOOFFFFFF” as I’m getting a t-shirt off his head.
- Being put into the stroller because he insists on walking – he runs ahead, he lags behind, and eventually asks to be picked up and carried. Ah yes I knew this would happen, my shoulder will pay dearly later.
- Building towers with blocks – All my kids used to lose it when that tower would eventually fall; it’s like some form of torture to them.
- Sharing – Although he IS getting better, his poor siblings all too often end up with bite marks all over their bodies for trying to hold onto their possessions.
- Socks – ‘nuff said.
- Lids – ditto.
- Wiping his bits after a dirty nappy on a cold day since he was a baby I have felt the need to call out when I am changing him “No need to panic! Just a nappy change!”
I’m afraid to admit that he has quite a bit of control over me. As much as I like things to be fair between all my children, I still give in to him to stop him squawking much more than the others, because they don’t squawk like he does.
Someone wise once told me that toddlers are kids in the height of their rebellion. They can speak and so they do, non-stop in my case. And they say NO to everything given half the chance. They do everything they shouldn’t, and nothing they should. I get so sick of the sound of my own voice that sometimes instead of yelling out to stop an undesirable behaviour I think: pulling all the tissues out of the box… nah, not today. Of course I won’t let it slide when he is doing something downright naughty, but choosing my battles is definitely a tool I use as much as I can.
Communicating with my toddler is a funny thing. I call out from the kitchen for my little devil to stop torturing the remote control car he shouldn’t have, and he can’t hear me. Not because I’m not loud enough (I most definitely am) but because I’m not in close enough proximity. So I go right up close to him and talk to him nose to nose. Not in an aggressive way, but so he has no choice but to listen to me and is more likely to relinquish they toy he is destroying. It also saves my voice box. I also use simple toddler language and feel like a caveman as I do. No Lego! Biting naughty! No you scissors, my scissors! Ugg ugg.
Most days I struggle to finish a conversation when he is around, it’s so annoying when I am mid-sentence (obviously saying something of grave importance) and have to yell out GET DOWN FROM THERE! I actually made my mum jump today doing just that. Sorry mum. And I’m so sure that he knows if we are in a group I am much nicer to him, like today at a friend’s house when my toddler ripped into another kid and pulled him off a toy car. The other kid was upset and I was trying to conceal the anger in my voice as I had a little ‘talk’ with my son, but he was so overexcited and ran away from my lecture. He then playeddead weight when I tried to get up close to talk to him, just basically being a little sh… toddler. In the company of friends it is so embarrassing when you attempt to be a good parent and correct negative behaviour when all you get is kicks, giggles and a face full of “labalabalabalabalaba…” he knows how to play me, oh yeah he knows.
Anyone yet to experience the Terrible Two’s, let me enlighten you on the journey ahead. If I were two, I would follow you around all day saying “Pick my up. Mummy, pick my up. Mum pick my UP. Pick MY UP! Mummy PICK MY UP! MUMMY PICK MY UP!!!” And don’t think going to the toilet is going to prove to be some sort of safe house, for I shall follow you, insist on a chat and a course, a pick my up while you sit on the loo.
Emma Eastman 2013