I am not even remotely embarrassed to admit that the first year of my life as a mother was spent in a complete haze of emotions, trials and tears and there is a lot that I either don’t remember or have deliberately blocked out. What I do remember is that it certainly wasn’t easy with the erratic sleep patterns, the frightening colic and teething pain, the feeding and weaning struggles, the constant tumbling and wailing and of course, the vaccinations. And through out that time, I kept telling myself that things will get a lot easier once we pass the first year mark and in many ways they did. But no amount of reading or talks with fellow mothers prepared me for the ride that is the toddler years. If you have kids who have passed their toddler stage, then I applaud you. If you are a fellow parent who is currently raising a toddler or two, then you have my sympathies. If you are a new parent or you hope to be a parent one day, then let me tell you this: Toddler years are a nightmare!
I don’t know what it is about passing the first birthday that turns adorable babies into vicious, wicked and mean-spirited little persons who want to do everything themselves and in their own way. And God forbid, if you try to use the parenting card on them, they raise such a havoc that you curse the day you were born. I know it is all a part of their process of growing up and developing their personalities, but do they have to be this nasty? I also know that deep down they are still the darling, chubby baby you couldn’t get enough of, but somehow you only think of this now when they are out of the home or fast asleep in their beds.
Seven months into my daughter’s second year and I have witnessed her transformation from a quiet, demure, can’t-hurt-a-fly baby to a screaming, strong-willed, bird-stomping toddler (Thank God I love her, or I don’t know what I would do). Here are a few things you can anticipate in the coming years, if you are new on this roller-coaster. Also, just say Aye! if you are in the same boat as me.
- Your phone calls to friends, family and strangers will be peppered with warnings to your toddler to stop what they are doing or else…
- You will get fairly used to lukewarm tea and melted ice cream because a toilet emergency always occurs when a mother is enjoying herself.
- You will learn to ignore like a boss. Everything, from tantrums to meltdowns to threats.
- You will develop the skill to walk silently in every shoe be it a noisy slider or a stiletto, lest you awake the sleeping dragon.
- You will find that absolutely everything can be lifted with your toes.
- You will learn to measure tasks in lengths of videos. I, for example, can shower in the length of two Peppa Pig episodes and can clean the kitchen in five sesame street songs.
- You will discover that it is not entirely safe to lie down for a much needed rest in the room where your kid is playing. Because more often than you like, you will be awaken by an air-borne toy landing on your head.
- It will happen that you will hide items like your phone or a bar of chocolate from your child and then forget the hiding place yourself.
- You will be completely immune to people’s judgy looks when you decide to discipline your kid in the frozen foods aisle in the super market.
- If you have the energy to think about yourself at the end of an average day, you will be very proud if you lost your temper only thrice that day.
- You will find that sitting still, staring into space with a blank mind is a luxury in its own self.
- Materialism will fly right out the door when you use a battered phone everyday but are not interested in buying a new one because you know that eventually it will meet the same fate.
- You will forget how it was to go to the toilet without a little person watching your every move or someone crying right outside the bathroom door to just have a glimpse of your lovely face. I have heard that as soon as your kids gets verbal, this is also where they ask the most life affirming questions.
- You will obviously love your kid and enjoy spending time with them, but you will also eagerly wait for bed time to arrive.
I hope I didn’t scare any new parents or offend any seasoned ones who are blessed with little angels. I am certainly not one of them, even then, there are portions of the day when my daughter is the epitome of good behavior, but alas this perfection doesn’t last too long and more often than I like, I find myself doing breathing exercises and telling myself to calm down. Thankfully, every day comes to an end with a nice, long sleep, preceded by bucket loads of affirmation of our love for each other. All’s well that ends well, isn’t it?