Cuddly, curious and oh-so cute, but did someone say tantrum?
They’re pretty much the most adorable things you’ll ever meet. However, any toddler will also test your patience, nerves and inner strength to the limit. So, if you’re going to survive, you need a Toddler Insurance Plan (TIP).
That “alone time” now comes at a high price…
If you ever need a moment to yourself, do not even think about sitting down, starting a chore or going to the loo.
Instead you’ll – and with pleasure – hand your child your most valuable and delicate possession to use as a toy, ask them to fetch you something (bearing in mind distance travelled = more time alone) or set up their own Netflix account and show them how to use the remote. One more episode of Bing can’t hurt…
TIP: Present littlest with a plate of teeny-weeny diced dried fruit or raisins. Delicious, nutritious and takes absolutely ages to pick up when your motor skills are still developing – and picking them up is good practice.
You’re more relaxed about the truth than you thought…
If there’s one thing you know now that you didn’t before, it’s that honesty is definitely not always the best policy. The beloved but now undeniably disgusting toy “has gone to visit his friend” (in the bin), you have no idea where the dummy is (behind the sofa) and, of course, there’s no reason why your child wouldn’t win every round of hide-and-seek because she’s a genius and there was no way you could spot her standing in front of you with her hands over her face.
Still, you won’t feel too bad about your creative approach to the truth because your toddler basically wrecked your house, covered your clothes in sticky hand prints and tells strangers about how pudgy your stomach is, so telling him that multi-vit will actually give him superpowers barely feels like stretching the truth at all.
It’s not really lying/cheating/stealing if it’s for their own good, is it? And you will literally go insane if you have to explain why they can’t stick straws up their nose.
Toddlers do not get safety…
…safety is for suckers. The glaringly obvious truth that climbing on that/jumping off this is not going to end well means nothing to your toddler when explained in regular language. Which means that you have to get creative when you’re trying to stop yours doing anything dangerous, because yelling is met with, at best, a blank look and, TBH, they’ll probably just do it anyway.
This is why your home looks like a prison – barred gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, locked cupboards and all. It’s not quite the look you were going for when you decorated the house, nor is it one you ever see in the glossy interiors mags.
TIP: Let’s be honest, “safety” is a bit dull so turn your urges to maintain their wellbeing into a game. Who can see the green man first?
A tasty nutritious home-cooked meal means nothing to them…
Eating is also for suckers. Unless it’s chocolate obvs. Or fro-yo, which you call “ice cream” because, as we’ve already established, the truth is not your concern. In a similar vein, broccoli is “trees” and carrots allow children to see in the dark.
TIP: Get creative with food presentation. Turn their morning porridge into a smiley face using blueberries for eyes, cut up bananas for hair… you get it!
You have a sneaking admiration for their trantrums
Tantrums are both fascinating and frustrating. On the one hand, you’re actually quite proud that they stick up for what they believe in with such conviction (something you could learn from when you’re in full people-pleasing mode). But on the other you could really not do with this in the middle of a busy road or supermarkets.
This is why, although you hate to admit it, but straps are a parent’s best friend – on the buggy, on the car seat, on the swing… You used to think you’d be a chilled-out parent who never used a toddler harness, but now at least you know they’re safe and not throwing themselves on the ground and you can mindfully observe the moment, quietly accepting the shrieking and the guilt.
TIP: You’re not proud, but a treat can really turn that frown upside down. Pack something fruity and chewy in your bag (the longer it takes to eat, the more time you buy yourself) and remember that dried bananas are a good source of potassium, which helps maintain their muscles (making them stronger for the next tantrum…)
There is literally no chance of you avoiding that cold
Toddlers are just so… sicky. And it’s especially fun is when they pass everything on to you. Which they will do, given that you are absolutely exhausted and your immune system is in a worse state than your living room after a rainy day playdate. But it’s a good thing that young children are exposed to a range of germs as it’s believed to help their immune system develop.
TIP: Protect your immune system and add to your energy reserves with the right diet containing immune-boosting superfoods and if not, take a handy supplement.
You used to think having a routine made you organised and on top of things
But that was before your toddler took it way too far. Eat, sleep, mess, repeat. Or, if you prefer, Bing, In the Night Garden, Thomas the Tank Engine, repeat, repeat, repeat.
If you thought hearing the same old story from an ageing relative was completely mind-numbing then you clearly haven’t been in the company of a toddler. That one book, every night. That song, five times a day and with the actions…
Which will not be enough to keep them sleeping past 6am anyway because this is toddler time and they don’t care about your rules.
TIP: When coffee’s just not working any more after a pre-dawn start, and you just can’t face another round of Row Row Row Your Boat with actions, keep snacks (yours, that is) energy-packed. Resist the chocolate (which also means you don’t have to attempt an SAS-style operation getting it out of the cupboard without being spotted). Honestly, you will feel better if you choose something like almonds instead; they’re high in calcium, potassium, vitamin E and fibre, and have plenty of calories to keep you going.
And finally, the one thing all parents of toddlers know is that if you can deal with all this – and more – then you can deal with anything. Demanding bosses, tax returns and delayed trains are nothing compared to a two-year-old. High five!
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