When my first baby took his first step I was so proud you would think he was the first child ever to start walking. It didn’t take me long to realize his mobility brought a whole host of problems with it.
He could now get to the light socket and stick his fingers in it. He could also pick up the unsuspecting cat and give it a big squeeze making the poor cat’s eyes bulge in terror. He started picking up things on the floor and putting them in his mouth which was full of teeth when I tried to get it out again. I found no matter how many times I cleaned the floor he could always find something.
It wasn’t long after the walking started that the screaming started when he didn’t get his own way sending me into a state of perpetual panic. That is also about when he started biting, kicking and having tantrums. I did think about putting a warning sign on my front gate at one stage, you know, BEWARE Of THE TODDLER, bites, kicks and screams.
My husband, who was at work all day and greeted like the conquering hero when he walked in the door at night with our toddler running, arms open wide crying ‘Daddy, daddy, daddy’, seemed to think I was over reacting.
During this time food was thrown on the floor, at the wall and even at me and his favourite was “NO!”. I could not believe this was the precious little darling I had eagerly looked forward to for nine months and proudly brought home from the hospital to show off to all my friends and family. I began to believe that someone had crept into the house while we slept and swapped my little darling for this little demon.
Potty training was wonderful. When I succeeded in getting him to use the potty if I wasn’t really quick he would empty it on the floor. When I wasn’t mopping up poop I was sweeping the floor to make sure there was nothing to go in his mouth.
It was about this time I learned to distract him from his rampage through the house by whipping out a new toy form when I had hidden it and shrieking “Look what mummy found”. From there my distraction theory grew to books and chocolate and other forms of downright bribery.
I also developed the theory that if I played boisterous games like chasing him crying, “Mummy’s going to tickle you” while he ran around in delight he would go to bed exhausted after he had dinner and I could relax and spend some quality time with my partner.
Of course I was wrong. While my toddler bounced and jumped and fought sleep until he finally collapsed in a heap I was looking for match sticks to prop my eyelids up.
Once he was asleep I could scoop him up and tuck him into his cot. That was when I would gaze down at his innocent little face as he slept soundly and fall in love with my darling toddler all over again before falling into bed exhausted.