Life with a toddler boy is hectic. This is not to say that life with a toddler girl is not hectic, but from what I have observed in the 3 point something years that I have been a Mum, there is a flightiness with boys, a restlessness, a total unwillingness to sit still and colour or craft, that does not seem to be there with such force in girls. DO NOT LYNCH ME MUMS OF GIRLS, I know girls are just as challenging. I just think they have a longer attention span than boys at this age. I may be a clear mile off the mark with my observations – they are merely observations. I do not claim to speak The Law.
But certainly my life with a toddler boy is full on. And if you too have a just-turned-3-year-old of the male variety, your day may also go something like this.
Wake at 6.30am because your child is sitting on your head/jumping on your stomach, stage whispering ‘can we watch a video on your phone Mummy’ whilst poking you in the eye with a miniature Thomas the Tank Engine.
Stagger out of bed. Spend 10 minutes chasing cackling child around the house trying to wrestle them into clothing.
Dish out Weetabix.
Substitute Weetabix for Ready Brek.
Substitute Ready Brek for Rice Crispies.
Make tea and toast.
Put tea and toast down as child announces ‘I need a wee.’
Turn on TV and line up an episode of Chuggington. 2 minutes into Chuggington switch to Peppa Pig after tearful request from child.
Run for the bathroom, shower, get dressed, throw makeup haphazardly at face, despair at hair, rejoin child.
Tip entire contents of all toy-boxes in the house onto floor. Accompany child as they play with each toy for 3 minutes.
Tantrum. You don’t know why.
Realise it is 10am and child needs exercising.
Throw on layers, waterproofs, wellies and head to the park.
Spend an hour marvelling at your lack of fitness as you chase child around park. Child will not break a sweat.
Lift child into and out of every single swing in the playground.
Pile back into the car and head home for lunch.
Lunch rejected as DISGUSTING. Pass child bowl of Rice Crispies.
Child finds a slightly deranged looking toy cat and in the space of 2 minutes falls madly in love with it, naming it ‘Donkey Cat.’ For the next 30 minutes, all conversations with child are conducted via Donkey Cat. ‘Do you want a biscuit Blake?’ ‘Donkey Cat thinks that Blake does want a biscuit.’
Realise you have nothing to offer child for tea. Bundle yourself, child and Donkey Cat into the car and head for the nearest supermarket.
Chase child and Donkey Cat around supermarket. Get back to car and realise that you have still not purchased anything for child’s tea. Chase child and Donkey Cat around supermarket again.
Sling provisions into car and realise you may keel over without an injection of caffeine. Head to cafe.
Order tea for self and ice cream for child. Help child with ice cream and then sit back and breathe as they head for the small play area at the back of the cafe.
Leap up as child races towards you exhibiting their best about-to-poo face, shrieking I NEED THE LOO!!!
Dash for loo. Engaged. Ask if child can hold. Child squats. Run into Disabled Toilet.
Emerge in relief that disaster was just avoided.
Child announces to entire cafe ‘Donkey Cat thinks that Blake did do a very, VERY big poo.’
Accompany child as they play with all toys for 3 mins each again.
Sneak off at available opportunities to prepare tea.
Dish up tea.
Hand over the Rice Crispies.
Announce it is bath time.
Announce it is time to get out of the bath.
Offer child choice of pyjamas.
Read books. Con child into going upstairs to bed by suggesting you might be the winner of a race to get upstairs first.
Child demands cucumber.
Child eats cucumber in bed.
Smile fondly at child, and bid goodnight.
Recently, in between the running and jumping and eating of Rice Crispies, Blake has taking to doing what he has christened ‘Having a chill.’ And this rather lovely little thing involves him pottering up to me and snuggling in next to me, or clambering onto my lap and curling into me, and then sitting with me quite quietly and happily, for anything from 2 to 15 minutes.
These small moments of calm are beyond lovely to me. When Blake was really little I panicked a lot about all the things I should be doing to encourage his development and stimulate his mind. Any hint of ‘having a chill’ would have been met with me pointing out shapes and colours in the room, counting things, pointing our objects and naming then loudly, all with a slightly fevered expression on my face.
But now I am happy to just let these moments be, because it seems to me that there is a real value in doing a little bit of nothing with your child, in just sitting contentedly cuddled up, knowing that all they need from you is the reassurance of your presence and the comfort of your closeness.
These moments are a tonic in the frantic, bustling, and wonderful-for-their-madness days of parenting a three year old. Because they are a moment of connection between me and the child I adore, a reassurance to both of us of the value we place in each other, and a big fat bear hug to the soul that even Donkey Cat is disregarded for for a brief interlude.
dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazednmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused