I remember when I couldn?t wait to be an adult. I would make the rules; eat when I want (& what I wanted), dress how I choose, come and go as I pleased and basically do exactly what I wanted to do all of the time. And while my twenties did sort of live up to this expectation in many ways, once my first child turned two the tide turned. And in a big way!
As any mum of a toddler knows, you?re not really in charge of anything anymore. They are. And although I bravely fought this reality, I finally had no choice but to give in to the demands of my new boss.
It?s a lot easier to control sleeping when it comes to babies and a crib. They can?t just get out and walk around, however, when little ones move into a big kid bed it?s a whole different story. When toddlers wake, so do mums. When they refuse to nap, mums don?t rest either. And bedtime. When our sweet growing toddlers decide they will not go to sleep, well they don?t. I?ve spent hours going back and forth at bedtime; reading just one more story, singing one more song, tucking in and turning the lights off only to see their smiling faces looking at me as I exhaustedly settle down on the sofa. No mum, it?s not your time yet.
Gone are the days of cuddling up on a cold, dreary day and watching a scary movie or a romantic one to help me dream away the day. Now my toddler makes those decisions. With a little one around, there are a lot of television shows, movies and even songs that become taboo. I?m not really sure how many more times I can watch Frozen but what choice do I have.
My mum served dinner and we ate. It didn?t matter if I didn?t like it or God forbid wasn?t in the ?mood? for it, I ate. I?m not so strong or maybe my tolerance for crying isn?t as good as my parent?s was. Toddlers have words and have discovered how to use them ? often to get their way. This couldn?t be truer than at meal time. If I serve cereal, they?ll inevitably want oatmeal. PB and J for lunch, um no, not today mum. Sometimes even if I ask what they want once I serve it they?ve changed their mind.
Mums often yearn for time to chat with other mums or hang out with old friends. These opportunities can be rare but when they occur my toddler decides just how long they?ll last. It could be ten minutes or two hours but when a toddler decides they?ve had enough well?..it?s time to go. I?ve waited hours for them to settle to have a quick chat on the telephone but as soon as I pick up the phone all hell breaks loose and I?m hanging up. Oh well!
Yes, from my supposedly dominant dog to my sweet cat, my toddler will pull tails, fold ears back and even put make-up on our pets. In fact, I came home from the market to find our dog dressed up as Elmo for Halloween, his face painted red and wearing my husband?s red T-shirt. The pets don?t even try to fight it.
What makes this all possible is that my toddler, just like so many other toddlers, is completely and utterly fearless. Threats, coercions, bribes – none of it means a thing. They just continue on as my little tyrant ruling the house until?..well I don?t know until when, but I?ll keep you posted.