The boy is not yet two, so in my mind, cannot officially enter the terrible twos. He doesn’t care for this lack of decorum and has jumped right in, two feet kicking and a roaring tantrum thrown in for good measure. We are not amused. Toddlerdom has officially kicked in, and we’re getting it in stereo: he’s learning everything new about the world around him, and while some of it is lovely and charming and fun, we’re learning very quickly that LIFE IS HARD WHEN YOU’RE ALMOST TWO.
It is tempting to look at the clock and wonder if realising that it is happy hour somewhere means it’s okay to open the wine at this hour. Damn you toddlerdom.
In the early days, I spent so much time willing him to grow up. Not in a “oh come on, I’m bored of this phase” way (though in the days of Leaps, there was definitely some of that going on), more an excitement to see him do the next thing. There was a definite pressure felt for him to hit the developmental targets – I’d birthed a tiny titch, who had a metabolism I would kill for, meaning he remained a titch for far longer than he should have. In recent conversation with the lovely Suzy, we realised that at 7 weeks old, E was still lighter than both her kids were at birth – that to me is absolutely insane. Those days are a fog of “Oh crap am I doing this right?” and sleep deprivation, mixed with the feeling of “You know what? I could stay here forever with him asleep on my chest”.
The tiny titch got bigger. He was stubborn about the head lifting, and the leg locking, from an early stage – this guy meant business and he was making sure we knew all about it. He was my little limpet, impossible to leave down for months on end, our only saviour was the stretchy Moby wrap which was where he spent most of his days. He grunted and shouted his way into rolling over, then crawling, creeping, walking.
I’ve now got a tiny hurricane on my hands who it’s hard to believe was once the tiny titch too small for “tiny baby” clothes. He’s a bit of a shortarse, but I’m not exactly a supermodel in stature so I’m not expecting him to be heading up any basketball teams. He makes his opinions known in the same way he did when he was tiny, except with much more force and volume. Everything is a battle unless he gets his way.
Don’t get me wrong. He’s a wonderful, funny, sweet little boy the majority of the time, but when he turns into Evil Toddler with non stop tantrum powers, I start to think about what the Maternity Hospital’s return policy is (disappointingly crap). He doesn’t know what he wants, but he knows he wants it now. Food that he loved yesterday is flung at the wall today. He shouts for Peppa Pig, then roars until Paw Patrol is turned on.
And bedtime. There aren’t enough Xanax in the world to get through bedtime in a calm manner. It’s better on days when he hasn’t napped, admittedly, which leads me to believe that we may be at the stage of eliminating his nap time. Another step into being a little boy instead of my baby. On days when he doesn’t nap, he’s exhausted and grouchy by about 6pm, willing to set off on a tantrum for any little reason, and is generally happy to head to bed around 7/7.30, having spent some time with Mama and Dada, with a story and a bottle. On days where he does, even for only 40 minutes, it could take anything up to three hours to get him to give in to sleep. We aren’t allowed to leave the room – hell, we’re not allowed leave the bed. While it is a big enough bed so that we can comfortably lie there, I’m aware it’s a dodgy precedent we’ve set, as he’s become quite attached to the co-sleeping element of it all.
This is where we are right now. I am working on the presumption that it does get better, and putting my fingers in my ears when people mention the “terrible threes, effing fours, etc” because THIS IS A PHASE PEOPLE. It has to be. Civilisation wouldn’t have lasted as long if they were all like this for years on end.
Am I being unrealistic? Does this go away, or is there a magic trick to it all? Let me know your tips for dealing with the terrible toddlerdom in the comments – they will be MUCH appreciated!