Never a dull moment with a toddler in house

Personal story of Anouk, mom of 3. Toddlers may just be the most fun people to be around. Actually, not may be, but definitely. There’s never a dull moment when you’re with a toddler. There is always amazement, an unexpected joke, an interesting question or you may find yourself saying something along the lines of “Don’t lick the bottom of your shoes”. Even when you’re sighing for the umpteenth time because things take such an excruciatingly long time, you’ve lost your patience or simply have to ask yourself why? Or as you watch in amazement how the mini person discovers a new possibility.

Being a toddler is intense

Yet the toddler phase seems to be the most complicated phase of all. Which leads me to wonder if this really is a phase? Days filled with toddler drama, tantrums and the endless ‘no, no, no’s’ are no exception and can be very frustrating. Why won’t you do what I ask? Why don’t I get any response at all? Yesterday, broccoli was your favourite vegetable. And what do you mean that the sandwich is cut the wrong way?

During the first few years, The Wonder Weeks book really helped me in situations when I found myself at a total loss. A crying and cranky baby? Oh, a developmental leap. That makes sense. But it stops after around a year and a half. Your child’s behaviour may suddenly be difficult to understand, but it’s completely natural. It’s simply not something that’s described anywhere. Development takes place at a rapid pace and by the time your toddler has turned two, he or she seems to suddenly have become a real miniature person. But is that really true?

Childhood is not a race

I’m sometimes surprised at how much is expected from these little people. When did childhood become a race? And one without any clear directional signs along the course. After all, it doesn’t stop after 10 leaps and 76 weeks. Although no new leaps are described after leap 10, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, that on the way to becoming a toddler and preschooler, your little one does not also go through periods in which nothing seems to be easy, in which anger, frustration and sadness are all likely to surface. And that this adorable little toddler who is trying to understand the world is not able to get things right the first time.

Childhood is not a race to see how quickly you can count, recognise colours, stand on one leg or understand why you need to sit on a chair in a circle. It is only a small moment in life and it is important to develop at the rate that is right for you. And as I write these words, I am also fully aware that I, too, forget this sometimes.



"Yes, I am absolutely convinced that toddlers are the most fun and fascinating people around."

Can it be done my/his way?

Obviously, I also sometimes compare my toddler to his peers. And I often ask myself why it’s not possible to certain things with him or to explain to him what I see other toddlers doing. Social activities and games seem to be very challenging for him. And almost every dinner starts with, “Can I have a sandwich?”.

And I, too, can feel insecure when the people in my life ask certain questions. It is a constant internal battle, which my toddler also probably experiences, that involves wondering why things are the way they are. Why does this bother me as a parent? Why do I blame myself as a mother? That my toddler does things at his own pace and in his own way? It’s never boring at least. Because when I manage to shake off those concerns and focus on that interesting little person running around, my heart explodes with love.

Driven up the wall and back

Of course, there are moments almost every day when my patience is really pushed to the limit, but afterwards, I can’t help but think about how much I love him. He may drive me up the wall sometimes, but who cares! Or I hear myself saying something to him, a warning yelled from the kitchen or responding emotionally. “Don’t lick the bottom of your brother’s shoes.” “The ball needs to stay in the garden.” “Bad idea, my friend.” I often get a mirror held up to my face by a toddler who cries out, “NOW!” Or literally repeats something I say often. “Don’t do that or it’ll break.” “Hey, love.” “I have a good idea.”

Me, too, love. I also have a good idea. That you can go right ahead and just be yourself. Make those leaps when it’s right for you. And go ahead and express your anger. Play whatever way feels best for you instead of how you ‘should’ do it. Show your disappointment and try out your crazy ideas, even if your mum sometimes thinks, “What the…?”. After all, there’s never a dull moment.

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