Lately toddler P has been a nightmare, she’s pushed and pushed and as much as I’ve pushed back, it’s been draining. She’s tested the boundaries. We started potty training a couple of months ago and she flew, within a few days she’d more or less cracked it, ok she had the odd accident but that’s to be expected, she struggled a bit when out and about or at the childminders but only because she was too engrossed in what was going on. Then suddenly we regressed…big style, she didn’t even attempt sometimes and just decided to p&s all over my house, in my car or wherever whenever she chose. However, there was a pattern, she didn’t do this for anyone else, for them she just had genuine accidents but for me she was a walking toilet trip.
It was all for attention, the not eating her meals and asking to be fed when she’s been more than capable for using a spoon or fork for almost a year. She’s wanted to be carried everywhere when she can run, jump, gallop and climb all by herself. She’s wanted to sleep in my bed, cried when I’ve gone to work and generally been clingy. It’s got stressful and testing, especially as I’m on my own, sometimes all I’ve wanted is the title of one of our favourite bedtime books…five minutes peace. A two year old doesn’t understand that though.
In reality, all I’ve needed to do is breathe and listen to what she wants…attention and then give her it positively. It’s easier said than done though isn’t it, works been a busy stressful time and although I’ve spent the last year or so practising mindfulness, self care and not giving it the headspace, I’m only human, not perfect and have sometimes taken the stress home and been distracted whilst with little madam P. She’s sensed it and fed off it. I’ve known this but have plodded on, striving to get to half term and the break. When in reality I should’ve taken a step back earlier.
Half term has done us the world of good, we’ve had a short break away with friends and then just been us. We’ve not necessarily done or gone anywhere special. We’ve just been us. We’ve swung on the swings, baked flapjacks, played play dough and danced in the kitchen. We’ve gone to our infamous Tiddly Tots Dance class taken trips to the park and walks in the woods. Some bad weather combined snotty noses, coughs and colds prevented some of my best laid plans of days out here, there and everywhere. But they weren’t needed.
We’ve not had an accident this week, 100% successful toilet trips since returning from our break away. We’ve not been quite as clingy and we’ve had fun. What really comes to mind is that, it’s really not about where we go or what we do, it’s about me investing quality time with toddler P. It doesn’t have to be all day everyday, it was about giving her some decent, being in the room with her time. Sometimes her attention span has meant we’ve only done an activity for 10-20minutes before she’s ran off telling me she doesn’t want to draw or make dinosaur out of play dough anymore, but because I’ve been fully immersed in her for those 20mins she’s felt better. It didn’t need to be a full day out to a play farm or zoo, she just needs to know she has me there when she needs me. She just needs me to take the time to sit on the floor with her, making a jigsaw and singing “bump the elephant” with her for awhile, without my phone in hand, without a tv programme on for me to watch, just me with her for a bit.
That’s quality time, it’s time together, invested in each other.