The other day I was wandering around the local garden centre with toddler P, nosing at their annual Christmas display, chatting over brunch and coffee with a good friend. Then little missy decided she needed a wee wee. So we navigated the tight cubicle with a pushchair and then she started…. Her strong wilful nature refusing to put her tights on properly and get back into said chair. We were blocking the way for other customers to use the sinks and hand dryers, it was a small area and I felt that frustration all parents of toddlers have felt. The eyes looking. Only these ladies eyes weren’t looking on badly, they were looking on knowingly and joked with toddler P about the noisy hand dryer and the Christmas decorations in the shop. They helped and gave me a friendly smile that said, “she’s just two, we’ve been there.” I then got her calmly into the chair and we skipped off to look at more overpriced baubles and ovens of glitter.
I say it all the time, being a mum is hard, being a single mum is hard and there’s nothing a strong minded toddler to test your patience. Recently, at dancing, little P was being two, my friend’s teenage daughter asked what was wrong and replied, “she’s just being two” and I have kept reminding myself of this moment recently. Because it’s true. She is just two. It’s easy to forget that, especially when you’re child is clever like toddler P, she’s advanced in a lot of ways but not in others and her determination means she wants run before she can walk making many daily tasks a battle.
Yesterday at the end of a party we had the infamous coat and shoes battle and a fellow mum played race with P for who was going to be ready first. It helped, it distracted her and it made it fun and most importantly, it made it happen. This is what’s key, remembering that she is just two and the firm “no do as you’re told” won’t always work and that life has to be turned into a game or she needs to be given a job to distract, encourage and motivate her to choose to do the right thing.
It’s also important to remember that these difficult moments are fleeting in the grand scheme of things. They are small and not as often as you feel. It can seem that life is a constant battle but for each toddler tantrum, there’s a million other better moments like when she asks if she can “help you mummy” or when she chases the moon in the back of the car on the way home. When she lays out her tea cups for Bing Bunny, Flop and Zoola, offering me tea and cake. It’s also important to remember that often these battles do not start out as a battle, nearly everyday when it’s time to get dressed she just wants to play, she just wants to be two and hide her little bare bottom behind the curtain for me to “find me mummy” or bounce on the bed singing “5 cheeky monkeys.” She just wants to be too and she just wants to “pway a bit.” And I need to take a step back, breathe and make life fun and a game.
She’s just two and I have to handle highs and lows as though she is just two.