“The Terrible 2’s actually begin in your child’s second year of life, so after their 1st birthday. It’s all downhill from there…”
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids.
I count my blessings that we were able to have them, that they arrived safely into the world and they’ve turned out (almost) perfect (ahem).
That said, nothing can prepare you for how much hard work they are. Especially when they hit the so called, ‘terrible 2’s”.
Now, I learnt very very quickly that the ‘terrible 2’s’ as they are known, do not begin once your chubby little cherub has had their second birthday, they start in their second year of life, so once they have stuffed that first birthday cake in their chops…that’s it.
It’s on like donkey kong.
They are champions of mental torture, masters of manipulation and take no prisoners. They still have those chubby cheeks, big doe eyes and little fingers and toes of a newborn, but they have quickly developed the brain which resembles that of a North Korean dictator (“do as I say mother or I will drop the bomb“).
My 15 month old did exactly that for the first time this week, and in epic style.
(Actually, now I come to think of it, so did my 5 year old…and my 7 year old. I can’t tell you that they ‘grow out of it’ because I don’t think they do, you just learn to find solace in simple things to make yourself feel better, like having a glass of wine with your weetabix at breakfast time. Technically wine is just grape juice and therefore part of your ‘5 a day’, or is it ‘7 a day’ now?? God knows, I’m lucky if I manage to eat 7 things in a day!)
The tantrums come at the most awkward times too, when you’re on the phone, when you’re speaking to other parents whose children are positively angelic, gliding around with halos sparkling above their heads, when you’re on the loo mid-wee or when you’re at the shops.
Ben this week decided to it while I was at my most vulnerable…I was without the pushchair.
That battle-ram come chariot is the answer to all toddler meltdowns – he makes a mere hint of a squeal and I’m on him like a ninja – KAPOW! In the pushchair you go you naughty little dictator. I’ll show you who’s in charge here.
Dignity in tact.
Mummy 1 – angry little baby dictator 0. Smug.
Never underestimate the power of the pushchair.
I thought that now my little cherub is toddling like a drunkard, I would let him walk from the school car park to the school field to fetch my eldest from football training. It’s a 2 minute walk for adult legs, or a sprinting 5 year old…20 minutes for a set of chunky baby legs. However, we were in no rush, it was a lovely day, the sun was shining, I was in a good mood (for a change, probably thanks to my breakfast wine) and I felt like I had this mum stuff all under control so left the pushchair firmly in the boot and let him toddle.
The 20 minute waddle to the field was fine, very uneventful and full of lovely people cooing at my chunky monkey saying, ‘Goodness me! Hasn’t he grown!’ (Why do babies and children have such a nasty habit of doing that?!) and ‘oh look, isn’t he sweet!’.
I smile back, appreciative of their lovely words and proud of my little man behaving himself so well. I totally know what I’m doing and how this parenting malarkey works now with number 3…
I let him totter about, being all cute and exploring this magical world of screaming children, concrete and germs and all is going fine. Then football finishes and we have to leave the field to go home. I usher my little one in the direction of the car park and as fast as I can neck my breakfast wine…BOOM! He drops the bomb.
“You see mother, I told you I would…and I did”.
Baby dictator 1 – mummy 1.
He kicks me, slaps, scratches, thrashes about, head-butts and screams with all his might and then pulls his trump card. (All children have this ability but some seem to harness their power better than others – all 3 of mine managed to excell at this skill)
Somehow he manages to turn himself into a jelly like substance so i can’t hold onto him anymore. It doesn’t matter how you try and hold him, before you can even gather yourself, he’s gone again and you’re only holding onto your little monster by the strap of his nappy.
My 7 year old comes out from football with his 4 bags, 3 jumpers, 2 water bottles and a giraffe. Ok, no giraffe. You got me there, but he did have a lot of stuff.
Another perk of the pushchair is that you can throw all this stuff into it and push it back to your car or home without struggling. Because I’d decided to brave it and leave the pushchair in the car I was now in possession of 4 bags, 3 jumpers, 2 water bottles, a 5 year old, a 7 year old and a thrashing, squealing jelly baby.
I gather myself as much as I can with the writhing jelly baby dictator in my arms whilst still saying ‘goodbye!’ and ‘see you tomorrow, have a lovely evening’ to friends and other mums through a gritted teeth smile, and make my way to the car park.
My 2 minute walk back to the car is now taking considerably longer and I resemble a packhorse in a sauna. I’m a sweaty, flustered mess and I just want to get back to the safely of the car where I can restrain my demonic toddler in his car seat.
He continues to scream, hit and thrash all the way back to the car (as I attempt to wave to my sons teacher who looks at me with a lovely sympathetic smile, but which at that time feels like she is saying, “see, 3 children was never a good idea was it love. See you on Jeremy Kyle…”)
I get to the car and force the Tasmanian devil child into his car seat and shut his door. I vow to never leave my pushchair in the car again…even when my boys are 16 I’ll still have it nearby to shove them in it when I’ve caught them trying to get into a pub underage.
The tantrum lasts the whole journey home and in total took 25 minutes to conclude.
The moral of the story….I don’t have one. But never underestimate a toddler, or how useful a pushchair is…or to forget to have wine for breakfast.
“Of course I can put this helmet on by myself you stupid woman. Look at me, I look perfect!”