Well aren’t the toddler years just everybody’s favourite? Your little bundle of joy becomes an emotional mess, prone to outbursts of rage, torrents of tears and screams of fury over little more than a lost raisin. Or the wrong fork. Or the fact that you won’t allow them to jump up and down on the kitchen table. It really would be quite the most terrible time for all concerned if it wasn’t so darned comical. I like to think the humour element is nature’s gift, so you don’t get tempted to accidentally leave them in a pub, a la David Cameron.
You Know You’re the Mum of a Toddler When…
- You are a master at hiding your own emotions. You manage not to snort with laughter as you kiss tears away and promise to try and blow-dry the chewed and bedraggled decorative Easter chick who was mistaken for a crisp. It didn’t work, obviously.
- You can frequently be found wandering around muttering ‘for fuck’s sake’ under your breath whilst fulfilling yet another tyrannical request for snacks which haven’t been invented yet.
- Every. Single. Word which you read in a bedtime story is interspersed with the question “What’s that?” I’m not joking. EVERY word.
- You are a bag of nerves, on edge, wild-eyed with fear, because your tiny person is like the world’s smallest stuntman, seeking out thrills and danger in places you didn’t previously know were dangerous. They can be surrounded by toys but still find the bottle of barbecue lighter fluid and the bungee cord to play with.
- You are really good at running short distances. Because your toddler is constantly running away from you, just for the hell of it. The wind in their hair, they taste freedom and are off like a shot. My advice is to wear a belt. Maternity trousers have been known to fall down on these short distance sprints. Not that I’ve ever had any personal experience of that…
- When the tantrum is imminent but you need to be somewhere, you know it’s time to break eye contact and speed through the task, whether it’s getting them dressed, buckling them into the car seat or pushchair or some other loathed event in the life of a two year old.
- You are a past-master at sighing. Sighing as your little poppet asks to do painting, then shoves it away once you get all the art gubbins out. Sighing as you fulfil the request for a breadstick, only to discover IT’S THE WRONG FUCKING BREADSTICK, YOU FOOL. Sighing as you open the fridge and hear the merry, welcoming chink of glass and crack the seal on your third bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that week.
- You’re bi-lingual. As in, you speak English and Toddler. You go around proudly telling everyone how amazing your child’s speech is, how wonderful it is that they can express themselves and communicate with others. Until you’re with them in company and you realise that no one else has a bloody clue what they’re on about. Except you.
- Understanding your toddler puts you in line for a lot of love. They know you’ve got them. They know you will stop them from drinking barbecue lighter fluid, or running into the road, or falling off the table. They know that you will blow-dry the plastic chick which they mistook for a crisp, even if it is missing a paper beak and the eye falls off in the process. They know you understand every word they say, which is why they tell you “I luff you mama. Wiff all my heart.”
About Alison McGarragh-Murphy
Alison writes and edits stuff for The Motherload®, and is also a radio producer and broadcast journalist, a mum of two and a wife of one. Since becoming a mother she has (mostly) gladly swapped a busy social life of gigs, pubs, art galleries and museums for dancing in the kitchen, drinking on the sofa, finger painting and hanging out at the park. She talks incessantly about not having slept for four years.
Image credit: Alison McGarragh-Murphy