Then, just as you have got into a routine and started thinking that you are getting this parenting thing kind of right, you wake up one morning and find your helpless little baby has been abducted and replaced with a totally new species called a "toddler".
So when does this happen? It isn't when you baby first starts to toddle, as by and large they still need you for everything, espescially as Chiquitito walked at 9 months of age. Somewhere around their second birthday is usually when it happens......and be warned......your life will change beyond all recognition.
How do you know that you are living with a fully fledged toddler?
This is only part 1 - to be continued when I can use the laptop for more than 5 minutes without being bombarded by sticky fingers, eager to play with this fascinating yet out of bounds "toy".
- Leaving the house to go anywhere suddenly becomes difficult. No longer can you gather baby up and take him with you. "Come and get your shoes on please?" you ask sweetly. "Noooooo" screams Chiquitito. And, having fought the battle of the shoes, you turn to pick up your bag (that's another point) and when you turn back Chiquitito has removed his shoes and socks and is dancing around the floor like a mini raver. Think you can leave the house with him tucked under one arm? Forget it. Just as you close the front door behind you, and before you realise every neighbour is outside their house watching, he will launch into a blood curdling scream.
- Turning over in bed in the middle of the night and letting out a flurry of expletives as you roll on top of a small metal snow plough, a sharp piece of Duplo, or the pet Furby (or even all three) you foolishly bought before realising it had no off switch. Screaming out loud in a mixture of surprise and pain will not only wake Papicito up, but most probably Chiquitito, who will then want to cry loudly at 3am, and prompt next door's toddler to join in with the cacophony of wails!
- Making an unexpected breakfast stop at a cafe, minus your usual paraphernalia of toddler distractions, you will rummage in your hand bag and find nothing more useful than a plastic frog and a half eaten Oreo. Don't be surprised when your toddler finds it hilarious to drop the frog on the floor and the passing waitress screams, drops her tray and glares at you for being an irresponsible mother.
- Handbags take on a whole different persona as a mother to a toddler. I ditched the baby bag a long while back. Chiquitito is not yet potty trained but hates being changed away from home, so short trips usually just involve us and my handbag, that I grabbed whilst simultaneously trying to keep the shoes on his feet, and forgot to check before we left home. So what does my bag contain (on a good day)? Wet wipes, tissues, his cup filled with fresh water, a new packet of biscuits for emergencies, 2 of his favourite books, a couple of smallish toys, my cell phone, purse and ID. On a bad day? I will be out with friends, and a screaming toddler, and realise I have no drink, no food, no wipes, no toys......and a toddler who is in a meltdown of thirst, hunger and boredom!
- Meal times can easily descend into a battle ground. The foods that have been eaten for months will not longer be acceptable. Don't expect something that was eagerly eaten at the last meal to now be acceptable. Toddler food tastes change with the wind. And when offering food, don't be helpful to the little person by cutting into smaller easy to pick up and eat pieces. While he used to be happy to be given two halves of a banana, one for each hand. Until the day he decided I'd offered him the banana from hell.....broken and therefore inedible. Toddler food needs to be intact. At least today.Tomorrow ..... who knows!