I have been a parent for almost two years now. The first year, or Babyhood, flew by in a haze of learning the impossible, doing the unexpected and dealing with the unmentionable!
The beginning of the second year saw us embark on the journey into Toddlerhood. Our small baby morphed into a walking and (eventually) talking small child. This phase has already brought with it much to learn, and do, and deal with, and I know there is much more to come!
So here are 11 Lessons I Have Learnt from Toddlerhood (so far!), otherwise known as 11 Parenting Mistakes I Have Made in the 12 months!
– It is a good idea to spend an extra two minutes finding the lid for the sippy cup before we go out. This takes much less time than the two hours needed to dry out a drenched leather handbag once we get home. Oh, and if it is not leaking in your bag, you have most probably left that dreaded sippy cup in a restaurant, library, gymnasium or other public building!
– No matter how toddler-proof you think your house and garden are, your toddler will find something to fall down, stick up her nose, fall over or put in her mouth. For goodness sake, I ran a high quality childcare centre for five years, you think I would know better than most how to prevent such catastrophes!
– Though it might seem cute to put your young toddler on one of those automated kiddy car rides which you see at the shopping centre, whatever you do, resist the urge and step away, quickly! You know, the ones where you put in $2 and the child has a ride. Once (and it only takes once) you have introduced your child to the pleasures of this form of entertainment, you will never again pass one without the request for a ride which quickly deteriorates into whinging or a much-dreaded public tantrum if refused. My shopping trips are no longer planned according to the most straightforward, logical sequence of shops I need to visit; they instead involve a tricky plan to avoid Immy seeing those pesky kiddy car rides which lurk around every corner of our local shopping mall.
– Baby wipes are good for much more than sticky fingers, faces and… well you know! I can personally attest to the fact that they do indeed clean orange stamp ink from white leather dining chairs and remove sickly, sweet-smelling watermelon juice (from the day before, hate that sweet smell) from your red leather purse. They also clean unidentified sticky grime from the covers of overdue library books and children’s marker pen from many, many surfaces. All I can say is, thank goodness for baby wipes!
– It might seem like a good idea when you are stuck in traffic with a wailing toddler but never, I repeat NEVER, introduce your toddler to the concept that childrens music is just the touch of a button away whilst in the car. Once you have inserted that Wiggles CD it will never again be removed from the CD player. You will even find yourself alone in the car singing along to “Toot, Toot, Chugga, Chugga, Big Red Car.” You will forget what radio stations actually sound like and you will never again know what songs are in the Top 40!
– The library book that you least like will undoubtedly become your toddler’s favourite. You will be able to recite the words in your sleep after reading it four thousand times a day. Or, you could be like Dad 101, and surreptitiously hide the offending article under the couch cushions!
– Toddlers move too fast to photograph and have no interest in posing for the camera.
– Toddlers state the obvious, continually. Where once you dreamed of them talking, you now realise it is much easier when they don’t. The dialogue of your day becomes;
“Yes, you’ve dropped it.”
“Yes, you’ve picked it up.”
“Yes, you’ve put it down.”
“Yes, that is a good idea.”
…and so it goes, on and on and on!
– Being a toddler is messy business. Learning to feed herself, drink from a cup, play in the sand or water or dirt, playdough, painting, just being a little kid – it’s messy. In my experience, play clothing should be easy to wear when running, jumping and climbing and easy to wash. Today, we have been through four changes of play clothes though the warm weather is a blessing as less clothing required equates to fewer loads of washing!
– Toddlers are into everything, for about 30 seconds anyway! Cries of “Me help,” or “I do it,” abound and a pack of patty pans can often prove more entertaining than an expensive toy!
– Dad’s play rough. They parent differently to Mums. No point trying to change them, just close your eyes and pray he catches her.
So, that is it. My list of Toddlerhood lessons learnt so far.
What lessons has your toddler taught you lately?