(First published on The Contented Calf website on Tuesday 22nd February 2011.)
*Takes a large swig of much-needed wine as I type*
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve now fully entered ‘The Toddler Zone’. And along with walking and talking, the Babe has added tantrums to her new acquired skills. At 18 months old, the ‘Babe’ is not really a baby anymore.
(And as this blog may continue for years to come, I’m going to switch to referring to her by the nickname she was given by Hubby and I while in utero, but that has stuck to this day: BF.)
I was about to say that toddlerdom is quite a rollercoaster ride with lots of tears and laughter. But then I realised that I simply describing parenthood! I spend much of my time swinging from burst with love and joy for BF, and bursting into tears, overwhelmed by it all. I guess the difference is that as a toddler they can press a whole new set of buttons.
The tale I’m about to tell will I’m sure strike accord with all parents of toddlers, and explain why the only course of action this evening was to indulge in a large glass of plonk. The best (worst?) thing about it is that it all happened within the space of 10 minutes.
Let me begin…
*Savours another mouthful of wine*
This evening, when I collected BF from nursery, I’d popped to the supermarket first to pick up a few things and so had parked a short distance away. As I was driving, I didn’t have the pram with me, which meant that we had to make the 75m/300ft journey from the front door of the nursery to the car on foot.
We’re generally not allowed to carry BF too far now as this is met with replies of “walk”.
So we walked.
And…… it was wonderful!!
I was allowed to hold her hand without much protest. We generally walked in the direction that I wanted to go, without numerous diversions to look in every shop window and doorway.
She only stopped once to try and pick up a cigarette butt.
It was all going well. I started to see what walking along would be like in the coming months and years. I was just adoring every moment of walking along holding my daughter’s hand. At that moment I was head over heels in love. I had visions of days out in London, walking along the Thames, strolling along the prom of the seaside town my parents live in.
It was glorious.
Then we got to the car.
We’ve got the Kiddy Guardian Pro car seat. Whilst I love this car seat as it is super safe, easily portable from car to car and will last us until BF is 12 years old, I should have thought more about the type of child BF is before we bought it.
Unlike a traditional 5-point harness, there’s no shoulder straps that you can at least whip over their arms first, before focussing trying to click in the final in-between the legs strap.
Even once I managed to get her to sit in the main seat, could I get the impact shield across her and slotted into place, so I could do up the seat belt?! Could I h*ll!!! She is so strong-willed and strong.
Every time I brought the impact shield across she got her hands and feet behind it, and pushed/kicked it away, screaming. I really really needed three hands instead of two – one to hold her arms out the way, one to hold her legs and the third to slot the shield across.
But of course I didn’t have the third hand. We battled for about 10 minutes, with passers-by probably thinking I was abducting or abusing her, her protests were so loud.
I tried taking breathers, counting down from 10, counting up to 10 from 1, firm words, EVERYTHING. Nothing was working.
When I was just considering how we were actually ever going to get home, the poor wee mite hit her hand as she was flailing her arms all around.
The brief pause in her struggles to exclaim “ow, hand hurt” allowed me to slot the shield in, and do up the seat belt. Despite ‘make better kisses’ for BF’s hand, the whole episode left both of us exhausted and in tears.
As I clicked my own seat belt in, I apologised to BF for the traumatic experience, agreeing that yes it was all very upsetting and mummy was sad too. And off I drove, tears down both our cheeks.
Once home, there were a few more tears before bedtime. But she’s safely tucked up now, and all’s been quiet since I said ‘night night’.
Now, I’m sure that she was just over-tired from a busy day at nursery. And I also know that tantrums are just part and parcel of toddlerdom. So I’m not worried, or complaining or anything. It was just that the sheer speed at which the emotions I was experiencing swung violently from sheer elation, overwhelming love and pride to utter frustration, desperation, stress, upset and exhaustion! I just didn’t see it coming and I felt like I’d been on the ‘Ice Blast‘ at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
Within the space of just 10 minutes my gorgeous daughter had transformed from the charming ‘Little Miss Hyde’ into the terrible ‘Toddler Jekyll’. (And probably I did much the same too.)
But I guess this is just part and parcel of parenting a toddler.
Just time for another purely restorative half-glass of vino I think! ;-)
As ever, with love from our family to yours,