I recently wrote a blog on ‘The stages of pregnancy’ but every parenting stage has its challenges.
And my daughter is only two. Although after yesterday’s two mammoth tantrums I actually questioned if she’d make it to two and a half without self combusting. Or being put up for adoption.
From birth to two details my personal observations and experiences of parenting my 2 year old, here’s the rundown:
Your whole life has been over taken by a force 10 cyclone, you laugh and cry and feel utterly insanely in love yet in the middle of the night also yearn for uninterrupted sleep, like the good old days. What were they? Will they ever exist again? *Google – what age do chikdren have lie ins?* You immediately feel guilty for not adopting the “they won’t be small forever” mantra and frantically start Googling “I’m beyond knackered, why did I ever have children? Have I got postnatal depression?”. No, you’ve just experienced the biggest life changer you’re ever going to face. You are now in possession of a new person for 18 years….18 years! Told you labour was the easy part.
So what have the past two years taught me?
– Limit your visitors in the early days back home from hospital…….
…….especially your child free friends who look all slim glamorous and carefree. Who get sleep. They’re just a reminder of your former carefree selfish life.
– Don’t waste your time on a birthing plan. That baby just needs to hurry the hell out and I don’t care what song is playing in the background or what filters are on the light bulbs.
– Have a well packed cushion awaiting you after labour. Or a rubber ring. No explanation needed.
– Weekly weigh-ins at the Health Visitors who are all a bit useless as they can’t really help with anything specific. But it’s a good reason to wash your hair and get your slap on.
– No sleep. No explanation required. Just stock up on YSL Touche Eclait. Or if you’re like me, a five year old Rimmel concealer.
– Boob vs bottle pressure. Do what the hell you want! Don’t be worried about what everyone’s telling you, do what is best for you , ultimately that is best for baby. Personally, I owe a lot to Aptamil for keeping me sane.
– Grobag dilemmas – what frigging tog do I need for when? Do I put a vest and a baby gro on? I don’t want them to overheat. Oh shit, what if they get pneumonia.
– Top and tail wiping. Do people actually do this? I tried it in the early days I used a whole bag of cotton wool pads and had a child whose arse resembled a lamb.
– The illnesses. Oh my god, I have that child with snot, which I swore I would never have.
– Kids always get ill on your already-part time days of working. Godsakes I’m trying to be taken seriously here in my 22.5 hours at the office. Working/Terrible Mum guilt hits hard.
– The daily wrestles of ‘the transfer’ from car seat to bed or sit in the car looking like a kerb crawler for a few minutes peace.
– Tantrums. Boy oh boy, that force 10 cyclone I mentioned? Yeah more than that.
– Take no notice of those eyes boaring holes into the back of your neck when you’re child’s doing the forward facing snow angel on the filthy supermarket floor. Only its not angelic, the little shit is also stamping toes down, slapping hands and has been taken over by the devil. Cue red faces, snot pouring out and screaming in an octave that really does threaten glass to break. And that’s just me.
– The ‘I suddenly decide I want to cuddle you before bed’ for twenty minutes tactics.
– Let them snooze on your bed once, have a night time wrestle every day for the next week to get them back in to their own bed. Give them an inch…
– No matter how much you prepare, you will never be prepared.
– Always have bribes in your bag. And wet wipes, definitely always have them.
– Google. Just don’t. Google Doctor knows about the same amount on healthcare as Jeremy Hunt. Diagnosis: Dead.
– On your first family holiday abroad, take a home from home. Just because you love going to the local Spanish cafe for a cheese toast doesn’t mean child does. Don’t let hunger strikes ruin your holiday. Pack tried and tested snacks.
Remember each stage is challenging, but amazing. You’re helping to mould their personalities through their every day learning. Already after 28 months (translate: 2 years, 4 months. Or just two) I look back at times I took for granted and willed her to do the next thing. Missing out on the small milestones. Each one is invaluable. Remember just being excited that they….rolled.
– Always be prepared with a witty comeback for “Whens the next one?”
– Calpol becomes your best friend.
– Early on, if they have a comforter buy in bulk and get them used to the fact they get washed daily. We keep Jojo in business with fluffy bunny comforters. Only now my loving child wont accept ‘new ones’ and wants to carry around those chewed up brown bad breath stained ones that makes us look like peasant parents….
……Often the battered old falling apart one. That’s in the washing machine. At bedtime.
– Thank god for nursery. I get sanity at work and she gets to play and learn by people far more patient than me.
– Don’t forget your partner, or your friends. Still be you. You know that favourite of mine Sarah ‘Mummy to…’ Evans name change or status “Full time mummy”. Yeah, that.
– Have regular dates. Though this does sometimes lead to the clichéd romantic after nookie. It’s a toss up (excuse the pun)
– If you’re child’s happy that’s all that matters. Even if that is giving them beans for dinner, four times in a week.
– No matter how shit your day has been feel lucky. Some people would kill for sleepless nights and vomit running down their backs. Not everyone’s path to parenthood is an easy one.
– Injections. Guarantee you cry more than them. Then spend the next 24 hrs monitoring them for every side effect they could get.
– Kids learn to pick their noses. And eat it.
– The days when they’re being naughty and you threaten “Do you want to go home?”. They say yes. Fuck.
– Nothing’s spontaneous. And if it is, always makes sure you’ve got those wet wipes, without those, you’re nothing. (Tip: They also double up as an effective make up wipe..if you’ve managed to splash a bit of make up on).
– Don’t volunteer up the nursery rhyme CD in the car until they request it. Or the character T-Shirts.
And remember, you’re not a proper mother until you’ve scraped out a turd from a two year olds knickers. With your bare hands.
Ironically my best piece of advice is, don’t take any advice. Nobody has, or wants, a text book baby. Just enjoy yours!
And prosecco, always have (at least) a bottle in the fridge.