Why Babies Aren’t Born as Toddlers

Aside from the logistical issues with sending a 15kg toddler through the birthing canal, over the last couple of weeks, it has come to my attention why we fall in love with a perfect, innocent, immobile little human before they enter toddlerhood. I remember this time, the time of a tiny sleeping infant, as a time when the only decisions facing me were about breastfeeding or bottlefeeding? Dummy or no dummy? Nap times? Cot bumpers? What brand of nappies to use and whether or not to go back to work straight away?

A little while ago I was sitting in a coffee shop watching a lady with what appeared to be a nine or ten month old little one who was dominating the conversation and throwing things across the table and floor. The mother, ever graciously, continued to bend down and pick them up and I thought, that will never be me.  One thing I’ve certainly learned is never say never in your parenting philosophy. If you get desperate enough, never no longer exists.

My newborn grew and sat up, and then crawled, and then walked, and then broke the tv cabinet, and pulled all of the internet cables out of the wall, and started to use the toilet as some sort of basketball hoop, and all of a sudden I realised I can’t just sit back and let all this happen; I need to make decisions about what sort of human I want to present to the world. Conscious parenting is what I’m talking about. I’ve read two books about parenting a toddler in the last little while; One was written by someone who has clearly forgotten the times where she was digging her makeup out of the toilet bowl and the other feels like it was written by someone so frustrated and angry they ought to be running a military rather than a home.

After watching Ja’mie Private School Girl last night, I looked over at my poor husband with a face that could only be described as sheer terror. I’d been laughing the whole episode and hadn’t even taken in to consideration that our little girl will one day be a teenage girl, that’s all he’d been thinking about.  Thank goodness we’ve got time to grow as parents before being handed a teenage girl. Our conversation then turned to, how do we stop this? I don’t know the answer, and the best thing I can come up with is to just love with boundaries. I always felt like I could talk to my mum or dad about stuff going on at school, and I hope that we have the same relationship with our kids. As a teacher I’ve seen, quite obviously, the kids whose parents think that it’s the responsibility of the school to cultivate a good human out of their rat-bag; On the other side of this however are kids whose parents are firm but fair.

It’s such a hard line to draw and people are so generous with their opinions, especially via looks at the cash register, which is where we had our first supermarket tantrum the other day.

In all of this, with a smile on my face, sometimes through clenched teeth, this is so fun. As I sit here and write this Indi has felt so moved by the music that sitting and clapping is no longer enough and she’s up on her feet dancing  around the room to Lana Del Ray. I guess I’ll join her.

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