Toddlers are funny critters. Full of energy, crazy, psychotic, cute, intense, magical and very unreasonable. However you describe your toddler I’m sure you will agree; life with toddlers is NEVER dull! Here’s 12 ways my life with toddlers is different to how I ever imagined life would be.
1) Toileting alone is a thing of the past. I just have to look like I might want to go to the toilet and my big toddler (Ms 3) shouts “I’m going to come watch”. Creepy! Same with showering. And if we are in a public toilet she has to ask “Are you doing your own poo mummy?” But only in public.
2) My house is like a mini nudist colony. Given the choice toddlers would much prefer to run around with no clothes on…no matter where they happen to be! I can be heard yelling out “You need undies on your bum if you’re going outside” at least 10 times a day.
3) And when they do get dressed things get really interesting. The other day I took a green fairy, wearing gumboots, to the shops with me. And Mr 16 months likes to get around with his sister’s undies and skirts on his head. I will not stifle their unique sense of style!
4) Cleaning up after a meal now includes the floor and anything else within a 5 mile radius. Once you have self feeding toddlers meal times become MESSY. Whether from someone throwing food they don’t want to eat or just the fact that little fingers have trouble with cutlery, the clean up often takes longer than the meal. Yesterday we found a corn cob under the table – we hadn’t eaten corn for a week!
5) We talk about body parts a LOT. And we’re toilet training so obviously the body parts relevant to that get mentioned more than any other! I’ve said the words vulva and penis more in the last year than in the entire 30 years prior. Normally it’s along the lines of “you really need to take off those wet undies so you don’t get a rash on your vulva” or “no you can’t pee into the toilet while standing up – you need a penis for that!”
6) Wee: It goes EVERYWHERE! We’ve been giving Mr 16 months plenty of nappy free time lately to help prevent nappy rash. Therefore he has slipped over in his own wee about 3 times in the last week. He also climbed onto (monkey gene!) the dishwasher and wee’d in it. And beside my bed. His big sister has wee’d on either her daddy or I at least 500 times in the same period. Wee – you need to get used to it!
We've now put a child lock on our dishwasher so no-one can wee in it anymore.
7) The toddler stage is where you start to wonder just where the monkey gene comes from. Mr 16 months climbs on anything he sees. In the last week he has been found on top of the kitchen table several times, climbing the TV cabinet, climbing on coffee tables and climbing onto, and then trying to rock back and forth on, the dining room chairs. Pretty sure it comes from my partner’s side of the family!
8) Pointing out every single different mode of transport: “Hey, it’s train! How does a train go?”; “look at that car going really fast”; “It’s an “Ellie-copter!!” Every single mode of transport is pointed out and discussed in depth.
9) Ditto for animals: “Hey, did you see the horsey? What noise does a horsey make?”; “What animals can you see living in those trees?”; “Yep that’s 2 dogs in the back of that car”
10) Crazy becomes normal. The other day I took Ms 3 and a fully clothed Chimpy shopping with me. Chimpy sat in the trolley and behaved himself, although Ms 3 did pick him up and rock him to sleep at one stage. She walked up the aisle telling him “Put your head on my shoulder Chimpy and go to sleep”. He also ate some muffin and looked after mummy’s telephone.
This is Chimpy sitting on the table waiting for dinner. He likes to come shopping and is very well behaved.
11) Uni students have got nothing on toddlers. Think you learn a lot at uni? Try spending the day with a toddler and check out all the learning they do – just by living! Every single thing is a learning experience – colours, numbers, textures, safety, cause and effect, how to get along with others…pretty much all toddlers do is learn (in between climbing on tables and weeing in dishwashers).
12) Once you have toddlers you become very aware that you actually suck at parenting. With a baby it’s all good. If there are problems it can be put down to “That’s just normal for a baby”. Once you have a toddler though you have had enough influence on them by now that everything is a result of parenting. Unless they are good – that is the result of great grandparents. In the last week I have had a small toddler climb up (monkey!!) and grab a sharp knife out of the dish drying rack (just as my parents arrived at the house…great timing dude!) and not long after they left he managed to get into my bathroom and smash a perfume bottle. Ms 3 has learned to swear really well…In many ways I’m quite proud, but I get a lot of “You need to teach her better” from my parents.