The agony and ecstasy of parenting toddlers – it’s all about perspective

Posted in Behaviour and Discipline.

The other morning I was rudely awoken by my toddler climbing on me, kissing my face incessantly until I was forced to open my eyes. Groaning, my first thought was to make it stop so I could get back to sleep.

But then I checked myself. Even though I would have relished in another hour of sleep, there are worse things in the world than to be woken up by kisses on the face from a toddler. When you think about it, it’s actually a pretty darn good way to start the day.

It got me thinking: parenting toddlers is tough work but with the hardest parts of the journey come those little rewards, the sweet, (sometimes fleeting) moments when you realise that life with a toddler is kind of magic … and that can be enough to get you through another day.

Here are some other ways toddlers can break and make the day:

Toddler on beach with stick pointing

The naughtiness – followed by the apology

You’re having one of those days where your little person is continually pushing boundaries with you, and none of your tricks to curb the behaviour seem to be working. Just when you feel like throwing in the towel on this whole parenting lark,  your toddler looks up at you with big eyes and says ‘sorry‘. And although you’ve spent months working on ‘sorry’ and you’ve not even been sure he understands the word, you suddenly realise that he gets it. Knowing that your hard work hasn’t been in vain and that you’re creating a decent little human being definitely lifts your spirits.

The supermarket tantrum – that cracks you up

There’s not much worse than a toddler tantrum in public, and in the supermarket, it can be sheer hell. Trying to ignore the screaming and wailing, you avoid the gaze of onlookers and keep pushing your trolley, wishing the ground would open up so you could disappear. And just when you think your red cheeks couldn’t get any hotter, and your toddler’s hysterics any worse, he throws himself on the floor, spreadeagled. Shoppers actually have to step over him. It’s the worst thing ever … but also kind of funny. Despite yourself, you giggle, and the tension dissolves, which helps you deal with that last leg of the journey. You’ve got this, Mama.

Two boys toddler and baby playing with toilet - feature

Toilet training doldrums – and then success

Toilet training can be a thankless, monotonous task, and in the early days it can feel like your life revolves around coaxing out your toddler’s wee and cleaning up all the misses when he didn’t quite make it. You’re stuck in the house waiting for this to work, and you even find yourself thinking about going back to the nappies. And then it happens: that first wee on the potty. You don’t know who is happier – your toddler or you. Either way, it’s enough to cheer you both through the day.

The one-sided chat – become bona fide conversations

It can get a little lonely when it’s just you and your toddler, who’s not quite ready for a two-way conversation. You spend months pointing out objects and encouraging him to repeat things back to you, but it can be a long process. Almost overnight though, your toddler has a leap in the speech department and those broken sentences become decent chunks of conversation. Suddenly the two of you are talking non-stop and you realise all those one-sided chats have been worth it. Just you wait – soon you won’t be able to shut him up.

The day from hell – followed by the sleeping angel

If you’re anything like me, a bad day can have you counting down the hours til bedtime just so you can get a break from toddler mayhem. But once it’s all done and dusted and you check in on your sleeping toddler, the day’s troubles seem to melt away. There is nothing sweeter than the angelic face of a sleeping toddler. There’s probably even a part of you that wants to wake him up for a cuddle (but don’t do that though -that would be insane!). Instead, pat yourself on the back and pour something nice to drink. By the time morning rolls around again, you’ll miss that crazy kid enough to start the day with a smile and do it all over again.


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