When my belly was full of baby I had so many ideas on the sort of parent I would be. I would be a ‘fun mum’, down on the floor playing, hands dirty from all sorts of toddler activities. I would tell my precious baby I loved him, I would shower him in kisses and make sure he always felt safe and secure. I would breastfeed for as long as it worked for us, I would rare-face my child in his car seat for even longer and I would follow the techniques that made sense to me: baby-led weaning, sugar-free diet, gluten-free until one etc. Well, let me tell you – that crazy woman with the swollen feet and pregnancy-induced addiction to Raro had no idea what the heck she was in for. She thought she knew so much – turns out she couldn’t have been more clueless!
17 months in to this chaotic ride and my picture of perfect parenting has gone up in a puff of smoke and I swear I am surviving day to day. Like some kind of post-apocalyptic world where only the fittest survive, I am here, battling for sanity and sleep. Some days are good days. Some are great. Some are not. Today was not. You see today my little cherub tested my patience more than I thought possible. My darling angel did things that I never imagined he would do. Today, for the very first time, I honestly believe my curly-haired cutie was naughty! Not just ‘curious’, not just ‘testing the boundaries’ – down-right, deep-breaths and count to ten, naughty. And I had no idea what to do.
It seems no matter how much I read on parenting, I’m always one step behind. I’m constantly blindsided by the next step, the next milestone, the next unavoidable advancement in the high-speed chase that is raising a child. And today I realised that I haven’t yet read the chapter on “what to do if your toddler uses his TEETH to repeatedly rip holes in your maxi skirt.” I honestly thought I had months! My baby is, well, just a baby! Do I need to start disciplining him? HOW do you discipline someone who doesn’t string more than two words together? Doesn’t telling your little one you love them a million times a day and showering them with kisses mean that they will never be naughty? Do I need to call Super Nanny? Choose a naughty chair? Buy an egg timer for ‘time outs’? I am so incredibly clueless when it comes to toddler discipline.
I would absolutely love, no, I NEED you to comment below with any ideas, resources, real life stories. My sanity depends on it.