Anyone who has raised a toddler or is currently raising a toddler knows that it is no mean task. Toddlers are spirited and sprightly little beings who are prone to irrational bouts that involve screaming like a banshee or lying face down on the ground and kicking up a storm for no apparent reason. They have their own unique brand of logic which is mostly unfathomable and something I haven’t been able to decode with any degree of success. As much as I would like to repose my faith in “toddler logic” (why toddlers do what they do?) and get to the bottom of all their weirdness, I am afraid I am not qualified to do so and might never be!
However, I am raising a toddler and here are tell tale signs of the same-
1. You have a piggy on your back
You thought your kiddo would want to walk around now that he/she has actually learnt how to walk. Well, not really. Toddlers can be clingy and will demand to be carried around when you least expect it. Be prepared to piggy back the little monster while you are running errands or are out with friends. On the bright side, carrying a toddler that weighs 12-13 kilos implies you are burning calories quickly (sic!).
2. Your make-up collection is frequently raided
You know you are raising a toddler when she has your lipstick smeared all over her face on a regular basis. Infact, much to my dismay my little monster is convinced that lipstick is the perfect tool to be used for refining her art skills (sic!). Needless to say I have more than a couple of bed spreads that are ruined and my prized mac blush is no longer fit for use ! So, don’t be surprised if your make up is regularly strewn across the floor or hidden behind your sofa cushions – you are after all raising a toddler and this is perfectly normal toddler behaviour.
3. Meal times are messy, messy, messy
I am convinced that toddlers have a do-it-yourself affliction that manifests itself in its worst form at the dining table. They HAVE to eat all their food by themselves. They also INSIST on using the cutlery. And ofcourse they are NOT to be touched while attempting to eat anything! Needless to say they make a big mess of EVERYTHING. You will find food everywhere (and I mean everywhere!) and god help you if your toddler loves noodles or spaghetti !
4. Bedtime is a battlefield
Putting your toddler to sleep is like going to battle. It is a daily conflict between parent and child that requires prolonged negotiation and also involves use of evolved tactics such as bribery, threats, appeasement and the like. Caution – using the same tactic(s) can be foolhardy because toddlers are quick to smell the rat. I try to use the nursery rhymes card to soothe my hyperactive daughter who finds it extremely difficult to unwind especially when she is exhausted. Ever so often I fall asleep while she continues to babble. What can I say – I want sleep !
5. Your food and drink is not exclusive anymore
You can’t remember the last time you ate your meal in peace? Well then you are definitely raising a toddler. It is uncanny how my daughter always wants my food and my drink even if she will not have her own ! She does this on a regular basis to my mom whom she is with all day while I am at work. It is quite a sight to see my daughter gulp down her glass of Tang or Juice within seconds only to run to her Grandma and demand hers ! Poor granny just can’t seem to enjoy a glass of juice without the little devil wanting it for herself.
6. You cannot seem to visit the bathroom alone
The bathroom used to be my sanctuary. It is no more. Now I need to conjure creative ways to make a dash to the loo without the little brat following in tandem. At other times I just resign and let the cute monster watch me pee. My privacy is an illusion. It is gone…poof..poof…
7. Your house is never clean
I am sure by now you get the picture – it is a dirty one. Raising a toddler implies that you have put a little being incharge of ensuring that your house always looks like it has been hit by a tornado or has been ransacked. Any and all attempts to clean up are noble but futile. Cleanliness is relative. I am now used to toys, biscuit crumbs, pampers, papers and books being strewn on the floor. Occassionaly we all pretend the floor is clean. More often than not we trip over stuff on the “clean floor” and then actually start cleaning up only to be reminded that the tyrant is creating a mess elsewhere.
8. You master the art of screaming and learning when to turn a deaf ear to screams
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself yelling or shouting all the time. Toddlers can tend to ignore polite conversation and often respond only when yelled at which is exhausting. “Don’t drop that on the floor“, “Leave the phone alone“, “C’mon wear your clothes, NOW“, “Pick that up!” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Toddlers are also highly expressive and often like to express themselves by creating a ruckus. As a parent you learn to ignore screams that indicate the onset of a tantrum knowing that it will pass if ignored. Nevermind the shocked onlooker at a store or on the street who considers you an heartless and irresponsible parent. You know better !
9. You cannot talk on the phone at home
Toddlers love phones. And they go absolutely crazy about smart phones. They believe it is their moral right to play with your phone and they MUST not be disturbed when doing so. In such a situation, trying to have a decent phone conversation at home is practically impossible. First, I need to hide my phone. Second, I need to find innovative ways of receiving a call without my toddler finding out. Third, I need to keep the conversation as brief as possible. As might be expected, my non parent friends have given up on me and people at work are perplexed as to why I do not answer calls but return calls !
10. You become a master storyteller
I read that Toddlers indulge in imaginative play. Well, I for one, have become a master storyteller. I can conjure all sorts of nonsense at a moments notice. Pretend play is my speciality – “Lets pretend we are in a plane“, “Close your eyes, you are now a tiger“, “Sssshhh don’t shout the wicked witch will wake up“. I also tell myself that “This too shall pass”, Amen !