My Dear Friend, Mrs B-R,
Sometime ago you asked me to remind you of something. You said, 'Make me remember, make me remember!'
So, here goes.
Remember remember, no not the fifth of November (although I will because I was waiting to go down to theatre to deliver J1 and could hear but not see all the fireworks going off...) but .... the blood, sweat and tears of... looking after a toddler!
Yes, Dear Mrs B-R, you are broody, just as your own little cherubs have hit that (well the youngest) glorious age of 3, when it all seems to get just that little bit easier. Yes, you have once again come to that 3 year itch and are thinking about scratching it. So when my visit with my own little red-headed fire-starter still didn't put you off (he was being VERY good, not a normal occurrence to be honest) you said, you must remind me how hard it is.
So, for your benefit, or for anyone who has the '3 year itch' that occurs with the cycle of children (I think it tends to be 3 years or 5 years, when they have gone to nursery or school) here is my brutal version of the reality of toddler-hood (yes the female mind has a habit of blocking all of this out when one gets broody, like the pain of the birth) :
1. Unless you are lucky, prepare yourself for at least three years of NO sleep. Or worse than NO sleep, broken sleep. Waiting for bottles to warm at 3am seem to take forever, or getting them to latch on in the wee hours can make you want to scream because all you want to do is snug your head into that lovely warm squishy pillow. Or if Iike me you tolerated that part well because, you were prepared for it, the tolerance lessens when two years later you are still getting up to top up cups and change soaking nappies, beds etc.
2. Also remember when going to the bathroom was accompanied by a little person trying to climb into the toilet? Whilst pulling out the toilet brush and flicking the water everywhere, running away with the toilet roll (NO my holder does NOT attach to the wall), pulling out all of the toiletries, even when you think you have found a cupboard they can not get into, which results in everything being put up loose on any available high surface thus creating :
3. Bombsite, your house, all the time. Remember when J2 came round and systematically destroyed every room? The pot pourri came off the side all over the floor, the remote controls became a battle ground (and I am pretty sure he did something drastic to the SKY), mango was transferred from bowl to the lovely rug... the wooden box got sat on and broken (oh no, sorry that was my husband not child...)
4. Carseats, Prams / Buggies, Highchairs, Plastic bowls and cutlery, sippy cups (non spill, yeah right they find a way) have to be taken even on half hour visits to see people or just generally when you go anywhere, and then you normally end up spending more time getting ready to go out than at the actual location because of :
5. Toddler tantrums - although these do still attack at the 3 year old stage, they generally have calmed down a little and don't happen everytime you attempt to go out in public (supermarket, coffee shop, in fact anywhere enclosed where you can practically be marched out by the venomous stares of all other patrons, daggers, stabbing pain in back, whilst dropping all equipment mentioned in point number 4...stuttering 'Ohhh does someone need a little sleep?')
6. Personal Hygiene, do not expect to have any for at least 2 years, you are lucky to get a 30 second shower let alone apply deodorant, perfume, body lotion, shave your legs (well shave anything actually), wash your hair or apply make up (or pick out anything that matches clothes wise) which moves us nicely onto ...
7. All clothes will look like screwed up dish rags, for the whole family, because you no longer have the opportunity to iron, too dangerous with toddler attached to your leg (probably screaming because you dare to have taken attention off of them for one solitary second)
8. Remember all those lovely soggy, unidentifiable objects you were forced to eat because your toddler lovingly brought them to you to feed you? Yep, you'll have to do that all - over - again
9. Oven food or cereal it's all you will have time for, I'm sure you'll go back to loving it. Some of it's lovely, honest...
10. What you are wearing now will be what you are wearing for many years because you will not get over the feeling that the baby needs something more than you because they grow so quickly (although luckily for me my hubby usually over- rules this and buys it for me... never a complaint from me because then it's a gift and it would be rude to not accept a gift!)
So, Dear Mrs B-R, I hope that this little reminder has served it's purpose and remember you ASKED, no practically BEGGED me to do it. Also it'll make my hubby and anyone with a current toddler laugh, unless they have one of the (whispers) 'angel types'. You and I don't get those types (J2 and Little A, made of the same cloth!), whoever dished out characters in children must have looked at us and said 'they are strong enough for a challenge'.
Now, for this information to really take effect you must not do the following things :
1. Think back to how a new baby smells and the fact that they sleep for about 16 hours a day until they are 3 months
2. Picture what all the little baby grows, newborn vests and booties looked like hanging out on the line
3. How a baby moving in your tummy feels and how nice it is getting lots of extra attention for 9 months
4. How in the evening when you are giving your kids a cuddle goodnight they snuggle in and look at you and their eyes say 'I am Safe'
5. And definitely do not go and look at your children sleeping soundly and beautifully in their beds... I said don't do it... you went and did it didn't you, then I can't help you, that'll win every time...
I think I may have stamped on the point of this blog post with the last 5 items? Oh well, you go through it all again and then you will be able to provide me with blog fodder, when my little man has turned into grown up (3+) child. Why don't I have another? Oh no no, I am still in the midst of 1-10 thank you very much, no more for me!
And just one more thing, for anyone who thinks I may have been complaining about life with a toddler please read 'Just for the Record'
Lynsey, The Mother Duck