It is my belief that Toddler-hood should come with a public health warning. It raises your stress levels to dangerously high peaks and can leave you physically and mentally drained, thus a danger to anyone who may throw you either a disgusted look or pity look in public, as your toddler goes into rigid ironing board mode, whilst screaming so hard they turn purple as you simply try to get them back into the buggy.
I say this, because we have now hit, full on Terrible Two's with J2. And despite J2 being baby number 2, this is all new to me. I obviously lucked out like I could never imagine with J1, because (despite his disabilities), J1 never really went through 'Paddy Power Phase'. Although J1 could not do the physical battles with Mummy, he could have been an uncontent shopper / restaurant baby, but he never was and I now realise that was grossly under appreciated by me. In fact, I used to be the smug one in the Cafe, sitting with the happy, angelic child who was happy just sitting and taking in the world going by with a snack and cup of juice (or ruddy great hot chocolate with whipped cream on top if we are honest...) whilst harassed, hot and bothered mums used to leave hurriedly with a screaming tot in tow.
I am not saying that J2 is like that all of the time, of course not. On occasion he is one of the well behaved children in a buggy. But these particular 'toddler era' days are quite rare. Luckily he tends to be a lot better behaved for other people than for me, but I think this is common of most children. I had the opposite with J1, unless I was leaving him with my parents he would create merry hell, so at least I do not have that same separation anxiety with No.2. He is in fact more than happy to wave me off goodbye if he has toys and attention going on.
However, it is all part of Motherhood, or actually Parenthood, as my Husband does get to see the problems that occur on a daily basis at the weekend and with all other 'difficult phases' ie. from struggling to breastfeed to not being able to keep your eyes open past 8pm because you are awake every hour attempting to feed, or your baby crying when s/he has to start going to a child minder or day nursery when maternity leave runs out, somehow you get through it (or so I am assuming, I am still amidst the throngs of 'Toddlerhood' but am hoping this is a safe guess).
By my goodness, it is tough. Especially with J2. This boy is the epitome of stubborn. It is like the gene pool yanked out the DNA strand of my stubbornness with my husbands strand of spontaneous and it mutated into J2. That said, he does make for kid that knows his mind, he understands when to be helpful and when to stand his ground and that I am glad to see in any child of mine. I should have perhaps given 'Nanny' some warning of this however, when she decided to take him to the Park this week.
I got a [rather amusing] text from her saying that they were having a lovely time at the Park until 'Thomas' age 3 arrived. Then the 'Summers' competitive streak was unleashed in thy child and anything 'Thomas' attempted to get to he was gazumped by J2. J2 thought that this was brilliant. 'Thomas' did not and in the end, just to give the poor kid a break mum exited the offending area with the promise of feeding the 'Ducks' (they are actually Seagulls that I am referring too, but at the moment all flying objects in the sky are 'Ducks').
I wasn't sure if I should be worried, that perhaps J2 had terrorised poor 'Thomas' but mum assured me that 'Thomas' quite liked the chasing around part and then I felt quite proud. Proud that my little 'Terrible Two' could interact with another child at such a young age. Again, this is all new to me as J1 did not interact at all well with any children until he went to school.
It never fails to amaze me how 'chalk and cheese' my two children are, but I will say that with J2 being quite so 'spunky' it has forced J1 to be a bit more so too, which I do think is a good thing. J1 now does have to raise his voice to call and ask for what he wants, but equally he has had to learn that he can not have his own way all the time.
Toddler-hood is a massive learning period for the child. Like a sponge they are soaking up so many different things every second of every day, and right now I feel like I am too.