During Little H’s first year (or Mini H as she was at that time) I wrote several posts – at 3 months, 6 months and a year – about what kept me functioning and sane as a mother. Little H is now an old-and-wise 2 year old toddler. So it felt only fitting to reflect back on our second year together as mother and daughter. It’s been quite a fascinating experience to compare year one with year two. Whilst the first year was akin to some form of wilderness survival, scavenging for whatever we could find to get through the days, the second 366 days has been more like some toddler version of psychological warfare. So let’s dive in and find out what kept me not only functioning but happy!
One: Eyes in the back of my head
You can watch your toddler 95% of the time. But the moment you turn around to put something in a cupboard, that’s when they will dive bomb off the sofa. Most recently Little H managed to fall head first off the sofa when I was half a metre away from her clearing up some milk she’d spilt. Oh and she was slouching in her highchair after I took out her safety harness and crotch post…only to slide out the chair and under the table whilst I was sat right next to her!
Two: Patience of a Saint
Pre-motherhood I would have lost my temper having to wait for someone to lie down on a mat. It’s such a simple ask surely – lay down for 2 minutes so I can remove the thing attached to you that’s full or urine. But no. Apparently that’s the prompt to explore every nook and cranny of your bedroom whilst exclaiming “No, no touch.”. Somehow I find myself taking a breath and waiting…even, within reason, on work days!
Three: A ‘sixth sense’
She waited like this for about 5 mins!
Nothing heightens your senses like motherhood. I now seem to just ‘know’ when a bang is something being knocked over, deliberately thrown or the result of a fall. Rustles and creaks have me creeping from the kitchen to peek into the living room knowing that a cupboard is being opened or a DVD box pulled to bits. Then there is ‘The Silence’ – a little bit is a blessing and then suddenly it’s been just too long and you know something is going down that shouldn’t be…
Four: Stealth skills of a ninja
I can get upstairs without making a sound. I can get into H’s room despite the creaky door and the noisy floorboards outside her door. I can open the box of biscuits and munch a couple without a miniature human suddenly shrieking “Some, some, me some!” at me.
Five: The soft toy army
It used to just be Lamby for bedtime. Then came Lamby and Big Teddy. Now Big Bunny is in there. When sleep takes hold they are all over the face providing comfort and protection. When Little H wakes in the night, I’ve seen her (on the monitor) reach out, snatch one of them and then go to sleep. Those troopers (actually a team of 4 Lambys, 2 Big Teddys and the single Big Bunny) save me getting out of bed in the night more often that I can count! Then there are the daytime lot…
Six: The bottomless pit of snacks
Little H is one of those hungry, hungry toddlers. If she goes an hour without eating when she’s awake then it’s a blummin’ miracle. I tried to do more home made snacks but honestly I don’t have time. So every week piles of puff crisps, vegetable straws, puff corn, biscuits and Bear Paws make their way into the house and are quickly demolished!
Almost every single morning, Little H will start asking for her pear (at home days) or her fruit pot (nursery days) before she’s even got downstairs. She shovels the stuff in. She loves it. Now I know fruit is sugary, but she’ll choose fruit over most other things so if that’s her main vice then I’ll go with it!
Eight: The white nectar
In many ways this is just an extension of the previous two. Unlike some kids, my girl has never gone off milk. She loves the stuff to the extent where sometimes I have to ration her. But I loved milk and drank a lot when I was pregnant so…
Nine: Royal support
The first time it properly engrossed her!
No, the Queen hasn’t been round to babysit or anything. But two Disney princesses going by the names Anna and Elsa have kept Little H amused on more occasions than I can count. We watch ‘Frozen’ at least once a week. We now watch ‘Frozen Fever’ several times almost everyday. They can start to drive me loony…but they keep her quiet for a bit and usually pull her out of a funky mood.
I work for a retailer and every year we have to go out into store to help in the run up to Christmas. Most years I come home with aching knees, a sore back and feeling exhausted. This Christmas I did 2 days back to back. And you know what…I was actually fine. No back ache. No sore knees. No more tired than normal. Because being a mum has given me true stamina because from the moment she’s awake until she goes to sleep (and even during a lot of her nap) I DON’T SIT DOWN! I hadn’t realised how much stamina I had developed. But my goodness mums can really just keep going through anything!
Eleven: Toddler cuddles (or ‘duddles’ as Little H calls them)
One of my favourite pictures of us together!
Baby cuddles are delicious. But you can get baby cuddles all the time with very little effort when you carry them, they need a snooze or are scared at the world before them. Not so with a toddler. They wake up and then they go…never stopping until they have to sleep. When you get a toddler cuddle, it’s such a treat. Sometimes the hugs I get are fleeting; snatched when helping her up from a nappy change or when I emotionally blackmail her by doing a sad face (although she’s cottoned on to that trick!). But sometimes I get a big cuddle where she climbs on me and lays her head on my chest or shoulder. I would stop time for those ones!