Toddlers are fascinating little things. A mixture between a baby and a miniature teenager, with the best and worst parts of your own personalities popping out from time to time.
For those parents who have yet to reach the toddler stage, here are a 10 things you can expect when you own a toddler:
1. Your house to go from tidy to shit hole within five minutes.
You can spend an hour solidly tidying the downstairs of your house, putting each of the plastic talking things in the toy box, scraping food remnants from your carpets, alphabeticising your collection of ‘That’s not my…’ books and putting puzzle pieces back in their boxes. But within five minutes of your little one waking up / returning from nursery it will be shit hole central once again. It’s like painting the Severn Bridge. IT NEVER BLOODY ENDS!!
2. You will never eat a whole meal in the presence of your toddler.
Really you have three choices when eating, a) accept the fact that your little one is going to repeatedly climb on you and open his mouth next to your dinner like a hungry sparrow, pleading ‘daddy, Joshy want little bit’ b) wait to eat until he goes to bed c) hide in the toilet whilst eating
3. You are unlikely to have a piss without a spectator.
Either because you can’t trust him to not trash the house whilst you are siphoning the python, or just because he barges his way in with you so he can sit on the toilet bin and make helpful comments like ‘daddy have it wee wee’ or ‘daddy have it willy’ the days of catching up on Facebook whilst sitting in the toilet are gone.
4. You will get repeated requests for snacks.
‘Daddy, oat bar please’, ‘fruit pouch please, Daddy’, ‘Daddy – CHEESE!!’. Unless you want your toddler to morph into a miniature sumo wrestler you’re probably best to find a healthy balance between ‘yes’ and ‘no’. And deal with the associated fallout!
5. You will get used to watching toddler TV.
Admittedly some of it is quite entertaining. I enjoy Paw Patrol and am more excited than I should be about the new series! Ben & Holly and Peppa Pig have a fair bit of humour aimed at adults, although I’ve probably seen each episode at least 10 times. But if your little one stumbles upon the unmitigated bollocks that is In the Night Garden or the frankly disturbing half-devil, half-cow staring machine that is Dora then you’re in for a rough ride. I guess you could potentially turn it off, but…
6. You will encounter intermittent stenches of excrement.
Although baby poo is generally unpleasant it’s quite possible not to smell it unless you hold your baby’s arse up to within a few inches of your face. Toddler poo is different. It’s somewhere between the stench of adult poo and cow poo and can be detected from around 100 metres. It comes at you like a cloud of nerve gas.
You won’t be able to see. You won’t be able to breathe. You will begin to see a bright light coming towards you. You will have flashbacks of key moments from your life.
7. You will encounter tantrums. Over seemingly nothing.
Arms and legs with flail wildly, accompanied by a variety of screaming noises. You may see fist banging against the ground. Tongues will curl up at the edges and tears will stream. Potentially over the fact that you haven’t allowed them to go out in the rain in just a nappy and Thomas pyjamas. Or because you haven’t given them a 4th mini Babybel. Or because you’ve gone for a wee.
8. Your little one will consistently wake up far too early and won’t go back to sleep regardless of how much milk you pour down his throat.
Do you enjoy 5.30am? No, me neither. But your little one will love it and decide that it really must be time to scream the house down until you take them downstairs. But it’s not enough for you to just to lay on the sofa under a blanket shivering and weeping while your little one plays. Oh no. You must interact and play with them too!
9. You will need to learn to translate toddler talk into real English.
Gone are the days of having a baby which just made cute noises. Toddlers say things and expect you to know what they mean. Sometimes it’s like being on holiday in Eastern Europe. You can hear words that sound a bit like something familiar but can’t quite place what they are. So lots of repeating, pointing and guesswork.
10. You will need to rescue your toddler from a range of perilous situations completely of their own making.
You will find them hanging from windowsills. You will see them perched precariously on the back of the sofa. You will find them trapped in cupboards. You will see them upside down in their dinosaur car with their legs hanging out of the window. You will catch them randomly stabbing at your plug sockets with cutlery. Or with a pair of scissors. Or swinging from your chandelier. Or scaling your roof. Or operating a chainsaw whilst standing on their head.
Toddlers are strange little things and certainly keep you on your toes. Fortunately they are also a lot of fun and incredibly cute. Good luck!!