I’m writing this from my home, which has come under the regime of a tiny but fierce dictator. Like his North Korean counterpart this dictator is benevolent one moment then positively psychotic the next with violence his latest weapon in his arsenal of tricks that maintain and support his all powerful rule.
In short, we now live with a toddler.
There is a general concensus of ‘WTF’ among my Mother’s Group friends as we all seemed to suddenly wake up one day with a small aggressive human living in our midst. The cute goo-ing babies are gone and in the places are the toddlernators, throwing their tiny weights around like they own the place. There are tantrums, random bursts of anger (for no apparent reason) wilful disobedience, outrageous demands (mainly for bottles or custard) and a slap fest that would not be out of place on a show called “The Real House Toddlers of Canberra”. Yes, it actually is that bad.
I longed for Hugh to grow a bit more so he could ‘do more stuff’. Unfortunately that stuff is counter productive to my sanity. I think we should have known the second he learned the word ‘no’ that things were about to go down hill.
”Hugh, would you like some lunch?”
“Hugh, would you like a drink”
”Hugh, can you please stop doing that for Mummy?”
”Hugh, would you like to learn a word other than ‘no’?”
I am becoming skilled at negotiating with a 20 month old. In these negotiations it’s hard as the person who holds the balance of power is also the person who can only say about 10-15 spontaneous and legible words. The rest are words they’ve repeated after you or unintelligible babble. Not easy to reach a mutually desirable outcome.
”Hugh, what would you like for breakfast this morning? You can have Cereal, fruit, yogurt or toast”
”Tstard” (Custard for those who don’t speak Hugh. Please note this can sound very similar to ‘Daddy’ but is generally said directly to the fridge door rather than at Tim”.
”No, you can’t have custard for breakfast. Would you like toast?”
”Tstard” (Said adamantly in front of the fridge)
”No sweetie, Mummy didn’t say that as an option.” See the negotiating skills. “ You can have yoghurt”
”TSSSSSTTAAAAAAARD” (Said whilst trying to open the fridge door himself. Thankfully this is still outside his capabilies)
”Hugh, Mummy said ‘No’.”
I’m talking real tears, open mouthed sobbing, snot pouring, wild flailing for about 5 minutes. Then…….
”Bottle?” (From Hugh)
”No baby, you had a bottle half an hour ago. You can have cereal?”
”BOTTLE!!!” (Ramping up earlier as we are already pissed off)
”No sweetie. No bottle”
MELTDOWN ROUND 2. Ding ding ding!
As I step over/around the flailing toddler EVERY MORNING I think back to the good old days when he used to be back asleep for 3 hours by 7.30am and life was easier. Sure, we got woken up every 4 – 6 hours for feeding but Mr Talk Back Sassy Pants hadn’t made an appearance and we could brush it off under the umbrella of “he’s just a baby, he doesn’t know what he’s doing”. When he makes deliberate eye contact with you before he does that exact thing that you just clearly and carefully told him not to it’s hard for that “he doesn’t understand” excuse to fly. Oh he understands, he just doesn’t care.
Other things the toddlernator won’t tolerate include:
Holding a parental hand in the car park (“NO”), not standing on his chair at his dinner table (deliberate eye contact all the way), not throwing his food on the floor, being told he can’t smack his parents when he’s angry (he got a smack on the hand ONCE, because he tried to run onto the road. The retribution has been swift), being told he can’t have his dummy the second he leaves childcare, assorted other random things that at this point feel too numerous to mention.
I take comfort that this is just a phase, but I must say as the residents of this small oppressive dictatorship I’m not sure how much longer we can last under such an oppressive regime.
The only advantage we hold is that our over lord can’t make a bottle himself so we still hold some minuscule semblance of control.
God help us all when he can open the fridge.