Andrea Mara

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The light at the end of the (toddler) tunnel

Down you come, bump, bump, bump, step by step, laughing hysterically each time you crash into me. Then back up the stairs to do it again. I make a slight move towards leaving my half-way-down-step, and am told “No mummy! You stay!” Then down you come again, stair by stair. Crash. Burst of laughter. I don’t really want to move. The dishes can wait. This is fleeting perfection. You won’t always find it so funny to bump down the stairs and you won’t always want to spend every waking (and sometimes sleeping) moment with me.

The cot is gone, the high-chair gone too. We’re moving quickly through toddler-hood, one milestone at a time. But you still need me to sit by your bed until you fall asleep at night. You still put your dinner, carrot by carrot, into your drink. You carry fistfuls of soothers; armed with back-up in case any component of your drug of choice is confiscated. You argue with your reflection in the mirror – “no, my turn!” and with the sheep in your book “not sheep’s apple, my apple!”. You’re afraid of your shadow – not figuratively, but literally; running down the road, looking behind, not sure what who this shady character is.

Occasionally it amazes me that I’m a grown-up and yet spend so much of my time chatting to someone who has no idea of what’s going on in the world (long may that last)

You’re unpredictable. You like a good cry – to let it all out. You like being in my arms – a lot. You don’t like anyone else to hand you your soother when it drops on the ground – “No, mummy do it!”. Sometimes it’s all going wrong for you and none of us know why or how to fix it. The tears flow; frustration – the words are not yet formed.

So we’re not taking a flight anytime soon. We’re not staying in any hotels, And meals out will continue to be at lunchtime only; in restaurants that serve food quickly and don’t mind a mess or a cry. Lie-ins are not yet part of our weekend routine. A full night’s sleep is a new and much celebrated achievement – and not one we’re taking for granted. I know you can whisk it away in a flash, on a whim.

And that’s all just fine. I’ve stopped looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe it’s because you’re my last baby, or maybe it’s because you’re very good company, or maybe it’s the hugs that are so tight it feels like you’re trying to get back inside. Maybe it’s the “I lubb you mummy”. Maybe it’s just a moment on the stairs. But I’m pretty happy in the tunnel.

Office Mum: Toddler

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For a more chaotic description of life with a two-year-old – one who needs his toast cut the right way, his banana closed again when opened in error, and wants to wear his food-covered t-shirt to bed, you might like to read this article that I wrote for eumom:  Tears, Tempers and Tantrums: here come the terrible twos 

 

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