The highs and lows of life with a toddler

Monday, 17 August 2015

I have a toddler. In case you didn't realise. A TODDLER. Five minutes ago she was a baby, laying on the floor, wriggling around, being fairly hassle-free. Now she is much taller and constantly climbing on the furniture.

That is life, though, and time flies, and soon, my girl will be two. Two!

You might have a quick flick through my blog or my Instagram feed and think that my life is filled with crafts and baking and exploring and singing and what have you. It kind of is, but it also kind of isn't.

I have come to a place of peace with this: that the people whose blogs I idolise follow (you know the ones. The super-mother ones. The ones with the beautiful photography of the beautiful children in their beautiful homes making amazing crafts and being just-the-right-amount-of-quirky types). And yes, that sounds a bit snarky and yes, I do roll my eyes a little bit when I see another mason-jar-and-striped-straw post. But actually, I really love those blogs. I love getting inspiration. I love nosing into other peoples' lives. And I like it when I see people being creative and sharing beautiful moments with the world.

I do not for one minute believe that their lives are the sum of their Pinterest pages. The things I write about on this blog - the crafts and the recipes and the ideas and stuff - are usually one small moment in one quite long day.

For example, take today.

We got up early this morning. We took a nice walk in the buggy to the library. We had a chat along the way about the things we could see. We spent a long time looking at books, snuggled on the sofa in the library. We chose some to come home with. We came home, Jellybean had a sleep, and then we made banana bread. Jellybean did a drawing which she told me was 'a gingerbread man with hat on'. Then we (and I kid you not) enjoyed our lovely book based on Wheels on the Bus but set in Guatemala with its accompanying CD. We have played multiple games of hide and seek.

Do you hate me? I kind of do.

The thing is, you don't get to see this: I scraped my hair back this morning even though it is desperate for a wash. Jellybean got angry at another kid in the library for picking up a book she had previously discarded and I had to intervene before smacking started happening. While I made banana bread, Jellybean came down with a fit of rage due to hunger, boredom, and sudden hatred of the sound of the cake mixer, and I had to desperately give her things (food, colouring pencils, my phone) in order to keep her occupied so I could JUST FINISH IT. I shoved everything in the sink afterwards because I couldn't face the washing up. And Jellybean demanded that flipping Wheels on the Bus CD be played again and again and again and again.

'The Papis on the bus all bang their drums ... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgh'

And when Chris came home from work I practically pushed the pair of them out of the door to go to my in-laws house 'Oh you need to use their printer? Why don't you take her with you, that will be nice!' whilst secretly thinking I just want to have a shower, pluck my eyebrows, and secretly judge the pushy parents on Child Genius IN PEACE!

That is life with a toddler.

Pictured: the one millionth ant we had to stop and admire this morning.

It is utterly, grindingly exhausting. You never stop, ever. The eyes in the back of my head haven't quite developed properly yet so I'm constantly checking her in case she's gotten into the cupboards or is halfway up the stairs without me realising. Wherever she goes, she leaves a trail of wreckage, toys and books and wetwipes and crayons, and I expect her to help me clean those up, which sometimes takes a LONG time to get done (and involves a lot of foot stamping).

It's also beautiful. Life at its finest. She is fascinated by everything; the entire world is interesting to her, from a double decker bus to a tiny little ant on the floor. She greets new and exciting things with a gasp and an 'Oh, WOW!'. Her enthusiasm is completely genuine. She learns new words, it seems, every couple of minutes, and listening to her gathering her thoughts about something and attempting to form sentences is quite amazing.

I get to watch her conquer things she couldn't previously do (even if they are things like learning to unscrew the lid to my mascara). I get to see her express herself creatively. I get to witness her freedom that comes from being unafraid of judgement, this utter excitement and joy about the world and her place in it. She dances, she sings, she runs, she jumps. She gives life 100% of her energy and she does it without any fear.

That is inspiring. That is a privilege to be a part of.

And although it is not always Pinterest perfect, sometimes, for fleeting moments, it nearly is. At times, it is pure joy. And I wouldn't change any of it.

So you will continue to see crafts and book reviews and lots of photographs of us doing fun things on my blog because her enthusiasm for life is infecting me, and because I couldn't blog about all the times we sit on the sofa and watch Bing while I gulp coffee, because that would be boring ;)

Now to go and do the washing up. Or maybe one more episode of Child Genius first ...

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