Daily life with a toddler has it’s up and downs and constant battles. It’s so different from a new born, where you are tired from lack of sleep. With a toddler you are more drained from the talking and answering questions, and physically exhausted from running after them. It made me start to think that it could actually be the plot for the hardest game show on earth!
‘Mum of toddler, come on down!!!!’
‘Your first task to win a cup of tea is… work out what your toddler wants for breakfast’
‘Are you hungry?’ ‘Errrrr yes’
‘What would you like?’ ‘Chocolate!’
‘No, not chocolate for breakfast, how about toast?’ ‘NO!’ The first tantrum sprawled on the floor happens.
‘Cheerios?’ ‘NO!’ (sob)
‘Shall I do toast? With marmalade?’ (pause) ‘Yes please Mummy’
‘Well done Mum, you persevered and got an answer, you have earned your cup of tea.’
‘Enjoy it because the next task is physical, time to get your toddler dressed!’
You grab jeans, top and socks then turn to your child who spots the clothes and just runs! The chase is on. They run, you run but you grab them and start pinning them down, struggling to get PJ’s off and then suddenly they are gone again! The chase starts again. You give up and sit and think.
‘Honey if you don’t get dressed we can’t go to soft play today’.
The giggles fade and lovely tot stops to think. Bribary wins the task!
‘Well done Mum, one dressed toddler. You win a biscuit!’
‘Oh no, you shouldn’t have turned your back to tidy up, your precious toddler is drawing on the walls with lipliner and eyeliner! Another task to complete’.
A now experienced Mum isn’t fazed by this sort of thing and you whip a packet of baby wipes out from your back pocket. Cleaned in no time!
‘Quick thinking Mum, you have won an afternoon of Judge Rinder instead of Bing!’
‘However, right now you have to get them into the car seat’.
Here we go the back breaking struggle to get a child just to sit in a seat (so they can go somewhere nice, but that doesn’t matter to them!)
You pick them and try and sit them down. The child arches and twists. You go with it and try to correct it, nope no good. You try again, pick them up and this time do it quicker. Aha they are fooled and you win. Oh no, now to get the straps over and done up. You try the bribary again:
‘if you hold still I will get you a snack’.
Hooray one toddler safely strapped in!
‘Another Mum win (even though your back may hurt) But it’s time to face soft play!’
Once in you climb and duck and squeeze around the apparatus. You turn just in time before that one delightful kid hits you with a ball! Other kids try to adopt you as theirs because their parents are sat having a nice cuppa and you seem like so much fun! You give them the slip and try and locate yours again. Climbing back up a padded ladder you put your arm out to catch a falling child just in time, then swim through the ball pit and launch yourself down the slide.
‘Hooray Mum you made it out safely and toddler is bruise free too. You have earned yourself a warm bath for later.’
‘Your next task, if you wish to choose it, is to get your child out of the bath.’
(why is it when they are tiny they don’t wanna get in, but as they get bigger they don’t want to bloody get out?!!)
‘Time to get out’
‘Yep, we need to get you dry and into PJ’s’
You grab their slippery little body and hold on tight, nope slipped back in. Towel in hand you try again and succeed but now have a wriggling, crying, wet toddler that you are holding and twisting and turning as they do. You wrap them up and hold them tight to dry. Hoorah, phase one completed. The game of chase happens again, this time it’s hilarious because they are naked and love it!
Another wrestle and you pin your child down and actually get a nappy on ̶ it may not be straight but if it’s on it counts! Clothes start to go on as you have mastered moving whilst dressing and getting tops the right way round from all sort of angles.
The hairdryer is the final test; can you keep them still long enough to achieve completely dry hair?! You grab the child, distract with a song, but the wriggling continues. The hair dryer follows every move but your hand stays on the head to check you aren’t burning them, all at the same time as singing or talking to get them to stay still.
‘That’s it Mum you have successfully completed the bath part of the game show, you may well get your own dinner tonight!’
‘Your final test is bed time… your reward is a big glass of wine.’
‘Time for bed’
‘Come on sweety, I will read a story’
‘No you’ve watched Peppa today, it’s very late, it’s dark now which means it’s bed time’
‘Come on, say night night to everyone, you are soooo tired. What tired eyes you have. Hasn’t it been a busy day.’
‘NO!’ Runs away yet again, followed by the 20th strop on the floor today! You walk after them, running has been done way too much today.
‘Come on, we will have a lovely day tomorrow. You pick up a wriggling, over tired child and hold them tight.’
‘Say night, night Daddy.’
Sad look on little ones face but they squeeze out a hug.
Up the stairs and you think you have this in the bag. You sing your song, lay them down and turn to walk out… then the screams, no Mummy no, get up, get out, PEPPA!!!!! (bloody Peppa has a lot to answer for!)
The process starts again. Sing, comfort, lay down ̶ will you be lucky?
YES! Tonight is gonna happen
‘Annnnnnd we have a winner, Mum of toddler has survived the day!’
‘Here’s your glass of wine’
Move over Ninja Warrior UK, Toddler Parent UK is the definitely toughest game show around!