Who said life gets easier when your kids get bigger?
Oh, the cuddly creaminess of a toddler.
The slow walks down the street, your toddler waddling beside you examining the cracks in the pavement. The messy meals of mushy carrots, the unexpected delight of smeared peas through your hair.
Just one look at those chubby little thighs of tots like Prince George makes me reminisce about the long-ago days of toddler-hood.
My youngest has just turned four and already has morphed from baby to little girl. Her brothers are turning six and eight this year and suddenly my home has become less about pasta-shell craft and more about Minecraft.
There are days when I relish in the lack of nappies and tupperwear containers of sliced fruit and there are other days like today.. when a hallway full of shoes and sports kits remind me that my rough-and-tumble threesome will never quite need me in the same way.
It is a bittersweet realisation.
And one that I always thought would have an upside cause it is meant to get easier isn’t it?
Well – not so far. Sorry.
What I thought would be tough about getting out of the baby stage is surprising. I imagined the cuddles would decease (and the fighting would increase) but so far (fingers crossed) it’s the little things.
1.The laundry pile is ginormous.
You thought all those baby-gros were tough to wash? The bigger the kid the bigger the pants. If my laundry pile scares me now I can’t imagine what it will be like when they are teenagers.
2. The questions change.
When they are little you smile with delight at the endless questions. “Why is the sky blue?” “Why is the water wet?” “Why is your name Mummy?”
The older they get, the tricker the questions get. “Why did we take our puppy from his mum when he was only a baby?” “Why does Georgina have to go to hospital all the time?” “How did I get out of your tummy?” “Why do those people live on the street?”
3. Bodily fluids get tougher to deal with.
Baby poo smells quite sweet. Come on. It does. It’s non-offensive. It’s mild. Sure it might be green and splashed from their toes to their neck, but it is baby poo. Easy.
Baby vomit is the same. It’s milk people. Just wipe it up. Baby wee? Water. Just water.
The older they get though, as much as you love them, those bodily fluids get well, tricker… smellier, larger, and more on the toilet floor.
4. The juggling is complicated.
Oh for the days of throwing a toddler in a pram and heading off to gymberoo. These days it’s a whirlwind of activities. Each activity requires a complicated set of items and a complicated navigation system for getting there. After school is a rush of homework and training and weekends are a blur of parties and sport.
And times that by three. When can they learn to drive again?
5. Their sleeping patterns get tricker.
Sorry to break this to you. But the sleeping patterns of a bigger kid can be harder to work out than a baby. You might think walking the halls rocking the pram of a newborn is tough. At least they sleep.
Wait till they are five and stay up till 10pm. Wait till they are seven and refuse to wake up in the morning. I thought I had till they were teenagers till I had to deal with that.
6. They talk like a teenager.
I know the day is not too far in the future when I am no longer Mama. Somewhere not too long off looms a new identity for me – that of Mum. I know “Mum” is a brave new world and that accompanying her will be a whole host of acronyms that I don’t understand. Until then BYAM it is BTN.
7. Their bags get smellier.
What is it with the smell of a school bag? What do they keep in it? And don’t get me started on the school shoes.
8. The tantrums get serious.
You think a two-year old tantrum is bedlam.. have you ever seen a five, six or seven year old lose the plot? They are cyclonic. And the thing I am learning is that you can’t just laugh it off or cuddle them till they recover.
You have to take this stuff seriously. You got killed by a Zombie in Minecraft? Oh honey I understand. I really do.
Despite all of this there are some serious upsides to your children growing up – and one of the greatest is that no body quite needs their mum like a six-year old after a tough day at school.
(Just leave the school bags and the school shoes at the front door.)
What have you found the hardest about your toddler no longer being a toddler?