Last month we hosted a party in the park to celebrate our second son Leo’s first birthday. As the big day approached and he started to sleep better, crawl around and communicate with us more easily, it felt as if we had the whole parenting-two- kids-thing utterly nailed.
It was a special moment to enjoy a glass of champagne with friends and family while patting ourselves on the back for surviving that first-year fog. It was time to move onwards and upwards.
The cake was not quite cleared away, however, when it became apparent we may have peaked too early with the champagne. Maybe I had forgotten from the first time around (or perhaps Toby was a much nicer one year old?), but suddenly the parenting thing all got a bit hard again.
Overnight my sweet little baby had been replaced by a gremlin. I started frantically googling ‘wonder weeks’, ‘leaps’,’ growth spurts’ and ‘how to tell if my one year old is an a**hole?’ but there were no definitive answers and apparently it isn’t cool to call your baby an a**hole.
Holly Wainwright sticks up for shouty parents, on our family podcast. Post continues after audio.
Isn’t it supposed to be Terrible Twos, not No-Fun-Ones?
Thankfully, my Mothers’ Group came to the rescue with some well-timed Facebook posts about their little ones also going from being gurgling wee babies to growling, biting beasts. We all shared some tips and sympathy and took comfort in that often-repeated mantra; ‘this too shall pass’.
Being one is tough, not only for the parents, but for the ankle biters themselves. They realise there is a whole exciting world out there and yet they can’t do all the things and say all the things they would like to, and so get frequently frustrated.
I try to keep this in mind and stay cool and calm when Leo gets a bit screamy up in my face, but it is just not that fun spending so many hours with an angry, loud little gremlin. If you too are spending time, or about to spend time with a no-fun one year old, then here are my top five anti-social behaviours to look out for:
1. Biting, hitting and head banging.
I scoop up Leo for a cuddle and after giving me a sweet smile he turns and hits me across the face, or uses his little baby claws to scratch my exposed décolletage. If I put him down to reprimand him with a stern ‘no’, he falls forward and bangs his head on the floor, wailing in utter disgust. He may also bite an unsuspecting soft toy quite viciously but mostly I am grateful it is not me or the cat.
2. Dropping the afternoon nap.
I had the routine down pat; the first nap was a good hour or more allowing me to achieve quite a bit of emailing, writing or biscuit eating, and the second nap came at the point in the afternoon where we were both sick of each other. Now he fights that second nap every step of the way and as he has not been sleeping any better or longer at night so I am perplexed.
He obviously has not read any of the Gina Ford books which clearly state that baby does not give up that second nap until 15 months. Both Leo and I are at loggerheads over this on a daily basis and I will still always try it on, just in case.
3. Frustration and throwing objects.
Along the same lines as the biting and hitting, he now has a nano-second of patience for every toy we own. The fact he can now crawl means he will no longer sit and enjoy the individual toys placed in his path, not when there are plug sockets, doors, waste paper baskets and teeny tiny pieces of Lego to explore or throw around.
It seems ironic that one-year-olds get so clingy during the phase they also want to bite and scratch you. But these little curmudgeons do have all the feelings. I am now his number one favourite person to cling to, which I kind of like, but it does make it harder to leave the room or not be the person resettling or cuddling him in the night.
5. Eating fussiness.
From eating everything, to eating a whole lot less, Leo is suddenly much fussier about what he eats and what he prefers to toss on the floor. From being a ravenous consumer of avocado, pumpkin and other mush served to him, to saying ‘nah’ during most meals and finding certain elements utterly repulsive.
What I do love about the no-fun-one phase is how much more of a little person Leo is becoming. Yes, he might be a grumpy little person a lot of the time but he does make me laugh and fill my heart with joy when he uses a new word or happily dances along to PNAU in the car.
Like every other childhood phase, we’ll get through this one and before you know it I’ll be looking back at his sweet round one-year-old face in photos and wondering what on earth I was on about.
Did your one-year-old change on their first birthday? Tell us in the comments section below.
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