I was going entitle this post- How to deal with a busy toddler. I decided against that because, quite frankly, I have no idea how to deal with a busy toddler. And yes, I do have one. A very busy one.
Our little lady is a bundle of energy and joy. Very inquisitive and (dare I say it without out sounding too ‘my child’s amazing’) intelligent. She loves to get into everything and learn how things work. Whether it’s trying to hang her own clothes on hangers or work the TV remote (much to her Dad’s delight!!) she loves to try stuff out.
She’s constantly on the go and likes to touch everything. All the time. Wherever we are. Supermarkets, other people’s homes, gardens, play centres and public bathrooms (yeah nice), you name the place and she’s a busy bee.
Now I am fully aware that all toddlers are crazy into everything, but I have noticed a trend in some toddlers being a tad more busy and ‘touch everything in their site’ than others.
Before having children, when I worked in retail, I would remember looking at the kiddies pulling stock of the shelves and touching every piece of polished glass with their fingertips that I had just spent 30 minutes polishing, and I would silently cry inside. As ashamed as I am to say it now, I would also judge. Let’s be real for a moment and acknowledge that we have all judged someone at sometime in our life. Phew! Glad you agree and it’s not just me. (Sighs with relief).
Anyhow, like I said I would see those kids and think- ‘My my! Sort your child out!’. Or something similarly as nice such as ‘why does your child have to touch everything! It’s your job to make them stop. Do it!’. Oh and the old classic of ‘when I have kids…..’ you get my drift.
Looking back now- basically I was an asshole with no idea about kids. And that’s the truth.
Well fast forward to the present day and here as I type this in bed at 12.04am on a Wednesday I am half shattered and half wired after a particularly ‘busy’ toddler day. A day that has me worn out to the point of near falling asleep at the dinner table yet wanting to stay awake as long as possible after shes gone to bed so I can simply enjoy the silence.
And no, that’s not the silence from the noises a toddler can make, its silence from the noises I make. You see having a busy toddler turns the parent into a walking talking No machine.
Or to be more precise a ‘don’t touch’ machine. I feel like I spend my entire day either explaining why certain things cannot be touched or simply repeating the following-
‘Don’t touch’ ‘No’ ‘It’s dangerous/dirty/not yours/heavy’ etc etc x10000 times a day.
I realise this makes me sound like a terrible person. Like I just nag at my child all day and don’t let her simply be a child. And I’m sorry if this is what you think. And I’d love to say that this isn’t every day, but that simply wouldn’t be true.
Don’t get me wrong we have lots of fun times. We play games and do crafts occasionally (this will be a lot more as soon as she’s learnt that glitter is not to be eaten!). We watch songs and we dance, have themed playdates, visit family and friends and walk the dog. We shop and play chase and have a whale of a time on the £1 a go rides in the shopping centres. We have fun, and lots of it.
But alas we also have crazy moments. And as a Stay at home Mom I see most of them.
Moments when it is so difficult to go down one aisle in the supermarket that you decide that the Italian Tomato and Olive pasta dish you are creating for tea, can do without chopped tomatoes and olives and quite frankly pasta itself because it’s simply easier to skip that aisle.
The moment when you realise that bringing your makeup obsessed little one into the self service area of Boots was a BAD idea and decide that carrying a 28 pound wriggling toddler, 2 bags and your shopping is a much better idea than letting her free roam.
It’s tough. And what’s tougher is there is no solution. Because at the end of the long assed day they are kids. Busy crazy cute kids.
As for tips on copying with the stressful times, I could say something along the lines of breathe and remember they are kids and this is how it is. I could say to count to 10 or speak to them calmly about it. I could suggest keeping them in one room of your house without anything to touch but one soft teddy. But I won’t.
Because there is no magic solution. Because it’s not a problem. It’s a pain, yes, but it isn’t something that needs to be fixed. Because it cant be fixed.
If people judge, which they will, then let them judge. Especially if they are yet to have kids. Give them the old ‘you wait’ smile and silently do a Dr Evil laugh in your head.
If you get super stressed then just take it step by step and think ok, ‘one more aisle’ in the supermarket, or ‘do I really need to come into the Yankee candle shop at this moment in time’ (Correction- NEVER go into the Yankee candle shop unless busy bee is strapped into that pushchair with both arms occupied inside the pushchair!).
Get some reins if needed, and again if folks judge- well just swear at them in your head. Plus have you seen the reigns nowadays….hello cute backpacks!
Basically just do what you can to cope with the craziness of having a busy toddler. And pray that all that touching and busy behavior results in an extra long nap time!
Busy toddlers like to touch everything. They like to press buttons on whatever has a button, they enjoy touching every jar of sauce in the aisles in the supermarket and on a really good day they will carry the large Dolmio jar over to you in the aisles of Tesco on a busy Saturday (true story). They enjoy nothing more than to empty your drawers and pull all the books off the shelves. Re arranging your Mothers display of china items is great fun and carrying a brand new Jo Malone candle around the bedroom brings great excitement.
And for us add to this a little lady who is a bit taller than the norm and at the ripe old age of 18 months and a bit she can take things off the tables. Like Mommas new Bobbi Brown Greige palette which I thought I had successfully pushed far enough back out of her reach. (Oh it was a good day when I found her rubbing that on her face. Good day indeed!)
She’s basically into everything and its crazy and mad and exhausting all in the same go. Upon visiting someones house it is tricky to just switch off and enjoy a cuppa, even if its family as you never know whats going to be
broken touched next. Its tough going.
Its also fabulous.
I have a strange sense of pride when I see my little girly taking the lid on and off of one of my lipsticks. (A different sense terror pride comes over me when I see she’s applied my Charlotte Tillbury Coachella Coral to her lips and my carpet). I love seeing how she can undo buckles and knows the names of lots of items. I love seeing her try to blow out candles that aren’t lit and pointing at the shoe eisles and saying ‘shooooeees’ and ‘toessss’. I love that.
I like seeing her trying to bite into the oranges in Tesco (not sure the staff feel the same) and I love seeing her run off in front of me and finding a big pile of teddies to hug.
I like seeing how much she watches me clean and how she tries to hoover the floor and clean the windows. I’m secretly hoping she’ll take over from my cleaning duties in a few years!
It scares me in a good way to see how fast she learns about things and seeing her ‘talk’ into our TV remote (it’s a smart remote so we talk into it for Youtube and to get her Little Baby Bum videos up –side note THANK YOU LITTLE BABY BUM!) makes me super proud and gushy.
But probably the best part is when she runs off somewhere to do something mischievous or just to touch something new, and on those few occasions she will turn around to looks at me to check I’m watching, which off course I am (hello- breakages!) and she smiles.
Smiling at me watching her learn. And then those precious few moments when she will show me what she’s learnt in her unique toddler way. Or you simply see her do something they have learnt from their busy bee behaviour.
Its great. Because realistically that’s what it’s all about really. Learning.
Well ok 90% learning, 10% being a pain in the arse.