When my now 2 year old was just a teeny tiny infant kicking around on his tummy time mat the scariest thing in the world to me was other people’s toddlers.
They were horrible things and I was convinced that when my little angel was stomping around he wouldn’t be doing it on other kids’ toes or stealing their toys.
My views have changed slightly (severely) since those fuzzy minded newborn days and I have come to admire rather than abhor those oh so lovely toddler traits.
My toddler has so much flair I’m sure he’s going to have his own float at next year’s Sydney Mardi Gras. We were at Playgroup a few months ago and I watched in horror as a mother batted my son off to protect her much younger little man from his (affectionate) head smacks. Ironically this was at a Playgroup that I started with other mother’s group friends who also didn’t like the idea of bully toddlers around our precious young. I had no idea how to react to this properly. Instinctively I wanted to bitch slap the mom around the head for reprimanding my angel but thankfully I saw sense and walked away to simmer quietly over the event for a few years.
I’m still not even sure how I should have responded, but what I’m focusing on now is how hugely proud I still am of my little bodybuilder. Because I’m still not sure why he felt his little mate needed some gentle discipline, but I’m completely convinced that there was absolutely no malice in his actions. I am sure that toddlers feel pure emotion that us grownups only wish we could express. And nine times out of ten if left to their own devices our little kiddlers would absolutely work their debates out by themselves. But too often we step in too soon.
I’ve heard of these mystical kids who are born well mannered (sleep through the night from 2 weeks, ignore chocolate until they are 10, don’t destroy child height displays, share their toys and food quite happily). But I think that these are the parents that should be seeking help and not the parents of the children who are hitting, biting and rugby tackling their best friends to the ground whilst simultaneously headlocking their younger sibling and eating the cat.
It came to me suddenly whilst putting the baby to bed yesterday. He was almost asleep after his nighttime milk and I lay him down in his cot to a blood curdling scream that would have put most Hitchcock films to shame. As I gazed at his perfect face contorted in an expression that could only be translated as ‘fuck you’ in adult speak it suddenly dawned on me that this kid had some attitude too.
And it made me smile. My baby wants to be with me. He wants to play. This bed is quiet time and he’s absolutely sure to be missing out on the BEST experiences of his life. His FOMO is intense right now.
I’m not sure what I’d do with a baby who was happy to leave me for their cot, or a toddler who happily joined me in my grocery shop.
So let’s celebrate tantrums, I say. Our little ones are the absolute adventurers of our time so when they feel it is time to tell me in no uncertain terms that they are entitled to an ice cream with breakfast who am I to say no?
To be fair he’s going to decide what hospice I’m off to (please one with a swim up bar?)
*Please note that nothing in this blog applies to husband tantrums