Welcome back to another addition of expectation vs reality. Part one was all about pregnancy and the newborn phase and now we are back to shed some light on their next chapter, the toddler years.
As we entered this phase, my mind went into overdrive with all these lovely ideals of what joys this would bring into our lives. Picture this, a picturesque settings, well behaved children in tow – laughing and frolicking about – me finally back to pre-pregnancy figure (yep I haven’t made it to that point yet) and un-aged. Yes, my mind played some cruel prank me…again!
I bet all you mums that had kids before are were probably sat back with your coffees (or wines) waiting for the chaos and carnage to unfold and silently laughing at my nativity… I laugh now looking back at myself.
So, lets sit back and all enjoy a few moments where my mind played tricks on me and how it actually materialised.
Now I can’t speak for you all but I envisioned that moment that you see on adverts. The whole family sitting together, chit chatting away and eating some lovely authentically home cooked meal. This image obviously is reliant upon and assumes your child will eat and try everything – so that is how I assumed it would be.
To be clear this is my reality – there are some super hero parents out there that this won’t apply to – but let’s be real, that is not me.
So for me, meal time is a combination of coaxing my child to sit at the table to start with – sometime this even results in some form of kids tv program being put on the tablet to pacify him – please don’t judge – I pick my battles and this was not one to take one. Once finally sat the the table we then start the very hit or miss exercise of getting him to eat.
My son, is not a ‘good’ eater. He doesn’t like trying new things and unless it is generally beige and includes chips, he does not want to know. Like, what I hope to be, good parents, this is something we are working on and trying to expend his horizons but this is a very slow process.
Anyway back to reality – dinner is served and we are sat around the table as a family. Evan looks at the plate, pushes it away yelling ‘yuck’ (thank you George from Peppa Pig for teaching that). As per lots of research on fussy eaters, we try not to put pressure on him – but after slaving away cooking a meal for this reaction I can only say tensions and stress levels can rise. Over the course of what feels like hours, we do get him to try the meal – and surprisingly enough for him – he actually enjoys it a good 75% of the time. But, this is a daily battle in our household.
Don’t know about you, but I am guilty of scrolling through Instagram and comparing. And, I have a tendency to follow other parents in the hope to learn from there experiences or gain ideas to help entertain my whirlwind of a child. As a result of this I have seen many a gorgeous family picture. Beautiful background, all faces looking where they are meant to, smiles all round and this snap shot of time that they will be able to look back over with fond memories and one that everyone awh’s over!
I don’t know how they did it! It is so difficult, especially when you are trying to take it yourself or enlisting the help of a family friend of family member. 1 picture does not cut it. Nope you’ll need to take over 100 and if you’re lucky you may have 1-2 gems in there whereby you are all looking at the camera at the same time – all eyes are open – smiles are present. And, I’m talking about good smiles, those lovely natural looking ones as opposed to one that makes it look like your in some form of pain – we all know what I’m talking about – think Chandler from ‘Friends’ if you’re not sure.
And, that is just part of the battle, of course when staging a picture like this it is essential that your child/children co-opporate. The more kids you have the more of a battle you will have…sorry. There will moments when your kid runs off, strong possibilities of some kid of tantrum (like over 90% chance). You are likely to need to take 5 yourself, to regain composure and just breath so this carnage doesn’t overwhelm.
When you finally get that picture – a bit (okay a lot) or editing, cropping and filter and it looks acceptable. You realise that this whole pelarva will be repeated again upon the next holiday, occasion, birthday or special outing you take together.
Having a relaxing weekend
I was quite possibly completely delusional with this and I will hold my hands up, but a girl can dream right. In my mind, weekends meant my child would get the memo and sleep in until at least 8am. They would then wake and we would have a leisurely morning of cuddles in bed together for a little longer before embracing and taking on some heart warming family activity.
So, to talk you through this most recent Saturday, my morning started just before 7am with “MUMMY, MUMMY, MUUUUUUUUUM” being shouted on repeat until I made an appearance in his bedroom. This was then greeted with the horrendous stench of toddler poop and a toddler who was demanding that we go downstairs instantly and start playing. There was no gradual wake up, no hot coffee and time for the caffeine to hit before embracing the day – nope eyes open and straight into it.
You then suggest making the most of the time you have with some kind of activity – park, film, craft, baking etc, which is of course the last thing your child wants to partake in. My son, would rather run around wearing pants on his head than join in currently and if you push too much those terrible two’s rear there ugly head and we have an mini melt down.
Then later after all the enthusiasm for this picture perfect family day is a distant memory and you’re getting on with the much needed household chores. You’re child decides at this point that you are best thing ever and now is the time they finally want your full undivided attention – which is the best feeling really – but it does mean that come 7-8pm when they are finally asleep you have a window of a couple of hours to cram in those household jobs that got put off earlier.