It’s Complicated… As a woman in my thirties, it’s the FB relationship status that has always had me rolling my eyes.
Like, come on guys, you can’t get it together enough to work out whether or not you’re in a relationship AND you want your nearest and dearest 300+ friends on social media to know about it?
Well, it turns out that I’m in my own complicated relationship these days. My complicated relationship is with toddlerhood. Not my toddler, I should point out, because my love for him is unquestionable. No, toddlerhood, the lengthy developmental stage we are currently in the thick of, is my cross to bear.
My relationship with babyhood ended in a blurry mix of nostalgia and sadness, but also a bit of relief. Toddlerhood was my rebound. Toddlerhood seemed so new and exciting. It brought challenges, but it also brought new experiences. I eagerly jumped head-first into this fresh relationship. Not that I had a choice (I mean, kids have got to grow, right?) but knowing what I do now, six months into our tumultuous relationship, perhaps I would have been more careful. Perhaps I would have guarded my heart a little more. Perhaps I wouldn’t have send babyhood packing quite so readily. Here’s why…
Toddlerhood is irrational
I have a joke for you: why wouldn’t the toddler drink his water? Because it was too wet. I say joke, but anyone courting toddlerhood right now will tell you it’s not funny. Toddlerhood is known for its commitment to decisions driven by obscure whims. And it will defend its right to that commitment with spectacularly ungraceful outbursts and demands. Thou Shalt Not Question Thy Toddler’s Opinions is actually the first commandment of toddlerhood. Resistance is futile – if you want the relationship to work, simply accept today’s new set of rules and move on.
Toddlerhood is a trouble maker
Nobody likes to be the tag-along to someone’s else’s mischief-making, but toddlerhood will selfishly drag you kicking and screaming along for the ride. Chasing and kicking the dogs, dumping a box of freshly packed up toys all over the floor, tearing through the kitchen and emptying every cupboard and drawer; toddlerhood adores trouble and has no boundaries. Apparently it’s our job to set, teach and enforce them (?!), which is ridiculously unfair, given point one.
Toddlerhood is moody
Things will be ticking along fine. It will be a nice, sunny day at the park, punctuated by squeals of delight, playful chuckles and curious questions. Life will feel good. And then disaster strikes, often in the form of an apparently precious twig breaking at the mercy of clumsy little hands, or a bug hauling ass up a tree and out of reach before being smushed. Toddlerhood will have you believe that the world as we know it is ending. Right now. And despite your best efforts, when the mood swings are relentless and occurring multiple times every hour, it’s hard not to let your own mood swing about like a delirious monkey dangling from the branches of a coconut tree.
Toddlerhood is selfish
You’re expected to generously share everything that was once yours to enjoy alone, from your fries to your cappuccino froth to your precious smart phone. But when the tables are turned and you ask for one bite of vegemite sandwich, toddlerhood will make you feel like a bumbling fool for believing that this could ever be an equal relationship.
But hey now, despite the low points, toddlerhood does have its merits…
Toddlerhood is fun
Despite the teething issues (and I mean literally. Teething is a cow), toddlerhood is really fun to be around. It’s the age of curiosity, discovery, imagination, funny little games and whacky habits. Toddlerhood will take an ice cream container and turn it into a beloved helmet that must be worn around the house always. It will invoke a deep sense of pleasure as you watch it dance crazily to capture your attention or attempt to help you sweep the floor, as though household chores are actually some brilliant game. So yeah, toddlerhood is pretty fun.
Toddlerhood is fascinating
You can’t help but marvel as you realise that everything you do is being watched and carefully processed; your day-to-day actions are helping a fellow human make sense of the world. Questions like “Where did you learn to do this?” and “How did you come up that?” pop out of your mouth constantly. Toddlerhood is an amazing insight to the development of the human brain, and you have a front row seat. Awesome!
Toddlerhood is beautiful
Toddlerhood will make your heart burst with thousands of big, adoring smiles every day, sad little tears cried into your shoulder and soft, sleepy cuddles before bed. It will draw the word “Mama” for the first time from the most precious little mouth in the world. It will love you like crazy in its own funny way. It will offer you constant precious moments that will convince you the relationship is worthwhile.
Toddlerhood is the Fran Fine to my Maxwell Sheffield. It drives me up the wall and makes me want to tear my hair out some days, but also, I freaking adore it. Toddlerhood wasn’t what I expected, and as our relationship progresses, we’re still learning more about each other. But I think I’ll stick around and see where it goes – complicated or not, I’m in love.