Toddlers are little balls of energy, bursting to get out, to explore the world, and to bring you along on the adventure.
But they are also little balls of emotion, bursting with questions, tantrums and urine that doesn’t seem to ever make it into the toilet.
You see, toddlers are put on this earth to test our limits, to push our buttons and to teach us how to get through the often most difficult time of early motherhood without losing our shit.
So how can you succeed at this seemingly impossible quest? Here’s 14 things to keep in mind when entering the toddler phase with your little firecracker.
1. Learn how to say ‘no’ in several languages
It’s a lesson in education for both you and your toddler. AND it breaks up the tediousness of having to say ‘no’ and hear ‘no’ 8 gazillion times a day.
While you’re at it, you might as well learn how to say “nap” in a few languages as well.
2. Bring your own mop
Everywhere you go. That way you can clean the mess your toddler makes without having to continuously search for your mop. This is especially handy during toilet training time.
3. Set up a “time out” chair
For you. Add a mini fridge filled with wine and chocolate. Possibly a baby-proof gate around it too.
4. Lie down with your toddler to help her fall asleep at nap time
Wake up two hours later disorientated and with drool caked to your mouth.
5. Stop buying dog food
Just feed your pup the 15 daily meals your toddler refuses instead.
6. Pick your clothing battles
Some fights are simply not worth having. Like whether your toddler wears a shirt, pants and shoes to the shops. Or togs, a cape and gumboots.
Hey, at least he’s wearing something that covers his doodle. That’s a win in my books.
7. Buy your toddler a super cute ‘big boy/girl bed’ complete with new curtains, lamps, posters and doona to match the theme
Claim it as your own after your toddler takes over your bed.
8. Assume any suspicious brown marking is poo
It could be chocolate. It could be mud. But, when it doubt, go with poo. And grab the wet wipes.
9. Set up an organisation station for all of your toddler’s toys, complete with labels on each colour coded basket
Watch your toddler dump every single box on the floor, tear the labels off each basket, and attempt to flush the smaller toys down the toilet.
10. Stock up on all the latest must-have educational toys for toddlers
You know, like pegs, sunglasses, empty toilet rolls, cardboard boxes. Oh, and tampons.
11. Use the voice recorder on your phone to record the phrase, “do you need to pee pee?”
Play every fifteen minutes. For at least six months.
12. Brush up on your mum bluffing skills for when you need them at the park
‘Yes, my toddler sleeps through the night, every night, in her own bed. Sure, my toddler knows at least 200 words. Of course, my toddler is fully toilet trained.
‘No, that’s not my toddler urinating in the sand pit…’
13. Buy a step counter
Make sure you keep it on between the hours of 6pm and 8pm (also known as “toddler bedtime”). See how many steps you take walking your toddler back and forth from his room to the living room/your room every night. If you hit 2000 steps, have a wine. 4000 steps. Have two wines. 10,000 steps – drink the whole bottle.
14. And, finally, don’t let the tantrums get you down
They are all part of the fun that comes with the toddler phase, with learning how to cope with these complex emotions and with developing all of these newfound skills. Let your toddler kick, scream, bitch and moan. Then move on to the next activity.
For every toddler meltdown and blowup, there are countless toddler delights and discoveries. And these happy moments are the ones that are worth focusing on.
Looking for more fun with toddlers? Check out these 17 toddler taming tips every parent should know.