Motherhood, Parent

Dancing to your merry tune

Last night, in a bid for TJ to let us brush his tooth (singular), I found myself jumping around the bathroom with my toothbrush in my mouth whilst attempting to write and perform the “let’s brush our teeth” song.

It’s come to this.

It did work as a good form of distraction while TJ’s Dad wielded the baby brush. And I don’t blame TJ for wondering why we’re shoving a bit of plastic in his mouth (although he does it himself every 15 seconds).

But it’s a new level of parenthood when you realise your one-year-old has turned you into a performing monkey.

Ten minutes later, TJ’s Dad is skidding across our laminate floor in his socks. This, we have found, is the only way to keep TJ happy as I get him dressed for bed.

On the up side, I reckon I can count the “let’s brush our teeth” song as my daily exercise.

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Motherhood, toddler

The truth.

I never want to lie. I haven’t intentionally perpetuated any myths about parenthood. I’ve actually gone out of my way to be real about all of it.

But, just to be clear, here’s the facts.

Motherhood is hard.

I’ve just spent two days with TJ and they were much more tiring and testing than the prior two days in the office. I feel like applauding myself for getting through the 10 months of maternity leave if this is what it was always like.

Of course, it wasn’t always like this. TJ has changed, developed and grown both in size and personality. It’s easy to look back at those newborn days through rose-tinted glasses but I know that’s not the case – I’ve still got the bags under my eyes to prove it.

Yesterday, I willingly did a big food shop just for something to do.

I’ve also gone to two baby classes a day just to get out of the house as TJ is apparently bored at home. He loves other people and children and I’m prepared to indulge him in that to avoid meltdowns, to give us some fun time together and also to keep me sane.

During these outings, several people have commented on how happy my baby is. My stock answer is that he’s happiest when we are out of the house.

At home, the following are currently a battle:

Feeding – spoon feeding is off the menu for TJ so I’m ransacking Annabel Karmel for finger foods which my limited cooking skills and budget can take on.

Nappy changes: This particular battle starts around 7:30am, the first change of the day. This is usually a code brown, and I have to forcibly pin TJ down so I can clean him up.

Sleeping: as always. This one has never changed for us. Thank God TJ’s Dad usually looks after bedtime so it’s just those precious day naps which are the issue for me.

Leaving the house for a car ride or pram trip: This is when I also have to forcibly get TJ strapped in and endure a few tears from him before we can go on our way (usually to a baby class).

Moving around: TJ is constantly on the move – finger walking being his preferred mode of transportation. So, I spend my life crouching down to hold him upright by his wrists. I would hold his fingers (as the name suggests) but TJ has taken to carrying some random treasure around with him, like my shoes. Or a coaster. Or a toy which he doesn’t play with.
If he’s not walking, he’s desperately trying to crawl but then he just ends up frustrated, crying, face down on the floor, resting his face on his arms in a proper toddler tantrum style (which I thought he was too young for!)

That doesn’t leave much time for anything else does it? Well, yes it does. This I must remember.

It leaves time for cuddles, which he has learnt to climb into my lap for.

It leaves time for uncontrollable giggles when I tickle him by his ears or on his tummy.

It leaves time for how he insists on holding a bit of my hair when I give him his bottle whilst he’s sitting on my lap.

It leaves time for me to love TJ more than I thought possible.

Motherhood isn’t easy. Despite what TV, Instagram and all the rest of it make it look like through a good filter, it really is the hardest job in the world.

But would I change it? No. Well, I say this whilst TJ is snoozing. Ask me again at a nappy change.

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Motherhood, toddler

Stick a needle in me, I’m one.

I no longer have a baby – I have a toddler. TJ turned one yesterday and we celebrated with a trip to an aquarium. He spent the day showing some true toddler traits – both the good and the bad!

Today, he had his one-year-old injections. And he’s reverted back to baby. He’s been in my arms for the last two hours – tired but not sleeping but refusing to stop the cuddles. He’s being simply delicious.

The injections weren’t fun – he cried and I cried (and cursed myself afterwards for not being the strong grown-up parent he needed). His little chubby legs swelled up red and sore. He’s been clinging to a chunk of my hair all day.

I would never, ever not have TJ vaccinated. We’re incredibly lucky to have some fabulous medical care available and I simply can’t understand anti-vaxxer mentality.

But today has been hard. I know my baby (sorry, toddler) is suffering for short-term pain and long-term gain reasons.

And I know that an afternoon filled with only cuddles is pretty special.

I just wish I could still feel the arm he’s been resting his head on since 3pm (it’s now 5pm)

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