Since becoming a mum of two the question I have been asked the most in the past five weeks is how is your toddler coping with your newborn?
Toddlers be like…
My toddler Otis is two years old. He blows hot and cold at the best of times. We are fully in the eye of the storm when it comes to tantrums; one minute the world is over the next its heartbreaking cuteness with a side of adorable.
Getting dressed, in particular shoes, take longer than the Brexit
Theresa May a thing or two about negotiations and
From time to time he favours his mummy, but most of the time he doesn’t. I hear calls for ‘see daddy, see daddy’ all day long.
It will wear me down, like a stone in my shoe, until eventually I just have to stop and admit that its actually really annoying and – I’m not ok with it!
Adding to the mix
And now, we have added to the mix.
On top of all the magic of a 26-month-old, we have chucked another hen into the hen house
So guess what? – there is no way this doesn’t affect him.
But the hard part is working out what’s normal toddler behaviour and what constitutes as a toddler coping versus what’s linked to the arrival of his little brother.
29 days ago he had my undivided attention (albeit whilst requesting he ‘sees daddy’ every five minutes)
When he was tired I could be there for him, when he demanded a snack I was offering up several options from healthy to a bowl a sugar. I was patiently dressing him with no timeframe. I was there for him 100%
now there’s less of me.
Now I’m not even 50% there for him, right now I’m only showing up 30% for him. I’m having to use screen time and sugary treats to fire fight my perseived parenting failings.
I’m holding him at arm’s length while changing babies nappy.
I’m saying ‘no’ more often and ‘in a minute’ far more than ever before.
I’m staring down at my new baby soaking him in, instead of seeing the cutest thing that Otis has just tried to do.
I’m not always showing up for him.
But how is your toddler coping?
He is doing amazingly. He has not been perfect, and these weeks will have affected his ‘being’. As it has affected us all.
But considering his age, and his effervescent personality, he’s doing me totally proud. He’s doing a pretty good impression of a toddler coping.
As each day passes he accepts Marlow into his world, and slowly his memories of being just Otis start to fade.
He wants to share things with Marlow. As well as have some space from him. I am trying to indulge both.
The worst days
There have been some days when the whining won’t stop, when one too many toys have been thrown, when I have had say ‘kind hands’ one too many times. He has screamed, he has tantrums.
When I have got stuck feeding watching the rubbish pile up in the corner and my clean washing being trampled.
I have screamed, i have had tantrums. No body is perfect. I’m not about to judge him, or myself. I dont feel proud to admit that i have shouted, but i don’t feel ashamed either.
We are muddling through and sometimes I don’t get it right.
Well he’s two.
He shouts sometimes, he gets confused, he
He has lashed out, and Marloew hasn’t avoided the fireing line. And sometimes it obvous to me that he would just rather i wasn’t holding him, feeding him, again!
The best days
There are good days too
Show-stopping moments, where my heart melts and the perfect movie moments happen.
I love it when he asks where Marlow is and wants to be able to see him, to keep an eye on him. He tells me when Marlow is hungry by imitating a Marlow hand sucking.
He hates Marlow crying and tells me to ‘pick up, mummy, PICK UP!’ .
When he realises Marlow isn’t with me he looks confused, ‘Marlow?’ He asks as a question. As if he might have disappeared for good, like the toy he has lost.
He likes to cuddle him, and have him in his cot for a morning snuggle.
He seems older, wiser, more proud of himself. He splits his time between independent play and asking me to play nicely.
He eats all his food and asks for more fruit!
But he’s two
That’s what they do!!
I’m getting through each day, holding on to my rollercoaster.
Trying not to cry, trying not to shout. But that’s all before
Or it can be a well oiled machine, bossing my way through the day, one armed, holding the newborn. Breastfeeding while feeding my toddler a yogurt. While he tells me he loves me. We go to the park and we laugh. We play with toys and the he tidied them away.
It’s up and down. Round and round.
He’s doing ok. I’m being as patient as I can be. I’m being firm but fair.
We are all getting used to our new normal