Back to Toddler RealityCasey Mullins
It’s a rough one.
Give me a week away from my darling Vivi and I forgot about how much work toddlers are. When I’m entrenched in it day to day, morning to night, I don’t really notice how much work goes into keeping a toddler alive and out of the toilet. But take me away for a week and then throw me back in head first? Dude, toddlers are a handful, especially mine. I spent an entire week alone with my oldest, who turned 8-years-old, last week and never once did she cry or throw what could be considered a real fit, which is impressive considering she was completely off her schedule, overstimulated and slept way less than what she’s used to. After only one hour back home, Vivi let loose with three tantrums, one was over bubble wrap. She screamed, she sobbed, she even threw herself to the ground. Cody said at least she had learned to throw herself to the ground on the carpet after realizing how hard it was to pitch a fit on the hardwood floor.
This toddler business. There’s a reason they start out as newborns and not toddlers, isn’t there?
Cody was on the front lines for an entire week solo parenting Vivi, and from the updates I got, he had it pretty rough from the moment he dropped us off at the airport.
“Vivi threw up, all over the car.” was the text I got before even making it through security.
She spent the rest of the week sick, hardly sleeping, and being woken up by the cat. There’s even a rumor she missed me, which is impressive given I’m not exactly her favorite human if her dad is anywhere around.
Since returning, all seems to be right again in her world. We got back to our regular routine today, it was delightfully fit free and she even helped me take the cat to the vet.
I’m really grateful that this parenting gig has become so natural to me over the past 8 years. I may not always feel like it, but I’m actually pretty good at it and Addie’s behavior on our trip last week proves it. I never let that kid give me grief or push her limits. I followed through 95% of the time from the beginning and it really did pay off. She knows when I say something I mean it, and when I do break and bend the rules it’s a special occasion that is not to be taken lightly.
Now that I’m in the trenches of toddlerhood with Vivi, I’m grateful to know that I’ve made it through once before with a well adjusted and happy kid as a reward. I certainly don’t believe that the first 5 years are the most important for everything, but they are awfully important for a lot. (I sort of think that whole 5 year thing puts an awful lot of unneeded guilt on an awful lot of parents. Your kid is 6 and doesn’t love spinach? ALL IS LOST ABANDON HOPE!)
Tomorrow morning when Vivi wakes up and makes it her day’s work to unroll all the toilet paper? I’ll be right there knowing one day the toilet paper will lose its appeal.