OPINION – MELISSA GRANT
Parenthood often feels like you are climbing Mount Everest – it’s hard work, challenging and exhausting!
A steep incline, without a doubt, is the infant and toddler stages. It’s particularly tiring and often feels like you are in desperate need of a breather.
After celebrating our youngest’s second birthday last week, I finally feel like that steep incline is about to flatten out.
Our eldest got a lot easier to manage from the age of about 2.5 years and with the end of toddlerhood considered to be six months after that, life should soon get a little less exhausting (here’s hoping!)
After my little boy awkwardly attempted to blow out the candles on his baby shark cake last week, I’ve been reflecting about the infant and toddler stages – the great and not-so-great things about them.
Here are some of the things I won’t miss:
– Night wakings: When you become a parent for the first time one of the biggest shocks to the system is the interruptions to your sleep. Like most mums, I was up feeding my kids 2-3 times a night during those first six or so months. Once your kids start sleeping through the night you wonder how you got through those sleep deprived days.
– Chaotic dinner times: How fun is it trying to shovel food down your throat before your toddler starts blowing up in their high chair or decides to throw food everywhere? Answer – not very! Needless to say, dinnertime becomes a lot more enjoyable once your child can feed themselves.
– Cleaning bottles: Scrubbing, sterilising, repeat. Cleaning milk bottles, and breast pumps for that matter, is a chore you can do without.
– Nappies: Changing nappies is fun said no parent ever! I don’t even want to think of how many nappies I’ve changed since my first was born 4.5 years ago. The toilet training of my youngest will be a massive cause for celebration!
– Constant vigilance: When your child is a toddler, you’re constantly on high alert for potential dangers. You’re forever worried that they will climb furniture and tumble off, pick up a dog poo in the yard and eat it, walk into the kitchen bench, touch something hot, the list goes on.
However, the stages of infancy and toddlerhood aren’t all bad. Here are some of the things that I will miss:
– Naps: It can take a while to get your baby or toddler down for a nap, but it’s worth it. You can get so much done during naptime and, if you are lucky, have a rest yourself.
– Being their entire world: When a child is very young they have very few outside influences. You are pretty much their entire world – they rely on their parents for so much.
– The rapid development: It’s a joy watching your child grow and there’s so much development that happens between 0-3 years. They start crawling then walking and also start talking (and some of the mispronunciations are so adorable).
– Cuddles: The biggest thing I will miss is the cuddles you can get from such a little person – I think we can all agree that they are the best!