Trouble is, I’m not really sure I can do that now my first baby is a new toddler. I mean I’m more confident with my parenting skills than I was in those first few months, his needs are easier to read, mostly because they are being screamed at me from across the supermarket. I can assess the right temperature because I’ve realised that its either just too fucking hot or too fucking cold, it doesn’t matter if you’re nine months old or ninety. I don’t worry about the colour of poo, I no longer phone my Mum about it. Two and half years in, I’ve seen it all or at least please God, I hope I have. Its been on my hands, in my hair, on the carpet, there’s nothing in the poo department that can worry me now. We’ve kept him alive and reasonably well behaved, we used to congratulate ourselves on what a ‘good baby’ he was.
Then three weeks ago, he held me hostage in Superdrug.
We were passing by on our way back from a play centre, I was feeling pretty smug, I’d run him ragged with slides and ball pits. I was already planning my catch up TV during afternoon nap time. One minute he was holding my hand and the next he was off. Straight into the shop, right to the back end. The first mistake I made was to run after him, because of course he thought that was bloody hilarious. The second mistake was to think I could actually catch him. I couldn’t get near him, he’s so fast. I started to panic about losing sight of him. My old trusty “I’m going to count to three, 1…, 2 …. 3…” didn’t have any impact and I could feel everyone looking at me and my appallingly behaved child. I actually started to feel sick at this point, sick and incredibly embarrassed. This shop was a maze of aisles and people and I was terrified he was going to run outside or someone would take him. For a few minutes, I was completely helpless, red-faced and panic stricken.
I was of course, being utterly ridiculous.
I stopped chasing him and went and stood at the front of the shop by the door. He couldn’t see me and now it was his turn to panic. Within moments he appeared and I grabbed him by his coat sleeve. Cue an epic floor based tantrum and uncontrollable sobbing when he found out there would in fact, be no Smarties today. Going by the looks being thrown, I had already failed as a Mother by this point so this spectacular scene didn’t bother me. I just stood and watched. Then we carried on home as if nothing had ever happened.
We are knee deep in the terrible twos people and its not survival of the fittest, its survival of the smartest. Just when you think you’ve got this parent gig sorted, another ‘phase’ begins, its an endless cycle of hysteria, frustration, self doubt and fear. Sometimes I feel like I’m going into battle, waging war against my two year old. I’m not sure I’ll ever really know what I’m doing.
Still, look at that face though…