LIFE WITH A NEWBORN VS LIFE WITH A TODDLER
Newborns are so hard. You literally cannot do anything. I spend literally every waking minute feeding or holding them whilst they sleep.
All they do is feed for hours on end and then shit and then feed some more. I can’t get any housework done. I can’t go anywhere as the baby needs its naps and he wont nap while I’m out.
I must stay home to make sure he can nap at EXACTLY the same time each day. I spend so much time getting him to sleep in his Moses basket or crib and then when he does what I actually want and sleeps for any significant length of time I have to stare at him and get my face really close, or shove the audio monitor against my ear like a mother obsessed, to make sure I can still hear him breathing.
Wow babies go through so many nappies, I’m changing them every hour, the moment that little yellow line starts to change colour.
When we go out I have to take nappies, spare vests and bottoms in case of a poonami and some muslins in case of any vomit. It will be easier when they are eating and potty trained and I can start using all my nice small bags again.
I can then eat my own meal in peace rather than eating pre-cut food one handed whilst feeding, and dropping bits of food on my babies head.
When they understand more I can explain things to them and then they won’t get so upset when I leave the room or have to do something. I will be able to get out more. I can do the housework and I can cook meals. I can hang the washing, go to the toilet, do the washing up. They will be fine as they can watch me or play.
REALITY: The 6 month old
Oh my good lord. This is the worst. Why did I not maximise on the days when the baby couldn’t move? And to think I thought I had it bad then!!! It was easy street. I could put them down anywhere and they would stay there. Yes they cried but they were safe! I could dash for a pee or make a cuppa. Now I put them on the mat and run to have a pee and when I return I don’t know where the hell they’ve gone! I’ve started making fortresses out of all the pillows and cushions in the house to pen them in.
I remember when I could get away with not hoovering for a few days or pop stuff down on the floor. Now the baby is sticking every damn thing in their mouth off the floor. The hair off the carpet is getting stuck to their dribble.
When we went out I thought it was hard. Why? They slept most of the time and the cry was bearable. Now they scream so damn loud it just cannot be ignored. And they sleep for two tiny naps and if they don’t happen at the right time the beast within is unleashed.
Why are baby groups at 10am right smack bang on naptime? I’m not getting to any of them anymore and if I do I am sat feeding them on my own like a loser while the baby sleeps!
I get a tiny bit of housework done while they are strapped in the bouncer but they have started leaning over the side and I’m scared it will topple over. It will be easier when they can just follow me and they wont be so frustrated. Also once they can sit up properly I can have them in the high chair and they can watch me whilst I cook. They will like that.
I’m not sitting with the monitor strapped to my ear anymore out of fear they will stop breathing but Ive upgraded to a video monitor so I can make sure they don’t roll over in the night and suffocate.
REALITY: 1 year old
Fuck. Why did I think this would be easier? Am I deranged? At least at the rolling stage I could dash to the toilet and know the most damage they could do is get stuck under the sofa or eat some old crusty bit of food off the floor.
You could just put all the risky stuff up on the table and it would be safe out of their way. Now absolutely everything is a risk!! Anything not right in the middle of the table or really high up can be grabbed by those mucky hands!
I can’t leave anything anywhere!
I’m in a constant state of fear of my child coming into harm or immediate death! They might swallow something and choke or be poisoned, burn themselves on the oven or radiator or a carelessly placed cup of tea. They might crack their heads open just walking about.
Why does everything have corners at 1 year old height?!?! Why aren’t more pieces of furniture round? Ok my child has still managed to smash their head on my round coffee table. They have taken to pulling off all the corner bumpers off the corners of the furniture and eating them. Why are they all small enough to be a choking hazard?
Why are doors the thing of nightmares? I have to wedge them all open or my baby is going to lock himself in a room and be standing by the door so I wont be able to open it without smashing them in the face. Or they will chop their fingers off in the gap by the hinges or close the door on them. Ahhhhh.
There is no dashing anywhere anymore. I get to the toilet and the sound of the pitter patter down the corridor is heard the second I hit the seat. I can either lock the door for privacy and have them banging on the door screaming like they are being mauled by wolves or keep it open and have them want to sit on my lap whilst I poo!
Going out is a joke. I have to pin them down whilst they thrash and scream in order to get them in the pram and do up the straps. Its a full on restraint operation. And the bag!!!! Jeez I thought the nappy bag was big, I’m now carrying spare clothes in case of food smearing as well as poonamis. I have to have several snacks on tap to placate them and keep them quiet, as well as a drink, bib, toys and teething gel. There are rice cakes in here that have been there for months. There is smushed up banana and a yogurt lid stuck at the bottom, need to wash it before it starts growing life.
I have the same physical battle getting them in the high chair. I put them in the high chair so I can do basic housework. I give them stuff to play with and they just dash it all on the floor. I get 10 minutes max of useful time and that’s whilst plying them with constant snacks.
We go to some groups now but I spend most of the time chasing them round stopping them from stealing the toys and food from other kids or smacking them in the face. I’m sure my kid is the worst one in the whole group. All the others seem so much more civilised.
Mealtimes are like feeding time at the zoo. I’m not eating pre-cut food over the head of a baby anymore, no, BUT I spend ages making food all the perfect size for little mitts to hold and 70% of it ends up on the floor, 25% on their face, in their hair and thrown at me and approx 5% in their bellies! I spend 30 minutes cooking, then 15 minutes cleaning up the mess!
I don’t need a monitor at night anymore the whole neighbourhood can hear them screaming like a banshee!
I cant wait until they are older and can keep themselves occupied and play nicely by themselves. We can talk about things and they can walk so I won’t have to lug a buggy round all the time. When they are no longer in nappies I can finally have my small bag again. Going out will be such a breeze. We just get our shoes on and off we go.
REALITY: 3 years old
It’s great we can talk now. He comes out with such brilliant things its so much fun. But why does he want to start having a full on discussion at 5am?
Everything we see, hear or do is met with the ‘but why?’ question. I’m happy he’s inquisitive but he just wont accept any answer I give. Its met with another “but why?” it gets to the point that all that’s left is “because it just is there is not another answer ok?!?!?!”
He has some time where he plays alone now so I can get some stuff done. It lasts about 10 minutes but most of the time I have to play too. During those 10 minutes I bang out as much work as I can, but I have to be alert because if its going too well and he’s too quiet its a sure sign he’s up to no good. Any quiet time you get whilst solitary play is happening has to be balanced with the knowledge that the room will be absolutely demolished, every singe toy possible will be on the floor, and you’ll spend another 10 minutes tidying it up which essentially cancels out that other 10 minutes you got earlier.
Every time we watch a film or TV I am berated with a million questions about every conceivable thing that has happened or could happen. Sometimes I don’t know the answer, because I’ve never seen it, and for the toddler thought police it is not good enough. I’m met by the demand “but why mummy, tell me mummy, tell me!!”.
Crying is on the large part a thing of the past unless….
- He doesn’t get what he wants
- Something doesn’t happen the way he expects
- He is tired
- His hands get dirty
- His picture doesn’t turn out how he imagined
- He needs a tissue (“mummy….. Tiiiiiissssshhhhhhooooooo”)
Basically anything in the world can set him off really, there’s no rhyme or reason. He can go from being a happy and sweet little thing to a mini moody rageful beast within moments notice. Its like living with a miniature psychopath. So charismatic and charming but also so egocentric and unpredictable with no empathy or ability to see things from any other perspective other than his own.
I don’t have to worry about leaving stuff out of reach so much now, I just have to be prepared that anything I leave out will become part of a craft project and be prit-sticked to something else.
I miss the groups, he’s too old for them now and any activity I do at home keeps him entertained for 2 minutes flat, its so hard. Cbeebies is my bud!
Going out is bonkers it takes forever to get out of the house, between making sure he has been to the toilet and having a full on rage that his sock isn’t on properly and that he doesn’t want to wear any shoes! It take a million years to get to the shop, he wants to push the trolley and he wants me to buy everything! Halfway home he is laying in the street complaining his legs hurt. I end up pulling him along or giving him a piggy back, whilst holding 2 heavy bags of shopping as well as my large tote bag.
I have to carry a spare set of clothes for him in case he has an ‘accident’ even though he has been dry for 6 months because the last time I didn’t he shat himself in tesco. Also got to have a sneaky snack in there, for bribery purposes or distraction in case of an unexpected meltdown or needing to wait in a long queue. Do you remember the pram? Oh I loved the pram. Could have them sat in it, all safe, speed around the shops then load all the food in the bottom and hang bags off the handle. Those were the days!!!
I get most of my housework done in 10 minutes segments whilst he is having a poo or whilst he is watching good old Cbeebies.
Mealtimes are much easier now, he feeds himself and there is far less mess, but we do have to sit at the table for a lifetime whilst he takes forever to finish his food, needing constant encouragement. He eats like a beast all day. It is literally a constant request for snacks.
As for night time no monitor required. He sleeps soundly in his bed until around 4am when he sneaks into our room and gets into our bed. He does sleep cartwheels and ends up laying diagonally across our bed with the whole duvet thrown back, kicking me in the back of the head, until he wakes an hour later and proceeds to jump all over me.
I imagine in a year or so he will be so much easier, but now his sister has been born and I get to go through all the fun all over again. Yay me!