Toddler Life.

Oh these balmy warm evenings; how you make me feel like shit.  The guilt I feel that I haven’t got the paddling pool out, haven’t barbequed the kids nuggets or toasted marshmallows over a (safe) firepit.  Social media increasing the pressure, solidifying the guilt.  The best I’m managing, within the constraints of a 24/7 three-year old with endless tantrums, is a pot of bubbles after school.  I manage more at the weekend when I coerce my poor Mother into coming with me; essentially guilt-tripping her with my harassed and tear-stained face and pleading eyes.  Then we’ll do a ‘lovely day at the park’, a ‘picnic by the river’ or sully the National Trust with my out-of-control toddler and her far-reaching scream.  Everything starts with such good intentions; smiles and rose-coloured glasses firmly over my dark-circled eyes as I boil eggs and butter bread.  Whilst contained within the house (i.e. on lock-down) the 3-year old will fake me into forgetting the depths of her tantrum capabilities by sitting quietly.  I’ve come to realise this is merely ‘gathering strength’.  Perhaps she should make the bloody picnic and I sit quietly and ‘gather’ the Herculean strength I’ll require later to haul her flailing four stone body off the floor and stagger back to the car.

 

Having some sense we usually pick a vast open space; a place she can run and jump and frollick, like the spring lamb on mind-altering drugs that she is.  There’s always a moment.  A moment in time when I watch her tumbling blonde curls as she runs and my heart swells at the sight of her huge ‘tic-tac’ grin and she proffers me a flower and says ‘for you Mama’.  At this point I normally note the tell-tale brown stodge on the bottom of her sandal and know she’s walked through something she shouldn’t have.  Then upon leaning down to remove the ‘shit-flop’ it’ll be obvious she’s curled one out herself which will also need dealing with.  This will usually happen just as the picnic has been lovingly arranged onto the outdoor picnic door.  Next she’ll not sit on the bench properly; simply refuse.  Instead sitting precariously in a crouched position, refusing steadfastly to eat anything other than crisps or cake.  Invariably I’ll not relax for the entire lunch;  just waiting for her to tumble backwards onto the ground, so I forgo cake and instead have a two ‘Rennie’ chaser. 

 

The sun also ruins my life.  For children require sun-cream and sun-hats, glasses, visors over the car window, cotton-mix clothes that cover yet keep them cool. The 3-year old won’t wear a hat, or glasses, pulls the visor off the window and attempts to hurl it at me; whilst I’m driving.  Sun-cream is usually accepted,  then vigorously rubbed off; on whatever I’m wearing. Then there’s my constant UVA/B monitoring which kicks in at about 18 degrees; less if there’s no cloud cover.  “Water? Drink some water, come on have a sip of water, why did you throw that?  It’s all dirty now, right now I’ve got to wash it in Milton at home.”  “She looks red Mum, do you think she’s overly red?  Is she red because she’s hot, or is she burnt?  Christ, she’s burnt, she’ll have sun-stroke too won’t she?  Water? Come on darling. OI, DRINK SOME BLOODY WATER CHILD.” 

 

Calming down I’ll apply more cream, then begin the soul-destroying ‘hat on-retrieve hat off the floor-hat on’ routine as we make our way to the park.  The park is square and surrounded on all sides by a fence; I fucking love it!  I can relax here; particularly if she’s sipping water and keeping her hat on…

 

It’s not even Summer yet; note to self – must pick up a gallon drum of ‘Kalms’…

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