In just six weeks my little girl turns four, which means she is no longer a toddler! She definitely hasn’t been an easy toddler so I’m happy to kiss the title goodbye and seemingly, so is she. She really is a lovely little girl these days – still strong and fierce and independent, with a fiery temper. But these are traits that I wanted for my daughter, and certainly bode well for a successful adult. Just not so easy in a toddler!
Meanwhile my easy, sunny, happy little boy has well and truly entered the toddler phase. Anyone who knows him will tell you he has been a beautiful baby – he embraced the world from the moment he was born and greets each day with a smile. He still is (I think, because I’m totally unbiased!) a gorgeous boy. His default mode is happy, he gives affection freely and his aura is warm. But WOW, at 16 months he can be a handful!
For starters, he is big. Like, really big! Not chubby at all but the true product of his 6ft Mum and 6ft4 Dad. He towers over the other babies in his music class (the teacher says “Walter can try xyz because he is older” but actually he isn’t the oldest in the class!) and is much bigger than we remember his sister being at this age. Not only is he big, he is STRONG. I physically struggle to contain him if he is reckless, as does his Dad. Catching him isn’t easy if he runs away – he is FAST! 16 months old and running!
So you can imagine what these first, just-getting-started tantrums are like – you kind of have to put him in a safe place and let it ride out. Getting too involved is pointless and dangerous. But it’s stressful and eye opening – we never had these kicking, biting, head-banging tantrums the first time around (just the shrieking, soul crushing kind). Boys, huh!?
The other thing I’m wrapping my head around is the seemingly boundless energy. All my friends with boys had told me about this: boys are not that complicated, they said. You just have to run them.
Walter runs from the moment he gets up in the morning – back and forth and around and around our apartment. Outside, into the lift, lift doors open, BAM! He’s off. Music class? Dance. Play group? Run. Stop occasionally to push a car around.
I thought I might avoid the hitting/pushing/shoving stuff with him but no, it seems all toddlers do their fair share of that at some point. Mostly he takes it out on his sister, which is almost definitely deserved, so I kind of try to let them sort it out. Occasionally though he has bitten, which leaves big marks and HURTS – I must say although Heike has tortured him for most of his life I don’t think she’s ever actually hurt him, but what are baby brothers for right?
The great thing with Walter is that he listens and genuinely seems to care if I’m not happy with him. Heike marches to her own drum and has always done pretty much what she wanted with no regard for consequences, which is what has made her so tricky to parent. Walter gives a very cute and funny bashful look whenever he gets in trouble and seems to be able to control his impulses pretty well. Phew!
It’s crazy to watch this little boy run around, communicating and socialising and showing us his own little personality. He is strong yet gentle, demanding yet very easy going. He likes books and music and cars. He’s not so into sitting still.
Where did my baby go? Why didn’t I hold onto that time just a little more tightly? Could I have cuddled him more, coddled him more?
Time goes too fast. Which is why I am cherishing every second with my cheeky little toddler, knowing that before long, he too will turn four and those days will be gone forever.