It is sometimes very hard to stay calm when managing a toddler. At the moment, the Toddler has conjunctivitis, which he has aggravated by constantly rubbing his eyes. He has drops for his eyes, moisturising cream for around his eyes as the rubbing has caused eczema to flare up, and antibiotics to prevent it turning into cellulitis. The drops need to be administered every two hours, the antibiotics every four hours, the cream as often as possible. I also need to clean his eyes regularly with cooled boiled salted water and cotton wool, and apply steroid cream to the eczema he has on his arms, legs and torso. This would be a full time job if you were doing it for yourself, but if you also have to cajole a two year old into agreeing to all this man-handling and fussing, life becomes a little tiresome.
Even something as mundane as getting out of the house is a major operation. Sir only wants to wear one particular pair of shoes and one particular coat, regardless of the weather or whether the coat is in the wash, and where ever we go he needs to have his entourage of toys with him: “Teddy mee [come along]? Mickey Mouse mee? Bus mee?”
Tonight, I foolishly thought that, at 2 years of age, my son would be fine at a carol service that was taking place around bedtime. It was only short, he’d managed it fine last year, there were lots of people we know well and there were mince pies for him to nibble. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Last year he couldn’t talk. This year he chose all the quietest moments to loudly demand our attention: “Mummy, bus! Mummy, number eight! Daddy daddy daddy!!” After every carol and before each reading he would make use of the silence to point out: “Singing!” And when a kind friend thought she’d help out by taking the Baby off my hands, he freaked out and said: “Baby! Mummy, wawa Baby gone? Mummy, zoeken Baby [look for Baby]!” Also, all his favourite people, most importantly Daddy, kept standing up to do readings or sing in the choir, which prompted him to run over to them calling out their name and demanding cuddles.
By bedtime, I am done with Toddler-wrangling, and I just want him to meekly follow me upstairs, brush his teeth and go to bed so my husband and I can have some time to ourselves. Unfortunately that is rarely what happens. As I write this, I can still hear him chatting and singing to the toys that had to come to bed with him, probably about all the stories that he wanted me to read or the games he still wanted to play. Occasionally, I hear him call out: “Muuuuummmeeeeee!”
I, however, am on strike. I am eating crisps and drinking a glass of cheap white wine and I am in denial about the Toddler’s awake-ness. Surely soon he will get tired and go to sleep? Surely?