Have you been POP-ed by your toddler?

Remember the time at your cousin’s wedding when you proudly proclaimed that your toddler now knows the entire alphabet, only to hear him say ABCDHJLMNTX? Or the time when you told your guests he can sing the entire Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with actions, and he refused to ‘perform’. These little-but-sure-to-happen-at-some-point ironies are a given for all Mums. I refer to these moments as ‘Paradoxes of Parenting’ (POP): the times when our cute munchkins/ darlings/ bubblegums (or whatever other nicknames we bestow upon them) turn into not-so-cute munchkins/ darlings/ bubblegums.

1. The Performance Party Pooper

This is the most common POP, as described above. Toddlers have a knack of not performing when it really matters (when mommy wants to show off to her guests/ other mommy friends/ the headmistress of the school you’re dying to get your child into). Of course, the minute you’re home, toddler recites the entire alphabet – yes all 26 letters – and sings Twinkle Twinkle while vehemently pointing ‘up above’ to the sky with his little finger!


2. The Sleep Saga

There’s a big night ahead of you. You’re hosting dinner. Or are invited to a party you really want to go to. And enjoy. You want baby/toddler to nap longer than usual so that he’s able to stay up later without getting cranky. You start planning from the night before: put him to bed at the appropriate time so that he wakes up at a suitable time so that he can nap for at least three hours. It’s important to get the balance of tired-enough-but-not-overtired to sleep, as all mums would know. All’s going well… till nap-time. When baby/toddler simply refuses to sleep. Brace yourselves for this one mums, coz it will happen. Eventually, you go to the party with a baby that’s not had any sleep and is crankier than usual, and you looking like the Grinch!



My sexy ‘party’ look

3. Potty Training ‘Poop’er

Yes, this pun is intended. You’ve organised a playdate at home, inviting all your li’l one’s friends and their mums. Now your friends, by default. But this playdate is special – it’s the first time your  li’l one is going commando (in toddler terms, that means sans nappy). Yes, he’s finally potty-trained and you want to show off. You proudly let known this fact, even boasting about how your smart toddler sits on the ‘big potty’ on his own. And then… he has an accident! There is poop all over his pants and a foul smell fills the room. As does a foul silence. You feel the smirky grins of the other mums, even though you can’t see them. Needless to say, the last time your toddler had a potty-training accident was over a month ago… definitely a POP.

4. Jinxed!

This one’s a given too. You think it’s about time your toddler gave up his soother/ night bottle/ any bad habit. You start planning the exit strategy, preparing yourself and your toddler for the ‘big change ahead’. But just when you’re all set to begin, the Jinx appears. Your li’l one will have another growth spurt and thus be genuinely HUNGRY at 3 am – now you can’t deny a hungry baby his milk, can you? Or, as has happened with me time after time, he begins to sprout a new tooth (the molars this time) just as you are trying to get him off the pacifier. He’s in pain. The pacifier comforts him. You put it off, yet again.

If you’re interested, this is how I battled – and won – my son’s dummy addiction and here are some more tips for weaning toddlers off the pacifier.


5. Stroller versus stroll

Another POP we’ve all experienced. More often than we would like. Your toddler doesn’t like being tied down in his stroller anymore and insists on walking (read: running) everywhere. Which leaves you pushing an empty stroller while running after toddler. So on your next outing you (un)wisely decide to leave the stroller at home, so you can freely run along with toddler. Wrong. It is on that very day that toddler chooses not to walk (tired/ legs hurting/ fussy) and insists on being carried. Which leaves you walking around the park/mall with 13 kilos plonked on you, plus your purse/ nappy bag/ shopping bags. You vow never to leave your dear stroller at home again…\


6. Camera Control

Little Man has mastered this one. He will go all mute and lifeless the second I swipe my phone out and press the record button (which, I must admit, I do practically all day). If he’s dancing, he’ll stop just as the video camera rolls into action. If I ask him to repeat the song he was just singing so I can record him, he’ll vehemently shout ‘No’. And if I want him to stand still for a picture, well, that’s a Herculean task! Tis another skill all babies/toddlers are born with – to go all-out when not being recorded and stand still as soon as we want them to perform.

Any POP that you have experienced? I’d love to hear about it…


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  1. motherhoodtherealdealal

    Oh man, every single day, every single day in some way! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely x

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  4. Josie - Me, Them and the Others

    We got “poped” last weekend when my in laws had the kid’s overnight for the first time and instead of going to sleep at 7.30 like he does EVERY OTHER NIGHT our sone decided to keep everyone awake till 11.30. Gone are our hopes of making it a regular thing! #itsok

    1. Nicole

      Oh dear, you have properly been pop-ed!!!

  5. Helen Copson

    Yes to all of these! I get particularly annoyed with him being a performance party pooper. He is dinosaur obsessed. OBSESSED! He can identify and pronounce perfectly dinosaurs I’ve never even heard of. For example, Micropachecephalasaurus (or however you spell it), Parasauralophus, and Archiopteryx. He is three years old. Ask him in public what his favourite dinosaur is? A T Rex. A BLOODY T REX!!! I go mad every time! 🙂 #ItsOK

    1. Nicole

      Classic example, isn’t it?! I can relate… makes you want to scream!!!

  6. MomOfTwoLittleGirls

    Yes to all of these, especially the potty training poper! Been there, done that!

    1. Nicole

      The potty-training one is an age-old pop-er!!!

  7. Sarah-Marie Collins

    I can relate to all of these. We were at a soft play the other day and my 2yo was walking along the balance beam. I tried to get a photo to show Daddy. The moment he saw the camera he ducked down and stopped until I put it away.

    1. Nicole

      My son used to do that all the time… still does!!! Pop-ed!

  8. Lisa Pomerantz

    Definitely not an easy stage. But looking back, I love ’em all! It is just going too quick, so even the hard and near breakdown days are treasured! #itsok xoxo

    1. Nicole

      So true Lisa… as they say, the days are long but the years are short. Treasure these times…

  9. Crummy Mummy

    I can relate to most of this! #itsok though!

    1. Nicole

      Yes, guess we all go through these POPS as parents of little ones.

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