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!
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.
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.
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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