In preparation for our move to Bangkok, I had to get rid of many items, including my daughter’s newborn stuff.
That was hard.
I obviously managed to save some of her best clothes and little toys, but the big bulky items had to go.
That day I got to think how much our lives had changed since she was a newborn. She is close to her second birthday and is no longer the little baby depending on us to get everything she needs (which, besides for food and sleep, wasn’t much anyway).
Instead, today we’re much busier, which translates into me saying NO all the time and her ignoring my instructions (all the time).
Fair enough as I’m the mom and she’s the kid.
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So here is a list of the major things that have changed in our lives from day 1 till now.
Point #1 on the list of things that have changed today: hygiene
Not the lack of hygiene, but a different approach to it.
When my baby was a newborn I was really into sanitizing everything that she touched, which wasn’t much – besides for the baby bottles, pacifiers, blankies and clothes, a couple of dangling toys and her towels, she didn’t have a very active life back then, so cleaning all these items, was not a major challenge. I was able to put her in a protected bubble where I was sure that her body was not going to receive any unwelcome germs.
But today, life is much more relaxed.
Pacifier on the floor? As long as it’s not in a public area, it’s totally fine with me if she puts it back in her mouth. You see, those germs will only contribute to giving her a stronger immunity.
I mean, when we were kids, we picked up many items in our mouths that were either on the floor (like when they innocently fall on the floor, and become irresistible to eat), or in some cases not officially recognized as food: pens and pencils are great for chewing (and you end up with little pieces of wood, or with some ink in your mouth, depending on what you’re chewing), sand is great protection when you jump from those monkey bars (and you can expect to receive some grains in your mouth and crack them for the next 10 minutes), and my personal favorite is the chewing gum that was used to stick things together, was easily hidden under the chair in the classroom (and back in our mouth once class was over) and could be wrapped around our fingers as rings (new fashion style in case you haven’t heard). And the list goes on.
I guess the best part of it, is that I have managed to survive eating those tons of germs over the years. So why would I want my daughter to live in a sanitized bubble…?
Point #2 on the list of things that have changed today: recognition
They say that a newborn baby recognizes her mom’s voice, smell, touch, etc. Which made me feel very special back then. But babies that young don’t know how to express themselves, and can’t show you what it really means to them to be hanging around you.
Today, I feel even more special when my daughter looks at me with her big bright eyes, seeking my attention to help with something, or to recognize her latest accomplishment.
I also love how she runs to me when I’ve been away for a while. Her eyes say it all!
For a working mom, that was the closest I could get to heaven.
Point #3 on the list of things that have changed today: movement
At one point in life, babies turn into toddlers, and that’s when life becomes different.
The progress of movement happens in phases. The first rounds are cute: first, babies discover their hands and put them in their mouth. Next thing they discover is their feet. And they put them in their mouth too. Then they start to roll on their sides, and after about 5-6 months they finally sit-up.
That’s when it stops being cute.
Next thing you know they start moving around using any method that serves the purpose: crawling, bottom shuffling, rolling across the house, etc.
About the same time you start skipping the yoga classes as you are consumed by so much time and energy following your newly-mobile-adventurous-enthusiast around the house (which by that time, looks very different with all the child proofing tools that you’ve implemented).
So what have I learned from this progress in mobility?
Each time we reach a new milestone, once the excitement is gone, and the pictures are taken and sent to our friends and families (which means about half a million persons around the globe), reality hits and we need to adjust to a new lifestyle.
So that’s how I see it: MILESTONE = NEW CHALLENGES!
Point #4 on the list of things that have changed today: demands
Another thing that changed dramatically from Day 1 till now are the demands. Not that a newborn doesn’t have any demands, but the older kids have many, many more demands – some of which are sometimes impossible to fulfill.
Truth is, newborns know so little about the world that it becomes relatively easier to answer their demands. They are limited to their basic needs. When those needs are not fulfilled, they make sure you’re aware of it. And if those needs are answered, babies (and their parents) can enjoy a peaceful day.
Toddlers on the other hand, have discovered the world and how it functions. While they are more capable of doing things on their own (like drinking, eating or playing alone), they also get more creative in their demands.
Basically, toddlers and their demands are like doctors and their tools. They can’t function without them. This is how they are programmed to behave; it’s part of their DNA.
And the worst is when toddlers think they can rule the house. The result? I am not allowed to eat, drink or even use the phone in my own house (read this post to find out how my toddler sees the world). Each time I have a plate with food in it, my baby HAS to grab it and make it her own. And if I prepare another plate for myself, she HAS to get hold of that one too. It’s like she peed around the house, planted a flag and claimed it her own territory!
Basically, it feels like her dad and I are just guests who happen to live in the same house (Last time I checked I was the mom, but apparently things have changed since).
Point #5 on the list of things that have changed today: we have more fun!
So now the good part…
Despite all the movements, demands, and of course the tantrums that a two year old could have, the fun is simply irresistible.
Kids this age appreciate more things and they know how to express it.
When we took her to the zoo in Bangkok the other day, she got so excited by seeing the elephants, which until now were just an image in books or an animated cartoon on TV. Those elephants were definitely the highlight of her day and she expressed it in the sweetest way ever.
So if MILESTONE = NEW CHALLENGES. I can also say MILESTONE = MORE FUN!
‘Cause sometimes, all it takes is a little fun moment like this, to make a mom scrap all the challenges of the Terrible Twos.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: “What is REALLY going on in your toddler’s mind?”
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