This post is all about time. How it goes quickly, how it goes slowly. How children have no concept of time, and the good and bad that goes along with that. How you get swallowed up by life and realise that you haven’t posted a blog since March….anyone? No? Just me then…
Firstly, if you are experiencing life as a parent for the first time and are amazed at how long it takes you to leave the house, let me tell you….things can take waaaay longer. Like, putting their shoes on. Hell, even putting YOUR shoes on is a challenge when they get older. They like to take your shoes somewhere that your feet are not. They are suddenly really really interested in the book you tried to read to them an hour ago but they refused to participate in. They need a snack. They can’t decide where to sit to let you attempt the shoe-ing, and change back and forth between two seats 5 times until you threaten to take a random toy away. Then the shoes are on, the bag is packed, you’ve retrieved the child from their toys again, you’ve found your keys that are dangerously close to being poked through the letterbox (such a fun game) and it’s time to leave. All you need to face now is the struggle to get them into the car seat if they’re a wriggler (they get bloody strong!) or the incredibly slow walk if you’re walking, and you’re walking because they think they’re too grown up for a pushchair. Yay.
- Cut down the faffing around during getting ready by letting them make some faux decisions. i.e things that don’t actually make a difference. Ask them which shoe to put on first. Don’t ask them which shoes because they will LOSE THEIR MIND if they choose jelly sandals on a snowy day and you then say no. Ask them which they want to pack in their bag first, their drink or their snack.
- Speed up a walk by distracting them. If they give up and want to be picked up, tell them to stamp their feet, that’ll buy you half a street maybe. Look for cats. Find the blue cars. A bribe of a biscuit works in extreme circumstances.
Moving on to the bigger picture, time does go so quickly. But only when you sit and think about how your teeny little squish is now a whirlwind of tantrums and play dough. One minute you’re waking up for night feeds, staring at your phone in a daze as you ask your self is your baby really awake again? And the next, you’re staring at your toddler in a daze wondering how on earth they’re still running around at 5pm after refusing all naps.
On a smaller scale, learn to make time work to your advantage. If they can sit watching Peppa Pig for 3 hours and you feel the absolute worst, let it happen. They’ll most likely sit still, quietly, and you can collapse on the sofa and rest. Doesn’t have to be tv though. My best mornings for a quiet cup of tea and chance to gather my thoughts happen when Sophie is deep in a bucket of Play Doh, and even when she wants me to make things for her I just take the stuff she thrusts at me and 9 times out of 10 she forgets she asked me for anything and I just get to squish it like a stress ball for a bit.
Most importantly, of all the time you have with your baby, toddler, child, stroppy teen: enjoy it. Or at least try to, I know it’s not ideal when they’re thrashing and screaming in an inexplicable tantrum. Just tell yourself that it’s because they’re passionate and pretend that it’s as amazing and wonderful as when they cuddle you and give you kisses.
Oh, and one last thing, as much as you should make the most of the time with them, cherish bedtime too because damn, it’s just so quiet, isn’t it?