Oh my, how life can swing with a toddler in tow! From epic highs to meltdown lows in the space of a day. In the space of minutes sometimes!
It means that I can feel like Supermum at times. Like this morning, when Noodles and I had the sun on our necks, the playground to ourselves and smiles on our faces. Ok, in theory I should have been taking a trip to the DIY stores out of town, but when Noodles pointed the way to the park instead I couldn’t resist and it was the best part of my day.
On the swings: ‘High as the tree. High as the sky. Blue sky.’
Or tonight, juggling the children without incident or tears, cooking multiple pancakes to order. Then both children asleep on time, school reading done and the skirting painted in the bathroom. All whilst Husband plants himself on the sofa because he’s had a hard time sitting in meetings followed by an afternoon trip to the cinema. But never mind, it’s all in hand.
If only it had lasted all day. I would have felt epic. But instead Noodles had another epic meltdown. Too late to nap, too early for bed, but too tired to cope. And unfortunately we were waiting for Boo to finish her dance class. So it was a wall of sound, an enclosed space and visible shudders from the other mums.
‘What do I do about this?’ I asked the health visitor mum.
Easier said than done, unfortunately. Like I said, a literal wall of noise.
I stepped out into the vestibule with him, which calmed him down. Unfortunately, the walls are thin and I could hear every word the other mums were saying about us.
Never mind Supermum, I felt like the worst mum ever. How could I not wrangle control of my toddler?
As Boo’s class finished and we left the studio Noodles was once again like another child. Happy, babbling away, pointing to the blue sky again. Meanwhile I felt drained and close to tears.
A few texts between other friends and we all feel like we’re failing somewhere. Whether it’s because their smallest won’t eat or sleep as they should or school has made their eldest stroppy or they don’t know how to handle teen hormones. Is child-raising just lurching from one crisis of development to another? Or as mums do we fixate on the areas where we feel we’re failing? Surely in our children’s eyes we are epic? Which is why they can kick against us (both figuratively and, mid-tantrum, quite literally) because we’re superheroes in their eyes and will stand firm in our love for them.
But my God, the swings between cherub and demon child! Looking at the peaceful child asleep in bed the wailing seems a world away. But in the moment of the howling and thrashing and kicking out the happy, smiling toddler from the morning in the park is unreachable.
When I look back in ten years time though, what will I remember? Probably the very worst of meltdowns (there’s one in particular with the twins that will forever be etched on my mind) but most will fade with the sands of time. The photos will highlight the glossy, shiny times. A little boy with a cheeky smile, having fun in the sunshine. And there will be the cute, funny, embarrassing stories. Compared with the challenges of a son on the brink of his teenage years, perhaps I’ll think back wistfully to the cute toddler times.
Here’s hoping Supermum has the upper hand most of the time, come what may. Although may I suggest her costume comes with plenty of padding so her crash landings aren’t quite so painful.