I’ve just tucked E into bed. I’ve kissed him, wished him sweet dreams and said ‘see you in the morning’, in a deluded hope that he’ll not wake up before the alarm goes off. This is his last sleep as a two year old. And I can say hand on heart he’s been the epitome of a terrible two.
It’s unfair to compare siblings but inevitable. S had a few wobbles, she wasn’t unaccustomed the the naughty step. She tried our patience and tested our willpower, but it was barely noticeable. She seemed to sail from baby to toddler to child (and now teenager at the age of 7) effortlessly, full of humour and on the whole good manners. She slept through the night, toilet training was easy and ate every single morsel of food presented to her.
E is another kettle of fish entirely. Let’s take his manner. To say he’s surly would be an understatement. He basically scowls most of the time. You feel like you’re being judged from the minute you clap eyes on him. Instead of using the naughty step as directed, you just mention it and he takes himself there. He’ll wee on the loo but refuses to have a poo. I’ve had to literally pick poo up and out of places I can never unsee. Food wise unless it’s chocolate or covered in sugar he’s not interested. Scratch that. He’ll eat light coloured food. Eggs, but only if you take the yolk out. Sweetcorn but only if it’s cold. Cucumber but only the watery seedy bit in the middle. The staff at nursery always say he eats everything, even pilchard wheels whateverthehell they are. So it seems that it’s only when he’s home that he can let his inner dictator out.
When they’re babies you’re so hellbent on reaching various, ridiculous milestones: first smile, first laugh, first look of recognition. It’s a time full of firsts. You’re filled with wonder which is heavily outweighed with ‘yay, we’ve managed to keep him/her relatively safe, fed and seemingly healthy ‘. You’re preoccupied with wondering how quickly you can get to the next milestone with the hope that by that time comes along you may have slept a bit and can take it in. You can’t. They’re not designed like that. Or rather I haven’t been. Once you’ve cracked the baby scene you move on to toddlerdome and all the new firsts that come with that; speech, walking, real engagement. You’re no longer their whole world. There’s life beyond mummy and daddy and to be fair it’s properly interesting.
That’s when you realise it. That’s when you know but for whatever reason don’t really register it. The firsts now start to turn into the lasts. The last time they hold your hand when you’re going for a walk. The last time they’ll want to cuddle on the sofa with just you and you alone because you’re all they want. The last time they have a drink from a sippy cup, the last time you’ll need to cut up their sausage.
So, while I’m delighted that we’re waving goodbye to Elliot being a strong willed 2 year old, I know that in his ‘throttleme threes’ there’ll be more lasts to come. I hope I’ll be able to recognise them this time around, in between him trying to break our spirit.