A few weeks ago I was merrily telling a friend of mine that having a third baby has made me a more zen, chilled out mother.
Maybe I put it down to the fact that there’s a big age gap between my third child and her older brothers (they were seven and eight when she was born) and so I’ve had time to mellow into motherhood a bit. Or maybe I told her that three is the magic number; that being utterly outnumbered by children forces you to stop trying to have everything under control; you just sort of submit to the inevitable chaos.
Anyway, whatever I put it down to, my friend laughed in my face when I tried to explain that toddlerhood this time round just doesn’t faze me. Admittedly my little one hadn’t actually started walking at that point, and I could see the incredulity in my friends eyes at my adamant conviction that there is no such thing as the terrible twos (or threes for that matter) and that this time around I was going to be the picture of calm while my little girl sailed through her toddler years.
Yeah. I see now why my friend laughed in my face. Just the other day my newly-walking one-year-old upended a full box of porridge oats all over the kitchen floor. I was sweeping those damned things up for days. Then she stuck a crayon in the hoover so the button you press to wind the cable back in doesn’t work anymore, and every single member of the family has almost broken their neck whilst tripping over it as a consequence. If I didn’t know better I’d think toddlers were mini assassins on assignment. Oh, and did I mention that she sucked on a felt tip last week until her whole mouth turned blue? Suffice it to say that when I realised she was eerily silent and spun around to find her lying very still on the carpet with blue lips I feared the worst and virtually had a heart attack on the spot. I'm telling you; toddlers are out to destroy us all. They're unbelievably cute (you should hear her say 'Bye!' to every single person she meets) but completely hellbent on our ultimate destruction, but whatever means necessary.
She has destroyed her brothers’ precious Lego creations - although interestingly they forgave her instantly, whereas when I trip over the White House or the Bat Cave and accidentally send bits flying there’s always hell to pay.
And then yesterday she upped the ante and dropped my phone down the toilet. The phone that I mainly use for work, and during the busiest week of my working life where I need to be contactable by phone. I swear she did it on purpose too. I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom at the time and she toddled in behind me, lifted it off the shelf (I know, more fool me for leaving it within reach), lifted the toilet lid, looked me squarely in the eye as she dangled it carefully over the water, and daintily released it from her grasp as a satisfied smile crept across her (still vaguely blue) lips.
So did I smile sweetly at the cuteness of my pesky toddler? Did I shrug my shoulders, sigh, and muse aloud that life would be better without mobile phones anyway, as I told my friend I would? Did I hell. My friend was right; toddlers are insanity-inducing, and no age gap or amount of siblings can really make it any less so.
The only saving grace is that all toddlers are like this. (And please, if yours isn’t, don’t bother telling us. We don't want to know; you’ll only make us hate you.) So while the misery of living with a mini assassin can make you wonder how the heck you’ll ever survive beyond the toddler years, there is at least some comfort to be found in sharing your best (should that be worst?) toddler horror stories with your mates.
So, c'mon. Ease my pain; tell me I’m not the first mum to lose her phone to a watery grave at the hands of a mini assassin? What’s the worst your toddler has done? And while we're at it, does that phone-in-a-box-of-rice-for-a-week-in-the-airing-cupboard trick really work?