Elise is 13 months now and has graduated from being a baby to a toddler. She’s more assertive, mischievous, tries to push boundaries (because she doesn’t know what the boundaries are) and vocal. There’s a stark difference between parenting a baby and a toddler. It’s the next stage of our video game. I’ve come up with some realisations about this stage.
- Co-sleeping with a toddler = Toddler Taekwondo
We have been co-sleeping with Elise ever since she was an infant. She sleeps in between us on a king-sized bed. For someone that little, she takes up way too much space. She does a 360 degree rotation and wriggles around to find her perfect spot. I’d be sleeping when I get whacked on the face with her arm. I’ve also woken up in the middle of the night to find her sleeping precariously at the edge of the bed where our feet are. We’re going to get a new mattress so we can kick her out of our bed and reclaim it.
– Knowing your baby is right beside you
– Being able to comfort her without having to get out of bed
– Decreased sleep quality for everyone
– Dead bedroom
- Peaceful Toilet Time? Not happening anymore
Elise has a new habit where she goes right up to the toilet door, repeatedly slams on it and yells at you to finish your business until you come out. Toddlers have no concept of privacy. This kid is determined.
- There are only very few baby items which are essential
I went on overdrive when I was pregnant and by the time Elise was born, I had close to everything, plus a few toys which she will take a few years to grow into (wooden kitchen set, anyone?). It’s only when the first year is over that you realise what is necessary and what is rather useless.It’s also why when it comes to the subsequent kids, we only purchase the bare necessities (clothes, toiletries, bottles).
- Toddler Discipline should start early
Elise had her first post-op playdate with her October buddies a few days ago. Elise kept touching Hana’s head and attempted to bite her, K wanted to play with Matty’s ride on scooter and Matty had to deal with sharing all his toys with his friends. They’re at the age where they haven’t completely grasped the concept of sharing yet, so we kept having to break up petty fights.
Our babies were born into our world without knowing social norms and rules. That’s why we cannot expect toddlers to behave in-line with our cultures and guidelines. Instead, we need to guide them into finding proper ways to express themselves while being nice to others.
As parents, we need to take charge of discipline at home rather than push the responsibility to others. We cannot expect schools, grandparents, nannies or domestic helpers to discipline our kids for us. The last thing I want is for Elise to grow up to become a self-entitled, arrogant brat.Discipline does not need to be terrifying for the child. “Don’t scold her, she’s still young” is NOT an excuse to back down on discipline for young toddlers. Every incident can be a teaching opportunity. I need to work on my tone though, because my dad says I don’t sound scary enough when I tell Elise”no”.
- Toddlers have an immense capability for learning
Now that I’m no longer required to be present in the office daily, my role has switched from a FTWM to a WFHM. It appears to be a luxury, but all I can say is that each role comes with its own responsibilities and challenges. It’s my third week of spending 24/7 with Elise, and she surprises me at how fast she learns.After seeing her friends walk unassisted at the play date, she has started walking unassisted for more steps with confidence. Yesterday, she took her longest unassisted stride from the bedroom to the living room and when she realised that she did it, she had the biggest grin on her face.
Just this morning, I realised there was a missing ball from her toy and questioned her “Where’s the ball?”. She crawled to a short drawer and peered below it. Sure enough, the missing ball was right under, out of her reach. She has better memory than me. She is fascinated by books and can be entertained for hours with the same few lift-the-flap books. My dad uses this to introduce new vocabulary to her.
While she still speaks in her own language, she understands most instructions.Now is the best time to bring her out more so she can explore her interests, develop new abilities and learn through play before she begins formal education (10 years of hitting the books. I wonder if there’s a way out of typical Singapore education).I could plonk her in front of the television or entertain her with a tablet full of childrens’ programmes but doesn’t maximise her capabilities. I want to do more.Whoever said having a kid was easy?