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Anyone hate toddlerhood as much as I do???!!

82 replies

Shattered · 08/07/2002 23:59

Last week dh and I were invited by a colleague of dh to have dinner at his place. He is older than us and dh told me that he had been a very successful businessman in the past. Anyway as we could not get a babysitter that night, the colleague suggested that we just bring him along with us. (A bit of background, ds had not been very well the week before and was pretty tired this particular night). We walked in the door of this man's home and I nearly died, the place was perfectly decorated and didn't even look like it was "lived in" - you know, beautiful white lounge suite, crystal and glass everywhere and some VERY expensive-looking china vases and pottery. All I could think about was how I was going to stop ds from touching everything - it was like the proverbial 'bull in a china shop' situation. Anyway we managed to keep him restrained for a while but then we sat down for dinner, and after about 15 minutes in the high chair, he started whining and wanted to get down. The guy had gone to a lot of trouble and I was beginning to feel a bit uptight. Anyway we eventually let him get down and he started zooming around trying to touch everything, and then the inevitable happened - he raced into the kitchen and before we knew it, he'd grabbed a plate from the bench and it smashed on the floor. I just wanted the ground to swallow me up at this point. We apologised profusely and to cut a long story short, we ended up going home early - it was just a nightmare. Then to top it off, a couple of days later we were at the airport and dh and I were taking turns following ds around to make sure he wasn't getting into any mischief. A woman who was sitting nearby watching, said to me (with a bit of disdain) "He never stops, does he?" I felt like saying "Thank you for stating the bleeding obvious!!!!!" Honestly I wonder sometimes if my child is just an average toddler or if this level of activity is normal..? I must admit I feel like throttling him sometimes - any encouragement would be appreciated!! Thank you.

OP posts:

jasper · 09/07/2002 03:11

shattered, congratulations on your normal, healthy toddler!
As for passers by making comments, here in Scotland it is a constant thing, so much so I hardly notice anymore. I am sure most people who comment mean well, and are perhaps reliving the time when their own kids were "into everything".
I never take my three young kids to anyones house if I can avoid it, unless that person has kids too. It is just too much stress for me.


Joe1 · 09/07/2002 07:40

My ds is two in September and he is the same, I am worn out by the end of the day. If his grandparents look after he totally shatters them. I would prefer him to be all over the place having fun and learning than a child that doesnt really want to do anything.


Tetley · 09/07/2002 08:47

Sounds exactly like my ds! He's 20 months, and doesn't stay still for a minute! The only time he's still is when he's asleep - and to be honest he wriggles about a lot even then!
What happened with your ds, Shattered, sounds perfectly normal behaviour for a toddler - after all he's only exploring, and it was a new and exciting place for him to explore.

I sometimes feel that it's not worth the hassle of going to other people's houses (well, people without young children anyway) as I can never relax. We've got some great friends who, if inviting us for dinner, will often bring the food around to our house to make it easier for us!


Azzie · 09/07/2002 10:10

My ds is 4.75, and still on the go. His sister is 2.5 and very similar. Just think - which would you rather have, a bright and interested child or a dull little pudding? (And yes, I know the pudding would be much easier to handle...).

We only go to the houses of people who also have children, preferably reasonably near the same age. These people have houses that can cope with preschoolers! (People with small babies haven't yet toddler-proofed their houses, we find.) Recently we were invited for coffee to the house of one of dh's friends from work whose first child was 11 weeks at the time. Their living room has pale lemon sofas, his expensive hi fi is on a hip-height shelf, and all his CDs are in racks on the floor underneath.

As for entertaining, we and our friends have a lot of BBQs in the summer, so that the kids can run around in the garden - a lot less stressful than trying to keep an eye on them indoors.


Enid · 09/07/2002 10:15

Shattered - I have to say your expectations were too high - I can't think of a worse scenario (tired, post viral toddler in childless immaculate house with both parents slightly stressed to start with). And an airport! Dd would have gone completely mental in both places.

Dd is 2.5 and completely knackers anyone who looks after her for more than 3 hours. Constant talking, endless questions, mad running around. I have to say I absolutely love it - just wish I had a tiny bit of her energy!

Try doing lots of physical activity with him, swimming, walking, playground, soft play etc - it helps to get out of the house and it should wear him out too.


Shattered · 09/07/2002 10:26

Thanks everyone for your responses. I don't know that my expectations are too high - maybe they are sometimes - but it's just that lately I'm getting a bit tired of comments from people about how "busy" my son is. It makes him sound abnormal. I think that is why I'm getting a bit concerned about it - because he's my only child at present, I don't have anything to compare him to. But I'm going to slap the next person who tells me how active ds is!!! I think the other thing that bugs me is that I never seem to get anything done because ds takes up SO much time - I guess it comes with the territory but it can be frustrating at times. I love him dearly but sometimes I wonder how I manage to get through the day.

OP posts:

Dreamer · 09/07/2002 10:37

I've just come back from hols in a v.Spanish, non-touristy part of Mallorca and the Spanish seem to rejoice in toddlerhood and childhood. Even when dd and ds were picking plates up in a ceramics shop, the lady just smiled and gave them a sweet!

A lot of people in Britain don't seem to be very tolerant of children at all - the old 'seen but not heard'. But that's what toddlers do - run around, climb, fall over, get in your way, shout etc, etc.

I'm much more tolerant of other people's lively children now that I have 2 of my own. When I see harrassed parents, I smile knowingly and think 'at least it's not one of mine'


Azzie · 09/07/2002 11:47

Shattered, take no notice of what other people are saying. Your son sounds completely normal (at least, he sounds just like mine has always been, and as far as I can see at 4.75 there's nothing much wrong with him). I have often thought with my ds that I can see how some children get labelled as hyperactive when they're just full of energy. My ds is a very fit, active little lad with lots of energy and an enquiring mind. He can sit (fairly) still and concentrate when he is interested in things (I don't remember much sitting still when he was a toddler, mind!), but he needs to keep moving to blow off some of that energy - his father is of a similar disposition! In my experience you just have to organise things and manage situations to take his energy into account, and not have unrealistic expectations. It does get easier as they get older, I promise!

If you have another baby you'll probably get a quiet little thing who likes to sit and watch, and then you'll worry that there's something wrong with him/her because he/she isn't into everything (just like my Mum - I walked at 9.5 months, my brother walked at 21 months - she took him to the doctor because she thought there was something wrong with him). And if you get another wriggler, like I did, then at least you'll have an older sibling who is doing all sorts of entertaining things to keep the baby occupied!


winnie1 · 09/07/2002 12:22

Shattered, i intend to print this off and stick it to the kitchen wall as a reminder that I am not alone!!! It is exhausting both mentally and physically and sometimes it is all I can do to open the front door and face the world again: every day I think 'what will happen today?' Sending you cyber hugs as I've no practical advice only empathy!!


monkey · 09/07/2002 13:06

Comments like 'he never stops does he?' are presumably meant to be sympathetic, but they get right up my nose and just make me feel resentful (of the person who said it, and sometimes of my poor ds ) and also make me feel even more tired, strung out and sorry for myself.

Throughout my second pregnancy all I got was oh, you're going to have your work cut out for you. Once baby was here, all I got/get is, you've got your hands full. Now I just want to punch any one who makes the slightest negative comment about my boys or their age gap. (I don't though, but it puts me in a bad mood every time).

ONCE, (and once only) a woman in a supermarket queue said, your 2 are close together. (i could feel my stress levels rising) but then, to my amazement, she went on to say what fun 2 boys are, especially at that age (3 & 1.5). I could have kissed her. And yes, they are sometimes hard work, but more than that they really are a total joy and loads of fun.


Eulalia · 09/07/2002 18:39

He sounds normal to me! I wish they?d make the airport trolleys like supermarket ones with seats for your child. Last year we had to wait an hour for our luggage and our boy?s pushchair and in the meantime it was a case of keeping him in one place. He was too heavy to hold but wouldn?t sit still ? it was awful! Likewise at playgroup all the kids sit in a circle at the end and sing songs, not my boy who runs round and round. It has got worse as he?s older (he?s nearly 3) as he can run extremely fast and does so often in the park. Still it is keeping me fit! I generally think that kids like this are happy and good at amusing themselves. Enjoy!


tigermoth · 09/07/2002 19:02

Shattered, busy toddler, busy brain - that's what I say.

It's normal I think. Not that this makes it any easier. My oldest would not sit to watch a video until he was 4. I still have moments of amazement when I see him humkered down on the sofa watching a long film even though he's now 8 years.

The busy stage does pass, honest.


Batters · 09/07/2002 23:38

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Shattered · 10/07/2002 04:23

Eulalia, I specifically chose a non-structured playgroup for that reason!! Lol. The one I go to now doesn't have any singing, story telling, etc etc, the kids just do what they want. There is playground equipment and other stuff like play-doh, painting, sandpit etc, but the kids really just amuse themselves while the mums chat. I knew that my ds would be exactly like yours - running off while the all the other kids sat in a circle! Anyway Tigermoth I do agree with you (busy toddler, busy brain), he learns very quickly and I know this is a good thing, but it just drives me up the wall at this particular stage of his life. Thank you all anyway, I'm glad I'm not the only one going through this.

OP posts:

jodee · 10/07/2002 09:05

Oh Shattered! I've got a little whirlwind too (aged 2.3y)! He is also the one at Toddler Group/Tumbletots jumping around when it's circle time - I just let him get on with it, but I keep a close eye as he's prone to give some of the others a whack at times. Sometimes I am fit to drop, and just watching him wears me out! I try to take him to the park every day so he can run his little socks off, weather permitting (haha) and that certainly helps.

Last week was our wedding anniversary and we thought we'd go for 1 night to a seaside resort where I went many times as a child, the first time we had been since ds was born. We thought "one night in a B&B, ds can't get into too much trouble ..". It was a family run place and the owners were friendly and had their own (older) children. The only trouble was breakfast was at 8.30am, much later than at home, and ds woke at 6am, so we had 2 1/2 hrs to entertain him (no video, and Channel 5 was a total fuzz, so no Milkshake programmes). 5 minutes to go til breakfast, we thought we'd done a good job.

Big mistake. There was a chest of drawers (5 drawers high) and somehow he managed to pull the bottom one out and stand (jump!) in it - the whole thing came crashing down! On top of the drawers had been the complimentary tray with cups/saucers jug of water, glass vase with artificial flowers in it, with those coloured glass beads and a lamp! At first I panicked as I was sure ds was hurt under all that, but all that was hurt was his pride, but the vase was shattered, broken glass beads and water everywhere and he must have bent the runners in the drawer as I couldn't get the drawer back in again. We kept quiet until after breakfast then did a quick repair job - thankfully dh sorted the drawers out and we just casually said as we were leaving that a vase had been broken (we offered to pay but they were fine about it.)

But he was good as gold sitting for breakfast and in the restaurants we went in, thankfully!


susanmt · 10/07/2002 11:04

Sounds just like my dd too! She's 2yrs5months and NEVER stops. She has also recently become really awkward - not listening to what you say, saying 'no' all the time, deliberatlely, not accidentally making a mess - on Monday morning we discovered she had managed to open her paints and paint all over the tv screen so you couldn't see if it was on or off!
I would far rather have her like this though - my cousin has a wee boy of about the same age as my dd and he just sits there and does nothing and I find it very strange and almost slightly boring.
Whenever we take our kids to someone elses for dinner we ask if it will be possible to put them down to sleep before we eat. We take the travel cot for ds as he's only 5 months, and dd is good at going to sleep in another bed, especially either a 'MummyDaddy Bed' as she calls a double, or a 'tiny bed' made just for her out of cushions on the floor. We then go throught the normal bedtime routine with her, show her where we will be, and leave her as usual. It seems to work really well and lets you enjoy your meal, not having to worry about a babysitter or getting home for a particular time, and then when we are leaving we just put them in the car and go home, and transfer them to bed when we get there. Luckily they are both used to this and pretty adaptable so it usually works really well. Just an idea for the next time!!
BTW if anyone else says to me "You've got your hands full" I am going to throttle them, cute little old lady or not!


tigermoth · 10/07/2002 11:32

Jodee, your b&b story struck a chord. Last summer I happily took my sons to youth hostels and even the odd b&b, knowing that my 7 year old was quite house trained and my young toddler, aged one and three quarters, was still baby enough to sit in his pushchair some of the time, have long day naps, as well as going down easily at night.

This year I haven't even bothered to renew my Youth Hostel membership. Hopefully by next summer the worst will be over.


Marina · 10/07/2002 19:14

Jodee, I'm so sorry, but that picture of your ds catapulting a large chest of drawers into the air with all its contents made me laugh very loudly - once I saw he was not hurt of course.
Reading some of these stories makes me ashamed of the times I have found my ds too much, because he is a real little Fotherington-Thomas compared to other toddlers on this thread. He still runs like he forgot his handbag and generally does as he is told regarding any health and safty issues. He does the straps UP on his pushchair, for goodness sake - is my son a freak?


Eulalia · 10/07/2002 21:23

Shattered - this was a non-structured group and the songs were optional - it was just to finish off. However he did start a group at 2.5 which was semi-structured and one of the helpers did comment on his inability to sit down. She said that she thought it was good for them to learn to sit quietly. I thought this was a bit optiministic and a bit much to expect for a child this age. Fortunately she left the group. However I've found that as he's gone from 2.5 onwards he's got a bit better and will sit queietly sometimes if something interests him. So it does get better.

sorry about speeling mistakes, crying baby!!!


jodee · 10/07/2002 22:40

Marina, now you've got ME laughing out loud - ds also had a tendency at times to do 'a handbag run', usually when with dh, much to his great horror!!


Shattered · 11/07/2002 04:05

The thing that makes me laugh is that different women at playgroup are constantly coming up to me and saying "Your son is such a good boy, he's so well behaved, he seems to have such a nice nature..," etc etc. It's because he's with all the other kids and has so much to keep him occupied, that he's content for the whole time we're there! If only they could see him at home sometimes!!! I keep telling them he's not always like that but I think they see him as some kind of little angel. It's amazing how different children can be in certain environments.

OP posts:

sis · 11/07/2002 15:15

Marina, if your son is a freak then he is in good company because his twin seems to b e living in our house!


CAM · 16/07/2002 11:13

Marina your ds sounds delightful, my dd is and always has been "sensible" about health and safety as well - I like it!


Lizzer · 16/07/2002 20:10

Marina - I am in agreement on the freak front too! Dd loves doing up her straps in the pushchair and the carseat. Always washes her hands after I've used the toilet (?!)


winnie1 · 17/07/2002 10:38

I would just like to mention to those of you with little angels that I had a little angel too. She never had tantrums, could be taken anywhere and remains an angel at thirteen. Her brother however is a very different being and I really believe brought to me to teach me something about him as we all I can say is make the most of it and NEVER count your chickens!!!!

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