Parenthood is filled with a great deal of joy.
(A whole lot of other stuff too…not all of it positive, attractive and odour free mind you.) For me, just being a parent is a privilege; I love the fact that I get to watch my babies learn and grow and I feel honoured to be a part of that incredible process.
At the moment, my daughter (6.5 months old) feels a lot like an extension of myself; spending a great deal of time on my hip, in a wrap, attached to the old bazoomas etc… don’t get me wrong she has an amazing, hilarious and strong-willed emergent personality; but right now- it’s hard to tell where I finish and she begins. A wonderful stage of motherhood that I am treasuring every second of because; (despite barely managing to visit the loo by myself) watching my two-year old son is a constant and sometimes emotional reminder that this too, shall pass.
Neither of us realised (thankfully,) but the moment we waved goodbye to each other as I set off to the hospital to bring his sister into the world; was the moment my son stopped being a tiny baby. As he waved goodbye, his arm slowly ceased to be an extension of mine and although we would always carry each other’s hearts within our own, this was the moment he began to become his own person; as he set off on his exciting, colourful and necessarily natural adventure into childhood.
Writing that bit made me a bit teary. Do not fret though my radical reader; as I’m about to divulge..the fact my son is growing up is not a wholly sad affair. I’m sure that most parents think that their children are the most incredible people they have ever met… and rightfully so. I’m afraid that I am no exception to this rule.
I can honestly say that I have never laughed so much on a daily basis than I have since my son turned two. He is the most hilarious, insanely inquisitive, random and marvellously complex human being I have ever had the pleasure (mostly) of meeting!
After studying him extensively; I thought I’d share with you what a day in the life of a 2-year-old appears to consist of; in the hope we may both take something wonderful from it.
After a series of lists, diagrams and difficult calculations I can now reveal that my son’s time (on average) within each 24 hour period; is distributed in the following ways:
Now you might say, “That’s great; thanks for sharing a perfectly riveting and interesting insight into you’re world!” I would of course, notice your sarcastic tone and urge you to read on. Because, as is true of much in life- things aren’t always quite so straightforward as they may first appear:
Sleeping; is exactly as I’ve described. I am more than aware that we have an awesome sleep:play ratio. I know mums of two year olds who’s ratio is significantly different to my own… and not in a good way. The boy goes to bed sometime between 7-8pm and wakes around 6-7am. He also has a nap in the afternoon for usually up to two hours… lovely jubbly. I would like to point out that it hasn’t always been this magnificent. As an ex- NICU baby, it was many, MANY months before my darling boy noticed that there is a distinct difference between day and night!
I can hear you beginning to question the way I seem to have oversimplified the division of my son’s time in to two categories… “Surely he has to eat at some point?” You are absolutely right my most esteemed reader. But the truth is, when you are two.. eating is playing. EVERYTHING else that you do when you are not asleep is playing. Dressing, bathing, travelling in the car, toileting: if your eyes are open… it’s time to play.
That’s why being two is the actual best.
So, we’ve already established that the wee man is awake for just 46% of his time, but of this he spends:
23% of his time eating. The boy is an incredible eater; transitioning from booby to solids to full on banquetial buffets; the boy is a foodie, through and through. Despite being late to grow a few gnashers; he was gumming even the most masticationally challenging of foods successfully from a very young age. Fruit is his absolute favourite… any fruit, every fruit. He’s mad for it. Cheese comes a close second followed by sausages, pasta and his take-out of choice: Fish & Chips. Food provides a wonderfully tactile and messy source of entertainment. Whether it’s before, during or after the consumption of the actual food; there is always something to squish, create a model with, examine the moisturisng properties of, attempt to feed to the dog without anyone noticing or create imaginary dialogue between. Frankly, the possibilities appear exquisitely endless; a fact our battered and abused high chair and floor are horrifically indicative of.
The remaining 77% of his time is split three ways:
Playing with actual toys: 32%
Playing with mundane household objects, fluff, residue of unknown origin: 31%
Playing with what appears to be nothing: 14%
You will notice that there is a difference of just one percent between time spent playing with actual toys and time spent playing with mundane household objects, fluff and residue of unknown origin. Despite owning more age appropriate toys and games than our local ToysRUs has in stock, being two actually means you only spend slightly more time playing with your toys than you do playing with pegs, hair grips, doors, shampoo bottles, your parent’s shoes, hoover nozzle attachments and thread frustratingly still attached to your cardi. “Why do you bother buying so many toys?!” I hear you ask… That, my friend; is a superb and perplexing question that I am often found chuntering aloud to myself and one, it appears- I am unable to offer an explanation for.
Whichever type of play my boy is engaging in, it can often involve one or more of three types of ‘challenge’.
1. The ‘possible self-set challenge’
e.g Building a tower using my stacking cups- on a whim- because that’s just how awesome I am
2. The ‘possible instigated challenge’
e.g. Building a tower and then seeing if I can balance a car on top because daddy asked if I could.
(Please note: The key word in both these types of challenge is ‘possible’ this makes them wonderful to watch and help can be given to assist when frustration arises)
3. The ‘impossible task’
Always self-set, always impossible, always ends in frustration tears and/or tantrum. Such tasks may include: fitting a large object inside a small space, building a tower out of stacking cups in reverse order of size or trying to climb into your toy helicopter which is unfortunately only 10cm in length.
Although each are a valuable challenge in their own right, I must admit type 3, is not my most favourite. Admittedly, this is because of the difficulty surrounding the act of ‘reasoning’ with a two-year-old; who frankly will not let the fact that he is allegedly “too big” to fit in his toy helicopter stand in the way of his energetic attempts to squeeze inside!
As a mother (and possibly a teacher) my favourite type of play to be involved in and witness is reading. The boy LOVES to read and be read to. His sponge like brain remembers the names of characters from every book he owns (we have well over 100 I should think)… He recites words, sentences, paragraphs and whole pages of text from memory (with a scarily similar intonation to the person who last read it to him)… He does the most convincingly awesome impression of a surprised person upon the lifting of a flap from within one of his many ‘flap-lifting’ books, and most recently and unbelievably heart-meltingly; he has begun to ‘read’ to his baby sister.
Whilst busying himself with games and challenges galore, he also manages to make
a noise sweet music with any item to hand, play imaginary games about literally anything you can think of, impersonate every single person he’s ever met, whilst being unknowingly hilarious for 95% of his time awake and unknowingly cute for 99% of his total time.
(If you’re questioning the 99% cute bit due to his tantrums… even the majority a 2 year olds tantrums are a bit cute.. and for the 54% of the total time he’s asleep he’s cute for 100% of that time)
Now, I’m sensing its time for me to wrap this up before I overwhelm you with my astounding use of percentages…
So, in summary:
Being a two-year-old wonderboy officially makes my son the busiest person I know. His schedule could only be rivalled…perhaps…by Obama. He greets each new day with a smile and excitement for what’s ahead, despite his uncertainty of what’s to come. He pleases crowds of every nationality, age and gender with his curly hair, winning smile and profound exclamations such as “Gordon Bennett!” and yesterday in the middle of the supermarket- just because he could; “CHEESEBURGER!!!!”
Never caught off guard at any social occasion, without a single negative or unkind thought ever thunk… and as the producer of the most original version of ‘twinkle-twinkle’ known to man…
My beautiful boy; being 2 suits you.
You are the bravest and most determined soul I ever did meet. Already a miracle at birth; you have continued to astound me every single day since.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up… turns out it was your mum.