I’m coining the term “toddler-induced fatigue”. It may already be a thing, if it’s not it really should be.
Toddler-induced fatigue is characterized by the extreme exhaustion of living with a toddler. The bone-aching, mind-numbing tiredness brought about by wrangling a small child and doing things like fielding eleventy billion questions and demands. These may include, but are not limited to, requests to pick them up, put them down, put their shoes on, no – the other shoes. Actually, no shoes. We hate shoes! Shoes are the work of Satan himself… Argh!
My daughter is my third toddler, so you would think I’d be a dab hand at it by all now. But the kid has really brought her A-game to this match. I’m not sure if it’s because she is a girl, the third child or if it’s because I’m a single mother this time round. It is probably a combination of all three and a big dose of personality – hers. The end result is exhaustion – MINE!
The constant demands, boundary testing, attention-seeking, independence, co-dependence…yes, I know, these are all developmentally appropriate behaviours but does she have to be so darn good at them all?
I do it MYSELF.
YOU do it.
I WANT it.
I don’t like IT.
NO NO NO NO!
I used to take the stance of not negotiating with tiny terrorists but this one knows all the strings to pull and all the buttons to push to get a reaction. It often results in a tantrum of epic proportions.
The toddler throws pretty big tantrums, too.
As I write this, I have a small reprieve from the onslaught. She is quiet, doing her own thing for a rare moment. I have no doubt when I go to find her I will discover some fresh hell. Like the time she covered herself (and a good portion of the house) in zinc cream. Or when she decided she was hungry so climbed up the shelves in the pantry and busted open a 2kg packet of rice.
There is no room for dropping your guard with a toddler. This one of mine can unlock the magnetic childproof cupboards, use the remote to the garage door and open a childproof bottle quicker than you can say “Children’s Panadol”. She has the most amazing problem solving skills. A trait which will no doubt stand her in good stead later in life. And put me in a straight-jacket in the meantime.
It’s not just me she tortures. Her two older brothers often fall victim to her oscillating wiles and demands. They try to help me wrangle her as best they can but more often than not all sibling interactions result in me playing referee to a WWE style show down.
Then there is the sleep, or lack thereof. You know those charts that tell you the time you should put your child to bed in relation to the time you want them to wake up? Yeah, my toddler hasn’t read those. It does not matter if she goes to bed at 6pm or 11pm, daytime nap or not – her wake up time is pre-dawn. That’s if she hasn’t decided to bunk in with me halfway through the night. Then it is constant tossing and turning, kicking and flailing. I’m sure I would get more sleep on Sydney Harbour Bridge during New Year’s Eve fireworks.
I know she’ll grow up soon and I’ll miss that cheeky smile and the smooshy kisses. It really is hard to stay cross at her when she wraps her arms around my neck and tells me I’m her best friend (even though she told the postman the same thing only minutes before). Oh, and let’s not forget all the amazing material I’ll have to bring up on her 18th birthday!
But right now, as I drink my third coffee, I’m running with the self-diagnosis of toddler-induced fatigue.
Can I have a nap now, please?
Written By Renee Meier