I met up with my friend and her sweet 10 week old daughter recently. It was such a joy seeing them both and with less than a week until my due date, I also found it a good refresher on the whole ‘baby’ thing. I practised the bottle feed, burping baby and rocking her to soothe crying. My friend and I then had some lunch; whilst after her nappy change, baby lay on a play mat: gurgling, kicking her legs and smiling at the soft animals dangling above her. Compared to sitting down to eat with a toddler in the room, it seemed so relaxing! But for some reason I find it much easier now than I did when my daughter was a baby. So what’s going on here? In the style of Harry Hill, which is better: the baby or the toddler? FIGHT….!!!
ROUND 1: CHILD NEEDS
SOLUTION: Baby has milk. Baby drinks milk. Toddler is given snack or meal. Toddler either eats food, throws it, demands something else, cries because food is not presented to their preference (triangle sandwiches instead of squares – can vary day to day), or decides they are not hungry after all.
Round 1, baby wins…BABY 1 TODDLER 0
SOLUTION: Baby goes in nappy; change nappy. Toddler: first you need to locate a potty/toilet; then take toddler to potty. Toddler either: goes on potty, has already been in pants, refuses to go on potty, goes on potty then tips it upside down, goes on potty then won’t wash their hands, decides they do not need the toilet after all.
Round 2, baby takes another point…BABY 2 TODDLER 0
SOLUTION: Baby is rocked to sleep in arms, pram, bouncy chair, car, generally anything moving. Baby does not fall asleep until you have driven 50 miles down the M5 and back, then wakes up as soon as you get home and turn the car engine off. Toddler either: takes a nap in cot, in the car, in pushchair, on the sofa, on the floor; or refuses to take a nap: toddler gets more tired and less adverse to taking a nap as time progresses; or takes a nap for too long/too late and doesn’t sleep that night.
You are both as good and bad as each other…BABY 3 TODDLER 1
ROUND 2: FAMILY NEEDS
- Getting out of the house
HOW: Baby’s nappy is changed. Baby is ready to go out but then poos nappy again. Toddler goes on the potty. Toddler is just about to go out of the door when they say they need a wee wee. Baby needs milk, mushy weaning food, changing bag and pram. Toddler needs drink, snacks, portable potty/change of clothes and reins. Baby doesn’t want to go out: baby can be picked up and taken out all the same. Toddler doesn’t want to go out and lies down on the hallway floor/by the front doorstep/face down on the wet gravel by the car.
A close call but baby wins by a whimper…BABY 4 TODDLER 1
HOW: Baby lies on playmat, gurgling and looking up at dangling toys. Baby looks at light reflections. Baby stares at hands. Toddler makes a den, pretends the remote control is a phone and dials the Easter Bunny, dresses up as a superhero and flies about the room, watches Sooty on repeat for 2 hours, paints, draws, bounces, rolls lengthways, dances until she is dizzy, makes us belly laugh, has an intense conversation with us in gobbledy-gook.
Toddler is more fun…BABY 4 TODDLER 2
HOW: Baby smells nice (when not pooey) and just holding her produces waves of oxytocin and maternal/paternal love. Toddler kisses you goodbye and goodnight, randomly runs up to you and throws arms around your neck with beaming smile then clings to you like a koala, or snuggles up beside you in bed, resting her cute cold toes on your tummy.
Baby is sweet, fragile and cuddly, but toddler is consciously more affectionate and she can proclaim her love…BABY 4 TODDLER 3
- Sleep and wine time
HOW: Baby will not sleep for more than 2-3 hours. This does’t give the family much time for sleep or anything else. Toddler once asleep, as a general rule, sleeps for 10-12 hours. This can allow for wine time (even a date night if you get a babysitter) and an average night’s sleep.
Baby, I’m tired…so toddler you get a point (which yes, you can exchange for a chocolate button). BABY 4 TODDLER 4
END OF MATCH
The gloves are off and it’s a draw! Toddler’s are definitely more fun and give you more back, including affection and more sleep; but when it comes to the simple things, perhaps babies are generally much easier to please.
But what happens when you have one of each? Uh oh!
Watch this space.