Toddler tantrums, torturous temperatures and the third trimester

Well, has ever a list sounded more appealing??

Any one of these items would be somewhat ‘unpleasant’ on any given day but I have to say (and this is in no way a ‘woe is me’ blog), dealing with the three simultaneously, every day, for weeks, has been…how do I put this…testing?

“Ohhh so you’ll be 9 months pregnant in July. Good luck.” Wrapped up in a coat in January/February I simply brushed off this frequent observation. I mean, how bad could it really be? I thought back to the end of my first pregnancy – the obligatory swollen hands and feet, but I don’t remember feeling particularly hot. And that was late March. Basically the same as July right? WRONG. Remember the other weekend when for some ungodly reason the temperature sky rocketed to 32 degrees? What the actual…? It was the day my gorgeous friends treated me to a ‘Non-Baby Shower Baby Brunch’ at the Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell.

Followed by pedicures. Heaven. But hot. God it was hot! In the interest of keeping this blog candid and personal I will share something with you - a low point of the day (and arguably my pregnancy?!) – having been sitting for a while at the table for our classy brunch, I realised that my bump was in fact stuck to the top of my thighs. It required peeling off. I told you – it was a low point. A quick product pump here though – my darling friend had this in her bag…

…and I must say, a light dust under the bump and I was laughing. I tell you who wasn’t laughing – my friend Dan who was forced to witness me hoiking up my maxi dress to apply said product at the table. Sorry not sorry. Another one to add to my daily pregnancy beauty regime.

And as the day progressed and I began to puff up like Professor Clump, I sat back and watched my friends quench their thirst with an array of sunshine worthy daytime drinks which, similarly to the effect a beer jacket has on the cold in winter, seemed to make them forget about the blistering heat. Come mid-afternoon I dragged my sweaty swollen self home with the promise from my beloved husband that there was a paddling pool ready and waiting for me to plunge myself into on arrival.

But here’s the catch…when I got there, it was not quite the blissful spa-like haven I had dreamt about as I drifted in and out of consciousness on the delayed (standard) and sweltering (of course) train home. For there was a toddler in the garden. One who was beyond excited to see me, which is of course so lovely, but one who had been without me all day and therefore wanted total Mummy attention and did NOT want me to sit for one second and relax. “Get up Mummy”, “Let’s play”, “Sit down”, “Stand up”, “Get in the pool”, “Get out of the pool”, “Hide & Seek”, “Football”, “Stand UP!”, “No, SIT DOWN”, “COME ON MUMMY!!!!!”. Now, the sensible person would say, “Just say “no, Mummy is having a relax”.” HA! Anyone with neighbours within 1 mile of any toddler vicinity will know that for your own sanity and neighbourhood relationships, when not confined to the interior of a double glazed house, it really is just easier to adhere to the demands of your little commandant…after all, it’s only 2 more hours until bedtime. That’s just 120 minutes. You can do it.

I am struggling with something at the moment which I wonder if it’s something that all mothers awaiting a second arrival struggle with. For the past month or so, I’ve been acutely aware that my time with Molly as my only baby is about to end and I am trying so hard to cherish every moment with her. It’s such a bittersweet situation though – as your unborn baby drains you from any energy, and the uncomfortable strain on your body cruelly forbids you from doing all the things that come naturally and that you want to do – namely picking your child up, jumping on the sofa or bed with them for ‘beat ups’ and cuddle time and just generally being the fun loving Mum she knows and expects. I feel like every time she wants me to carry her and I say no or hand her to her daddy there is a little look of ‘but why?’ as her eyes sadden and her little paws reach out in desperation. It breaks my heart a little bit every time. This is the last few weeks where she will have my sole attention and be my entire world and she has no idea that her world is about to be turned upside down.

I want to squeeze her so tight for these few weeks and never let her go...but then the reality sets in…my body gives up, and of course…there are the tantrums.

I have never in my life experienced anything like it. The indecisive, inexplicable and mind blowing levels of furiousness which can appear in a nano-second. No prior warning, no explanation, literally nothing which can prepare you for what is about to happen. 90% of the time we have to laugh. How can someone possibly go from wanting something in life so much that their whole body shakes to not wanting the exact same thing as soon as it is given to them?! The ‘terrible two’s’ is surely one of life’s most bizarre stages – something that even the most complex of Attenborough series couldn’t scratch the surface of, let alone get to the bottom of - one of nature's greatest mystery's.

So while ordinarily I would stand by my 90% stat of laughing it off, coupled with the Beluga whale which has taken up residence in my tummy, the heat and the sheer lack of patience with anyone and anything in life at the moment (ok, so I was never the most patient person but current levels are off the scale), toddler tantrums are certainly testing me and my humour as a mother and a human being.

The other night my husband and I had a chat about the fact we currently live with this little savage. And how insane the behaviour is. But the love we have for her just washes it way in an instant. It takes just one moment of joy and cuteness from her and all is forgiven and all is forgotten. And so our conversation, as quickly as her tantrum can take to emerge, switches to all the amazing things she has done that day.

Post tantrum peace offering

Parenting is a rollercoaster.

So the inescapability of being 9 months pregnant, in July, with a toddler in tow. What can we do? Really it is a case of balance – as it seems to be with all this parenting malarkey. The balance between our desire to focus our attention on our child while being able to listen to our bodies and brains and give in to it when we need to. Giving in is not giving up. And it certainly doesn’t make you a bad parent to step back every now and then and ask for help from your partner, your friends, your family or even your toddler. You’ll be surprised at what can be made into a game. One of my favourite pregnancy quotes:

“I’m at the point in my pregnancy where if something falls on the floor it is dead to me.”

Perhaps now is the time to teach your child the ‘tidy up game’. Or “why don’t you pick up all your unicorns from the floor and put them in their bed in the toybox.” I’m not going pretend that this will always work, but if it does, it is a huge win. It means you don’t have to bend down AND you have interacted with your child in a game. WIN WIN!

I find myself constantly apologising to my husband for doing less than I normally do – feeling bad for not helping out with every bathtime - because really all I want to do is sit with my feet up in the coolest room in the house. And no matter how many times he says to me “You really don’t need to apologise or explain yourself”, I feel like I actually need to constantly remind myself more than anyone than I used to be a good Mum (as far as I know!) and it’s just because I am pregnant, not because I can’t be bothered.

Tantrums are unavoidable. Short of a holiday on your own. But doesn’t every parent question their parenting skills through every tantrum? That split second where you wonder if your child has actual problems…you cast your mind back to the first Halloween movie…Michael Myers…what were the signs? Is she showing anything similar?! Then you hit the peak, and somehow, as fast as it came about, it begins to peter out. Tantrums are a little like a contraction don’t you think? Which is more manageable or more painful to go through though? Jury’s still out here. I’ll come back to you on this in a few weeks.

As for the heat – my best advice is find shelter, strip down to the bare essentials and pray for snow.

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