Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My Toddler Is High Maintenance

Freddy is my fifth child.  I thought I'd seen it all as far as parenting is concerned.  I believed my attachment parenting ideology worked perfectly well and that fifth time round would be a breeze.  The girls became independent, confident toddlers with good routines very quickly.  Not so with Fred!!

At 27 months old, Freddy still sleeps in my bed waking a few times every night.  He is the lightest sleeper, constantly twitching and fidgeting.  He still breast feeds and looks at me incredulously if I suggest that he might like milk from a cup instead!

He hardly eats during the day and has little interest in food, unless he is having a growth spurt whereby he'll eat constantly all day.  His lack of good and consistent dining makes going to restaurants a nightmare.  The lure of dinner is not enough to convince him to sit still.  He just wants to run around all the time at breakneck speed.  So many times at hotels, Ian has taken him to run around outside while the girls and I eat dinner in peace. Yesterday I took the family to the Cafe at Morisson's for lunch and Freddy rolled around  on the floor and ran up and down the aisles.  You simply cannot contain him, he is a ball of energy that needs to be expelled or he will meltdown.  I bumped into an old friend who viewed my attempt at toddler taming with great hilarity and a few sympathetic "...and at your age too!" looks as I chased after my boy for the twentieth time.  How I'd love to adopt the European eating out mentality and enjoy a relaxed dining experience with my children!  Maybe in a few years it will happen.

My biggest issue with Freddy's way of doing things is his hatred of clothing.  He is a child with the same taste in clothing as Tarzan.  Bear chest, bear legs and shoeless wearing nothing but his nappy (Oh yes he will not potty train either.  Every effort I've made in this direction has been met with derision and the unused potty being thrown over the safety gate in disgust!)  Freddy literally screams when you dress him which is so stressful and upsetting.  Neither cajoling or a firm hand makes any difference...he likes being nude!  When he does go down the clothing route, he wants to wear one of his older sisters' item of clothing.  Many times, Kizzy has brought Freddy downstairs resplendent in one of her dresses.  Oh dear!  I'm all for gender neutral parenting, but my boy in a pink frock is not suitable attire for the school run.

For all his high maintenance behaviour, Freddy remains a constant source of utter delight to everyone who loves him.  He is bright, chatty, loving, funny and really quite adorable.  He is a unique character and a real individual.  I know from experience that he will grow out of all these quirks.  One day he will surprise me and sleep through the night!  He will self wean and potty train in his own time.  His energy levels will settle down to the point where he can sit through a meal without feeling the need to sprint around.

But until that point, I will continue to relish every moment of my high maintenance toddler.  I really wouldn't have it any other way, because to change even the slightest thing about him would be a crime.


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