The Whale and the Toddler

(That’s me yelling at L to turn around as she runs off on the pier at Kite Beach)

As you know from my previous posts, I didn’t exactly breeze through the first half of this pregnancy. I had mixed feelings while I was hospitalised and I am still recovering my strength, both mentally and physically. However, the one person who was never far from my mind throughout that harrowing time, was my little L. I was panicked. Guilty. Helpless. I didn’t see her for almost a week the first time i was hospitalised and it ate at me. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had somehow failed her. I mean how was a 17 month year old baby supposed to understand that her Mama has suddenly disappeared? Especially after spending day and night with her (yes, we still mostly co-sleep, and yes it’s probably me who can’t let go of the nighttime cuddles). I didn’t know what to do. But the wretched hospital didn’t allow kids, so I had to make do with videos my mom and grandma would send me, and hourly updates about whether she had eaten and what she was up to. It wasn’t fun. But then I came home and things started to look up. I started getting better and we came back to Dubai. But then a slow realisation began creeping up on me.

I was struggling to keep up.

She was, of course, as feisty as a 20 month year old rockstar should be, but her Mama was a little bit of a tired mess. So, there were two ways I could go about this. I could give up and let her find her own way, or I could adjust some things to make our relationship as fun as it was, keeping in mind my physical constraints. And its been a few months but I’m working hard everyday to make that second option come to life. Of course, that has brought about some challenges and some learnings. So, here goes:

  1. Your toddler will be more demanding that she’s ever been. This could be something that I feel personally, but I’d like to think it’s a fact. L has always been quite self-entertaining. But recently it seems she wants me to do everything with her! Could it be that she feels like maybe I’m pulling away? Could it just be a personality shift as she gets closer to the big TWO? Or is it because she knows Mama is about to be shared? Whatever it  is, it has been something we are working through together. I try and plan activities once she’s finished her nap post-nursery. We draw, we sing, we read (all 3 things I also happen to be crazy fond of). And basically, even if I can’t run around like I used to, I try to be there for her. Of course I falter. I get tired. I want to nap. But overall I keep trying to tell myself that I must try as much as I can, and hope for the best.
  2. Your belly will get kicked a LOT. L is a hugger and a spontaneous one at that. But that means that I could just be lying there and I’ll suddenly hear the words ‘Mama!’ and before I can react, a flying toddler will fall into my lap. At first you’ll feel the panic about something going wrong, but then, as you learn to manoeuvre your expanding body, you’ll realise its totally possible to avoid the nighttime jabs and the daytime enthusiasm.
  3. You’ll be distracted all the time and she won’t like it. The last time, I was quite distracted. I remember going off into a daze, daydreaming about random stuff. And this time is no different. I want to do so much, and want to plan so much, that sometimes I find myself totally zoned out. But I have to make an effort to pull myself out of it. It’s an effort though, I tell you. But it has to be done. Can’t ignore a little someone singing ‘A..B…C…DDDDD‘ while you’re daydreaming about cupcakes.
  4. You’ll find it impossible to keep up with the cleanup…and thats OK! Since my nesting urges kicked in a lot sooner than last time, I was adamant to clean up after L as I always try to do. Throw in a house-shifting in between that and you’ve got a rotund Mama-to-be running around trying to make sure everything is in its right place and not looking messy. But its impossible. L is faster than she was 4 months ago and I’m wayyyyyy slower. I struggled with this for a few weeks. Cleaning up after her. Trying to be the perfect put-together Mama. But then I realised, I can’t do it. There’s only so much I could keep up with. So I took a deep breath and let it go. The sky won’t collapse if the kid’s room is messy and the dishes aren’t washed until the hubby can come help. Breathe, sometimes it’s OK to put Mama first, or at least at parity (lol).
  5. You’ll feel gushes of love at the oddest of times. I mean, if you know me, you know L is my weakness. But whether it’s the hormones or the fact that soon things will be changing, you can’t help but just want to eat up your little one. You want to slow down time so you can really savour the time before she becomes the ‘big sister’. And you want to keep her your little baby just like she was the first time you held her. But I had to remind myself that even though things were changing, I must remain positive, because only then can one be completely (or even partially) content right? Onward and upward!
  6. And sometimes, you’ll be the bad mom, and that’s ok too. You know when you don’t have kids you have a checklist of things you will NEVER EVER do. And then you have a kid and that list dwindles down to well…nothing. I told myself I will NEVER EVER let her watch TV, but now she’s a fan of Peppa pig. And even though I feel the guilt of allowing her screen time before the acceptable age of 2 (and when I say guilt, I mean I’ve had sleepless nights thinking about it), I let it go sometimes. When we’ve run out of activities and I just need to have that cup of tea with my rusks, I let her watch. I know I’ll be judged for it, I know I need to make it stop soon, I know I myself swore I never would, but circumstances can sometimes shake all that. Sometimes, I think, it’s ok to just relax. After all, a happy Mama makes for a happy toddler.

It’s definitely an exciting time, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a challenging one. So much is changing. So much has to be done. So much will happen in the next few months. But hopefully (fingers, and toes, crossed) all will work out in the best way possible. May I have the strength to be the mom I want to be, and may little L have the benevolence to let me sneak in an afternoon nap or two. Amen.

(If you’re reading this, I would truly appreciate that you say a prayer for me and us:))



4 thoughts on “The Whale and the Toddler

  1. Congratulations hun! It’s tough being pregnant with a toddler around! Joshua was 2 when Liam was born and considering he started walking (read running) at 10 months it was really really hard to keep up! You’ve got this!

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