Idiots’ guide to life with toddlers


Once the initial euphoria of becoming a parent (father or mother) wears out and the entire extended family and friend circle has shared their wishes over SMSes, phone calls and Facebook likes for your status updates, all parents are faced with the true-blue grim realities of parenting. So, this post shall strive to make you a little more aware of toddlers and all the ‘baggage’ they bring with them when they arrive.

1. Your time is not ‘your time’ anymore. All sleeping hours and hours spent awake will now be spent fretting and fuming about why your toddler is not sleeping for more than two-three hours at a stretch. How is it that he/she manages to wake up at the slightest hint of a paper swishing due to the fan running in the room. And once the toddler is up, he/she needs to be fed and nursed to sleep which will take at least an hour or so and the cycle repeats itself over and over and over.

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2. Food doesn’t quite mean food as you have understood and consumed all these years. It refers primarily to milk, water and other liquid forms of nourishment only. And if new age parenting is anything to go by, then it means liquids without any artificial sweeteners in any form or fashion in them. As parents of toddlers, you’d better have food (of the classification mentioned above) ready for consumption at any point of time in the 24 hr time-frame that the rest of the world calls a day.

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3. It has been medically proven that you aren’t supposed to be using any strong odors around the baby. So all those fancy deodorants that you bought at a good price (courtesy the box set of three cans or online shopping portals selling them for peanuts or simply because the femme fatale in the ad tempted you) have to pretty much be thrown out or gifted to younger friends or cousins. For the next year or so, you have no choice but to sweat it out and not just that be seen and smelt as sweating it out. Pity the poor parents during the sweltering Chennai summers.

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4. If you thought how tough can it be to wash a small baby, wait until you have your first darshan of a diaper with baby poop in it. Trust me when I say this, no amount of preparation can prepare you for the experience of cleaning a baby’s bottom, more so when it has poop all over it. Lesser said the better about this particular point.

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5. If you are a parent who likes dressing up in the newest Marks & Spencers shirt or the latest Ritu Beri salwar suit bought at Biba or Manyavaar, you just have to end up gifting these to friends or relatives. Babies like dribbling, they think it is a good way not only to communicate with its handlers but also believe that is therapeutic as well. If not for anything else, this trait of theirs will reduce your expenditure on fancy expensive clothes at least until the time they are two years old.

'He'll be a great basketball player someday -- he already dribbles all over the place.

6. Attending family functions will mean only one thing for you – sitting in a silent corner of the mandapam where the function is happening and putting the baby to sleep despite the noise and hullabaloo that is created at the spot. There is absolutely no way that you can participate actively in any function in the near future.

'Friend of the bride or the groom?'

Now, while all you readers who are parents yourselves are probably nodding your heads in fond reminiscences of these days yourself, let me clarify that this post is NOT in any form or fashion intended to put off wannabe parents at all. If anything, this is just a tongue-in-cheek attempt at trying to infuse some much needed humor into these early fun days of the entire ‘parenting experience’. After all, we all need to smile every now and then, don’t we?

Let me be the first to confess that I personally have experienced all of the above mentioned points and truly have fond memories of all of them. What makes these experiences ‘fond’ and worth is all the joy, warmth and fulfillment that being a parent brings along with it.