When couples discuss if they’re ready to have a baby they rarely get into the nitty gritty of what comes after the first year.
There’s a lot of talk about changing nappies, sleepless nights and crying. A baby seems daunting at that moment. And it is, becoming a parent is the biggest challenge you will ever face.
But the second biggest challenge is coping with your crying baby when they turn into a crying, walking and talking toddler.
People talk about the terrible twos, but they don’t mention this is a misleading statement. It doesn’t start at age two, it can actually kick in up to a year before that. We’re talking tantrums, irrational behaviour, sleepless nights and disgusting bodily functions.
Do you reckon you’re ready to handle a toddler? Take our survival quiz to find out.
1) How do you handle stressful situations?
A. In a calm, controlled and dignified way.
B. By drinking a glass of wine.
C. I hide under the bed until it’s all over.
2) Ask a friend to spend the day saying your name over and over again while you’re trying to work, hold a conversation with someone else and go about your general life. Do you:
A. Appreciate being so wanted all day long.
B. Hide in the toilet at lunch crying while your friend continues to say your name on the other side.
C. Scream “what, for the love of god, what the hell do you want from me????” in the middle of Costa.
3) You know all about baby poop, little milk spit ups and the occasional firing of wee during a nappy change. But did you know toddlers eat solids, which means they don’t do cute little poos. It’s basically the same as an adult. And they can vomit like the kid in The Exorcist. So when it comes to extreme gross bodily fluids, how will you cope?
A. It’s all part of the beautiful way that nature invented us, it will be a breeze.
B. I’ll wait until the grandparents get here for their visit then pretend I hadn’t noticed the toddler needed changing so that they will offer, because they just love to be hands-on.
C. Invest in a former nuclear engineer’s biohazard suit complete with oxygen tank and industrial gloves.
4) It’s the middle of the night and your toddler wakes you to ask where the stars go in the daytime. Do you:
A. Unveil a Power Point presentation and accompanying age appropriate book about space to explain the solar system and the earth’s orbit around the sun.
B. Tell them Santa switches them off until bedtime, then quickly say “night night” and shut the bedroom door.
C. Just about grunt out a response about Milky Way chocolate bars before nodding off on the chair in the corner.
5) You have a whole day to fill, just you and your toddler. What do you do?
A. Oh goody, we can go to soft play.
B. Encourage an energetic play session in the park for several hours in the morning to hopefully ensure they pass out for a good long nap in the afternoon while you catch up on The Walking Dead.
C. Google educational activities for a toddler in a blind panic.
6) You went out for a few drinks last night and you’re hungover. How do you cope?
A. I went out but stuck to mineral water.
B. TV on, Netflix on, Peppa Pig binge, go.
C. I can’t possibly go out anymore, how would I handle a hangover with a small child screaming at me all day??
7) There’s a family meal at a reasonably fancy restaurant to mark a very important anniversary. Attendance is mandatory. How do you handle your toddler?
A. I don’t need to handle them, they will know exactly how to behave correctly because of the way I am raising them.
B. By taking a sack full of snacks, in case the food takes ages, two large bags stuffed with all their favourite toys and a couple of new ones wrapped up as a surprise for good measure, pens, pencils, notepad and a pile of books. You’re taking no chances.
C. I can’t possibly cope with that, I’ll have to leave the country.
8) You take a family trip out to the park where your child starts shovelling fistfuls of sand into their mouth before running away from you, falling over and scraping their knee. Do you:
A. Scoop your child up hastily and bring out the one litre water bottle you brought with you specifically for the purposes of rinsing sand from their mouth and hands. You then whip out your first aid kit complete with bandages, plasters of every size and colour, Savlon, bee sting cream and antiseptic wipes. That graze is cleaned and covered in less than a minute.
B. A quick pat on the back to make sure they’re ok then let them carry on.
C. Totally freak out at what germs could possibly be living in the sand and if the graze might be infected. Decide to take toddler to A&E just in case.
9) A friend suggests meeting at a toddler group. Do you:
A. Immediately accept and contact the group leader to offer help with organising the session.
B. Accept under the condition that you will go for lunch at the pub next door afterwards and indulge in a glass of wine.
C. Refuse, you can’t handle the judgment of fellow parents.
10) You’re at the toddler group and your child is hurling themselves around the room, snatching toys and leaving sobbing children in their wake. Do you:
A. Sit them down and launch into a long speech about how their behaviour can influence other children’s feelings and sense of security. Plus, sharing is caring.
B. Tell your child that Santa is watching and taking notes on who behaves the best at this particular toddler group. The winner gets extra presents.
C. Sit in the corner pretending not to notice.
How did you score?
You are not a human being. That or you are in denial.
You’re going to boss the s**t out of this parenting lark. Keep on reminding yourself that no one is perfect and you’re doing great.
You need to have a lie down. Remember none of us knows what the f**k we’re doing, we all make it up as we go along and our kids have survived us. Give yourself a swift kick up the arse, closely followed by a pat on the back and a glass of wine. Keep calm and carry on parenting.
NB. This quiz, its answers and its results in no way reflect your actual parenting abilities. We’re all pretty f**king awesome.