The summer is finally upon us in all of its lovely sunny glory. When you have a toddler it brings a whole load of challenges that you have never had to deal with before. You are forced to chase a running tiny person, who is covered in a thick slick of factor fifty sun cream around the garden whilst trying to ensure they keep a hat on (they obviously have decided that hats were made by the devil and must never touch their head at all costs.).
I am blessed with living in a house with a garden so I can also experience the joy of having a paddling pool for the toddler to frighten me to death with. The paddling pool brings so much joy to a tiny one, they will also run at it/in it so that they fall over in water making you spend most of your time screaming like a deranged woman about not running (this is a concept totally unable to penetrate the mind of a toddler, running is the only way to travel, I couldn’t possibly mean NOT to do it, all terrified shrieks of this nature must be ignored, or laughed at and running will continue.)
My toddler fell over in the paddling pool an alarming amount of times yesterday. He did not drown, thank all of the gods, but my heart feels like it has experienced massive trauma. So along with being on constant lifeguard alert (it’s not glamorous like Baywatch, I think at seven months pregnant I would be arrested if I put on a Baywatch swimming costume for crimes against fashion and hurting the eyes of anyone in a close proximity to me, my ample pregnant bottom would munch up that little costume in seconds and I would have to do a very slow rescue dash across the garden….) you must also watch your mini terrorist like a hawk as they will try and put any and all of your belongings in the paddling pool.
On day one of paddling pool time I foolishly though that I could sit next to him on a blanket and read a book whilst agreeing that those were indeed his ears and be able to watch him splash merrily and we could sing songs and have a jolly time. My book was in the paddling pool within minutes, as were my glasses and half of the blanket. There is no restful sitting. He will go inside the house, open the fridge and bring half of its contents to hang out in the paddling pool with him if you so much as stop to pick up a dog poo and take your eye of him for a second, because who knows when you might need a soggy sausage roll to chew on?
Then there is the joy that is potty training. They have already done lots of happy tinkles on the potty before bath time and after meals, it is sunny and you have run out of swim nappies (the normal ones WILL NOT work, they swell up to a very impressive size within seconds and as hilarious as it is to watch your mini person try to walk across the garden with the hugest soggy nappy in the world on, it is not a practical solution.) So you foolishly decided that instead of going to the shops and buying more swim nappies that you might just let them roam free and try to get this potty business cracked.
This is a stupid idea.
My toddler can still only say a handful of words, ears, moon, keys, digger, hiya and ding (his word for Peppa pig). He can not tell me that he needs to go to the toilet. So along with yelling about not running at/in the paddling pool, you are also asking them if they need a wee every two minutes. And the answer is yes, I do need a wee, but I am having far too much fun to sit down on the boring potty and do one so I will just stop mid run, look down, be very impressed at my wee fountain and keep on about my merry way.
And, as sods law dictates, you can almost guarantee that when they finally do need a poo, they will do it in the sodding paddling pool. I have worked out that this is when they go quiet, look like they are settling down to actually bob around in a relaxed fashion and the scene that pre-paddling pool experienced you had in mind looks like it might be happening. My toddler likes to do a very dirty laugh after his dirty protest as you see a small brown sausage emerge around him and you realise that paddling pool time is over.
Do not think that you can scoop/fish out the poo and maybe save the paddling pool time. This will only make the poo decided to disintegrate into smaller bits and further make the paddling pool into what it really is by now, a new garden toilet for your toddler.
Toddlers are disgusting though. Even though the contents of your garden drowning threat are probably made more of wee and bits of food and poo than water, it is the best thing in the world and they will behave as if you are cutting off a leg or setting fire to a Peppa pig effigy in the garden when you try and empty the horrible thing. It now resembles the pools that you see when you are going past animal enclosures at the zoo, like you would have had to have lost a bet and it is the worst forfeit ever to let that water touch you. Tantrums a plenty will ensue.
And guess what, its another sunny day today. Am I going to be a good, lovely mummy and fill it up again, or risk going to the park to spend my time freaking out about the fact that he can climb the cargo nets all the way to the top of the big boy climbing frame and watch all the bigger kids knock him over a hundred times as he tries to play?
And I can’t even drink booze at the moment. #isitwinteryet?