Every Saturday morning, we go as a family to a toddler football session called Socatots. It’s really well run at a local school hall. Not only does it help the children learn some football skills, but it also teaches them colours, numbers and above all teamwork. Children are encouraged to work together on exercises and collecting training items at the end of each section. Normally my two year old will have a vague go at the football exercises, but is the first to help collect and return practice equipment such as balls, skittles and dice. Today was rather different, however. Everything triggered a cry of ‘no no mummy’ and giving anything back required a negotiation. This could be down to a number of factors: illness over the last couple of weeks, a stand-in teacher, the wind blowing in the wrong direction… the list goes on. It did however, bring my ongoing personal debate to the top of my mind – who exactly is in control here?
I’m sure many mums will be smiling at this – and maybe I am deluding myself that it could be anyone but the two year old! No matter how much we parents may be the organisers, drivers, caterers for events and days out, I can’t help feeling that the toddler is in ultimate control. Even now I’ve just been handed some fluff found under the sofa and told ‘dirty mummy’ then that ‘mummy daddy stay here!’ My instant guilt at a lack of housework kicked in and I (almost) got up to do something about it rather than finishing my much needed cup of coffee.
Looking after a toddler rather than a baby definitely sets its own set of challenges and I only hope I’m up to it. For now, I think I’ll have to pick my battles – step one may be over who controls the TV remote on a weekend!