Amy Condon is a mum to 3 kids, who are all under 3! Yes, you heard us right. Each week she tells us all about the ups and downs of bringing up 3 children so close in age. This week Amy talks about how her confident little one is testing her patience now she's 13-months-old...
'When the twins were 13-months-old, I started to get really frustrated with them. Their refusal to nap, their constant demands, their increasingly frequent tussles. It was driving me mad. Was I a bad mum? Was my resolve letting me down just when my girls needed me most? Then a niggling idea snuck into my head. I was feeling a little nauseous too. And tired...Sure enough, 2 little blue lines confirmed it. I wasn't an intolerant mum. I was a pregnant one.
So what's wrong this time?
M has just hit 13 months, and as well as being a bundle of laughs and fun, she's doing my head in. She's wilful, bossy and loud. Very, very loud. She wants to be read to all the time. Over and over again. I'm often only halfway through 'Where The Wild Things Are', when she picks it up and rams it into my face, demanding: ‘Again! Again!'
Don't get me wrong, I love that book. But my brain is mush. And there are only so many blows to the face I can take. After months of telling G and T to be gentle with her, I'm now having to protect them from M. She thinks nothing of grabbing handfuls of hair and dragging them out of her way. Earlier today, she walked up to T, who was playing happily, and bit her arm. As I simultaneously tried to calm a shocked and screaming little girl, fend off questions from her confused twin, and discipline a toddler who's far too young to understand, it was all I could do to keep it together myself.
M makes me laugh so much, she's loving, caring and so clever, but I spend a lot of time counting to 10 to try to rein in my temper. With the twins, I remember dragging up my high school French and German so I could have 3 languages to count in, thereby buying myself more breathing time. Now, I've added Spanish to that list (thank you, Handy Manny), but sometimes, even when I hit Diez, I'm still seething.
So, am I a bad mum after all? Shouldn't I be serenely rising above it all, seeing M's behaviour for what it is? She's asserting her independence and trying to figure out her place in our family and the world. I know that. But it doesn't make it any easier when she's contorting herself into a reverse C-shape to avoid getting into the buggy, or collapsing, Platoon-style, to the floor in a fit of sobs because I won't let her eat the nappy cream.
I feel exhausted and guilty. I don't have hormones to blame this time. At least I hope not (*frantically checks diary...*). No, I definitely don't have hormones to blame, so what's wrong? Then it hit me. There's nothing wrong. My pregnancy hormones last time around were a convenient excuse. Truth is, I'm annoyed by my 13-month-old because 13-month-olds are annoying. They no longer sit where you put them. They no longer coo happily while you get on and cook the tea. They no longer live just for you. They're no longer babies.
I'm so proud of M. She has a truly staggering range of vocabulary already. The other day, she suddenly decided to start handing people things and saying: ‘Happy Birthday!' for no apparent reason. Then yesterday, she began to sing what was recognisably 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star', complete with several words and an actual tune. She loves to kiss and hug her sisters, and is almost heart-breakingly cute. But she's a toddler. Toddlers scream when they don't get their way, and they don't care who they have to hurt to right the wrong. Toddlers are toddlers. And they grow out of it.
So I've resolved to stop feeling bad. It's OK to feel overwhelmed. It's OK to be frustrated. It's OK to be angry. All my girls have the power to drive me mad, but they all also make me smile more than anyone else ever has or ever will.
G and T grew out of that toddler phase and became bright, beautiful little girls. Yes, there were plenty more hard times to come, but to get those mummy highs, you have to deal with the lows. And I can. I will. I may just have to learn another language or 2...'
Did you find your kids were challenging at 13-months-old? Tell us about your experiences in our comments section below or on Facebook.
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