Toddler time

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 tells us about

‘So, tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow, I will drop my little babies into a sea of small faces and walk out the door. The first day of nursery awaits…

Today we had an hour’s visit, where I stayed with the girls while they got to know where everything was. I had to physically drag them out when that hour was up. T was already ordering about another little girl who didn’t quite understand her complex game, and G refused to be parted from the baby doll she was giving a bottle to. Oh, they’ll be just fine, and I’ll finally get a regular break from having 2 rowdy 3-year-olds around. I know the first few days will kill me, but I’ll adjust, just like I did to the one day a week at playgroup, and start to value that time apart. Only problem is, the twins aren’t actually the ones I need a break from.

Now 15-and-a-half months old, M is into, and onto, everything. While I was distracted for 20 seconds today, laughing with T about how funny the word ‘eggs’ is (I am going to miss her so much!), M clambered up onto the sofa, dropped her book, and dived headfirst back off again in an attempt to retrieve it. She actually bounced on her skull. Pretty sure my heart actually stopped. M screamed the place down as I desperately tried to soothe her, and G ran over to shower her in kisses (I am going to miss her so much too!). After about a minute though, M suddenly stopped crying. She noticed the book she’d been after, picked it up and thrust it into my face demanding: ‘Read it! Read it!’ She’s a pretty tough cookie, that one. But her old mum can’t stand the pace.

I honestly do not know how I managed with two 15-month-olds around. I mean, they are just everywhere, all the time. I’ve often gone into the kitchen and shut the baby gate behind me, only for the washing machine to suddenly start beeping, as she’s managed to sneak in unnoticed and start messing with the controls. She copies everything the twins do, completely refusing to give any weight to the fact that they are nearly 2 years her senior. I am constantly plucking her off tables, extracting stolen pencils from her mouth and retrieving her from behind the TV. I’m exhausted. It’s a good thing I was already pregnant by the time the twins were this age, because the thought of doing this again is horrific. Of course, I adore my babies more than anything in the world, but they have all had their moments of driving me to despair. And this is M’s.

I guess at least with the twins at nursery 3 times a week, I’ll be able to focus on her alone. I do love the rare 1-on-1 time I get with any of the girls, but M in particular has missed out on so much because of them all being so close in age. She’s grown up too fast. In most ways, I am simply proud of her. Her language, already past the point of counting words, is a constant source of amusement.

‘Oh no! Oh no! Daddy fall down stairs!’ she exclaimed the other night. Luckily, her father hadn’t fallen, merely walked down, but it was so cute.

She can sing along to the alphabet, recite snatches of nursery rhymes, and the fact she has been walking so long means she’s already started dropping the baby fat and looking like a proper little girl. But I’m also conscious of the things she’s missed out on. When the twins were at this wonderful stage, all the toys in the house, all the games we played, were tailored to their needs, designed to encourage their development. M has simply been dragged along with her sisters. She’s so lucky to have such great playmates, but she also needs to be a toddler. So I plan on spending our Mummy-and-me time letting her be just that. We’ll read about numbers and letters without anyone shouting out the answers, build towers that nobody cares if she knocks down and dance to whatever song we choose without being choreographed by a stern twin.

Like her nursery-bound sisters, little M is growing up so fast before my eyes. I can’t stop it, but I can slow down. And hopefully, she’ll slow down just a little bit too, and give her old mum a rest.’

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