Two year olds. Tiny little human beings who can bring you so much joy, but wow can they be hard work. Sometimes I feel guilty for saying that Rae is hard work because she’s so good in so many ways. She sleeps so well, going to bed without a fight once I tuck her in; she eats whatever I put in front of her, no messing about; she’s polite to everyone she meets, saying hi, please and thank you all the time; she holds my hand on shopping trips, doing as she’s told and not running off; she loves dancing and building Lego, which we have so much fun doing. I’ve just received a glowing two year report from nursery, telling me how she’s a lovely, confident and caring little girl who loves to make her friends laugh. Every day her key worker tells me she’s been great and they’ve had no problems with her. But there are two things that she hates doing, and these two things are driving me mad. Getting dressed and undressed. Two things that have to be done twice a day, every day. You may think they sound insignificant, it can’t be that hard to dress and undress a two year old, right? Wrong. I dread the fight I know she’s going to put up every morning and every night. Yesterday bath and bed took nearly two hours, the majority of which was spent firstly trying to get her undressed, then after the bath trying to get her to put her pyjamas on. There’s normally bribery involved, especially in the mornings, and I hate it because I feel like I’m giving in to her demands, but when I have to get us ready to leave for nursery and work I just don’t have the time to argue. Last week I thought we’d turned a corner as she got dressed in less than five minutes nearly every day. But she was just tricking me, and has made up for it this week in spectacular fashion. Tonight was no exception. We got home and she refused to take her hat and scarf off, then she refused to take her shoes off. I decided there would be no bath tonight because I just didn’t have the energy for it. So with a fully dressed Rae we went upstairs to get ready for bed, with me feeling guilty for not giving her a bath purely because I was tired. She appeared willing at first, but then I unzipped her jacket and off she went, crying like I’d just set her favourite teddy on fire. And I lost it. I started crying and then found I couldn’t stop. I was sobbing like a 15 year old school girl who’s just been dumped by the boy she could have sworn was ‘The One’. I sobbed and sobbed and couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to do it in front of Rae but it just came from nowhere. Rae stood there staring at me then got me a tissue and said ‘Mummy ok?’ Which made me cry even more. I managed to pull myself together and smiled at her telling her I was fine and just being silly, but I had mascara streaked down my face so I’m not sure she was convinced. Unsurprisingly she let me get her undressed and put her pjs on without too much of a fight (there was still a mini fight, miracles don’t happen that easily).
Before Rae came to live with me I had to put a photo book together for her so her foster carers could show her pictures of her new house and family (I’m not sure a 7 month old would get much from it but I had to do it anyway) and lately Rae insists we go through the book every night, saying hi and waving to every page, so we did this twice then I put her in her cot and put the blanket over her. There’s a book I used to read to her that I probably haven’t read in about 8 months (no idea where it is now if I’m honest) that’s about a babys day, and the last page says “Night night baby, dream away, tomorrow is another day” and I used to say this to Rae as I put her to bed after we’d read it, and again I haven’t said it for months. So tonight she managed to shock me and make my heart melt at the same time, as I put her to bed and it was Rae that said to me “Night night Mummy, love you too, tomorrow another day” and she’s right – tomorrow is another day, and I’m going to make it a better one.