By Catherine Cameron.
Recently I started a blog to express my utter amazement at the theatrical tantrums my toddler was capable of in response to the strangest things.
Did she really just cry for 15 minutes because of a loose thread hanging off her skirt?
Yes, she did.
And then, as COVID19 took hold of our world, and this blog was left unfinished.
Today I started to write about our current situation, living through a global pandemic and in lockdown.
But I promptly ceased.
Because, at a time like this, where this is so much anxiety, fear, and uncertainty, I wasn’t sure we needed another article outlining what ‘our new normal’ is.
Week two of lockdown, and there is something I do need however. And I can only guess, perhaps some of my readers need too.
And so, I digress, back to my two-year-old, and her stray thread.
Back to the absurdity of her theatrics as she convulsed in horror as the tiny string of cotton touched her leg; while the rest of the world was in turmoil.
And I laughed.
I vividly remember a conversation I had with my sister one morning, which to me outlines the hilarity of life with a toddler.
My sister: “Why is she crying?”
Me: “She just walked through her own poo in her new ‘Paw Patrol’ slippers.”
“Where was her poo?”
“In the garden. Why is yours crying?”
“The radio is playing ads.”
Now, although I did feel sorry for my sister listening to her three-year-old wail as they sat in traffic, I realized with welcomed clarity that I wasn’t alone.
And so, as other parents face months of lockdown with their own theatrical performers, here is your clarification, that you too, are not alone.
After all, as they say in the theatre, ‘the show must go on’.
And it did go on;
Because she wasn’t allowed to sleep with her dirty and awkwardly angled branch (I immediately felt guilt for denying her this when a friend sent me a picture of her toddler sleeping with a pair of BBQ tongs.)
Because the dog stood on her chalk art.
Because her fart hurt her ears.
Because she wanted to eat her dinner like a dog off the floor (I let her.)
Because I wouldn’t put the cockroach on the wall in her cot, even though she promised me he was her best friend.
Because I was cooking dinner and it smelt like food.
Because someone parked in her parking spot at work. (She doesn’t work nor own a parking space.
Because I sang Elsa’s part in ‘Let it go’ when I was supposed to be Anna.
Because I cut her toast into four squares instead of two. And then the following day because I cut her toast into two squares instead of four.
So, at a time when families are cooped up in small spaces, and when social distancing is practiced only outside one’s bubble, a toddler’s dedication to theatrics becomes rather magnified.
And although I find myself wishing for a little less drama in a single day, I have to remember how much she is learning, growing, and experimenting.
And more importantly, I have to take these performances with a grain of salt.
Because if I start stressing about her obsession with cockroaches and stray threads I may just start crying too.
Thus, I have learned to take a deep breath.
To walk away.
And to see just how lucky I am that she feels safe enough with me to reveal her most vulnerable self in the face of confusion.
Because that’s our role as parents. To offer safety in our bubble of love (amidst our COVID19 bubbles.)
I doubt William Shakespeare, when inventing the word ‘bubble’ all those years ago, could imagine its insertion into everyday vocabulary during this global pandemic.
Neither could he have imagined that the theatrics of my toddler and her pet cockroach could rival that of Romeo and Juliet.
Stay safe in your own bubbles everybody.
And, pick your battles.