The terrible twos

Frankie Leigh, blogger at gives us an insight into life with a 'terrible two' year-old.

I am currently half way through the 'terrible twos'. Since Luna was born she hasn't always been the most laid back, easy going kid on the block so I was expecting the twos to follow suit. And they have.

So far this week Luna has had a tantrum because:

* I wouldn't let her run around a busy carpark.

* The biscuit she wanted was downstairs and not upstairs.

* She wasn't allowed to run into a stream fully clothed.

* Her dinner wasn't ready at the exact moment she decided she was hungry.

* I was cooking her dinner.

* I offered her a drink.

* She wasn't allowed to pull the cat's tail.

* It was windy at the top of a very large hill she had been carried up.

And that's not even mentioning the usual issues of not wanting to nap/go to bed/eat most of the food she is given...

I completely understand it, she is frustrated by her lack of understanding and comprehension about a lot of issues, health and safety being one of them. She is also fairly limited in her current vocab. She has the important words 'puddle', 'wow' and 'backpack' down though. All of these combined, plus more teeth, potential growing pains and generally discovering who she is and what she likes, makes for a fairly draining combination.

However I'm not so sure that the twos really are that terrible (I write this while Luna is still awake at 9pm and shouting "Mama" from her bedroom as she's decided she doesn't need sleep). While I miss the squishy baby snuggly stage, this age is amazing. Watching Luna learn and discover is the best. I get to take her to new places and everything seems like an adventure. Almost any outing, however boring, can be spiced up by pointing out the animals/vehicles/colours that you can see. Watching her face as she experiences something new and can understand it, is the best feeling ever. Her personality is coming through more and more each day. Without a doubt she is strong willed and knows her own mind already, which isn't always easy, but I love seeing that fire and determination in her character. Always wanting to lead the way and forever pulling my hand so we can follow the path she has in her mind. She somehow remains my shadow while also building her independence.

The majority of the twos is not easy and trying to reason with a child whose favourite answer is no is somewhat tricky. When they cannot communicate what they want you can see the frustration build and it's not surprising it spills over. On the days when I find myself in Sainsburys as she lays on the floor screaming because I said she couldn't eat the plastic on the outside of the cucumber, I try and remind myself why she is upset. She doesn't understand, it doesn't make sense in her mind. When it's just us, this reasoning helps; in public when others are tutting or rolling their eyes while jabbing a thumb in our direction it's a bit harder. I try to not let the public outbursts upset me, but I can feel the real, and I'm sure sometimes imagined, judgement from others around me. I feel the need to justify her crying and reassure strangers that I'm not a terrible parent, just trying to look after her as best I can.

Defining motherhood.

Image by Kate Gardiner,

Image by Kate Gardiner,

When you've spent the past half hour chasing your toddler around a pub, guiding him away from the punters and hoping he doesn't see that staircase, it is okay to stop, hold him like a rugby ball and take a long old gulp of that pint. 

I didn't realise how much motherhood would change me. I spent the first 6 months of my son's life feeling like an imposter, someone that wasn't fit for this role of keeping a small human alive. I went from a girl who loved a good night out, wore short shorts and bleached my hair, to a mum. I actually went out and bought myself a ghastly floral top because I knew I could breastfeed in it and I thought it looked like something a 'mum' would wear. I even had the bleach cut out of my hair, I was in a complete daze of new mum life, changing myself to suit the role. 

I fooled myself into thinking that you have to be a 'mum' to be a mum, you get me? Like you have to go to all of the kids groups and hang out with other mums and enjoy every moment of every day and only wear breast-feeding appropriate tops and not go out and not drink....

Eventually I came to my senses. I found thousands of supportive mums through The Fourth Trimester magazine who have been an invaluable source of help to me personally and I finally feel like myself again (although I'm yet to find time to bleach my hair and get a new tattoo). I've realised that even my non-mum friends still want to hang out, you can still go for after work drinks (although the child might wake from his nap and kick your glass of vino over). 

I am different, motherhood will change everyone. I spend most of the day talking to (at) a smaller version of myself: 'Where is your other shoe? Where did that bruise come? Have you shat yourself again? It's quiet, what are you doing? Oh he's just playing nicely, I'll just carry on making.... what are you eating? Where did that even come from?' And even if there's a work deadline approaching, a thousand emails that need replying to by yesterday, or the house is in desperate need of a clean, he will always be the top priority.

Mothering is difficult and as we approach mothers day there will no doubt be an influx of 'buy your mum sweet heart shaped things and flowers - she must love flowers, all mums love flowers, if your mum doesn't love flowers then she is not a mum' type adverts. So it was a refreshing change to be told about Not On The Highstreet's Maverick Mum campaign. I know it's hard to feel like a Maverick when you're red faced and sweating from physically forcing your tantrumming toddler out of that planking position and into his pushchair, but they're right, at the risk of sounding cheesy, we are all Maverick Mums.

Post your own motherhood stories and snaps to Instagram with the hashtag #MaverickMum - there's a chance to win lots of NOTHS goodies! 



What do we need to buy in preparation for a baby? - AskFourthTri

So we can pretty much guess the basics - cot, pram, car seat, clothes etc. But here is a list of essentials our insta-mama community found they couldn't live without....

• Giant muslins - can be used for swaddling, blankets, burp cloths, sun shields, play mats - cheap and multi-functional.

• Play gym or baby chair - put the baby down and know it is safe! 

• Moses basket/bassinet for the early days - can be secondhand. 

• Sheets for baby basket - worth getting a few, they make a lot of nasty messes in there.

• Nappy bin - one with a lid, those things stink!

• Baby wrap/sling/carrier - some babies love them, some don't. If you can, try some out before you buy. 

• Coconut oil - helps to get the meconium poop off in those early days!

• Breast pump - if you plan to express and bottle feed. There are so many types, could be worth borrowing and trying one out before you buy.

• Teething rings, necklaces - maybe avoid purchasing straight away though, you are almost guaranteed to be bought some as a gift!

• Changing bag - any bigish bag with pockets and a long strap you can hook over the pram handles will do.

• Changing mats - one for home and a small travel one.

• Bottles & Steriliser - if you choose to bottle feed. We purchased bottles just in case but Milo refused them, now we have a box of bottles taking up precious space in the kitchen. Anyone want some bottles? Free to a good home!

• Ewan dream sheep - he got a lot of votes but any white noise maker will help the babe to sleep.


• Most things can be bought second hand - it is recommended to buy new mattresses though.

• If buying a second hand cot look out for bite marks from teething bubbas! 

• The cot doesn't need to be expensive - take a look at Mokee - they are nice people and their cots are cheap and can be transformed as the baby gets older. (Milo finds his Mokee Mini particularly exciting though.)

• Don't buy baby shoes - you will spend more time trying to put them on the baby than the baby actually wearing them.

• Changing tables have mixed reviews - some purchased and never used, just changed the baby everywhere and anywhere! I personally purchased one when Milo was a few weeks old and used it all the time as it stopped me from stooping down to change him and hurting my back.

• You will get given a lot of baby clothes! Milo was in hand me downs for aaaaagggesss.