Where have all the good times gone?

Just over a week ago, I wrote about the joy of having a one-year-old - someone more mature and aware of what's going on. Huh! That first birthday turned out to be a turning point, but not for the better. We've since had consecutive days of tantrums, crying, whining and the dreaded arched back. No one thing has set this off, rather it's been a common reaction to various events such as being put in the cot, being fed, being put on the floor and even when a wall blocks the path of his beloved new dog on wheels. So what happened?

Until last week, we were convinced we had the world's most perfect child. To our delight he would watch placidly while other children threw themselves onto the floor screaming. He would be content to gurgle to himself while other children begged their parents for more sweets or toys. And then, with a flick of some invisible switch, he turned from an angel into a typical toddler (without the toddling, yet). We were not expecting this until he reached the Terrible Twos, or 18 months at the earliest, and even then not such a sudden change. We've searched for signs of any illness or allergic reaction, there's been no change of environment and as parents, we feel we're just as loving as we were a week ago (although it's requiring more effort!).

In times like this, it's great to have experienced friends to give us valuable support and advice. It was unanimous from everyone we spoke to: "At last! Now you're seeing what it's really like to be a parent. You've been lucky up to now - welcome to the real world..."

So it seems we have to say goodbye to our smug grins and start gritting our teeth. Babies need to learn that they have self-control and can be independent. We didn't think learning would be this turbulent so soon but we're reassured that it's all normal so far. In any case, I'm sure it will be much easier when he learns to speak and can express himself more easily... won't it?

Postscript to this article:

Another change. Not long after writing this, we gradually started to get our old child back. We had to make a few changes, in particular at mealtimes where his tantrums were apparently a way of telling us he wanted to feed himself. With a bit of trial and error, however, he is now perfectly happy with a spoon in his hand while his other hand shovels food into his mouth. This in itself seems to have made a huge difference to his moods during the day and having family meals where we all feed ourselves is a joy. We even indulge in intelligent after-dinner conversation (Did you see any cows today? Moo moo. Did you ride in the car? Vroom vroom, etc.). Yes, family life is fantastic once again although we're now very aware that we could hit another rough patch at any time. At least now we know it's all part of his development and that we should be prepared to further our own development as well.

Comments (now closed)

Hello! I thought that you'd like to know that my baby twins now 15 months are also at the 'lets test our independence' stage... arching backs, refusing to get in pushchair, see how far a bowl of wheetabix can fly, get up and try and run in the middle of a pooy nappy change,take tele remote control and run and much more!
7 January 2005

How did the previous writer get their child to 1 without Calpol? It is compulsory kit isn't it (althoguh a little over used at times).
Chris29 June 2004

Calpol is the Doctor's answer to anything involving an under 5 these days - unless it's spotty, red, affected by light etc. Arched backs are just the start of it!
Neil Hoskins21 June 2004

Don't be fooled, once teeth start getting ready to arrive, a permanently snotty nose, constant dribbling and eratic, clearly painful crying (which will break your heart) will not be far behind. Note to all parents - I had never heard of 'Calpol' (liquid paracetamol for babies) until my first child reached the age of one, now it is a must in the bathroom cabinet. It works wonders.
Graham Souter16 June 2004