Oh me, oh my, how life changes when babies appear.
How life changes as they grow up and morph from babies to toddlers to children! I listed five ways our relationship changed when the toddler took over. Five changes among a list of a million and I wouldn't change any of it for the world.
1. You see your partner in precarious situations
We have a ‘closed door policy’. Or should I say, we used to have a ‘closed door policy’. Before babies and toddlers, there was no way anyone would see me sitting on the loo. Now the exception to the rule is the child whose memories have hopefully not developed enough to remember seeing me with my pants around my ankles. But of course, that changes.
God forbid you lock the door in case the toddler wants to join you. It’s easier to let them in than listen to them wail outside the door that they want to see mummy or daddy. So, of course, as you sit, having hoped for three minutes to yourself, your partner has to open the door and – avert your gaze! Nope, too late! God dammit. There comes a day when you just don’t care anymore. Especially the day when you have a crying toddler sitting on your lap as you grace the throne – “Daddy, help!”
2. Conversation stalls
Our conversations now amount to who can name all of the characters in Paw Patrol to the wonders of Kids YouTube and the intriguing relationship of Amy Jo and Spidey from Disney Cars Toy Club. Topics of conversation can include, what’s in the freezer for dinner, what will the kid eat and bowel movements – not just those of the child but also yours for some unknown reason. Sharing is caring.
If you get the time to catch a coffee without the child, thanks to doting grandparents, you may realise that the thin air between you is a little … let’s say quiet. Don’t panic, this phase will pass and you’ll soon remember that there is life outside of nappies and formula and leaky bosoms. Our toddler is three years old and I’ll admit the air is still a little quiet but getting a bit louder as the weeks go by.
3. Intimacy can disappear
Yes, your sex drive may be lower. Exhaustion has kicked in and your idea of satisfaction is now a hot cup of tea and The Gilmore Girls. But another reason it disappears is because, if you’re the lucky one, you’ll have inherited a double or king size bed all to yourself as your partner takes ownership of the floor beside the cot or in the toddler bed.
You may have heard that toddlers don’t sleep. While our little one isn't the worst, she has her moments and likes a wander after bedtime. My other half has spent more nights this week snoozing beside the toddler than me. Undoubtedly though, I’m uber relaxed after a night of stretching my limbs across a 5ft bed so I’m not complaining.
4. You may fight more
Or at the very least bicker – over everything. Who’s going to take the bins out, why the baby bottles weren’t sanitised, who ate the last banana (God dammit that was for the toddler and now she’s crying for one). Let’s face it, the bickering only happens because you’re shattered, stressed and probably overworked from hours of chasing down an energetic mini you.
Bear in mind these are not full on ‘I hate you’ fights. They’re petty, ‘I need a break’ squabbles. I’m sure five years down the road the bickering will ease off as the exhaustion becomes less. Can anyone confirm this? Just so we know to hang on.
5. You fall in love all over again
Seeing your partner goo-goo and gaga over your baby, lulling her to sleep, chasing and tickling her as she finds her running feet, reading books with all the quirky voices, is something special. Moments when they sit you down for a shoulder rub, make you a blistering hot cup of tea and a croque monsieur with crisps on the side, can make the lack of privacy, the odd and somewhat tedious conversations, the lacklustre intimacy and the bickering seem almost worth it.
Changes can be good. And the changes with a baby are big and beautiful. I melt when I see the way my husband looks at our daughter – pure love, pure happiness and thankfully he looks at me the same way too.