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There seems to be a switch that flicks on in children around about 2 and a half (Tilly’s age) when they realise that they do not, in fact, have to do everything their big sister tells them. (They realise they most definitely don’t have to do anything their mum tells them either, but that’s another blog post entitled “How do you negotiate with a toddler without losing your mind?” which has yet to be written).

They realise that they do, in fact, have things called choices.  When you combine that with the way we seem to parent these days; seen and gloriously heard, self expression is lauded and creativity comes in many forms – paint on the walls, the furniture, their faces, play-doh (god how I hate the stuff) in their mouths and at the back of the sofa, you have a rather high octane cocktail.

And so it was this weekend.  Him indoors was away for the weekend so I took the girls to see a very old (I’ve known her since I was about 5, she’s not in fact very old, just to be clear), very good friend of mine who lives on the coast.  We had a lovely time, and the girls were running around playing in the sand dunes.  Trying to them get them off the sand dunes was a challenge but who’d want to get in a car after so much fun?

But it was really bloody hard work, not just yesterday but last night and today. I’ve had the girls on my own many, many times, I’m used to it. But somehow this weekend it just seemed harder. Everything was a struggle and the arguments and shouting between them was really rather extreme at times.  In fact once when I thought no one was looking I just lay my head in my arms on the kitchen table and shed a few tears.  Until I felt a little hand on my shoulders and a little voice say:

“I love you Mummy.”  Of course I felt better after that. And it wasn’t all bad.  They played together really well for much of the weekend, a complex game involving wearing blankets round their heads and being super heroes.  Tilly,  in particular entered into the spirit of the game by frequently running up to me and telling me of her intentions:

“Mummy I’m a superhero!”

“Are you? Jolly good.”

“I got to rescue my dollies. They need my help.” Said with great urgency in a loud whisper.

“Righto, off you go then.”

She then runs off to the dolls house, says “Don’t worry, I’m here,” then runs off again.

There was a time, not long ago, where I could ask Eliza to ask Tilly to do something (put her coat on, go on the potty, eat her lunch etc) and it would be done, but now Tilly won’t blindly do what she says.  So my life is all about giving choices.  Red tights or blue ones? Cucumber or carrots? Potty or loo? Sane mother or visiting rights to the asylum at weekends only?  Take your pick.

As if this wasn’t enough to prove to me finally that Tilly has ‘arrived’ I overheard this conversation on the way back from the coast:

“Tilly stop throwing your hula hoops around.”

“No, I don’t want to stop throwing hula hoops round ‘Liza.”

“Well then you are very very naughty.”

“No I’m not naughty, you are naughty.”  (here we go – time to turn up the music and sink into blissful ignorance.)

“No I’m not.  I’m perfect.”  She is of course.

“No, you’re naughty.  Mummy Tilly says she’s perfect and she’s not.”

“Yes I am.”

And so it goes on…

But in fact my girls aren’t all that different from one another.  I wrote a blog post when I first started this blog called She Went To Sleep in Wellies.  And as it happens Tilly has gone to sleep tonight in the exact same pair of wells.  Only Tilly calls them “Wellington Boots!” with great purpose.




  1. Hi there, we had a day like that yesterday where my 2 years and 9 month old refused to do anything that she was told…nightmare … but she is asleep and back to being my beautiful little angel UNTIL she wakes up!! x

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