It was my daughter’s second birthday on Saturday (Blimey, where has the time gone, etc. etc.). She has been a pretty well-behaved child, but the cliche says that now she’s hit two years old, she’ll devolve into a shrieking, angry, terror, constantly tantruming apart from the occasional break for snacks, sleep and episodes of Bing. There has been some evidence that this kind of behaviour has been on the increase. She’s definitely getting more defiant, better at throwing herself to the ground and, as the bite mark in my shoulder testifies, violent on rare occasions.
So, should I be approaching the next year with trepidation? It’s certainly going to be more difficult at times, and I’m going to have to learn some new parenting skills: in particular, tolerance, bribery and avoiding the disapproving stares of strangers. My patience will be severely tested. It will not all be sweetness and light.
However, it will also be a year of new experiences for her (first bike and first ride on a scooter being just two from her birthday itself). She has started at nursery for the first time this week, which will (hopefully) help her develop new interests, make new friends and grow more confident. Her communication will only improve, and our interactions will become more and more like conversations, albeit often very weird ones. She will ask more questions. “What’s that guy?” being her current favourite, most recently asked when pointing at a wooden figure of Jesus at my grandparents house. I wasn’t even going to start trying to explain that one, given that theologians have been arguing over the precise answer to that question for 2000 years or so.
I’m sure that every stage of parenthood is difficult in its’ own special ways, and there are always doom-mongers who like to warn you that the next stage is more difficult still. Of course, I have no idea whether this third year of my daughter’s life will be more difficult than the ones past, or yet to come. What I do know is that there will be more good times than bad, and that the days I spend at home with her will be happier than the days spent elsewhere, and that’s enough for me.