However, the pandemic has changed these battles a bit. One might even say that momming a toddler during what looks to become a yearlong quarantine (at least for a yellowish-orangish family), has been made marginally easier.
It’s a very small margin.
Take grocery shopping, for example. My son has not been inside a store since February, when he was still content to sit in the cart and smile adoringly at me as I calmly completed our list.
But now, I don’t unpack him from the car and promise the world or make empty threats to distract him from the toy aisles and get him to cooperate as I complete the list. We stay strapped in our seats, enthusiastically thank the dedicated staff loading our car, and continue on our way home. Again.
If his older siblings were in normal school, we’d spend the majority of our day in and out of the car, braving rain, ice, snow, and small talk for the endless thread of drop-offs and pick-ups.
With our temporary homeschool status, the toddler’s room doubles as a classroom, and he gleefully joins us for daily carpet time and all subsequent lessons. No travel necessary. No imposed schedule to follow.
There are no sideline shenanigans at soccer practice or dance rehearsal. No change in our day whatsoever.
Then there’s nursing. With our first two children, I had long since weaned by now. However, with no job to return to, no trips planned, no reason to be separated from my children, I’m still nursing. I figure every ounce of extra immunity I can provide this child is worth it.
Plus, he loves nursing. LOVES it. Never wants it to end.
Speaking of never leaving my children…Separation anxiety is a nonissue these days because mom is always there. Always. There will be no babysitter, not even a day with Grandma and Grandpa. He doesn’t have to worry about being without my familiar face. Ever.
A little separation anxiety wouldn’t be so bad.
I miss the toddler battles of old. It’s possible that eliminating separation anxiety, Target tantrums, and weaning challenges might not be worth the complete and utter breakdown of regular life.
More than possible. A certainty.
I would relish the battle of trying to separate my two-year-old from an indoor playground. I would weep to give him the opportunity of finding a bestie at a random park, and have the chance to exchange knowing smiles with the new bestie’s parent.
I would welcome his tears as we said good-bye, just so we’d have the chance to miss each other.
We’ll get back there. And if my biggest fear is that he’ll be a reasonable preschooler for these battles rather than an irrational toddler, so be it.
There are worse things.