Today I had an important meeting to get to at work, so I was making an extra effort to leave the house early, or at least on time! Punctuality has never been my forte, even as a single person. It's on days like today that something extra happens to hold me up, usually involving my (almost) 2 year old son.
I'm lucky enough to work for our family business and so can get away with being A BIT late in, as I make up for it by working in the evenings etc (albeit usually with a glass of wine in my hand!) I have complete admiration for those parents who manage to get themselves and their families organised and delivered to their various destinations in a timely matter, as I really struggle with this. Today made me think back to all the toddler related incidents that have made me late recently, or should that be LATER!
1) They decide to have a lie in
Yes on the weekends, and the majority of weekdays, your toddler is most likely to be up with the lark, but yet on the day that time is of the essence they decide to have a nice long lie in. You, of course have been up at the crack of dawn and so don't even benefit from this extra lie in. You also still seem to be running behind as you think you had time to stick that wash on, empty the dishwasher. I can't bring myself to waken that sleepy little person, so instead try the "make some noise" approach.
2) They don't fancy eating breakfast
Even if most mornings breakfast is a breeze, when you've somewhere to be your toddler will decide they don't fancy their usual porridge or weetabix. Cue you having to make/offer various alternatives such as yoghurt, toast or fruit, only to be told they want "chocolate". Some of these different breakfasts are also bound to get spilled in the process and require a change of outfit, leading to yet further delays.
3) You smell a "situation"
So you've managed to get them washed, dressed and fed and are about to leave the house when you smell a "situation". Yes, unfortunately they have managed to relieve themselves in the space of time it took you to put your coats on and grab your bags. This now calls for a trip back upstairs to undress them and change their nappy, and you can count on the fact that it will be a leaky one requiring a change of outfit too.
4) They throw a tantrum
I could be here all day listing the different reasons a toddler may throw a tantrum, sometimes they don't even need a reason at all! Perhaps they want to stay and play with a certain toy, don't want to put their shoes on or simply want to do something themselves - "me do it!". At least he was practicing his colours. The length of delay encountered depends on whether this escalates into a fully blown crying & kicking showdown or if you are able to bring them back from the brink by the art of distraction or bribery! This morning I had to coax Rowan downstairs after he decided he wanted to bring both the "blue" and "yellow" buckets of (luckily clean) washing with him. The promise of going to nanny's house to do some painting was enough to change his mind, phew!
5) They spill, break or mess something up
This could be spilling food or drink on themselves, on the floor or on the cat. It could be knocking something over while they try to help you "brush up" or simply leaving a trail of destruction around the house from "playing". You may go days without anything much to report, but on the day you needed to leave 5 minutes ago, you can bet the dogs dish gets knocked over or you knock the baby's bottle over while it's cooling. Sometimes you can't even blame the toddler, when the cat decides to be sick on the kitchen mat or drags a dead rodent in. Oh I'm getting stressed even thinking about it!
I'm sure there are many more things we could add to this list. We'd love to hear your stories about being late, if only to make ourselves feel better so please do get in touch.