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THE PHYSICAL DEMANDS OF HAVING A TODDLER

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It's not just newborns who make demands on your body, says Sara McCorquodale

This morning in Sainsbury's I was openly pitied by one of the till ladies. She watched as I tried to pack and pay while my toddler attempted to escape the trolley using my hair as a rope.

‘Nectar Card?’ she said.

‘No,’ I said (it's somewhere on Acton Green, I just don't know where).

More pity. The toddler escaped the trolley and began to scale me like a wall.

Of all the things I wasn't prepared for when it came to the terrible twos, the physical demand is surely the most prominent. My stomach is a trampoline, boobs continually elbowed, legs are fireman’s poles. My body feels less like mine than ever - it’s toddler terrain, it belongs to him. I used to feel attractive and a bit fancy. Now I feel functional and, well, not brilliantly functional to be honest.

If he runs, I run. If he jumps, ‘Mummy jump!’ swiftly follows. There is nothing more thrilling than a game of chase. Or soft play. Or throwing ourselves on the grass. If it's muddy, even better. The physical activity just goes on and on and on. And, I actually love the gung-ho, headfirst-ness of it all but I also miss lazy afternoons alone watching Netflix. I miss those times when I could lie on the couch and not be on high alert a two-year-old might use my head as a step ladder.

That's not to say all of this insane energy isn't regularly peppered with quiet moments of heart-exploding affection. Soft snotty kisses. Fierce little hugs accompanied by whispered sweet nothings such as ‘dinosaur’ and ‘satsuma’.

This is tiring and physically dissolving but it’s also the golden age.

But there's no time to get sentimental for then we are off again. There are trees to examine, birds to chase, dogs to wave at. He has no hesitancy, no fear, and he’s wants me there for the whole thing (well, at the moment at least). That’s a pretty big compliment. That’s a pretty big deal. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who likes me as much as my son, age 2.

So I get it. This is tiring and physically dissolving but it’s also the golden age. Would I change it? No. But would I like to feel fancy again? Yes, I really would - and for that I don’t apologise.

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