My littlest boys are three at the end of this month. Their development astounds me every day. There are things they are doing, things they are saying, that I don’t think would be happening yet if it weren’t for the fact that they are twins. One thing that has become blatantly obvious though, is that toddlers just don’t give a shit about the adults around them. Every afternoon when I pick the boys up from day care, I have to battle just to get to the car. Inevitably, one or both want to be carried, or one will come with me, and the other runs off to the top of the slide, or both will want to walk and if I try to hold their hand, they will lie down, or run in opposite directions. They just don’t care.
Last week I was shopping in Ikea when I noticed an older woman calling out for a child, her granddaughter it turns out. I knew that look of fear and the sound of panic in her voice. It brought back memories of the time when my eldest had just turned two, and had gone missing from his bed in the middle of the night.
We were living in Darwin at the time, my husband was still in the Navy, and away at sea. My mother was visiting from Sydney, asleep in the spare room. My daughter was 5 months old at the time, asleep in her bassinet in my bedroom. She was still waking to feed multiple times a night, so it wasn’t unusual for me not to go to bed until midnight after nursing her around 11pm. I had a habit of always going to check in on my boy before I went to bed.
His room was down the opposite end of the house to mine, and away from the lounge room where I usually sat watching late episodes of Law and Order. As I headed down to check on my sleeping boy, there was no indication that anything was amiss. I opened his door quietly and peered in through the darkened room, only to be greeted by the sight of an empty bed.
I panicked and immediately thought the worst. Someone had broken in and kidnapped my boy. All the doors were locked, and living in a DHA house, we had security grills on all the window. They too were shut and locked – it was the end of the wet season, and I kept the air conditioners running until I went to bed.
I woke my mother, in case he had woken and crawled into bed with her, but he wasn’t there. I checked every room in the house, but couldn’t find him. By this stage all manner of thoughts were running through my mind, and I wondered if I would ever see my son again. I was about to call the police when I decided to check his wardrobe. It was one of those mired sliding door ones and it was shut.
I slid the door open, and there was my precious boy, curled up with his plush Iggle Piggle, Upsy daisy and Makka Pakka dolls that were bigger than him, completely oblivious to the fear and panic he had caused. At some stage he had climbed out of bed, into the wardrobe, and shut the door behind him.
Back in Ikea, I approached the woman frantically calling out for her granddaughter, and asked her what the girl looked like so I could help her search. With the help of some other parents, we quickly found the two-year old girl. She was hiding in a tent in the children’s furniture section, completely unaware of the commotion she had caused.
Her grandmother picked her, she thanked us all, and said in a very relieved, but shaky voice to her granddaughter ‘don’t ever do that to Nanny again’. And I thought to myself, if a kid can run away from his parent while he is meant to be asleep in his bed in a securely locked house, it’s no surprise that a two-year old can run off from their grandmother in the children’s section of Ikea, or from any adult in any situation if they turn their head for a split second.
Toddlers just don’t give a shit.
I’d love to hear your stories of toddlers not giving a shit. Hit me up in the comments!