My last couple of blogs have been about the (lack of) grown-up men in my life. Tinder dating, the lessons I have learned and everything in between. But, whilst I may wanna dance with somebody, I need to talk about the main man in my life – my toddler, TJ. Practical parenting is what keeps me going yet time is going so bloody fast.

TJ is two and a half. I get so emotional baby, when I think about how he will be three in October. Every parent experiences this. There’s a huge change happening in what feels like just one moment in time. My once helpless little baby is turning into a helpful and independent toddler. And, with it, all of that parenting stuff which you think you have nailed changes overnight as they enter a new developmental phase. Cue panic once again.

After my separation from TJ’s dad, I regularly go a few (long) nights without seeing my son. Then, TJ trots back into my world and the changes since I last saw him are all too apparent. My jaw drops as TJ tells me all about his day’s activities as he runs around our home using his imagination to play.

Chatty man

The biggest and most noticeable sign in practical parenting and him growing up so fast is his language. No, he’s not dropped the f-bomb … yet. TJ comes out with longer sentences and it’s truly amazing. He will now happily tell me about something which has happened at nursery or with his dad. Or, he will describe to me whatever he wants and leads me to where he wants me to be. This is usually to the kitchen for juice or a snack, obviously.

He will ask questions of those people around him. The current cutest example is: ‘hello, how are you today?’. This he enquires of everyone from his grandparents down to the Minions in Despicable Me. I hope he continues to be my baby for a long time. This is not just because I am a little more comfortable in that area of practical parenting. It’s also a job which I am not quite ready to give up on no matter how much growing up he’s doing.

Here’s just some of the ways in which my little boy is becoming a man – and others which show he’s still (and always will be) my baby.

Practical parenting for Baby TJ

He has to hold onto a handful of my hair to fall asleep at bedtime.
TJ loves being carried around by his mummy.
Peter Rabbit and Hey Dugee rule his life.
He sometimes sleeps in mummy’s bed when life in his own room is a bit too much at 2am.
My little man still loves a bottle of milk (judge me, it makes him happy)

Practical parenting for Toddler TJ

TJ can use the Kindle Fire I bought him for Christmas to play on various CBeebies apps, largely without my assistance. Again, judge me – we all turn to screen time and you know it.
He can walk up and down the stairs by himself – a blessing when we live in a first floor flat.
The little one can recognise emotions in people and also articulate his own very well.
We’re in the middle of potty training – cue a very odd feeling of pride.
Tantrums still happen – not everything about growing up is a good thing!
His intelligence is shining through in ways which astound me – that kid is as sharp as a tack.

Luckily, TJ’s toddler ways are outnumbering the baby traits. So, his development is heading in the right direction. Step by step, he’s finding his feet in the world. He knows he can always count on me whilst finding his own independence.

It’s all good, baby

Practical parenting is such an intense experience full of highs, lows and the somewhat monotonous bits in between. Excuse the clichés which are about to come, but the love is more intense than anything I could ever have imagined before TJ came along. I want his slobbery little kisses forever. It’s the ultimate parenting dilemma – stay exactly as you are vs. grow up so I can see who you will become. I remember this feeling from right back when TJ was a newborn and not wanting a faint hair on his little head to change.

There’s so much more to come pf course – from starting school straight through to his 18th birthday and beyond. I hope our strong bond will remain intact. When he’s a man, I hope that he will come home and scoop up his little old mum for the hugs and laughter that I rely on now.

Because TJ is, of course, my greatest love of all.