And of course there's always the not-so-fun stuff that everyone warns you about. Lack of sleep, lack of privacy (solo toilet breaks are an absolute thing of the past these days, particularly now that he has learnt the art of opening doors) and an inability to get anything, ANYTHING done quickly or in a methodical manner (herding cats has nothing on getting a toddler out of the house).
But there lurks a darker side to having children that I have to say I never spent much time thinking about before he came along. Discipline. Of course I thought about how well behaved my children would be - how people would comment on their good manners. I watched those Channel 5 documentaries with the best of them, where 10 year olds ran riot and parents were unable to control their tantrumming toddlers. And I thought "how difficult can it be to control the actions of someone so much smaller than yourself?"
Turns out, very. The problem is, you are starting from an absolute basis of nothing. I mean, these people have no concept of right and wrong. Appropriate or less so. Safe and downright dangerous. Throw in to the mix that as a toddler, when opinions are starting to form and their sheer bloody mindedness to go hell for leather in to whatever it is they want to do knows no bounds, they also think that everything, including parental admonishment is a sodding game.
Take this lunchtime for instance. Now this is by no means the worst that will ever happen (I am truly not that naive), but it presents itself as a good example. Part way through chicken and mushroom casserole with mashed potato, the small person started to blow raspberries. Subtly at first (or as subtle as a two year old is able to be - read, "not very"), but getting increasingly exuberant and, it has to be said, food filled. Not appropriate dinner table behaviour at all. Polite requests to "stop doing that please" were met with, well, more mashed potato filled raspberries frankly. A sharp "stop it now" elicited laughter. Ignoring him just meant that the performance grew louder and louder, with the addition of bouncing around in his highchair. He was genuinely enjoying himself. Not the reaction I expected, wanted, or particularly knew how to manage despite the fact that my role in all of this was to be the rule enforcing adult.
So how do you control the actions of someone so much smaller than yourself? Rather than being the straightforward concept I had once imagined it to be, this is a complex (yet critical) part of raising a child. These are people (small people, but people none the less) that don't understand reason, logic or (in the most desperate of times) bargaining. In their eyes, life is a game - one that is full of opportunities to up the fun factor and recruit new players. If that so happens to be during a period of telling off, then so be it.
I have absolutely no answers with which to conclude this post. I don't have any magic answers or special tricks. However I am beginning to understand that persistence is key. That empty threats, even at this age, can be dangerous. And above all else, when it comes to those Channel 5 documentaries, there but for the grace of God...