One of the loveliest side-effects of life with a head-strong toddler in tow is that you are forced to take things at a slower pace. My daughter is right in the middle of the ‘I-can-do-it-myself’ phase and yet her will and determination are currently well ahead of her ability.

As a busy mum I have a tendency to run around like a headless chicken. We always seem to be running late; school mornings are fraught, ballet outfits thrown on as we head out the door, dashing home for nap times, a whizz around the supermarket.

My daughter has unintentionally put a stop to all of that and it is actually doing me some good. I have no choice but to get out of bed 20 minutes earlier than before as I know she will insist on getting dressed herself. She is a long way off being able to do it at the moment but that will not stop her having a good attempt.

She will have to select her own shoes and despite the prevalence of mud and rain at the moment she will probably want to wear her sister’s sparkly pink party shoes that are four sizes too big. She will decide which coat she wants to wear. She can’t tell me which one as she is still fairly mute, but she can trot along to the coat cupboard, open it with ease, select the one she fancies and drop it at my feet. Who needs words!?

I usually have to wrestle her into the pushchair if I’ve got any chance of getting to school on time.

It’s a familiar manoeuvre to anyone with a toddler. Upon sensing that they are about to be buckled in, they manage to take on the form of a plank of wood; rigid and strong and determined not to be bent in the middle.

We mums (with a gritted smile on our face in case anyone is watching) have to manipulate the buggy straps with one hand whilst summoning up superhuman strength to hold the board-like child in place with the other.

On the way back from school when time is on our side I always let my daughter walk. It is amazing how the fresh eyes of a two year old can turn a boring walk into such an adventure. The journey takes on average three times as long as the way there, because we have to stop and inspect everything that catches her eye.

Up until recently I had no idea how many man-hole covers and water stop-cock covers there were on our pavements but now I do, because my daughter finds each one a marvel. She stops, crouches down, inspects, calls me to inspect, then when she’s finally happy it has been thoroughly inspected we move along.

Dogs and cats may well be the eighth wonder of the world. My daughter stops dead in her tracks and squeals with delight if one should come her way!

What is almost as lovely as my daughters awe with the world is the response she provokes from the ahem, older generation. Those who have also cottoned on to the toddler’s way of thinking and take great pleasure in a slower pace.

It really makes my day when an older person stops and watches my daughter, and passes comment on how busy or entertaining she is. It reminds me to try and take pleasure in her at this precious time and try not to be always in such a hurry.


Thursday, March 28

11am –12pm Children’s Storytime at Harlow Carr. Listen as great tales of garden adventures and little creatures are unfold. Each session will be followed by a short walk in the garden or an interactive song, and is suitable for under 5’s, although all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Saturday, March 30

11am Freya the Chocolate Rabbit visits Treasures Toyshop Wetherby. Treasures of Wetherby has the perfect visitor this Easter – Freya the chocolate rabbit. The Sylvanian Families favourite is coming to one of her favourite toy shops on Easter Saturday arriving at 11am to visit her fans and pose for photos. Treasures are also holding a colouring completion and have a super prize – the Highfield Barn and Farm Shop (worth £45) to be won. Entry forms are available now from Treasures or you can complete your entry when you visit Freya (Treasures will have a colouring station in the shop). Treasures also promise to have some amazing savings on Sylvanian toys and Freya will have lots of free gifts for her fans.

Easter on the Hill will be based in and around the cafe at Bivouac near Masham. There will be a whole host of things going on like an Easter hunt hunt, arts and crafts, story telling, chocolate eggs and picnic baskets prepared by the cafe to enjoy out in the picnic area for £25 per basket for 4. An event for all the family see the website www.thebivouac.co.uk for full information.

11am Christine Savage at Waterstones Harrogate, North Yorks. Come in store and meet Christine, the author of the magical tales of a very special carpet. This is the perfect book for children aged 8-12.

Wednesday, April 3

2pm Dogs Don’t Do Ballet at Harrogate Studio Theatre. Tickets: £8.50 Adults, £7.50 Child. Ages 2-6 years
Running time 40 minutes (no interval). The sublime and the ridiculous combine in this hilarious story of a small dog with a big personality and even bigger dreams, brought to life by Little Angel Theatre using beautiful puppets, well-loved ballet music and dazzling comedy. Also showing on Thursday, April 4 10.30am and 2pm, Friday, April 5 10.30am and 2pm and Saturday, April 6 10.30am and 2pm.

1.30pm Michaela Strachan’s Really Wild Adventures at Harrogate Theatre main house. Tickets: £12.50 Ages three-eight years
Running time one hour (no interval). From antelopes to zebras, from orphaned orangutans to Polar bear dentistry, this is a whistle stop interactive show full of poetry, dancing, music and lots of fascinating wildlife facts.