Woeful Ones, Terrible Twos, Trying Threes, you name it. Toddlerdom is hard.
And the littlest thing can set your toddler's delicate psyche off. Like their milk being too cold. Or too hot. Or too cold and then too hot. Or too hot and then too cold. Or not of the chocolate variety. Or that the milk is in the pink cup and not the purple one. Or that they wanted to pour the milk from the 5-pound jug into the tiny cup by themselves. Or that it is milk and not water. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
There are myriad enemies of the parent of the toddler. These are just a few.
Basic Human Hygiene
Toothbrush, shampoo, Q-tips, these methods of toddler torture are Domestic Enemy #1. Trying to keep a toddler from smelling ripe and looking like they just crawled out of a gutter is hard work. They fight you at every turn with the ferocity of a honey badger. Brush their hair? NEVER! They would rather you waterboard them while making them watch footage of Caillou kicking a puppy. And don't even thing about cutting their nails. That is the lowest form of torture and completely unnecessary. Who doesn't want to have claws like Wolverine? Duh.
Getting a toddler dressed is like trying to stuff a water snake through a key-hole. Pointless, infuriating, and in the end, impossible. And that is just the actual physical side of getting a toddler dressed. The fashion side is an even deeper issue. God forbid you try to put your toddler in a Hello Kitty t-shirt when they want to wear their Batman pajamas. Such a blatant misdoing will most certainly result in a tantrum the likes of which this planet can surely not survive. In the long run, it really doesn't matter what you picked out for them to wear. It could be a vest fashioned from live puppy dogs that bark your child's name and it will still be wrong. Man, I want to wear that…
Even if your baby was an adventurous eater who would shove everything from caviar to canned dog food down their gullet, chances are, once they hit toddlerdom, a new sheriff will take over Dinner Town. Dinner time at our house generally makes me want to stab myself in the thigh with a rusty fork. One day, my daughter loves fish sticks. The next, she acts like I filleted our cat and served it up to her on a plate made of bat wings when I offer her fish sticks. What gives? Is it just me or are toddlers bi-polar when it comes to eating? The most infuriating? If your toddler wolfs down everything from quinoa to roasted beets at school and won't so much as touch a single grain of rice at home. Every night at our house is kind of like a terrifying game of culinary roulette. Will I win, or will the grapes I offered up as homage to the toddler god result in me losing a finger?
Toddlers have a sixth sense when it comes to when their tantrums can be the most epic. At home, you can just leave them to whine and wail in the living room while you go freshen up your chardonnay in the kitchen. But when you are at the Drs office, or the grocery store, or Grandma's, you have to heed to their demands. One more cookie? Sure thing. Coming right up. Just please don't freak out while we are at the DMV. Now honey, please don't stand on that chair. You know we don't do that. Honey, that is not nice. Please don't poke that man in the face with your toy truck. Oh, screw it. Just do whatever you want so I can get these damned plates renewed.
So you finally got your baby into a pattern where they sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time in their own bed? Awesome, right? Wrong. Chances are, toddlerdom will change that. Toddlers are wiley. They are master manipulators. Your baby couldn't make requests for a glass of water, one more story, more cuddles or a potty break. But your toddler can. And they will. Over and over again. And now that they are in a big kid bed and not a cage, I mean crib, they have free access to Mommy and Daddy all night long. Because they needed to tell you that they went pee pee in the potty at 11:38 and 2:00 and 3:15 and 5:07 and… Wait, why did we let them out of the crib again?
Potty training sucks. BIG TIME. I have found it is a lot like prison. Why? Because no matter how hard you try to get out of it, you are going to have to do your time. Your can't beg, plead or cry your way out of your sentence. You are about to be locked in a cell the size of, well, your bathroom for the next month…or more. You are stuck for the majority of your day with a cellmate that can be super annoying. And, even after your release for good behavior, chances are, you will be sent back to prison for violating parole. A new baby, daycare, illness, brand of milk, etc., can all send your cellmate into a tizzy that will result in you getting sent back to the slammer diaper duty.
Do you want to know what the last words I might hear before I have my final rage stroke are? "No! I can do it by myself!" Toddlers are an independent lot. And after a year of raising a baby who has nothing but needs, that can be kind of awesome. However, toddlers want to do EVERYTHING by themselves. Put on their coats, tie their shoes, pour their cereal, do their taxes, cure world hunger. Which is great, except A: they are still unable to do most of these things by themselves in less than six hours B: them doing these things by themselves usually ends in a huge mess and C: just let me tie your damn shoes so we can go already! What? Oh, sorry. I think I blacked out there for a minute.
The Spanish Inquisition
Toddlers are curious. Very curious. They often ask deep, insightful questions, such as, "Why is black?" that tend to boggle the parental mind. And there is always, "Why". The Why phase is a Domestic Enemy all of its own. It is one of the most exhausting phases of toddlerdom. Why are you taking a shower? Why do I have to brush my teeth? Why is the sun hot? Why are you scratching your leg? Why did you get a mosquito bite? Why does it itch. Why? Why? Why? The questions are non-stop from sun-up to sun-down in our house. And all lines of questioning end the same way: with 362 repetitions of, "Why?" The word "Why" has caused me to have a permeant eye twitch that even wine can't remedy. I feel like Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction. Say "why" again. Say "why" again. I dare you. I double-dare you, motherf*cker. Say "why" one more goddamn time.
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