I know, I know, when they sleep they look so peaceful and innocent that you can’t imagine what people are talking about when they mention the “terrible two's.” At nine months, spaghetti-kisses and applesauce-hugs are actually incredibly sweet.
By the time your toddler is two or three years old, you’ve paid enough dry-cleaning bills to know that prime seating at the dinner table is no where near your beloved toddler. Here is a list of Toddler Truths that you should come to grips with:
Yes, I said it! They indulge in self-preservation at an early age. They refuse to go down for crayons on the wall, shampoo on Elmo, or even lipstick on the toilet seat. They will look you dead in the eye and deny any involvement in the incident. They may blame the dog or even you, yourself. You are not alone if, at some sleep-deprived moment, you question if you were responsible for the offense. Stay strong. You are the parent. You can do this.
Remember when you first took your baby home from the hospital and their runny, yellow poops didn’t smell? Well, you're not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.
A mushy brown lump in Super Hero undies is best just thrown away. Don’t try to clean that shit, just get rid of it. I give you permission. No one wants that running through the washing machine in the cycle before you clean your washcloths.
Parents, if your child goes to daycare and has an accident there, don’t get mad at your childcare provider if they throw the underwear away. Unless you employ Mary Poppins, no one wants to roll that up in a plastic bag and have it hanging around in a backpack all day. Just consider the $4.99 pack of six underwear part of the cost of the potty-training “business.”
Honestly, most of us use our phones to entertain our children while we are at the grocery store, post office, in the car, at the doctor’s office, even in church. When we get those phones back, 100 percent of the time the screen is smudgy and sticky. Why is this? As the wonderful parents we are, we rarely give our toddlers candy during those times, and yet the screens are still filthy.
The truth is that kids pick their noses. They dig in there with the same finger that they use to search your apps and play their games. The little lumps on your screen are sticky little boogers straight from your child’s nose. If you are not for sharing germs to build up natural immunity, my advice is to carry around sanitizing wipe packets. I hear they kill 99.99 percent of germs.
Of course, we've all heard stories about toddlers innocently pointing at the large man driving the automated cart at the grocery store and loudly informing you (along with the rest of aisle nine) that he is fat. Yes, this is embarrassing, but at least you have the option of leaving the store.
The humiliation I’m talking about is mortification that you can’t escape. I’m talking about when your toddler repeats overheard complaints you made to your husband about his overbearing, selfish, nagging, in-your-business mother who always “compliments” your cooking. You know, the one you’d like to backhand if given the chance?
Yeah, well, when your three-year-old repeats that at Easter dinner, trust me, you will blush with shame. Unfortunately, the vocabulary your child will use will negate any of your attempts to convince those at the table that your child has “an over-active imagination.” It's best to simply serve yourself a piece of humble pie and accept the fact that you will never live it down.
No one else on the planet will unapologetically flatter you the way a toddler will. When you're feeling emotional, bloated, and exhausted, there's nothing like a two-year-old telling you how beautiful you are. Or when you ask them what their favorite color is and they tell you, “Green, Mommy, just like your eyes.” Or when you're driving around looking at Christmas light displays and everyone in the car is oohing and ahhing at their beauty when a small voice in the backseat says, “But not as beautiful as you, Mommy!”
I think toddlers see us for who we really are. They're not beholden to the cultural rules of our day. They can actually see your genuine love despite your glasses, bags under your eyes, extra rolls, unbrushed teeth, need for a shower, sweatpants again, and utter fatigue. Having someone recognize your light from within is worth putting up with the occasional lying, pooping, nose-picking, embarrassing child who has stolen your heart.
It takes a village!
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