Parenting books can be useful. Oh sure, they're not the be-all-end-all in what it means to be a parent or raise a child, but they can be beneficial when you're in need of a fresh perspective on a problem that's been challenging you, or when you need to get an idea of what's basically "normal." But there are some toddler milestones no one is ready for, because, no, they're not in the books.
The toddler years get a lot of flack, and deservedly so. I'm now on the other side of two toddlerhoods so I can say that, yes, that sh*t is rough. It's also fun, though! No, really! Yes, the toddler years are chock-full-of "WTF moments," both good and bad, and those moments can be hard. Like, you know, that time your kid said they wanted to go to the zoo so you went to the zoo and upon arriving they immediately started crying because they no longer want to be at the zoo. But there are other times when those moments are extremely entertaining. Like, well, when you were able to look back on the whole zoo disaster and laugh it off.
In time you get used to the run-of-the-mill toddler shenanigans, but there will be some unavoidable situations that will knock you on your ass. Not only these usher in a new set of rules, but they will illustrate just how much your child has grown in a relatively short amount of time. So, you know, get ready to feel all the feels when the following inevitably happens:
No Longer Fitting In Onesies
Like... WTF, dudes? Those have been not just a wardrobe staple for two or more years, but the wardrobe staple. As far as I was concerned, in the summer, when you were rocking a onesie, pants were completely optional. The onesie was the gold standard of infant and toddler clothing... and now "society" all of a sudden want you to put your baby in pants and shirts like ordinary people? This is clearly the wicked agenda of Big Pants and Shirts.
OK, more likely that not our kids have been wearing separates for a while now, but the idea that they no longer have a onesie option at some point is just a lot to handle.
Transition To A "Big Kid" Bed
If you have a kid like my daughter, who experimented with getting up a little bit at first but was mostly just happy to hop into bed and stay there, then you'll be fine. If you have a kid like my son... well, God have mercy on your soul. I won't terrify you with the details, but I will tell you that one night we decided to record what bedtime looked like for my 2-year-old son and that video is over 90 minutes long. The showrunners on Game of Thrones say the Battle of Winterfell is the longest battle sequence ever recorded, but they're wrong: it's my video of my horrible child.
Sudden Opinions On Clothing
Babies don't care what they wear, people. Now, in the toddler years, don't be surprised if your child suddenly doesn't want to wear a particular item, or they have to wear the same black shirt every day and God help you if that shirt is dirty.
Giving Up Naps
*hyperventilates in terror before opening mouth in a silent scream and then staring into the void as a single tear slides down cheek; a flock of doves flies overhead as a violin plays in a minor key off in the distance*
First Eyeroll Or Side-Eye
You didn't know they were capable of that kind of sarcasm or disdain and you instantly realize that they almost certainly picked it up from you and now they're using it against you. It's like being a ninja master attacked in your own dojo.
In the back of your mind you can hear your parents laughing in revenge and you make a mental note never to tell them of this.
I don't mean an actual burn (hopefully they'll never experience that kind of burn at all). I mean, like, a sick burn. Like when your kid dunks on you and there's nothing you can do but sit back in amazement, half offended, half amused, 100 percent gobsmacked.
The first time it happened to me I was singing "Bad Romance" with my daughter. While we were dancing she stopped, asked, "Mommy?", then placed her hands over my lips and said, "No."
Ouch. I definitely wasn't ready for that.
Sizing Out Of Baby-Wearing
There are certainly baby-wearing devices you can wear until you kid is, like, in college or whatever, but generally speaking most (or at least most of the most common ones readily available and affordable) have a weight limit of around 40 pounds. But even though 40 is the limit, things start to get less comfortable a bit before that.
Just as onesies were the gold standard of babyware for two-ish years, babywearing was my gold standard of baby conveyance for the same period. So when my kiddo grew out of her Moby Wrap? That was a hard, hard day. And when the Ergo (with a higher weight limit) also became impractical? I was so not ready for that one that I refused to part with the thing until a couple months ago (my kid will be 5 soon).
First Swear In Mixed Company
Goodness gracious me! Why I never! I cannot imagine where this child learned such a word! Some hooligans must have sneaked into their room when I wasn't looking to teach them such loathsome language for the sole purpose of corrupting this sweet and innocent youth. Heavens to Betsy, what is this world coming to! Dear oh dear.
Reaching A Particular Height
There is no particular height you won't be ready, for because it varies person to person based on the particulars of your life. Like, for example, once my son was too tall to bonk his head on the counter every time he walked anywhere near it (the boy is a klutz), I felt bizarrely emotional.
First Potty Accident After Being Solidly Potty-Trained
You think it won't happen to you, but it does. It always happens. My daughter didn't have a single accident until she'd been potty trained for, like, six months, and then she peed all over a playground in upper Manhattan. And of course I didn't have a change of clothes because why would I?! Those days (I thought!) were behind me.
This is punishment for parental hubris, but an important reminder that you can never, for a minute, let your guard down about anything.
Realizing They No Longer Fit The Definition Of "Toddler"
You guys, I don't want to be that person, but I find myself more and more becoming that person because I have to tell you what countless aunties have no doubt told you time and time again: it goes so fast and you never see it coming.
But don't worry: this next bit is pretty awesome, too.