I am the (mostly) proud mother of two boys, one of whom is three. He's a full fledged toddler right now, which is adorable, sure, but it's also proving to be one of the greatest struggles of my life. I love my son to no end but, honestly, sometimes he's a jerk. I know that eventually he'll grow out of the smelly toddler stage and into the smelly teenager and I'll long for the days when he would still fit in my lap, but I also know that there are things I definitely won't miss about the toddler years.
My son is smart and funny and adorable. He makes me laugh and beam with pride all the time, but he's also an emotionally unstable, unreasonable, little dictator, too. Yes, really. I know you're not supposed to say those sorts of things about kids because they're "perfect," angelic blessings and all, but when you're being manipulated via a very public meltdown at the hands of a three-year-old because you won't let him take off his pants in a grocery store, you earn the right to make judgments about their behavior.
Toddlers will humiliate you in public one moment, and make you swoon the next. Being a toddler mom feels emotionally abusive at times, because there's so many elating highs and manic lows (in the span of a few hours) that it can seem impossible to find any sense of balance or control or normalcy. Again, I can't stress enough how much I love my boys, but I definitely won't miss the following 12 things about toddlerhood. Bring on those angsty teenage years. I'm ready, world.
Random Emotional Outbursts
My son will be happily singing and dancing one moment, only to turn into an angry, stomping "dinosaur" the next. I'm completely cool with him pretending to be a dinosaur and all, but, why can't he be the friendly and reasonable kind? This happens about 18 times every single day and so often that I've almost trained myself to block out the stomps and roars when he doesn't get his way. People come over and seem semi-terrified when my son is running around like an extra on Jurassic Park, and even though it doesn't phase me anymore, it will be nice when I don't have to explain to people that when my son gets upset, he acts like a prehistoric lizard.
Playing "21 Questions" 21 Times Every Day
Kids are curious. That's fine, and I want to encourage my kids' curiosity, but I don't feel like answer the same question 21 times in a row in encouraging curiosity, but rather harassment. I'm happy to answer my son's questions, but I'm looking forward to the day when I only have to answer them three or four times in a row. It's going to free up a lot of my day.
All The Tiny Laundry
I do so many loads of laundry that it's made me consider going commando, or moving to a nudist colony. I just don't understand how two tiny humans can conjure so many filthy, tiny socks. And where do the socks disappear to? I've spent more time in my life searching our dryer for tiny socks and underwear than I did studying for college finals. That's not normal, people.
I consider myself to quite accomplished when it comes to dealing with toddler tantrums at home. However, when my sons puts on his little dinosaur show in public, the ice that usually runs through my veins begins to boil, and trying to subdue my inner Hulk becomes a tumultuous battle. When babies cry in public, it's normal because they're, well, babies and they can't help it, but when a three-year-old boy who can communicate his demands quite clearly begins to flail in the cereal aisle, it's a little less tolerable and I'm definitely not going to miss it.
Potty training is the worst. It's smelly and sticky and frustrating and, ugh, just plain gross. I don't care what anyone says or how many moments I am supposed to cherish because time really does go that fast; I'm not going to miss wiping urine off of the walls or getting human poop in my hair.
Exhausted Kids That Refuse To Take Naps
Napping kids equate to happy, sane mothers, but kids who refuse to nap even though they're exhausted equate to day drinking and premature gray hair. My son stopped taking naps long before I was mentally or emotionally prepared to meet his demands all day, every day, without so much as a moment of free time. Every afternoon, around 4:30-5:00, his exhaustion begins to alter his mood and nothing makes him happy. He stomps and mopes and whines every passing minute until we finally put him to bed, where he promptly passes out.
Cooking Food That Your Kid Refuses To Eat
I make what I feel is an enviable effort to put good, healthy food on the table for my family. I haven't always been the healthiest eater, but I hate feeling like a hypocrite more than I hate carrots, so in an effort to be a good example to my kids, I started pretending like I loved vegetables. It seemed like a good plan to me, but my son quickly caught onto my scheme, and typically feeds our dog his vegetables when he thinks I'm not looking. If I try and put something green on his plate, he gags and squalls and acts like he's being subjected to torture. I'm looking forward to the day when I can bribe him into eating his supper.
Being Terrified Of Every Corner And Sharp Object
I get that there's always going to be something to worry about when you're a parent, but that worry is on an entirely different level when you've got toddlers. My son is pretty coordinated, but he's a toddler, so he's also clumsy and occasionally looks like a newborn giraffe when he's running around. Sometimes (read: a lot of times) both of his left feet get tangled and he falls falls. Sometimes he falls on something soft, sometimes he doesn't. Having to worry about every single sharp item and corner in our house until my son gets better hand/eye coordination is a great source of stress for me.
No explanation needed.
The Battle Of Wills
I want my son to be strong willed and independent, but I just don't want him to use that strong will against me. Like, when I tell him to find his shoes, or that it's time for bed, and he crosses his arms and firmly refuses, it makes me understand why my dad always laughed in a slightly evil fashion when he would tell me that he couldn't wait until I had kids. Pay back is, indeed, a b*tch.
All The Germs
Toddlers are gross, you guys. We wash hands and take baths and practice good hygiene, but there's not enough bleach in the world to sterilize a toddler's stomping grounds.
The Tiny Dictatorship
I am glad that my son seems assertive, but I'm not thrilled when he uses that assertiveness like a tiny dictator. Like, how does he even know how to do that already? It took me years to figure out how to fake cry or fake laugh to get what I wanted, but he's already mastered the fine art of manipulation. I try to be as firm as possible to create a consistent and secure environment for my kids, but I still feel like my son's behavior at any given moment dictates my entire life, and I'm pretty sure he knows it. His assertiveness will be great when he's in college or at his first job, but it's kind of awful when he's dolling out demands pertaining to how juicy his juice is.