I’m a firm believer that great listeners go on to become great parents, since most kids have an innate tendency to babble incessantly. Wait—nope. Scratch that. The blabber-mouthing tendency is likely our own fault as parents. Hear me out on this: My husband and I spent our children’s entire first year of life,
ooh-ing and ahh-ing over every coo or raspberry noise they made. We coached and encouraged, waiting with bated breath to hear them utter their first words.
We would live to regret all that "dumb" encouragement and adoration we showered upon our children's budding attempts at verbal communication.
We needn’t have worried, pressed, or prodded though, because those words came eventually. Instead, we should have been relishing in the quiet while it lasted. Now that we have a preschooler, we can’t get him to shut up for the life of us. I'll spare you the gruesome details, but suffice to say that the word "why" sends me directly to the dark place at this point. Not to mention all the times I’ve had to discuss the merits of a particular superhero or
Paw Patrol member ad nauseum and usually at bedtime. It's getting so real.
Whether you lucked out with a quiet child, or ended up with a chatty little buddy, rest assured that the preschool years will be ripe with
titillating conversations. (I'm lying. They are the most boring conversations you'll ever be a part of without someone paying you to participate in them. And assuredly, among them will be these 7 conversations all parents have had with their preschooler.) "What's In Your Mouth?"
No, but seriously,
why are you putting that sh*t in your mouth?? And then there's the fun derivative of this question: "Is there something in your mouth?" (Spoiler: They're lying. There definitely is something in their mouth, and it's not something that's designed to go in their mouth, and it's very likely a thing that you've already told them 47 times not to put in their mouth.)
The warnings on most toy boxes with itty, bitty pieces would have you believe that after age 3, children acquire enough common sense to keep all non-food items out of their pie holes. Don’t be fooled, my friends! Even the most precocious of preschoolers will occasionally revert back to this panic/nausea-inducing behavior. Be particularly wary of items like Play-Doh and scented markers as these seem to send most preschoolers into a feeding frenzy that is not unlike the ones seen during Shark Week.
"But...Why Did You Do That? Why? I Need An Actual Explanation."
Another spoiler: They have no reason. No logic. No mercy.
Most preschoolers have long since lost their chubby cheeks, the sing-song cadence of their toddler voices, and the ability to terrify you if you lose sight of them for more than five seconds. Through the years, they have taken on a bit more responsibility and subsequently earned a bit more trust from you. By the time your “baby” is 4 or 5, you have survived the most daunting days in the parental trenches and you’ll know in your heart of hearts that it's smooth sailing from here.
This, to be clear, is all a ploy.
As soon as you let your guard down, they will pull some ridiculously asinine stunt like taking your husband's clippers to the family cat. And when you ask your little cherub why they felt it necessary to make poor Mr. Snicklefritz look like Dennis Rodman in his heyday, you’ll be terminally disappointed with the reasoning behind, “cause I wanted to.”
"Where Are Your Clothes?"
In fairness, in my family, this need to be nude preceded the preschool years and has been an ongoing conversation in our home for as long as I can remember. Dressing my son is no problem. Getting him to keep his clothes on, however, is a whole other sh*tshow. Getting him to keep his clothes on, or keep his hands out of his pants, or stop scratching his butt in public, or usually some variation of all three.
Kids aren’t born with a modesty setting and mine seem particularly apt to traipse about in the nude. Of course, at home, it’s not that big of a deal. But preschoolers never let you off that easily. They will wait until the most inopportune moment, to channel their wild side, and go streaking! Like your best friend’s wedding, or an
actual funeral. "Stay Out Of Our Bedroom, Please."
Preschoolers are unabashedly and unapologetically inquisitive. Like a moth to the flame, their growing minds and mischievous hands are drawn to anything shiny, exciting, or sure to embarrass one (or both) of their parents. If you fail to deadbolt your bedroom door before, say, having people over for a dinner party, your kid will undoubtedly get in there and hastily join with party holding the most embarrassing thing they could find in there. Nothing is off limits to these jokers: Dad’s skid marked undies and/or Mommy’s “secret, vibrating light saber” will undoubtedly be brandished before the first course is even over.
"Of Course Santa Is Real!"
You spend hours searching on Pinterest for all the necessary bits and pieces to make your family’s holidays spectacular. To make the magic come alive, you never fail to remember to hide the Easter Basket, or move the dumb elf, or carefully take bites out of reindeer food. You've got this holiday game
All that work, and little freaking Timmy down the street decides to tell your baby that Santa isn’t real. Son of a—! You knew you never liked that kid. (Timmys are the worst, am I right?) Frankly, you're just going to need the kids to chill out and play along a little longer because you've been working hard at the holiday thing.
And so, in the spirit of saving Christmas, you’ll look Timmy right into his weasly, little eyes and tell him that his mother is a liar. A damn, dirty liar. There, now
she can answer the hard questions. Long live Santa! "Stop Riding Your Brother Like A Pony. No, He's Not "Having Fun." He Hates It. He's Literally Crying."
Ahhh, good old-fashioned sibling rivalry. Or fairly advanced torture, really. Whatever. Let’s not get caught up in semantics. If you chose to procreate more than once, you are guaranteed to have some variation of this conversation with your children. They will bicker, they will fight. They will squeeze lemon juice into one another’s eyes, and try to ride the youngest like a pony. It’s all par for the course.
"Let's Play The Quiet Game!"
You will thing you're too cool of a mom to play the quiet game ("My mom used to pull that sh*t and I
hated it; I will never do that to my kids.") until you actually have a child. You will not realize the ingenuity of this infamous game until you, yourself, are the proud keeper of a preschooler. The incessant talking! The string of never-ending questions! The same knock-knock joke 35 times in a row. It’s enough to drive any sane parent, mad. And then, in your darkest hour, you will have an epiphany and desperately suggest the “quiet game.” It actually works, you guys. I don't get it either. Kids are brilliant and magically and embody all the wondrous possibility of the future, but wow they are idiots sometimes. They'll buy anything you tell them! Like that shutting up is a "game." It works. It miraculously and instantaneously puts a kibosh on all preschool conversations. Congrats! You've done the thing you promised you wouldn't do, and have truly achieved parental Jedi status in the process. Now stop gloating because one of your kids just got naked again. Images: Universal Pictures; Giphy(7)