I’ll be honest: there are a lot of toddler behaviors, and not just creepy toddler behavior that remind you who's really in charge. I mean, sure, creepiness does the trick on occasion, but so do footie pajamas, snuggles, and spur-of-the-moment hugs that your kid dishes out on a regular basis. Still, when my toddler clearly wants to humble me, and remind me that I have no idea what’s really happening in his head (or in general, for that matter), and that I never will, he’ll do something slightly concerning and creep me the hell out.
To be fair, the mere fact that it’s a toddler committing these acts means we should give them a pass. After all, my kid really has no idea how what he’s doing or how his actions are being interpreted. Still, I can’t help but shake some of the associations I’ve made in regards to my kid's sometimes creepy actions. After all, it's difficult to shake decades of existence and, you know, a sense of social decency. Is there any good reason for someone to grab you and scream during an otherwise relaxed play session? Or to put their hands around your neck? Even when that someone is tiny, adorable, loving, and literally one-half of me, I’m not exactly excited about this kinda stuff happening.
Yes, I realize that I should probably just take a few deep breaths and simply chill when my son does one of the following completely creepy things, but it’s not always that simple. Here’s what I mean:
They Speak Absolute Nonsense
This is not to be confused with the cute babble and gibberish your kid says in a sing-song voice. This is when your kid is clearly trying to make a point, and not using anything close to the actual words that you could have sworn your kid already knew. What could have possibly happened to make them forget? Or decide not to use them?
Maybe I shouldn’t think too hard about this one, and neither should you.
They Speak Nonsense That Sounds Like Something Else
For a while, my son had a go-to gibberish word that sounded shockingly like a scary, terrorism-related word that’s frequently repeated in the news. Since his language has developed, I haven’t heard it as much, and I definitely don’t miss it.
They Stare Into Space
For a 2-year-old, my son has some seriously impressive zone-out skills. Perhaps someday he’ll be able to articulate the deep mysteries of the world that he’s surely pondering, but in the meantime I’m left calling to him from across the room to get his attention back.
The Grab Your Neck
He’s probably still figuring out how hugs work, and he’s definitely still figuring out how bodies and breathing work. Logically, I can’t really blame him for getting wires crossed on this one, but still, that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
They Hang Out While You’re In The Bathroom
I know, I know; this is like the number one thing that toddler moms often lament about. It comes up often because it’s true, though. I’m still not quite accustomed to being stared at in the bathroom (or being required to sing to someone else, but that’s a whole other story.)
They Hold Their Breath, Just For Kicks
Speaking of figuring out how breathing works, I think my son’s realized that he can get a reaction from mom and dad if he sits completely still and holds his breath for an eternity.
In reality he’s done it for only a few seconds at a time, but still, it feels like an eternity.
They Put Things Over Their Head While They’re Playing
There’s a reason plastic bins have warnings on them. There’s also a reason I’ve seriously upped my childproofing game in recent weeks.
They Pay Way Too Much Attention To The Trash Can
We have one of those complicated foot-pedal ones in our kitchen, so I get that it’s a bit of a curiosity. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t get a little squirmy when I see him taking four solid minutes to throw a tissue away and inspect every inch of the can.
They Reach Into Your Clothes (While You’re Wearing Them)
Those aren’t for you, little man. I’m done birthing you, and I’m done breastfeeding you. There’s nothing else you need in there.