Raising a toddler is quite the experience. It requires patience, understanding, and usually wine. While toddlers are the cutest, most charming, cuddly little people, they also wreak total havoc on your life. They lack coordination, social filters, and restraint. They're the quintessential example of the IDGAF attitude, and sometimes that stresses us parents out to the point we can't help but wonder what possessed our formerly sweet babies. Still, there are things I can't blame on my 2 year old — it's toddlerhood's fault, through and through.
When my kid passed that "terrible 2s" threshold, I was surprised at how much more work, and sometimes how utterly exhausting, he became. I love my son to pieces, but he can be a handful. I recognize this, as I can safely assume every toddler is a challenge. Some of those challengers are essentially my fault, though, like if he’s exhausted because he didn’t get to have his nap while we were out and about. If we took too long to eat breakfast in the morning, that's on me, too. I'm basically just setting him up for failure; putting him in emotionally challenging situations he's not equipped to handle. So, yeah, from time to time he's bound to melt down.
Then, of course, there are the other situations that really and truly aren't anyone's fault. In fact, they're just indicitive of how toddlers explore, understand, and process the world around them. Don't believe me? Well, run through the following list and, I hope, you'll see what I mean.
When My Toddler Spills Something
Toddlers make messes. When a kid is at an age when they're just starting to yearn independence, messes are just inevitable. Basically, your 2 year old will definitely spill things time and again, and it’s just part of how they learn.
When My Toddler Throws A Tantrum
For the most part, a toddler won’t have a meltdown just for the fun of it. Yes, sometimes they learn the art of manipulation early, and react accordingly and based on how you've responded to meltdown in the past. But in general, however, they melt down because they're overtired, overstimulated, bored, hungry, or some other essentially need isn't being met.
When My Toddler Says Totally Inappropriate Things
When your kid turns 2, they might start repeating some of the things you say. If you’re not careful about saying certain things, they might end up repeating curse words or other semi-inappropriate things right back at you (or at their teachers or grandparents or sitters). Whoops. Just part of toddlerhood.
When My Toddler Says Something Downright Rude
Oh yeah. At this age, kids don’t know what’s polite and what’s rude. While I’ve taught my son to say things like “excuse me,” “please,” and “thank you,” he doesn’t always remember to. More than that, he’ll point and call out things others would be quick to ignore, because it would be rude to say.
Oh, my kid also really likes talking about butts and farts these days, which is not something I would classify as "polite dinner conversationalist."
When My Toddler Explores His Body Freely
I’m pretty sure 2 years old was the age when my son discovered his penis. If it were up to him, he would probably play with the damn thing all the time. He’s also not shy about picking his nose or grabbing my boobs or crawling on just about anyone. That’s just how toddlers figure out their body parts (and other people’s parts), though, and it's actually incredibly healthy.
As long as you're teaching your toddler boundaries (or, you know, trying to) and the concept of respecting other people's bodily autonomy and consent (like asking before they give hugs and kisses) you and your kid are just fine.
When My Toddler Loves Repetitive Behaviors
Toddlers learn through repetition. That means that every time my son asks to watch Finding Dory (again), he’s making connections and learning new things. It can be a bit maddening, sure, but I know it’s just part of the deal.
When My Toddler Takes Forever To Get Ready
Well, this one is partly to blame on toddlerhood. Toddlers often take more time than, say, adults to do things. If I allowed it, my son would slowly eat his breakfast all day long, and he would sit on the potty for hours. It sucks, but I know he needs time to learn and adjust to new things.
When My Toddler Does Something Totally Dangerous
I hate it, but sometimes I have to let my kid do things that are borderline dangerous. I’m not talking about sticking a knife in an electrical outlet, people. More like, climbing the sofa and trying to jump onto the carpeted floor. He might hurt himself a bit, perhaps, but he’s also learning a lot and getting a good workout in the process. I know his blatant denial of the existence of gravity, apparently, is important for his development. I don't want my son to grow up to be fearful because my partner and I never allowed him to do anything.
When My Toddler Needs Constant Attention
All toddlers need attention. They need it both to keep them safe and, well, also because they love it. They thrive when they are given love and praise. Sometimes it can be exhausting, especially when all I want is to lay on the couch, space out, and watch Pretty Little Liars. Still, I know this phase won’t last long, and I want my son to be happy.