Mom, are you recording this?
When my son was a baby, I received conflicting advice from toddler moms.
- “Toddlers are really fun. You are going to love that stage.”
- “Good luck with that patience. Remember, this too shall pass.”
When my son turned into a toddler, our life was literally turned upside down. He didn’t get the memo that, “Mommy needs a break.” Instead, every day, these were his goals: live dangerously, live wildly and live on his own terms.
Yes, I see you rolling your eyes.
This is every toddler! I quickly became the helicopter mom, hovering just long enough to keep him alive and to keep me sane.
Nevertheless, my son survived!
Along the way, I realized that there’s no point in trying to make sense of toddler behavior.
Most of the time, there are no explanations.
Eating food off the ground
It turns out that there’s an extra cooking step that most adults often forget. That is to throw food on the ground. Once food hits the floor, food becomes a lot more enticing and delicious. You don’t need a dog to have food take on a downward trajectory. You just need a toddler who is hungry. That toddler will dump the contents of that snack tray on the floor. Then, the same toddler will painstakingly pick up every piece of cracker and eat it all with a smile. If you dare to serve crackers in a snack box, your toddler will refuse to eat the crackers all together.
Spending the day naked
In the toddler’s world, spending the day naked is the equivalent of going to Disney World. Toddlers love this. Parents use the excuse of toilet training to allow kids to spend the day in their bare bums. In reality, no sane adult has an hour or two to spare every day to chase down the toddler, wrestle with the toddler, then deal with the meltdown just for putting on a shirt.
I’m convinced that every mom has a picture of their toddler licking the window. These pictures are on Instagram accounts everywhere. Is the toddler hungry? No. Is the window tasty? No. In fact, if you wait a little longer, your toddler will lick all your furniture, lick the floor and lick your arms. Somehow, toddlers need to lick their way through this stage.
Fascination with boobs
When breastfeeding ends, fascination with the boob does not end. My toddler has grabbed my “little ladies”, snapped my bra and pinched my “little ladies” all with a grin on his face. Hands off! These are not yours. They are mom’s “little ladies”. Once in a while, I catch my toddler stare at a stranger’s boobies with deliciousness in his eyes. All I can do is offer up a cracker.
People will tell you that toddler’s heads are soft. Well, that may be based on scientific evidence. From my personal experience, when a toddler head-buds you, you are the one in pain. Moms report real broken noses and ER trips simply from their toddler’s head-budding fest. Watch out! Here comes another one.
Playing with pee or poop
At some point, during toilet training, there will be the urge to play with pee and poop. It’s only natural. My toddler is a neat freak. “No, That’s sticky. Yucky.” Yet, that same toddler has dumped pee on toys and picked up poop with bare hands. Are you asking me where I was during those episodes? I was probably trying to clean up a mess somewhere else. Do you see my frown?
Sleeping anywhere except for toddler’s own bed
We are out shopping. My toddler sleeps soundly in his stroller. I’m driving to the library. My toddler sleeps through the entire drive. We are in the playground. My toddler decides to sleep in my arms while I carry him to the car. When bedtime arrives, my toddler thinks it’s “Bounce around” time. Apparently, the bed is not for sleeping. It’s a trampoline.
Escapes when outdoors, then follows you everywhere when indoors.
I have yet to buy a “leash”. Well, it’s really a strap fastened to a bag that your toddler can wear. Many moms of multiple kids swear by this device to keep their toddler safe outdoors. Well, I only have one child. I chase after him outdoors. My toddler’s amazingly fast. I’m usually lagging behind struggling to catch up to him.
I wish he was this way indoors. But, it’s “Mom, come here.” “Mom, come with me.” “Mom, sit by me.” When we are indoors, my independent toddler is usually hanging off one of my limbs or dangling off the side of my back. That toddler was perpetually carried for a total of 6 months when we were in that “terrible twos” stage. Motherhood involves a lot of back pain.
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About the Author
Jun Wu is a technologist turned freelance writer and a single mom. She lives in upstate NY with her son. She blogs on wellplayedchild.com about parenting and entrepreneurship. You can find her most active on her Twitter and Instagram accounts @wellplayedchild.