My kids all have birthdays in the month of July, and were each born two years apart. This means I’ve had one toddler or another in the house since 2007.
SIX CONSECUTIVE YEARS OF TODDLERS.
This explains my 637 new gray hairs, my random uncontrolled eyelid twitches, and perhaps how I’ve nearly lost the capacity to have an adult conversation.
It’s hard for me to believe that come July, my youngest will technically be too old to be called a toddler anymore when she turns four years old (and let’s just hope some of her toddler-isms go away by then because it’s so much nicer to be able to say that she’s a typical toddler, and not just some a-hole).
Many parents, particularly those with small children, will agree that being the parent of a toddler can, at times, be a bit challenging. What people forget, however, is that being a toddler isn’t a walk in the park either.
So lest I forget as I navigate these final months of mothering a toddler, I wrote down 10 items I think really make a toddler a toddler. Anyone can be two or three years old, but here’s how you can be awesome at it:
1. Eat like no one is watching. Be open to really exploring your food by using just your hands even if the food that you’re eating is in a liquid or liquid-like state such as cereals, soups, pudding, or oatmeal for example. Don’t toss aside those utensils the adults set out for you just yet, however! They make moving the food from your plate or bowl onto the table, walls, or floors much easier! To fully explore the food rub it on hands, feet, face and work into a lather in your hair. If Mom or Dad rinses, be sure to repeat this action at your next meal. Don’t forget to keep those grownups guessing whether or not you actually got any food in your mouth by creating a splatter zone the extends as far from your place at the table as possible.
2. Own it. Did you fart but no one heard (or smelled) you? Do you have to poop? Be sure to let the big people know it as loudly as possible and regardless of whether or not you are among friends, family, and/or strangers. Church, crowded restaurants, and in line at the grocery store are just a few examples of the best places to loudly announce your bodily functions.
3. Throw ’em under the bus. You know how great it feels to own it. You embrace your bodily functions and announce them loud and proud! You would think that your adults would learn simply by following your lead, but when it doesn’t happen, help them out! Tell your best friend’s Mom that “My Mommy scared me last night…she farted looooong and loud and I thought it was a spooky, creaky door! I was okay though, it was just her butt!” (Joey when he was 3 1/2yrs old). Or when the delivery man comes to the front door, tell him that your Mom, who is just in the adjacent bathroom peeing, “Can’t come to the door because she is pooping.” (Jake age 3 & you can read that one here). Or finally, when you have a service person or technician doing an 8hr installation in your home and they are looking for your Mom who snuck upstairs to pee, “Mommy can’t come down right now, she’s pooping! I know she’s pooping because that’s the only time she closes the bathroom door!” (Cecilia, last week to the cable guy).
4. Work it. What’s this obsession grownups have with matching clothes? BORING. Go with the flow, wear what moves you, and if anyone has a problem with rainbow pants, a pink Hello Kitty top, monkey slippers, feather boa, owl hat, purple mittens, and bumble bee book bag, well, remember it’s just that, their problem. You’re a trend setter.
5. Don’t cry over spilled milk. Save the tears for when someone tells you that it’s bedtime; Mom will clean it up. She always does…
6. Don’t beat around the bush. Something on your mind? If you can form the words, you should totally say it! Don’t hold back! Everyone wants to hear what you have to say especially things like “Mom, your butt looks just like a pillow pet” or announcing that the stranger in the store who is only a few feet away “smells like old corn on the cob.” Your insights are invaluable to loved ones and strangers alike no matter where you are! When you say it makes no difference either – so if you wake up in the middle of the night, and you want to tell Mom how you “want to get a purple pony or a white pony you can paint purple” when you get bigger, then wake her up and tell her! They’ve been encouraging you to talk since you were a baby, so why shush up now?
7. If at first you don’t succeed, immediately give up and begin screaming. Stuff is hard when you’re two or three years old, and if you can’t do something the first time whether it be building a Lego tower or drawing a picture, just freak the freak out. Cry, scream, lay on the floor, just let it out! No need to ask for help or try again, just lose your shit and surely that will help resolve your problem(s).
8. Make mountains out of molehills. Ever heard big people say, “less is more?” Well, this is what they mean – the smaller the issue, the bigger the deal you should make about it. Did Mom make you a grilled cheese sandwich with yellow cheese instead of white? Are your shoes too hard to put on? Did a commercial come on in the middle of your favorite show? Well, take that molehill, make it into a mountain (and see #7 for the rest).
9. Share, but share selectively. Share, share share! Is there a day that goes by that an adult isn’t telling you to share something with someone? What’s the fun in that? If you are a toddler, and you are going to share, it’s got to be selective. Don’t share your books or toys with other kids, you’ve got to share selectively – like Mom’s age with everyone you meet or all of your germs with your parents.
10. Embrace your inner Honey Badger. Recently, it was announced that there’s actually a reason you don’t give a shit. A discovery was unearthed finally letting adults know why you truly don’t care. You, the toddler, evolved directly from the Honey Badger. It’s science. It’s evolution. Don’t fight it, kid, embrace your inner honey badger.
What steps am I missing? What are the best ways to be a toddler (and be totally awesome at it) in your opinion?
Leave me a comment and let me know, I’d love to hear from you!