My Top 10 Toddler Realities

*** Updated Intro – Funny thing about this post. I ran across it in my drafts and realized I’d never published it. This post is from the viewpoint of having a freshly minted two-year-old. I now have an almost three-year-old and it’s a world of difference. A lot of these toddler dreams are slowly coming true! Seems maybe they do finally come around after driving you crazy the first couple years. Oh, I’m sure I’ve still got plenty ridiculous toddler antics in store for me. But I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It does get better!

*** Original post – Before I had my son, I had no idea what it was like to have a child or even be around one. I went into this whole parenting thing about as clueless as you can get. I managed to dream up all these wonderful things we would do together, and now I get to watch my son systematically destroy each sweet toddler fantasy one by one. I keep telling myself things will change as he gets older. I’m really hoping there’s a sweet spot between crazy toddler and rebellious teenager. So here’s my list of my silly mama dreams and the crushing reality.

1 – The Dream: We will read books together, he will love them and it will be magical.

The Reality: He prefers to try and eat them, kick them, always has to see the last page first and rip a few pages out for good measure. This doesn’t stop me from trying, but it did stop me from getting any more books with fragile paper pages.

2 – The Dream: We will take fun classes together like “Sway and Play Yoga.”

The Reality: He threw all of the scarves at the girls, tried to get them to chase him, then ran out of the room making dinosaur noises.

3 – The Dream: I get to dress my son up in all kinds of costumes! I finally have an awesome baby accessory.

The Reality: I can’t even get him to wear a hat more than two minutes, much less a costume. So he now has an impressive collection of costumes that just require a t-shirt.

toddler tantrum
He looks thrilled, right?

4 – The Dream – We will go to museums and learn things! We love learning!

The Reality – We went to a neat science day at the Museum of Science and History. He didn’t want to do any of the crafts and just wanted to throw the cotton balls out of the sensory bins. And we had to go stare at the dinosaur 17 times instead of watching the cool science show.

5 – The Dream – I will raise an adventurous eater!

The Reality – My son is trying to prove you can survive on a diet of hotdogs and air. Far from adventurous, he won’t even dip his hotdog in ketchup. He hates trying anything new unless it’s chocolate in a different form, or made of a gummy bear type substance.

6 – The Dream – I will raise him to be bilingual and speak Spanish!

The Reality – Why I thought my two semesters of Spanish and being able to ask where the bathroom was qualified me to teach a child to speak Spanish is beyond me. I was super thrilled when he just started stringing English words together! I do still actually intend to teach him the basics when he gets a little older though.

7 – The Dream – I refuse to believe everything I’ve read about boys being potty trained later than girls. My son is going to be out of diapers by the time he turns two.

The Reality – Ha! Ha. Ha. Ha. Bwahahahaha. Wow was I clueless. We are heading into three and though we’ve made some progress, the only thing I can get him to do regularly is put Iron Bear on the potty. He’s like a poop surrogate I guess.

Build a Bear Iron Man bear on the potty

8 – The Dream – Brightly colored kid stuff will not take over my house. We will keep it tidy and neutral.

The Reality – My house has brightly colored, blinking, music playing things in every corner. You can’t go anywhere without bumping into or stepping on something that springs to life and starts making noise. And everything is rainbow colored of course.

9 – The Dream – Speaking of noisy toys, none of those for us!

The Reality – Yeah, so you may not buy your child noisy toys, but everyone else will! My cousin got my son a guitar that plays 30 different songs and my son’s favorite song is five seconds of every single one, over and over again. I can’t think of one thing I’ve done to her to have deserved this.

10 – The Dream – We will go everywhere together! I love having a little sidekick.

The Reality – I never thought there’d be a day when the highlight of my week was going grocery shopping by myself. And it’s been so long since I’ve been to an actual store to try on clothes, I’m starting to think Amazon was created for moms so they wouldn’t have to wear the same clothes the first few years.

***

For all my complaining, we do have plenty of good times. Even our adventures that don’t go as planned (roughly 98% of them) are still worth the effort and make for (mostly) good memories. I haven’t given up on any of these dreams, I just realize now that they all take a lot of work and nothing comes easy in the real-life parenting world. And if all this stuff did come easy for you…you probably have a girl, lol. Because I also had to accept all that stuff everyone says about having boys is TRUE. But that’s a topic for another blog…

What a brat! Wait… You mean they’re all like that?

screaming-toddler-saluteWhat a brat. Yep, I thought that many times while looking at your kid screaming for apparently no reason in public. Most likely while I stood there, comparing prices and calmly reading labels because nobody was screaming for me while trying to climb my body like a monkey. This was, of course, before I had a baby and found out there is absolutely no way to avoid an occasional public meltdown besides never ever leaving the house again.

So I ventured out. And there were tantrums, and there were the looks. I know those looks! But the moms know. And the dads too. You can see in their eyes they feel your pain. You can also see a hint of “I’m just glad it’s not me this time,” and that’s OK because we’ve all been there too.

So, tantrum toddler moms, I salute you! You are out there just trying to keep it together while your kid has a nuclear meltdown. Ignore the stares from the ignorant. They know nothing! But, if they are lucky, they will learn one day. And one day, when they have a rare quiet moment, they’ll think back to all those judgey looks and then write a blog where they apologize for everything. Or maybe that’s just me.

The Toddler Time Paradox

There’s a time warp of sorts that comes with parenthood that I like to refer to as The Toddler Time Paradox. I would almost describe it as a black hole of time, sucking in all efforts and intentions to “get things done,” often causing tasks to go unfinished or simple tasks to take hours. While on toddler time, a simple trip to take out the trash which would normally take five minutes tops is going to take at least an hour, possibly the whole day

Without Toddler: walk outside, put trash in can, walk back inside

Time Lapsed: 2 minutes

Wiimg_4266th Toddler: 
Take 30 minutes convincing toddler to put shoes on. Finally give up just to get out the door.

Let him find just the right cars to take with him on this monumentous trip.

Grab his bike on the way because now he wants to ride his bike.

Go outside with a toddler, bike and trash.

Leave trash by front door while simple bike ride turns into full neighborhood stroll. In the rain.

Discover puddles. Prefer puddles over bike. Prefer bike in puddles. Make mom yell about getting wet and dirty in puddle. Mommy is funny.

Make it back to front door now wet and dirty. Finally grab the trash. Repeat process trying to get trash around the side of the house.

Now repeat process going back in.

Time Lapsed: 1 hour 20 min

 

Let them eat cake! Or potato chips… or cookies…

My days used to be spent lacing people up in corsets and helping them pick out fancy costumes. Now I feel like 95% of my day is spent trying to find something my toddler will agree to eat. It’s quite a lifestyle change and takes some adjusting.

img_4107
Potato chips for dinner! #ParentingWin

Why do toddlers hate food? Or love something one day so you stock up on it and then they refuse to even touch it?
I clearly remember my great grandmother feeding me steak piece by piece while I pretended to be a little bird stealing it from her fork. It probably took 45 minutes for me to finish the entire thing but she kept up with it. I now totally understand why. Being a parent has given me insight into certain things from my childhood that I never really would’ve understood otherwise. I also remember her making me a pizza at 10 PM at night just because I said I was hungry. Parents (and grandparents) will do anything to get a kid to eat.

I can tell Keelan is going to be a skinny kid, just like me and his dad were. I hope he eventually embraces our love of good food and cooking. Right now I might as well make him a nice dinner and then dump it on the floor because that’s where it ends up. But I will keep trying! I really look forward to the day he is helping me make gourmet dinners the kitchen and picking out his own sushi at dinner. (Early 20s maybe? Lol)

Until then, I’ll just keep slicing up those hotdogs. Unless he hates them this week of course.