Ever since I was pregnant with my first son, folks have warned me about the “Terrible Twos.” Actually, I think the warnings began when we got married, since it was assumed all those years ago that eventually we’d get around to having kids.
I never really worried about these supposed Terrible Twos; quite frankly, once Miles became a full-fledged toddler, I decided that 16 months and up has been my absolute favorite age. It’s a time of learning, exploring, experiencing, asking questions and testing boundaries. Watching Miles become his own little intelligent, sweet, funny, independent, strong willed and feisty person has been incredible.
With that being said, toddlers throw fits. They have tantrums, meltdowns, and unexplainable wailing sessions for no good reason. If you don’t believe me, take a peek at Reasons Why My Son is Crying and tell me if there isn’t a single moment you’ve experienced firsthand.
So, yes, there are challenges, as with any age. But I’m here to tell you that these outbursts aren’t necessarily a bad thing; I find myself with more feelings of jealousy than anything, because it’s totally acceptable for my son to do the following:
- Throw undesirable food on the floor. I mean, haven’t we all been at some gathering or holiday meal, and we’re forced to not only consume Aunt Patty’s broccoli crab casserole (VOM) but also pretend that we like it? That we’ve waited all year for this? You can’t tell me that it wouldn’t be infinitely more satisfying to take the entire casserole dish, dump it on the floor and proudly announce “This is YUCKY!” (PS – It smells bad, too). Toddlers: 1 – Adults: 0
- Refuse to eat anything you don’t want. I am in the habit of preparing a crudité plate for Miles (this is really a fancy way of saying I’ve put a bunch of fruit, veggies, cheese, nuts and some sort of protein on a plate, crossing my fingers and thinking he’ll eat something…spoiler alert: he’ll eat the blueberries and the cheese, ONLY). So while I offer a wide variety of healthy foods, it’s up to Miles if he wants to eat half of each strawberry and ignore anything green. And as an adult, while the cobb salad really does look good, sometimes all I want is the bacon. With more bacon. And a side of bacon. Can you put bacon in my Bloody Mary, too?
- Refuse to share. I firmly believe that the concept of “sharing” just isn’t one that toddlers really get. They’ve just learned they can say no, assert their independence and make their own choices, and you want me to force my son to share his firetruck with Little Susie? Um, nope. When he’s done, she can have her turn. As an adult, I don’t really want to let you borrow my pen (keep your germs to yourself) and you can’t have any of my cookies (sorry, honey) and I know if you borrow that shirt, it will end up with some weird stain and as a mom of two little kids I have SO FEW CLOTHES that are stain-free. So, no, you can’t have my stuff, borrow my stuff, eat my stuff or read my stuff. Get your own stuff.
- Act like an asshole if you miss naptime. I have been tremendously blessed with a toddler who takes a solid three hour nap 98% of the time. But should that nap shorten, or if it’s interrupted, well you may as well brace yourself for the apocalypse. How nice would it be to blame my jerk behavior on missing a nap? It’s not that big of a stretch; parents are generally experiencing some stage of tiredness, which leads to assholeness. So if I snap at you, maybe it’s time for my nap. Nothing personal.
- React inappropriately to people who irritate you. If a kid in my son’s class tries to hug me, he’ll usually respond by shoving them out of the way and reminding them that I am HIS mom, not theirs. And while we don’t condone the shoving, a tiny part of me does find some joy in his overprotectiveness of his mama. Wouldn’t it be great to tell someone they’re a poopie head the instant they annoy you? Or take their cookies when they’re being mean? Or throw a stapler at them when they ask you the same question they’ve asked you every single day for the better part of nine months? Yes, yes it would.
Toddlers, embrace these days. One day you will become an adult, and people will expect you to behave differently. These are your golden years, where you get a free pass to act a fool (okay, and maybe your freshman year of college, but don’t tell your mom about it).