From the moment you become a parent, you have the instinctual desire to teach. When your children are teeny, tiny babies, you teach them to hold their heads up, roll over, grab their toys and shake their rattles. You teach them to stand, walk and talk. You marvel in each new accomplishment. You are in awe of the responsibility in teaching you have: they will learn all about love, joy and kindness from you. And so you begin to imagine all of the future Hallmark Movie worth moments as you look lovingly into your teeny baby’s face.
And then they become toddlers.
Toddlers are their own special class, needing their very own special teacher. You will recall fondly the days of your baby learning to walk, and watching them slowly toddle around the house, because those babies grow into toddlers, and those toddlers throw caution (and everything else within arm’s reach) to the wind as they immediately go from walking to running headlong into dangerous objects. You will think back on those days of “mama, dada, kitty!” when you sit down for dinner with your toddler and you are promptly told, “Mama, we are NOT playing those games today.” Oy vey.
Young children are a blank slate, yes, but you just have no idea how truly blank until they become toddlers.
Things I Have Taught My Toddler (This week…because we all know next week is a craps shoot)
- Cars are cool to look at, but they are actually big, heavy, injury-wielding machines. We do not run towards them, ever.
- Stuffed animals are not for the bathtub. Unlike you, if Milton the Monkey gets wet, he cannot participate in the remainder of bedtime activities. Also, PLEASE DO NOT SNEAK HIM INTO YOUR BED. We will know.
- What goes up must come down. This is true of balloons, pillows and teddy bears. It is also true of Matchbox cars, building blocks and dad’s sneakers. Don’t throw it over your head if you don’t want to end up with a mild concussion later.
- Boiling water is a requirement of cooking macaroni and cheese. As often as you eat macaroni and cheese, you should know this. Water does not boil without heat; ergo, the stove is HOT. If you keep “pretending” to touch it, you’re going to end up burning yourself.
- Lemons are sour.
- Tomatoes are yucky.
- Plants are also yucky.
- That dirt? YES, IT IS YUCKY.
- You have not mastered the skill of opening doors (and yet, you know how to open the refrigerator door…) If you go in mom’s closet and close the door, you will be stuck. Again.
- You do not fit through the pet door. STOP TRYING. Also, please stop putting things like utensils, pillows, goldfish crackers and mom’s wallet through the pet door. NOT COOL.
- If pressed hard enough, macaroni and cheese will get stuck in your ear. Also, in your nose. And if you love it so much, why are you sticking it in face holes other than your mouth?
- You are not invisible. (something we remind you of in many, many situations throughout the day) (ETA: could also say “you are not quiet”)
To my boys: We will teach you to read and write, swim, ride a bike, tie your shoes, get dressed, and all sorts of other things in your young childhood. But we’ll also get to teach you about common sense, love, being polite, and how to tell your left foot from your right. Important life skills.
PS – Your dad will teach you all about math. I will teach you how to use a calculator.