Jerry Seinfeld once said that “a two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.” And that phrase is permanently etched into my mind. Have truer words ever been spoken about toddlers?
Because he’s right, of course. We all have to be slightly mad to get through the phase of parenting a toddler. Sure, we become accustomed to the chaos over time. But if we really step back and consider what we’re doing and saying on a daily basis – well – it’s a wonder we’re allowed to keep freely roaming the streets.
Poop has become a major topic of discussion in our household.
Sad, but true. A natural part of potty training, you say? I’m not so sure. Is it natural for all toddler boys to be obsessed with their poop?? We talk about it so much that we even have multiple names for it – you know, like the Eskimos have multiple names for snow. Poop, caca, and big monster – referring to the size and girth of the bowel movement. Earlier this week, my toddler had me stop cooking so that I could rush into the bathroom to marvel at his “BIG MONSTER” that looked “like a dinosaur with one eye!” Yesterday, he came out of the bathroom and shook his head, sighing sadly: It was just a caca this time, Mommy. Yes. This is my life.
Anything I say can and will be used against me.
Sometimes I reminisce about the good old days. When my sweet babies would hang on my every word, gazing adoringly at me. In silence. Those days are long gone. And I am painfully learning the lesson that my own words are now used in counterattacks. I ask my boys, for the 115th time, to pick up their toys. Worry about yourself, Mommy! is the retort. I raise my voice to ask my boys to calm down. We don’t shout in this house, Mommy, they reply. Heaven forbid I forget to thank one of them for bringing me a baby wipe or diaper. What do you say, Mommy? as they look at me expectantly. My words are now forever memorialized by two little
maniacs toddlers who store them away to be used when the time is right. Against the speaker herself.
Fear the rogue crayon – or economy sized bin of diaper rash ointment.
I now guard any potential mess-making items with my life. Trust me when I say that one rogue green crayon – just one – forgotten under a couch WILL be found and used to scribble over walls, floors, and furniture until it is discovered and taken away. Toddlers will look up at you quizzically as you are furiously painting over walls and sanding floors to get the crayon out, genuinely not understanding your frustration over their beautiful artwork. And it’s not just art products. Any substance will be used for their masterpieces. My toddler was so proud of himself when I walked into the boys’ bedroom after naptime the other day. Look Mommy – my brother is a ghost for Halloween! To his credit, horror indeed defined my reaction as I realized that he had used an entire economy sized bin of diaper ointment to paint his brother, the furniture, the carpeting, and the walls. Quick Tip: the only thing that removes diaper ointment from hair, skin, and materials is grease-deterring dish detergent. You’re welcome.
I find myself arguing whether or not the sky is blue.
I’ve come to realize that proven facts simply don’t matter in a toddler’s fluid world of concepts. Everything is up for debate. What time is it, Mommy? and then when I provide the factual answer – No, it’s not. Yes it is, no it’s not, yes it is, no it isn’t Mommy! These are the debates we have. I have argued the color of the dog, what day of the year Christmas falls on, when my toddler’s birthday is, and even what town we live in. They also learn around this age how to “change their minds.” I recently purchased a new purple blanket for my son – the child who has been utterly obsessed with the color purple since pretty much birth. Upon receiving it, he announced that purple is no longer his favorite color – it is now blue. What?? You’ve always loved purple!?? Mommy, he looks at me pityingly, I changed my mind.
The noise. OH THE NOISE.
The constant ear-splitting decibel that my household now operates under is frying. my. brain. Why walk to the dinner table when you can jump on all fours? It’s no fun telling a story unless you can scream it. Great new kiddie song? Yell the chorus 50 times on repeat to make sure everyone knows. Requests to quiet down are ignored. Or maybe they’re not heard. Pots and pans, books, and action figures – everything makes noise if you really want it to. And these are just the time wasters until Mommy receives that important phone call she has been waiting for – then it’s time to PUMP UP THE VOLUME! All hell breaks loose as I truly suspect that my toddlers are attempting to drive away any contact I have with the outside world.
I am being stalked.
Not all of the time, of course. Usually I am simply tolerated or outright ignored if asking the boys to do something. But they have some sort of sixth sense. As soon as I need a moment alone, they are on top of it – reminding me that I do not yet not qualify. Covertly pulling out the laptop sends a signal to Attack Mommy – crawl all over her, grab at the laptop, scream, fight, cry, pull hair – anything to get the laptop back on the desk at which point they will promptly begin ignoring me again. Nature calls? The bathroom is the worst. I close the door for 30 seconds of privacy, and that results in a complete breakdown. Pounding on the door, crying, jiggling the door knob, and a constant refrain of Mommy LET ME IN! I have completely stopped trying to sneak a bite of chocolate from my hidden stash. The boys could be on the other floor of the house, yet somehow hear the sound of a chocolate square being opened and come dashing upstairs with cries that they’re starving, they’re hungry, and they want a snack. It’s quite impressive, actually.
My IQ has been reduced by half.
I used to think that I was a reasonably intelligent person. I graduated college and found success in a longstanding career. I read and research. But these boys have taught me that in reality – I’m downright dumb. I can’t answer the simplest questions! Mommy, how does the salt get in the ocean? How many stars are there? How did the baby get in your tummy? Why does Henry have curly hair? How will the baby get out of your tummy? I simply can’t keep up. And the questions keep coming and coming. Fast and furious. And with every “I don’t know” or vague dance around the truth that I give, I see the respect slowly draining from their eyes. I literally heard my eldest tell my youngest the other day, No, don’t ask Mommy. She never knows. Great. I’ve officially become the woman-who-never-knows-the-answer. Sounds about right.
And I could go on. But I think you get the picture, and I know that those who also have toddlers are experiencing similar things. Have I become slightly insane while trying to parent two young children? I think that I just might have. But it’s a coping mechanism to get through this wild, crazy, messy, and loving phase. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find a missing top for our blender…