I used to get very “sanctimomy” with people who would complain about their toddlers, or their kids in general really. I’m brave enough to admit it. I used to think things like “how can you say such things about your kids? They are a blessing!” “But they are so sweet.” “It can’t possibly be that bad. Maybe you should just learn to relax”.
Oh. Did. I. Learn.
Toddlers are hard. Very hard. It’s like they go from a sweet little baby to the exorcist child over night. People say “the terrible twos” but I think it starts much earlier. And lasts much longer.
Here is what I have learned:
Yes. It is a magical age when they are just discovering that they have opinions
Yes. They are trying to express themselves but don’t have the language skills yet
Yes. They are exploring the world
Yes. They are gaining independence but still need help, but don’t want help
Yes. They are trying to understand very big feelings that they really don’t understand
I know all of these things and I understand and agree with all of them.
But toddlers are frustrating and anyone who says they aren’t either doesn’t have kids or had them so long ago that they don’t remember. For all the reasons why this is such a magical and exciting age, this is also the most frustrating (My oldest is only 3 1/2 so I understand I still have allot to experience).
Because this needs to be written down, here are my least favorite toddler games.
- The “up and down the stairs game”. I swear they don’t want anything, they just want to go up and down. All Day
- The “shoes on shoes off game”. This also works with socks. My toddler will cry holding one foot in the air insisting that I put her shoe on or take it off every few minutes until I hide all the shoes.
- The “lets go into the kitchen and point at things that I may want but actually don’t” game. Because what they actually want is a cookie, and there are no cookies because I got tired of all the tantrums over cookies and cut my family off.
- The “I’m starving but I don’t know what I want so we are going to try everything” game so I will take one bite out of everything you offer me and scream.
- The “I don’t want my diaper changed” game. This can also be called the “look how much poop I can get all over everything” game.
- The “I can take off my own diaper game”. This often has a very similar outcome to number 5.
- The “throw bunny (substitute any very special thing that the child can not live without) out of the stroller constantly” game.
- The “I don’t want this so I will put it down mommy’s shirt” game. It’s like a fruit salad in there by the end of the day.
- The “I will only eat if I am being held and wiping my hands and face on your shoulder” game.
- The “I want to press the button and god help you if you press it first” game.
Yes. This is a magical age. It really is. I loved watching my son learn and grow and I am loving watching my daughter do the same. I also know that with every 1 of these annoying games toddlers play there are a million other incredibly wonderful sweet and fun things that they do. But I’ll tell you, when you are exhausted and your toddler is playing at least one (good chance many) of these games it’s really hard.
I survive by trying to understand that if I’m this frustrated with the situation my child must be having an even harder time.
I survive by reminding myself that they aren’t making me crazy on purpose. They are trying to cope with a big, new and scary world.
I survive by holding them, taking a deep breath and looking forward to the biggest glass of wine ever after they are finally in bed.
I survive by knowing that I did the best I could that day. If not that I will try harder tomorrow.
What games do your toddlers play that makes you crazy? How do you/did you survive the toddler years? I would love to hear some stories!!