I remember the advice we got when we were newly married —
“Have kids! You'll love it! You're life isn't complete without the pitter-patter of little feet. There's nothing like being a mom.”
Then, once we finally had the kids, the advice kept on coming.
“Cherish every moment. They grow up too fast. Someday you'll look back and miss all this.”
I believe the people who say this stuff. Really, truly I do. But if a magic genie granted me one wish, I would seriously consider making my kids skip ages 2-4. I probably wouldn't go through with it, but the thought would certainly cross my mind.
We all know our toddlers are a wee bit dramatic at times. I'm sure we've all seen the perfectly angelic 2-year-olds sitting primly with their parents at restaurants, but my kids certainly don't fall under that category. If you have a perfect toddler, this list is not for you. The rest of us can commiserate together.
If your toddler is as manic as mine, here are 10 bona fide reasons he might be crying right now. These are legit toddler episodes, people. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. I've included some helpful commentary outlining what I'm pretty sure our kids must be thinking … maybe. After all, the toddler mind is a scary place.
1. I woke up.
“Yeah, I got up well before the crack of dawn. No one woke me up — I decided to do it all by myself. That doesn't mean I'm happy about it, though. Here, let me demonstrate how tired I still am while simultaneously refusing to go back to sleep.”
2. Mom told me I couldn't wear plaid shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and a beanie in the middle of January.
“I believe in the right of self-expression! Let them wear plaid, or eat cake, or whatever that quote is. My mother is an evil tyrant and the fashion police all rolled up into one. I have no idea what she means by, 'catch my death of cold.' I'm with Elsa — the cold never bothered me. Elsa's my hero. Hey, let's watch Elsa for the 50,000th time this week!”
3. I want to go bye-bye. Now!
“You cannot take my brother to school and leave me behind. You just can't. I don't care if you're running late and I insist on putting on my own shoes slower than a slug. I'm going, and that's final. Period. End of discussion. (See, I can sound just like you!)”
4. You can't leave my brother at school!
“Wait! No! This wasn't part of the deal! Who am I going to play with? We won't fight anymore, promise. Well, at least not for the next 30 seconds.”
5. Grocery. Shopping.
“Nooooooo! I'd rather starve!”
6. But I don't want a nap.
“I don't care if I'm tired. I don't care if I'm acting like an angry boar. I don't care if you want five minutes away from my whining. I will not nap. You're doomed to rock, wrestle, and fetch me water endlessly if you want any TV time.”
7. You got me up?!
“But I just fell asleep! I don't care about picking up my brother from school. Leave him there. All he does is fight with me anyways.”
8. The peas touched the potatoes.
“Call FEMA! Declare my dinner plate a superfund site. This is a disaster! You're crazy if you think I'm touching that, so go throw it away. Hey, while you're up, can you get me some chicken nuggets?”
9. Stick a fork in me — I'm done.
“Can we cuddle for awhile? It's been a hard day. This growing up stuff is serious business. Hey, thanks. Rocking makes it all better.”
Okay, okay. This is all pretty cute. Maybe we shouldn't loan our toddlers to the zoo just yet. If you happen upon a genie, ask for a million bucks instead, and let your little munchkin stick around. After all, he's not so bad — when he's sleeping.
Heather Hale is a fourth-generation Montanan, mom to three crazy boys, and wife to one amazing husband. She writes about passionate parenthood at moderatelycrunchy.com.