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Reasons Why Parenting Teenagers and Toddlers is Exactly the Same Thing

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If you are currently parenting toddlers, you probably tell yourself daily (over a glass of wine or six) that it’s just a phase.  The assertion of independence, the tantrums, the sleep deprivation…I could go on.  But as someone who is currently parenting at both ends of this spectrum I have to tell you to buckle up butter cup. That light at the end of the tunnel is really, really far away.

You will, after the toddler years, hit this wonderful twilight zone of time where your darlings suddenly seem to understand the importance of wearing pants, and you might actually get out the door without losing your mind and even make it to places on time. I know!!!! It’s crazy talk!  But wait, there’s more.  You will suddenly feel somewhat rested and in control of your life.  You might even make the brave and noble decision to purchase new furniture or, and yes this is really hard to imagine I know, make dinners that your children will eat!  It’s like a dream really.  A beautiful parenting paradise.  And you will think to yourself, “I’ve got this.  I am a parenting pro. ”  And then, suddenly and without warning, your little darling or darlings become pre-teens.  Pre-teens and teens are really in same category here because the only difference is that the teens are taller and can drive, otherwise, the same. And suddenly, you will no longer have any control over your life, punctuality will again become a joke, you will be stocking the pantry with boxes of wine (because braces are expensive and you can only afford the cheap stuff now),  and that new furniture, let’s just say party food is always full of artificial colour.  All of a sudden you will be entering the world of parenting giant toddlers….And here are the reasons why nothing really changes:

1.) Bedtime:  Babies and especially toddlers are notoriously good at avoiding sleep.  The never ending trips out of bed because apparently bedtime is a cause for extreme thirst (drinks of water) and hunger (but I’m STARVING), and monsters, and missing stuffies, and one more story and one more hug etc etc.  It can literally drive a person to the edge of sanity.  If you are one of the lucky ones, your children will at some point learn to go to sleep a little more easily and actually stay asleep, thus the parenting paradise I mentioned earlier.  Once the pre-teens/teens hit, you will again have children that refuse to go to sleep.  Also appearing to have constant and spontaneous needs for drink and food, only now you will also be battling the television or the all consuming cell phone.  “So just go to bed” you may be thinking, but no.  Toddlers may be awake because they can’t explain why they can’t sleep, but pre-teens/teens are often awake because they won’t explain why they can’t sleep.  So, now my dear parents, you will lay awake in your own bed all night worrying yourself into a frenzy about what could be wrong.  Is it school?  Is it a friend?  Have they joined a cult? Did they start an underground smuggling ring of snacks filled with artificial colour? Worry, worry, and no sleep.  And we have officially returned to the land of total exhaustion.

2.)  Morning Routines:  Yes, toddlers are typically early risers, but that doesn’t mean they care what your agenda is.  They just happen to be up early.  The fact that you want them to be ready to go somewhere on time is irrelevant.  Guess what?  pre-teens/teens also don’t care.  Even when the agenda is their own!!!! Early morning sports or other extra-curriculars that they love during waking hours? Meh. School? Super meh.  Have you ever tried to wake up a pre-teen/teen? It will challenge you to the very core of your being.  The very core….I don’t want to compare the experience to climbing Everest but….there will be screaming, crying, begging, pleading, bribery, threats, the sudden and inexplicable inability to locate a left shoe….sound familiar yet?  And guess what?  There goes that precious punctuality you had come to cherish.

3.)  Food:  Toddlers will eat boogers, bugs, dirt and other assorted delicacies, but the mere appearance of a vegetable or a new food on their plate will send them running like you have just tried to feed them rat poison.  You constantly worry about whether or not they are getting enough to eat and the proper nutrients.  Guess what?  Food issues all return in the pre-teen/teen years. Pre-teens/teens will eat literally anything that has artificial color, saturated fats, artificial flavor and essentially anything that comes out of a vending machine.  They have their own money and often access to a local corner store or school cafeteria and you can no longer monitor and police everything that they put in their mouths.  So we are back to constant worry about nutrition and fights over healthy meals.  I will admit that pre-teens/teens bring a whole new food issue.  Cost of groceries….seriously, I can walk into my house and leave $400 worth of groceries on the kitchen floor while I run to go pee and come back out to find it all mysteriously gone.  Except of course the broccoli.  They are kind enough to leave that behind.  See, this is another reason why you will now be drinking wine from a box.  Silent, ravenous ninjas.

4.)  Music and Television:  Toddler years are filled with music and television that no one understands.  “Teletubbies”, “The Wiggles”, and the always awesome and rage inducing “Caillou.” Your road trips will be filled with the sounds of whatever kid friendly music they love at that moment.  Today, I had to hit repeat on Bing Crosby’s rendition of “Jingle Bells” more than thirty times because it is my two and a half year old’s current favorite.  I used to like it….Fast forward to the pre-teen/teen years….I could seriously live my entire life as a parent with Youtube.  If my pre-teen tries one more of those godforsaken Youtube challenges, or explains to me again that everything will be ok because he is going to be a famous Youtuber one day and make tons of money being, as far as I can tell, a jackass, there will not be enough boxed wine on this planet to keep my sanity intact.  And music? Music?  I shudder….have you leaned how to “dab” yet?  Or “juju on that beat”? You will….oh yes….you will.  See? Music and television that no one understands.

5.)  Clothing:  Toddlers usually have very specific clothing preferences. My four year old only wore shirts with dinosaurs on them.  My two and a half year old wants to wear a princess dress every single day.  It’s white.  I guess I should be happy that she stopped insisting on dressing as a unicorn every single day.  That costume is also white.  So is my favorite wine, but I digress….even though toddlers may insist on wearing a certain theme or color, you can usually force them to leave the house looking presentable and relatively clean with faces washed and teeth brushed. You know, on a good day.  Pre-teens/teens also have very specific ideas and demands regarding their attire.  The problem is that they are much bigger than toddlers, and angrier, and supposedly capable of washing their own faces and brushing their own teeth.  But they don’t…they just don’t.  Oh, and if you think taking a pre-teen/teen shopping for clothing would be easier than taking your toddler shopping for clothing, you are in for a world of hurt in a few years.  A world of hurt my friend.

6.) Tantrums:  Oh the toddler tantrums.  The screaming and crying for usually unknown reasons or unrealistic and often impossible demands. They are asserting their independence you tell yourself.  They are trying to communicate their emotions…fast forward to the pre-teen/teen years.  Exactly the same scenario, for also usually unknown reasons, as well as unrealistic and often impossible demands.  Only now they are quite possibly taller than you. Toddlers trying to express intense emotion and pre-teen/teens dealing with hormone overload cause exactly the same response in the human brain.  Ok, I don’t actually know that for sure but I would be willing to put money on it.

So there you have it.  Enjoy those years between toddlerhood and the pre-teens because you will need those times sustain you and keep you strong.  Good luck my fellow parents.  Pass the wine.

mom-drinking

 

Mommy/Daddy Bloggers The Crazy and The Brave

 

 

 

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I have always loved to write.  For as long as I can remember, I was writing short stories, long stories, poems etc.  So it was only natural that when I became a mom, that love of writing became my way of finding humor in not so humorous days, and of reaching out to my fellow moms.  I have never understood why we try to hard to appear perfect as parents, since there really is no such thing. Everything I write about parenting tends to be dripping with sarcasm and not even remotely serious, because honestly if you can’t laugh at yourself as a parent, you aren’t going to make it out with your sanity intact.  That’s not just my opinion, that’s Science.  Having my writing published was always kind of a bucket list thing for me, so you can imagine my excitement when a friend, working for a parenting website, decided my writing was funny enough to do just that.  I was ecstatic!!!! Thousands of people would read articles that I had written.  “They will appreciate my honesty” I thought.  “They will relate to me” I thought.  Wrong.  I was in absolute awe of the number of people that read my articles.  But then the comments started rolling in…..now don’t get me wrong. I am totally open to constructive criticism, and of course people are entitled to their opinions, but holy crap!  Swearing, threatening, flat out calling me a terrible mother…I am pretty sure most of the “helpful” comments came from people who hadn’t even read the article.  One woman accused me of making fun of children with behavioral issues which cause them to hit their heads off of walls.  First of all, I would never, under any circumstances do anything of that nature.  I reread my article three times and I still have no idea where she got that idea from.  Especially since the article was about annoying moms on-line.  Ahem, point made….

I had been reading lots of posts by parent bloggers.  Some made me laugh, some made me cry and some filled my heart with joy.  Others I disagreed with, or just didn’t find interesting. I responded the same with all of them. If I loved them I shared them and if I didn’t, I didn’t.  Either way, I put my phone down and simply went on with my life.  It never even once occurred to me to read the comments. Not once. Until I had my own comments to deal with.  So I decided to check the comments on other writers articles to see.  Was I just a really crappy writer, or are people just nuts?  Oh. My. God.  That is not a road you want to go down unless you have several hours to spare and a bottle of wine to sustain you.  It’s like a car wreck that you can’t look away from. Like a really twisted social experiment that people don’t realize they are participating in.  And the interesting part was that the comments were the same regardless of the content of the article.  In fact, the actual topic of the article often had NOTHING to do with the contents.  Here are the most common comments, regardless of the topic:

1.)  Vaccinations:  Remember before you had kids and the two main topics to avoid at a dinner party were religion and politics?  After you have children those things no longer matter.  The only topic that you absolutely do not want anyone to mention is vaccinations.  Unless you want your home to be featured on an episode of COPS, you simply do not bring it up.  Period.  What I found bizarre was that no matter what an article was about, someone at some point will comment about vaccinations. “How I Got My Child to Sleep in Their Own Bed” BAM! Vaccinations. “The Importance of Color Choice in the Nursery” BAM! Vaccinations. And four hundred comments after that one comment about vaccinations is dropped like a roadside bomb, and no one even knows what the article was about anymore.

2.)  Breastfeeding or Bottle Feeding:  Again, why?  The topic could be “My Child Has too Much Homework” and then BAM! Feeding.  “The Best Car Seats for Baby” BAM! Feeding. And one more time, the second that comment is made, the sanctimommies come  running from all sides and actual content of the article? Who could remember?

3.)  You are lucky to even have a child:  This one kills me….honestly I cannot even fathom the pain of infertility and the idea of dealing with miscarriages is just beyond devastating.  That being said, parents absolutely need to share the frustrations that come with having children.  We need to vent and hear other parents vent and realize that we aren’t the only ones with a two year old who only eats macaroni. Or that someone else’s child refuses to sleep in their own bed because their imaginary friend is taking up too much room…It is vital that we reach out to our fellow parents.  On every single article I read about any sort of frustration or trial of parenting the comments would appear.  “You shouldn’t complain.  You are lucky to even have a child.”  “At least you have a child to feed at dinner time.” Etc, etc.  As much as my heart hurts for these people, I have to question why on earth they are torturing themselves by reading articles about the trials of parenting…And if they must torture themselves, don’t jump all over the author.  He or she didn’t tie you to a chair and force you to read it.

 

So I learned a few things from my little, self serving investigation:

1.) People actually are crazy.  However, parents are by far the craziest people out there.

2.)  I am not as thick skinned as I thought….

3.)  Mommy/Daddy Bloggers are the bravest people on the internet.  Seriously.  Swearing, death threats, verbal abuse and full on attacks on their parenting skills don’t stop them from writing articles and posting. They are sharing their parenting experiences and personal triumphs and traumas with the most terrifying, judgemental  and self righteous group of people on the planet. Other parents. I have nothing but respect.

 

crazy mom 2Crazy mom

How to Speak Toddler….a Basic Translation Guide

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Toddlers are pretty amazing little people, because they are in fact, little people.  All of a sudden they are no longer squishy little babies who are content to simply sit or lay down all day while you put them wherever you want to put them or take them wherever you decide to go.  Suddenly they have their own ideas about what they want and when they want it, and they are incredibly dedicated to their own little whims.  If you have ever had the opportunity to care for a toddler you will know that this is putting it extremely mildly…..a toddler who wants something that you either don’t understand, or are not able to provide or allow is very much like a tornado, and you my friend are a trailer park.

Heading into the land of toddler myself for the fourth time, I thought that a translation guide of sorts might be helpful.  So here you go:

1.)  “No!”  Or “I not!”

Remember in College when you were insanely dedicated to a cause and decided that you would join your fellow  protesters in a sit in?  Nothing, and I mean nothing was going to deter you from making sure your message was heard and that change was implemented.  This is now your toddler…..if you plan on accomplishing anything on the day that these words are uttered, clear your schedule and make some calls, because you are not going anywhere anytime soon.  These words are usually used when it is time to leave the house and socks, shoes, or possibly pants are required.  These words are also very popular when trying to buckle a toddler into a car seat when they will suddenly decide to “plank” and use their super human toddler strength to prevent you from doing up the buckle.  These words are almost always used when you have to get to work, or you have an appointment which you are likely already running late for.

2.)  “I try it.”

These words will be used during mealtimes.  They mean that your toddler is now going to abandon their own plate, which contains the exact same food that you are desperately trying to eat yourself, and will now proceed to eat every scrap of food on your plate.  For some reason, toddler logic dictates that your food is better than theirs, even though it is exactly the same…it’s best to just develop a taste for cold, tiny bites of food because unless you hide in the kitchen to eat, you may be trading plates for awhile.

3.)  “I no did it.”

These words will often be uttered when you have been out of the room for a few minutes.  It absolutely means that they did something….the trick is what is it?  Sometimes it will be obvious because there will be a puddle of something or the writing will literally be on the wall.  However, if it is not obvious, do not assume that nothing has happened.  Search high and low until you figure it out because this is one of those times when weeks from now you will be wondering what on earth that smell is, only to discover half a banana crammed into the back of the toy garbage truck….

4.)  “No worry mommy.  I clean it.”

This is also usually uttered when you have been out if the room.  This one is a bit more alarming.  It’s nice that they have taken ownership over whatever havoc they have caused, however they have also attempted to clean it up.  So, what was the mess?  And what exactly did they “clean” it up with?  This often involves a defective sippy cup and a throw cushion from your couch, or, worst case scenario, a diaper and an afghan…probably knitted by great grandma and irreplaceable.

5.)  “I big helper.”

This is a tough one because it is so darn cute…but it’s a trick.  Do not be fooled by the big innocent eyes or angelic smile….this does not meant they are going to help you.  This statement means they are going to, under the guise of helping you, do absolutely everything in their power to prevent you from getting the activity done.  If you give in to this request, as I foolishly do at least once day, pour yourself a coffee and just abandon all hope of getting anything accomplished.  Oh, and make sure you allow for time to clean up whatever messes will now be caused by your “big helper.”

6.)  “I hungry.”

Brace yourself….you are about to be told no to every single option of a snack that you provide and even though the toddler could actually be hungry, there will not be a single food item in this world that will be acceptable.  If there are older children in the home, your toddler will also be aware that you have cookies….so you know that sit in from College?  You are about to meet the sit in King or Queen.

7.)  “Mine.”

Toddlers are only capable of understanding their own needs.  So this statement could refer to a toy, a toilet brush or even your left shoe.  It doesn’t have to make sense.  In fact it often doesn’t.  Just assume that everything they see, touch, hear or smell belongs to them in their little world and roll with it.

8.) “It so pretty.”

This rarely means that you will find whatever is happening “pretty”.  It could mean that those paints and crayons you thought you had hidden have been located and in the time it took you to pee, your little artist has provided you with a custom made mural in your living room.  This mural will likely include walls and your couch.  It could mean that somehow your toddler has found a pair of scissors (even safety ones will cut hair) and given themselves a “pretty” new haircut.  Or, it could refer to the fact that your toddler located a tube of lipstick in your purse and has given themselves a “pretty” new makeover.  It could also refer to the fact that you have thirty seconds to get out the door for an appointment and your toddler has removed every scrap of clothing you put on them and opted for a diaper and a tutu, a pair of your underwear on their head and one glove instead….they may combine this with the lipstick make over….

I will be happy to provide more translations for common toddler lingo as they arise….now if someone out there could provide me with some translations of pre-teen language…that would be great.