10 Things Every Mom of a Toddler Needs

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1. A sprint plan: And not of the cell phone variety. Sometimes your 3 year old is going to haul ass in the opposite direction you are. Sure, you could let them run, but there’s a bus coming and plenty of witnesses. Hike up your skirt and book it. And fervently hope there are no teenagers videoing you for YouTube, because you’re pregnant. And you’re hitting a speed Kenyan marathon runners only dream of.

2. An aversion to shame: There’s no room for shame when parenting a toddler. When they’re wailing in the checkout line because you wouldn’t let them get the dog a penguin squeaky toy, it’s time to gird your loins and pointedly ignore the judgmental vibe you’re getting from young singles and menopausal women. Sure, you’re drenched in fear sweat. But I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if my fingers tremble while navigating that convoluted check out computer machine that I’m not tall enough to see. #petite You can berate him when you get in the car. But by then, he’ll have forgotten about the squeaky toy all together.

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3. Family restroom radar: He’s finally potty trained! And he’s gotta potty. Bad. But you already got him in the cart with his sister. This is a problem only a family restroom can solve. It’s like gaydar, but it smells more urninal cakey.

4. Snacks: Did you want to get anything done on this errand? I’m like the snack fairy. Boom! Cheerios. Boom! Fruit snacks. Boom! Juice box. I don’t care if Hansel and Gretel could follow behind us with the shrapnel trail we’re leaving. I couldn’t wait another day for toilet paper.

5. Collusion: You’re going to get home. You’re not going to recall buying that refrigerator magnet. But you’re already home. So, you’ve just become an accomplice in a petty theft. “Maybe a friendly stranger gave it to him while I grabbed the milk” #complicit (See: An aversion to shame)

6. A Magic Eraser: I see you had a creative urge and used the flat screen as your canvas. I hope you like watching Curious George on a tv that looks like it came off the set of “The Ring.” Enter: Mr. Clean.

7. An iron will: There will come tests. So many tests over so many things. You’ll think he should nap, he thinks he shouldn’t. Let’s go to war. You’ll think you want to win, but there will come a time when you just want to lay in the hallway and cry and let them do whatever the hell they want. They probably know what’s best right? NO! Hang in there like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy came around eventually, and it was really, really worth it.

8. A good hiding spot: Because you want to eat those Cheetos alone. You earned them. You just spent 30 mind numbing minutes waiting for him to finish up on the toilet. But make sure your hiding spot is sound proof too. Cheetos are crunchy and toddlers are like zombies; they’re attracted to noise.

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9. A false enthusiasm: Toddlers really like you. And they’re really easy to trick, because they aren’t smart yet- even though they hold themselves in the highest regard. “Guess where we’re going? It’s such a treat! THE STORE!!!!!!!!!! You’re so LUCKY!!!!!” Clap, dance, and generally act as if somebody just scored a goal in soccer. They’ll bite.

10. Technology: If all else fails, throw that kid an iPad. “And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”.

Related post: 16 Tips for Surviving The Toddler Years

10 Ways Having a Toddler is Like Living in Poltergeist

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Poltergeist

10. Items reappear out of place mere seconds after you’ve put them away.

9. In the dark, you sense an unwelcome presence in your room.

8. You frequently resist the urge to run screaming from your own home.

7. You’re never really alone.

6. You can’t escape the voices calling your name.

5. You could have sworn you just turned that light off.

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4. The TV has more power over your child than you do.

3. You’re often terrified by what you find under the bed.

2. A very small person keeps telling you what to do, and strangely, you keep listening.

1. You know that the only way you’ll get any peace is a hotel room clear across town.

Related post: 50 Reasons Your Toddler Might Be Awake Right Now

25 Easy Ways To Annoy A Toddler

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If you have kids, you will at one time or another have this irrational creature living in your house called a toddler. They are hilarious and cute and very easily annoyed. Here are just some of the many ways that you can annoy a toddler…

1. Put jeans on them.

2. Hold them too tight or too loose.

3. Put salad on their plate.

4. Display affection for any of the other children in your house.

5. Don’t let them ride you like a horsey while you are attempting to do Granny push-ups on the floor.

6. Not stare into their eyes with complete focus while they are learning to use the potty.

7. Try to stand at the end of the one slide at the park that will launch them ten feet into the air, because clearly you didn’t stand there for their brother so you won’t be standing there for them, either.

8. Try to ever wear your new fancy shoes because you made the mistake of letting them try the shoes on once, so now the shoes are theirs.

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9. Look sternly in their direction.

10. Don’t let them push those tiny carts in the grocery store when you just can’t bring yourself to deal with the drama that day.

11. Let the other kids in the house get on the bus to go to school.

12. Don’t let them talk to Grandma on the phone. For hours. And by talking I mean staring at the phone and smiling while Grandma and you both try desperately to get one word out of them.

13. Don’t let them look at themselves on your phone while you are trying to take a picture of them.

14. Not kiss the exact right spot where they injured themselves. Even if it’s their butt.

15. Suggest that it’s almost time to go to bed or put clothes on or eat lunch. Suggest anything, really.

16. Don’t let them drink out of every water fountain in every library and every airport on the planet.

17. Hold a baby.

18. Give them other food besides yogurt or crackers or noodles.

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19. Go to a different room in the house without taking them with you. Or even warning them that this was about to happen.

20. Forget that they need to sit on your lap all day on Wednesdays.

21. Try to teach them how to zip a zipper.

22. Strap them into their carseat on Tuesdays.

23. Say mean things to them, like, you need to wear shoes or you can’t go outside.

24. Forget that, since you allowed them to help push the buttons on the washer that one time, this is now their job and you must never touch the buttons again.

And finally….

25. Not help them when they specifically asked you not to help and now they are irreversibly stuck in their sweatshirt or underpants.

Related post: The 10 Dumbest Things I’ve Said to My Toddlers

16 Tips for Surviving The Toddler Years

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It seems as if you were just counting her fingers and toes or Googling every possible remedy for his colic and now you have a certifiable person on your hands and the person is very small but she already has strong opinions. On everything.

Pointing, wanting, refusing, demanding turns into asking, yelling, singing, splashing. There is the inevitable throwing himself onto the ground in howling frustration which can often be a daily occurrence. You will bargain, you might bribe, you might hide behind the refrigerator door and eat chocolate where no one can see you. You will find yourself doing things you swore you’d never do when you became a parent. You will wonder why all of the advice is for the parents of newborns when right now is when you most need that detailed instruction manual. Looking back, you might think those early days were easy now, even though they weren’t.

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Draw a bath. For yourself, yes. Okay, never mind. Take a really quick shower with your child in the bathroom and peek out of the shower curtain every few seconds to make sure she hasn’t ingested a dangerous amount of toothpaste or drank out of the toilet in an impressive imitation of the dog. But use the nice soap. You deserve it.

There is good news: The swaddling, the constant night-waking, the cluster feeding, incessant nursing, the agonized screaming from gas pain is over! You did it! You have possibly or almost changed your very last diaper. But now, you have a new set of challenges; because toddlers are pretty much insane. Repeating this often will help you keep your sanity and perspective when your two year old is screaming because you won’t let her drink gin (this actually happened to me).

Toddlers will ask for cheese. You will give them cheese only to have them shriek in terror as if you are trying to poison them. They will tell you that no, they didn’t really want cheese. They wanted a strawberry. Give them a strawberry and they will throw it on the floor and demand the cheese again. But a different kind of cheese on a very specific plate and the cheese must be cut to exacting specifications. They are rock star divas with riders that would make even David Lee Roth blanch at their audacity.

Because of this, you will have days when you will want to drop them off at the fire station. Just for a couple hours. You will understand that their cuteness is truly an important evolutionary survival mechanism.

Trying to survive your own little toddler? Some tips:

1. Get a clamp for the toilet lid. Ignore this advice at your own risk and the risk of everything you’d never want to end up in the toilet. My daughter in a span of 30 microseconds dumped my entire jewelry box into the big girl potty. It was not endearing.

2. If they eat cat food, it won’t hurt them. In fact, most things won’t hurt them. My sister’s daughter took a dead lizard from the cat and popped it right in her mouth. She was fine. My sister was not. Toddlers are tough as nails and the human race wouldn’t have survived if they weren’t.

3. “If they’re crabby, put them in water.” ~ SARK It really works. I’ve done it at least eighty-six times. Actually, way more.

4. Play-Doh is your friend, but be forewarned, you can’t prevent them from eating it no matter what you do. All efforts to prevent the ingestion of play-doh are futile. Go with it. It’s salty.

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5. Like dogs, they need lots of physical play outside. In fact, get them a gentle dog to play with and turn the two of them loose together in the yard or a park.

6. Toddlers have bizarre eating habits. Trust that they won’t starve themselves and if they eat nothing but crackers for four straight days they will actually survive. If it helps, my sister and I ate nothing but ramen noodles and grilled cheese sandwiches for at least seven years and we both grew up to eat tofu, quinoa and green juice with kale in it. Don’t expect a two year old to eat kale. I mean, come on, I can barely eat it and I’m 40.

7. Yes, they will run away from you but they aren’t really running away. They just want to be chased. Don’t be sad that it seems like you see more of their backs these days because just as fast as they bolted, they’ll turn around and fly straight back into your arms. Toddlers play around with independence. They’re practicing. Don’t worry because they do still need you. More than ever actually.

8. Repeat this mantra often “All messes can be cleaned up.” There will be a lot of messes. It’s okay. Yes, toddlers often seem psychotic. I know. It can be tempting to have an anxiety attack and convince yourself that you’ve somehow passed on a recessive sociopath gene because after all your Uncle Ted is serving time in a federal prison for cooking meth, but it’s not true. All toddlers are psychotic. It doesn’t mean that your son is going to grow up and steal cars or that your daughter is going to be a bank robber. And you know what? Every family has its version of an Uncle Ted.

9. We create their entire reality. They believe every word we tell them. Once in a while you can tell them that the park is closed when you’re late for your doctor’s appointment but taking advantage of their gullibility is cruel.

10. Instead, use your power for good. Help them to create a positive reality. Pass on to your children the sense that the world is benevolent and that they are safe and well and that there are infinite possibilities for their wonderful lives. If you do nothing else, do this and everything will be okay.

11. Resist any temptation, however slight, to compare. Children are beyond idiosyncratic, especially at this age.

12. There is simply no logical pattern to any of their development. If a friend’s daughter supposedly waved and said “bye bye” at six months but your son couldn’t walk by fourteen months it means absolutely nothing. Love your child and his or her unique abilities.

13. Don’t force them into milestones they aren’t ready for. You’ll just end up fighting a battle that will make your entire family miserable. Respect the pace at which your child develops. Some days they will declare themselves to be big while the very next hour they will decide that they need to be a baby for a little while longer.

14. Befriend other parents. They will become your support system and your social life. They will understand when you cancel plans five minutes before you were supposed to meet and you won’t always need to get a babysitter in order to hang out. When you do get together the children will entertain one another enough for you to get in at least three sentences worth of much-needed adult conversation.

15 .Live for the right now. Remember what I said about the nice soap and the fancy wine and the chocolate you hid in the fridge? Use it, drink it, eat it up. Give up Pinterest (okay, just cut back on it) and accept that parenting is as weird as rain with the sun out. It is no contradiction that your greatest joy and your greatest frustration are the exact same thing.

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16. Watch how you learn with your children. They scooted to a crawl and pulled themselves up to cruise and finally lifted their little, sticky hands and stumbled (right into the coffee table of course) and then finally one day they stood on their own and really walked. This is a lot like how you are learning to be a parent—a little at a time, through trial and error and crashing dramatically into the furniture and just like your little ones you will fall hard on your ass some days and you too will want to throw yourself on the floor and scream from exhaustion and irritation.

But then there will be those days when you will stand up and run. You will have days when you dance and sing and play and see the world in brighter colors and you will know that this is totally worth it and that yeah, you can do this after all.

Related post: 50 Reasons Your Toddler Might Be Awake Right Now

The 10 Dumbest Things I’ve Said to My Toddlers

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Since having kids, I tend to say things I’ve never said and do things I’ve never done. Being a mom has made me rattle off the dumbest questions and most pointless sentences of my life. Some so ridiculous that after I say it, I think to myself: “What does that even mean?” Here’s a few examples of things I’ve said recently:

1. “If you don’t get your shoes on I’m leaving without you.” Seriously, where am I going to go without her? Legally, I can only go in the back yard. Or the garage.

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2. “Do you want me to spank you?” How many children actually answer, “yes” to this question?

3. “If you don’t clean up that mess, you’re going straight to bed.” Also, it’s two in the afternoon.

4. “If you don’t stop, I’m turning this car around and we’re going home.” This only ever happens on days when we have to be someplace like the doctor, the bank, or preschool.

5. “You have 30 seconds to get those toys cleaned up or I’m throwing them all away.” Throwing away “all those toys” is an awful lot of work. I have no desire to partake in an activity of this nature.

6. “If you don’t eat, I’m not going to give you any more dinner.” This pretty much makes no sense.

7. “I’m going to count to three and you better stop, or else.” Even I don’t know what else.

8. “Are you trying to make me mad?” Silly. My toddlers don’t deliberately try to make me mad. They just ignore me until my eyes cross, and my head spins.

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9. “If you don’t start listening, I’m going to stop talking.” Said the mom to the toddlers who aren’t listening.

10. “If you don’t stop playing with your food, I’m going to take it away.” Chances are if they aren’t eating; they aren’t hungry or don’t want it. Duh.

I’m going to have to step it up and change my game for when they get older and start to realize that the upper hand has pretty much always been theirs. Until then, they have 30 seconds or else…

Related post: 5 Tips For Surviving The Toddler Tantrum