23 Rules of Eating, According to a Toddler

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1. Refuse anything but Cheerios for breakfast. Have them without milk on Mondays, Thursdays and every other Friday.

2. Hyperventilate if they get this wrong.

3. Don’t try anything new, EVER.

4. Just because you liked something yesterday does not mean you have to like it again today. It is perfectly acceptable to change your mind and you do not have to explain yourself.

5. Be suspicious of anything that was recently alive. Orange, dead-looking stuff is safer.

6. Request a wide variety of food at the supermarket and then A. Deny all knowledge of it upon your return home or B. Allow it to be cooked first and then say you don’t like it.

7. Spend some time revising brand names so that you can legitimately refuse cheaper derivatives.

8. Any amount of cooking or food preparation time above 30 seconds is wholly unacceptable.

9. Ask for updates of when things will be ready every 10 seconds. Protest with your fists on the floor if things are taking too long.

10. This may result in the meal being served half frozen but it doesn’t matter as you are not going to eat it anyway.

11. No eating on Wednesday afternoons, just because.

12. Make sure you have a spoon, knife and two forks with all meals and then eat with your hands.

13. Only ever use one specific plate. Flip out if it is dirty.

14. Deposit as much of your meal off the side of the table as possible. They say they “spend their whole life cleaning the kitchen floor.” Help make it a reality.

15. Sweet potato chips are insulting.

16. Avoid anything with sauce as there is a risk it contains blended vegetables.

17. Never drink water. They say “You will drink it when you’re thirsty.” Don’t. Get admitted to hospital with dehydration. That’ll teach ‘em.

18. Always say you are hungry when you are in the bath.

19. Train your body clock to wake up for midnight bananas.

20. Casseroles, stews and pies are not to be trusted.

21. Sweet potato chips are insulting.

22. Kick people who describe broccoli as “little trees” in the shins. It’s condescending and its disgusting.

23. Avocado – WTF? – NO.

Related post: Bedtime Stalling 101

5 Perfectly Understandable Reasons For Toddler Tantrums

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Toddlers. They’re sticky. They drip. They mess up our stuff. And they throw temper tantrums for no particular reason. Actually, that last one isn’t true. A lot of their tantrums make perfect sense. Why? Here are five reasons:

1. Rules. Infants get to do pretty much whatever they want, whenever they want. The same cannot be said for toddlers. Toddlers are expected to follow the rules. But there’s just one problem: They don’t know what most of the rules are. Most rules are discovered only AFTER they’ve been broken. You can’t draw on the sofa. Not even in a pretty color?! You shouldn’t throw sand. But it’s so lightweight?! You’re not supposed to bathe your doll in it the toilet. Ok. Got it. Next time, you’ll bathe the cat instead.

2. Time. Last month I went to the DMV to renew my driver’s license and, a few hours later, was told that I wouldn’t be seen. I was instructed to go home and come back another day. I wanted to throw a temper tantrum. I almost threw a temper tantrum. Okay. I sort of threw a temper tantrum. Toddlers don’t have to go to the DMV to have no control over their own schedules. And it must be maddening. Really enjoying playing with your train? Well, it’s time to stop. Having fun at the park? We’re leaving in five minutes. (Whatever five minutes is.)

3. Food. Mealtime for toddlers is a lot like eating in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and can’t read the menu. Most food is new and, therefore, strange. And some food – new or not – is downright scary. But with toddlers there’s an added twist, you get strapped into your chair when you eat. It’s not surprising that toddlers are picky eaters. It would only be surprising if they weren’t.

4. Wisdom. Adults know they can’t get sucked down the bathtub drain, but toddlers do not. If you did think it was a possibility, you would probably hate baths. If you believed a Golden Retriever wanted to eat you, you would probably be scared of dogs. And if you were worried that the dinosaurs on your pillowcase might come to life while you slept, you might be terrified of linens. True. Only some toddlers are scared of baths. Only some toddlers are scared of dogs. And very few are scared of pillows. But most toddlers have some fears. And, to them, they’re not irrational ones.

It’s only life experience – and an understanding of the most basic scientific concepts – that turns the world into a place that makes some sense. Okay. That’s not true. No matter how old you get, the world doesn’t make sense. But, at least most of us aren’t afraid of baths.

5. Language. If you knew so few words that they could easily be recorded within a few lines of a baby book, you’d probably resort to crying every now and then too. Every day must feel like an endless, torturous game of“The $100,000 Pyramid” if you’re a toddler. Your shirt is bothering you but you can’t figure out how to say, “Oh my God! The tag in this shirt is so scratchy! I’d like to change into something more comfortable! Preferably in organic cotton!” But you can’t. So you get upset. And what’s the reaction from mom or dad? They tell you to use your words. Use your words! If you could, you would!

25 Ways To Annoy A Toddler

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25 Ways To Annoy A Toddler
If you have kids, you will at one time have this irrational creature living in your house called a toddler. They are hilarious and cute and very easily annoyed. Here are 25 ways that you can annoy a toddler. I think I have done every one of these just this week…

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.

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.

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.

7 Life Lessons My Two Year Old Taught Me

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two-year-old

1. Ask consistently and LOUDLY for what you want. When my daughter, the joy and light of my life, wants something, she wants it now and will continue to ask for that toy, snack or whatever it is until she either gets it or I distract her with something else. Sometimes, if she doesn’t like my answer, she will find her dad and ask him for the same thing. Annoying, but how else do you get more crackers in life unless you ask for them?

2. Take pleasure in small, simple activities. I am amazed by the pleasure and sheer joy my child can get from simple activities like Play-Doh and picking up sticks in the yard. Isn’t Play-Doh boring for the third straight day in a row? Why are sticks so fascinating? While sometimes there seems to be no reasoning as to why my daughter wants to do a certain activity again and again and again, I cannot help but be astonished by the happiness she gets from it.

3. Take your time, and after that, take even more time if you need it. When we need to leave the house by a certain time, I build in an extra twenty or thirty minutes just to get shoes, coats, hats, gloves, and bags together because my daughter likes.to.take.her.time. Pet the cat, talk to her baby doll, get one shoe on, get her other baby doll, get one arm in her coat, use the bathroom one more time, get her other shoe on, play with the magnets on the refrigerator… Sometimes, taking our time is not an option, but most days we don’t have anywhere we have to be, so I’ve learned to slow down.

4. Sometimes having a meltdown is the best thing that can happen. It was one of those day; I was bone-deep tired. My daughter was cranky, uncooperative, and on a mission to destroy every room in our house and my husband called to say he was going to be late from work. By 10am, I knew I was going to lose it. I put my daughter in her high chair and for a few minutes had a quiet meltdown of my own in the bathroom. Crying, swearing, throwing tissues on the floor. You know what? It was just enough to get my frustration out.

5. Having a messy house does not make you a bad mother. For a long time, I would clean around my daughter as she played, hovering like a helicopter ready to swoop in at the first sign of a crumb. Don’t even get me started if we were having company over. Eventually, I realized there was no point. A crumb never killed anyone.

6. Life is not predictable or controllable. Today, my daughter woke up at 6:30am. The day before, it was 8:00am. Today she has to wear her pink sneakers, but yesterday she tossed them aside in a huff when I suggested she wear them. Life with a toddler, and with this particular toddler, is completely and utterly unpredictable.

7. Love fully and fiercely. My daughter loves to snuggle, to wrap her arms around me and cling to me like a monkey. Even times when it is really not convenient, like in the middle of making dinner or when I know it’s a stall tactic to avoid going to bed, it’s amazing to be loved so fully and so fiercely.

How To Get Your Toddler Into A Car In 40 Steps

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1. Approximately two hours before you need to get into the car, start prepping your toddler for the event of clothes-wearing.

2. Bring out clothes and approach your toddler slowly and carefully and make clothes sound like fun.

3. Toddler remembers that they like to play hide and seek.

4. Remember Love and Logic and give your toddler a sensible choice of coming to you to put clothes on nicely or you coming to them and putting clothes on… not nicely?

5. Remember that coming up with viable choices for proper Love and Logic training is why you suck at Love and Logic training.

6. Toddler suddenly remembers the rainbow band-aid that their brother got three weeks ago.

7. Toddler searches body frantically for possible owie.

8. Toddler finds suspect redness on their finger after squeezing their finger very hard.

9. Toddler declares that they now need a rainbow band-aid on their very injured finger.

10. You remember you inner commitment to being a “reasonable mom” with “firm boundaries” and you say, “You don’t need a band-aid right now.”

11. Toddler begins the Rainbow Band-aid Campaign. It is loud and persistent and convincing.

12. You lose the feeling in your limbs and possibly your will to live after listening to this campaign.

13. You no longer have any boundaries.

14. Five minutes later, your toddler walks proudly out of the bathroom with 15 different band-aids on various places of their body.

15. You convince yourself that this is a cute display of independence.

16. Toddler remembers that they are now a puppy and they begin to bark.

17. You remember (with excitement) that puppies are obedient! Tell your “puppy” to put on their clothes.

18. Toddler loves the puppy game and is almost completely dressed when they remember that their shirt is too heavy.

19. Your toddler begins to take off all of their clothes.

20. You decide to wrestle your toddler into their clothes and you both cry.

21. You have your bag packed and you head towards the stairs.

22. You remember that your toddler doesn’t like to be carried on the stairs since yesterday.

23. At the top of the stairs, your toddler realizes that their legs have stopped working.

24. Your toddler is now crying because you aren’t carrying them, so you begin to pick them up.

25. Toddler then remembers how much they like ice cream and their Grandma and that they would like both of these things now, please.

26. You patiently tell them that you don’t eat ice cream for breakfast and that Grandma lives very far away.

27. Your toddler tells you that you are in big trouble and that you will have to sit in time out. They are very angry.

28. You feel a little afraid, but then you realize that you only have five minutes left to get into the car and that grown-ups shouldn’t be afraid of two-year-olds.

29. You begin to pick your toddler up to carry them down the stairs, when your toddler remembers that the feeling of your arms is actually like thousands of independence-killing knives stabbing into their soul.

30. Toddler ends up walking to the car, all by themselves, indignantly.

31. Toddler wants to climb into the car, all by themselves.

32. The car is muddy so you are required to pick up your screaming, thrashing toddler and strap them into their car seat, while desperately trying to avoid their flailing limbs.

33. By the time you have made it to the driver’s seat, your toddler has stopped crying.

34. Toddler realizes that they are a Baby Mermaid. They insist that you tell them how cute they are and how shiny their tail is.

35. Your toddler would now like to know how cats work.

36. Your toddler now feels like the sun coming through the window is blinding their eyes forever.

37. Your toddler would now like you to sing, “The Wheels on The Bus.”

38. You begin to sing “The Wheels on The Bus” and your toddler tells you to stop singing. They are very angry.

39. You place your head on the steering wheel and feel your fragile mom psyche crack just a tiny bit.

40. You feel like you have climbed a thousand mountains, swum oceans, negotiated with terrorists, and have been trying to reason with someone who is tripping balls… but you have made it into a car with your toddler.

10 Things to Expect When You’ve Got a Toddler

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toddler

I will admit that nothing scared me more than the day I left the hospital with my newborn baby. I couldn’t believe these people were willing to let me walk out of there with this helpless little being. Even though I studied the What to Expect, When You’re Expecting, book religiously, I was certain I would somehow screw this parenting thing up. It was overwhelming and purely exhausting but each day it did get a little less scary and a bit more familiar.

Little did I know then that while being the parent of a newborn was scary, taking on a toddler was a level of scary that would put the “Tower of Terror” at Disney World to shame. It seems there was quite a bit about toddlerhood that all the books seemed to leave out…

1. Remember all that time you spent longing for the day when your precious little one would take his or her first steps? Well, you better have your running shoes ready because you will need to be right behind him every unsteady step of the way. You will suddenly find yourself adding many new skills to your mommy resume as you learn to track and chase a tornado like Helen Hunt did in the movie “Twister”.

2. Overnight, toddlers seem to acquire mad monkey skills and you will be shocked at the circus feats they are capable of. Not many things surprised me more than the day I came out of my bedroom and found my little one happily sitting up on top of my refrigerator in his red pajamas.

3. Have you heard the expression, “His bark is worse than his bite?” Well, if you’ve ever been bitten by a toddler, you can attest to the fact that their bite is a hell of a lot worse than their bark. Who knew that I should have put shin guards on my baby shower registry? Anytime I wasn’t giving my son 100% of my attention, he would sneak up on me and a few seconds later, I would feel the piercing sting of my flesh as he bit into it. Nothing grabs mom’s attention quite as fast as a nice sharp bite in the leg.

4. Sponge Bob’s got nothing on toddlers. They can absorb words, language and expression like never before. They are walking, talking little sponges and you can bet your bottom dollar that the words you never meant for them to hear are the very same words that they will master and use at the most inopportune times. Bad words are hilarious, fun and best delivered in public when the opportunity to embarrass mom will never cease to amuse them.

5. The word “no” becomes a staple in the toddler years; for every “yes” you hear, there will be a thousand “no’s”. Their need to be independent is fierce and it’s their way or the highway.

6. Potty training is in full swing! Again, those running shoes of yours will come in handy since you will find yourself forever sprinting in search of the nearest bathroom. You will be mourning the days where all you had to do was throw a diaper on the kid and go. You should probably buy Lysol in bulk because you will find human waste in places you never thought possible. I once smelled urine for days in my son’s room without being able to target the source. Finally, I lifted a blanket off of his toy drum set, and low and behold, that little drum was filled to the brim with pee. Lovely!

7. Whatever you do, don’t be fooled into thinking that once your child is successfully potty trained, you will no longer need a baby bag with backup outfits. You always need backup outfits. If it’s not an “Oops, Mama, I didn’t make it to the potty on time,” it’s an, “Uh Oh, Mama, I pulled the lid off my Sippy cup and now I’m covered from head to toe in wet, sticky juice!” And just when you think you’ve packed enough backup clothes for every possible scenario, he will surely throw up on you after he has already thrown up on himself.

8. My Mother always told me not to cry over spilled milk, and for the most part I don’t. I do, however cry over spilled coffee. Coffee is the life blood for most Mommies’ and almost as soon as my son started walking, he seemed to have a built in GPS which would navigate him straight to my coffee. I will never forget the day I called my husband and bawled my eyes out over spilled coffee. Fortunately, it didn’t take me long to realize that my coffee should always be kept at least three times as high as the top of my toddler’s head. (And even then I wasn’t totally confident that he wouldn’t somehow manage to spill it.)

9. As the toddler years begin to wind down, you will begin to gain a false sense of security. You may even feel as though you’re starting to stand on steady ground. Keep in mind, while the ground may be steady, the rug can still be ripped out from underneath you at any given moment. Forget, What to Expect, When You’re Expecting, and instead, expect the unexpected.

10. While it’s true that we’ve been on this earth a heck of a lot longer than they have, and we should possess the skills to be one step ahead of them at all times, it’s not always the case. These little people have super skills and they are not afraid to use them. They’re fast, smart and incredibly resourceful. They’ve also got plenty of time to refine these skills during “Time Out,” which is a place they often frequent.

So, best of luck with your precious toddler… you’ll no doubt need it.

Bedtime Stalling 101 (as taught by a two-year-old)

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Bedtime Stalling is something every toddler should master by age two. If you use my personally-tested strategies, by the end of this post, you should be able to push your bedtime a full forty-five minutes. With a little practice, you’ll be eating midnight snacks, watching horrible skits on SNL and ordering Slankets off late night infomercials in no time.

LESSON ONE: MAKE CHANGING INTO YOUR PJS AS DIFFICULT AS POSSIBLE
Run around the house at full speed. If a parent catches you, go completely limp so that you weigh 1000 lbs. If mom or dad succeeds in getting your clothes off, do not let that deter you from making a quick getaway and running around fully naked.

LESSON TWO: A SUDDEN APPRECIATION FOR DINNER
This tactic is best carried out if you have a long established behavior of “not eating”. This way, when you show a sudden interest in nourishment at exactly the same time your parents start the bedtime process, they are genuinely torn between their desire to get you into bed and their fear that you might starve to death.

LESSON THREE: YOUR TEETH CAN NEVER BE TOO CLEAN
Brush your heart out. Ask for more toothpaste. Ask to use the Dora toothbrush and then change your mind and ask for the Thomas one. Run your brush under the water for an inordinate amount of time. Decide your teeth aren’t quite clean enough and start over. You get the idea.

LESSON FOUR: HIDE YOUR BLANKIE
Establish the need for as many security items as possible. I suggest a blankie, a stuffed animal and a sippy cup. About an hour before bedtime, hide these items around the house. Precious minutes will be awarded when your parents are forced to go on their nightly security item search, knowing full well there is no way you will go to bed without them.

LESSON FIVE: BOOK NEGOTIATION
When it comes to selecting books for bedtime stories, try standing frozen in front of your bookshelf, unable to make a decision. You can also attempt to renegotiate your allotted number of books. If your parent says you can have two, ask for three. If they say three, ask for four. The important thing is to never be satisfied. Lastly, pick the longest book possible or if you are feeling extra daring, pick the book with 100 “look and see” flaps. Those things take FOREVER.

LESSON SIX: ENGAGE & AMAZE
All day, your parents have been trying in vain to talk to you, to get you to smile for the camera, to count to ten, etc. but you have ignored them. Now is your time. Put on your most devoted smile. Conjure up every word in your vocabulary and try to start an actual conversation. Sing a song. Say “I love you”. Your goal is to make it as tough as possible for your parent to walk away.

LESSON SEVEN: THE LAST CHANCE HURRAH
If your parent picks you up to place you in your crib, your stalling minutes are numbered. You can try to make a break for it— arch your back, kick your legs, protest, etc. But the way I see it, you’ve got two options— lie down and accept the inevitable or scream their name as they walk out the door.

My suggestion is not to fight it. You’ve done excellent work and there’s always room for improvement tomorrow.

Sleep tight, class!

How to Train Your Kids So That You Actually Want to Live With Them

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How to Sleep Train Your Kid:
Step one: Throw away all of the books that talk about how to sleep train YOUR kid.
Step two: Politely refuse to listen to anyone else’s advice on how they sleep-trained THEIR kid.
Step three: When it’s bedtime, help your child put on their pajamas and put them in their bed.
Step four: Say goodnight, I love you, sweet dreams, or whatever else you want and turn the lights out.
Step five: Help them get out of their bed in the morning.
Step six: During the day, when they begin to turn into a tiny little monster, put them in their bed for a nap. Could be once a day, could be four or five times. Whatever. Monster = nap.
Step seven: Repeat. 

How to Train Your Kids to Pick Up Their Toys:
Step one: Ask your child, “Will you please pick up your toys now?”
Step two: When your child ignores you, quietly get out a garbage bag.
Step three: Because of their previous experience with you and the aforementioned garbage bag, the child goes into panic mode and cleans up their toys in record time.

How to Train Your Toddler to not have Temper Tantrums:
Step one: Child is spastic on ground because you have poured milk on their cheerios after they had specifically asked you to….pour milk on their cheerios.
Step two: Stand over them and say to them “Go bigger, you can be wilder than that, C’mon you’re losing your touch! Yell louder! Flail More! Let’s go! Get that crazy out of you!”
Step three: If step two doesn’t work, get down on the floor and flail with them. Really go for it.
Step four: Assist your toddler, who should now be laughing hysterically at their lunatic mom, back up to their chair to eat their cheerios.

How to Train Your Kid to Be Polite:
Step one: Be polite to them.
Step two: Refuse to do anything for them (i.e. get them a glass of water, help them tie their shoes, buy them stuff, feed them) unless they are polite to you.
Step three: Repeat steps one and two 9,657,987 times.

How to Train Your Kid to Eat The Same Dinner as You:
Step one: Make something that you feel like having for dinner.
Step two: Put a smaller portion of this type of food on your child’s plate.
Step three: Eat.
Step four: Clean up their plate when dinner is over. You will know when dinner is over when you either see an empty plate or, if your child has the willpower of a Tibetan Monk, they will be fast asleep with their head on the table. They will most likely get hungry enough to eat what you eat someday. I wouldn’t know, I usually only give my kids mac ‘n cheese because I have a physiological disorder that requires me to see them put food into their mouths.

How To Potty Train Your Kid: 
Step one: Stop using diapers.
Step two: Show them where to go to the bathroom.
Step three: Invest in a mop.

How To Teach Your Kid to Be a Nice Person:
Step one: Be nice to them.
The End.

Disclaimer; Written from the confines of my home, where my toddler is yelling obscenities at me from her time-out chair, probably won’t be potty-trained until she is 12, and is generally acting like a little asshole, and where my six-year-old lacks the willpower to keep himself from slide tackling his sister every 5 seconds and can’t even sit at the dinner table, let alone eat any food. But a girl can dream.