Vegas isn’t the only place where jokers are wild — when your little bundle of energy isn’t bouncing off the walls, they might calm down long enough to treat you to some toddler jokes. As that sense of humor develops, get ready for your tot to play silly tricks on you (like hiding behind a curtain that only hangs low enough to cover their face) and tell plenty of knock-knock jokes that don’t make sense.
They’ll love your goofy antics as much as you love hearing them laugh — enjoy the relatively easy audience while you can. All too soon the child who dissolves into fits of giggles over you calling a dog a cat will instead delight in correcting your “mistake” as if you’re some kind of imbecile who doesn’t know anything about animals.
• When they aren’t doing things themselves, they’re “helping” you. There are quotes around “helping” because help from toddlers is rarely very helpful, but make sure to praise their efforts anyway. Just redirect them to age-appropriate chores when their “help” becomes too much of a hindrance; instead of loading the dishwasher for you, for example, maybe they can wipe down the fronts of the nearby cabinets instead. You probably spilled coffee on them this morning anyway.
• Your toddler might start sorting and organizing things, separating toy trucks from cars or dolls from stuffed animals. Since they’re so into helping right now, take advantage of this new interest and get them to tidy up the junk drawers (check for sharp stuff first!) or clean up your sock drawer. Your toddler will probably catch on to your little plan and refuse to comply, but it’s worth a shot!
• By now your toddler is totally toilet trained… or wearing pull-ups at night… or is still perfectly happy in diapers 24/7. It’s all normal. If you’re in the (sometimes lengthy) process of potty training, you’ve no doubt heard lots of comments and advice from well-meaning friends, relatives and even strangers, probably because there are 976 different methods and none of them work for every child. Take a deep breath, remember that no one keeps pooping their pants forever (well, for the most part) and keep at it. Someday you’ll change your very last diaper, I promise!
Scary Mommy tip: As if full-blown temper tantrums weren’t fun enough, you might find you also have a whiner on your hands. Like tantrums, whining will have certain triggers you’ll grow to recognize like hunger, over-stimulation, boredom or just being a 2-year-old. To save your sanity (and your eardrums) avoid typical frustrations as much as you can, and since you’re going to get tired of repeating, “I can’t understand you when you whine,” practice positive reinforcement by really listening when your toddler uses her (non-whiny) words. Most toddlers also don’t transition between activities very gracefully, so give plenty of warning before it’s time to leave the playground and talk about what (fun) thing is next on your to-do list.