I had easy babies and thought I had it made—until they hit 18 months or so. Then they developed minds of their own, and their minds often wanted really different things than what my mind wanted. Don’t you wish toddlers would think of you sometimes, maybe consider your wants and needs, even cooperate a little? Me too, desperately. Below, 17 things toddlers never say (that we wish they would).
1. Sure, I’ll sleep in. I know I was up late last night, what with the bedtime tantrum (sorry about that!), and I feel like we’d both benefit from an extra hour of sleep this morning. No problem-o.
2. Hey, look, I put on my own shoes and am waiting quietly by the door. I am not going to run and hide from you, shrieking with maniacal laughter, when we are already running ten minutes late!
3. Oh, any shirt is fine. Elmo shirt is in the wash? Totally cool. This striped one that Grandma gave me is really quite charming, and I enjoy wearing it when we’re going to see her. I will not grimace like a Gremlin in the picture.
4. I value flexibility. However you cut that sandwich is A-OK by me.
5. I’m just going to quietly wait my turn for that shovel and then gently take it from the hand of Potential Friend there. I am definitely not going to clobber him with a sand pail.
6. Mom, you’ve had a hard day, and I’m sure that any meal you make would be delicious. Pasta every night does get boring!
7. I’d be delighted to take a bath. I’d be delighted to get out of the bath. I’d be delighted to dry off and don a clean diaper. I’m fine with any diaper and don’t need you to specifically hunt around in the package for a Elmo diaper. It’s alllllllll good.
8. I don’t need to talk about my penis in public.
9. I love transitions. I never feel more alive than when I am leaving the playground.
10. I really enjoy the challenge of waiting my turn and not sticking my finger in the eye of that other kid.
11. Hair-washing? Live for it. Bring it on. I can tilt my head back and close my eyes like nobody’s business. Water in my ears? It feels like a gentle massage. Ear-candling has nothing on this.
12. While we’re at it, please cut my nails. I don’t like the sensation of filthy nails that are so long they’re curving around my fingertips and make me look like a member of some occult religion.
13. Actually, this whole grooming thing is totally growing on me. Hell, cut my hair! I love sitting in the barber shop and just love the sound of the clippers.
14. Your friend’s kid that you want me to play nicely with? He’s not a snotty-nosed bruiser at all. He’s the most delightful child I’ve ever met, the life of the party, and we’re going to pose for lots of pictures with our arms around each other. I am not going to dig my talon-like fingernails into his eyes, thus ending your 20-year friendship in 40 seconds or less.
15. One thing I don’t do enough of is sit in a high chair in a restaurant! I hope the food takes a long time to come. I am not going start what you call Stage One of Losing My Shit, with the irritable twisting around and plucking at the high chair straps. I am not going to make you nervously glance toward the kitchen and beg the waitress for bread. I am not going to make you choke back a $24 entree (because this was the only place without a line) in 14 seconds and then sprint out the door carrying my purple screaming self in a football hold. No sirree! I love restaurant high chairs. Hand me a sugar packet, and I’ll entertain myself for an hour.
16. Woo-hoo, cars energize me! I know you want to get home from errands and put me in my crib for a nap. I will not nod off for four minutes in the last mile home and then be awake but furious for the whole rest of the damn day.
17. There’s something on my hands, maybe a smear of avocado, which isn’t so crazy because I’m sitting here eating avocado. You know what—forget it. I’m not going to bother you about it. You just enjoy your meal. You deserve it.
Okay, maybe they’re not thinking these things now. But certainly they will grow out of this rather…difficult…stage soon? And then be all like, “Mom, what can I do to help?” Right? Right? Right. Now excuse me, I need to boil some pasta.
This article was originally published on