Dear Toddler, I Have Questions

by Hannah Murphy
Originally Published: 

Raising you, my dear toddler, is one of my life’s most mysterious stages. Still fairly new to the world, you are anxious to innocently experiment with all that is around you. You need to touch, feel, taste, hear and cross-examine everything that your sticky little bandit hands can obtain. No lampshade is safe. No trinket is off limits.

Overtaken with curiosity and wonderment, you have begun to babble questions until you turn blue in the face. As long as my wifi signal is strong enough to use Google, I’m more than happy to answer all 300 queries – but while we’re at it, I’ve got a few questions of my own.

1. Why are your hands always in your pants? I understand that you are still discovering your body, but haven’t you done enough self-groping to get the gist of it? I’m OK with you learning about your anatomy, but your hands smell like butt. Just so you know – you only have a couple more years of it being cute before it starts to become creepy.

2. Did carrots do something to offend you? Just last week you were all about those orange vision enhancers – so much so that you actually pooped orange for a week. But today, I offered you a carrot and you reacted like you had just witnessed the dismemberment of your favorite stuffed animal. Other moms are judging me for your unrefined palate, so I need to know – what gives?

3. Speaking of stuffed animals – why is the crusty bunny your favorite? You’ve got an entire stuffed zoo’s worth of plush pets, monkeys, minions and bears, yet the crusty bunny is the apple of your eye. I don’t get it. He smells like sour milk and cheese, and his fur is nearly in dreads because it’s so caked together from the chicken noodle soup you tried share with him. I understand that the heart wants what it wants, but that bunny is a hot mess. You can do better.

4. What’s your problem with sleep? I promise that when we put you to bed, it’s for your own good. I don’t know if you’ve met yourself when you haven’t had a good night’s rest, but you’re kind of a jerk. I can assure you that you aren’t missing out on anything while you’re snoozing – your dad and I are just watching reruns of Breaking Bad in our pajamas and eating hummus (OK, it’s actually kind of awesome).

5. Why do you refuse to wear anything but shoes? If I dare attempt to clothe you, you take off yelling like a pantsless banshee. However, if your precious baby feet aren’t properly adorned, all hell breaks loose. Just so you know – those little Harley boots Grandpa bought you make you look like one of the Village People when paired with nothing but your underpants. Just saying.

6. Where did you learn those dance moves? This is a serious question. If you picked up that shoulder shrug from me, I need to seriously reevaluate my coordination (or stop drinking vodka). It’s adorable when you shake your hips like one of those dancing Santa’s, but when a full-grown woman dances like that she ends up on YouTube.

7. What’s your beef with my throw pillows? You have pretty much made the living room your personal jungle gym. Although I’m more than happy to share the space with you, I have my limits. You get a Cozy Coupe, a trunk full of noisy games, and 700 Hot Wheels. I get throw pillows. Next time I find one of those pillows in the toilet, I’m grounding you until you’re old enough to appreciate the effort that goes into making the living room décor look effortless.

8. Why must you wear your food? I have seen you use a spoon. In fact, the hand/eye coordination you displayed while learning to use that spoon was so skillful that I told people I had birthed a prodigy. But today while you were eating your yogurt, you abandoned the spoon and opted for your hands so that you could more effectively smear the yogurt all over your face and throughout your freshly washed hair. I love yogurt too, but not so much that I feel the overwhelming urge to douse my body in a strawberry flavored dairy mask.

9. Why do you behave for everyone but me? Your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and teachers all sing your praises. For them you are perfect. For them you are a manners-minding, vegetable-eating, nap-taking angel. Only rarely do I witness that angel they speak of. I’m more accustomed to that angel’s eye-rolling, ninja-kicking, fork-throwing alter ego. And though the athleticism of your alter ego is impressive, its attitude is not appreciated.

10. Am I doing this whole parenting thing right? Look, we’re both new to this relationship. I’m still figuring out how to make sure you don’t grow up to be an a-hole, and you’re still trying to figure out why I’m always raining on your parade. I promise that when I pry away the dog food you’ve tried to ingest, it’s for your own good. I promise that there is truly nothing under the kitchen sink that would serve as any form of entertainment for you. I promise that when I put you down after a round of spinning in circles, it’s not because I don’t love you. It’s because you’re heavy and I’m out of shape.

I can’t answer all 3,000 of your questions, just like you can’t answer all 10 of mine. But I hold tight to the notion that we will eventually figure it all out together. You, my dear toddler, can be quite complicated, and although I might question your antics, just know that I also adore them.

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