The most intense moment of my life happened one day in a grocery store while my three-year-old son held a pink princess sippy cup. I had just picked him up from daycare and it had been a long day for both of us.
He’d snatched the cup from a nearby shelf as we walked by.
“For me?” he said.
Those big brown eyes looked up at me and dammit if I didn’t just cave like his dad would.
“Okay,” I said, “just this once.”
Of course, after a couple of aisles, my darling little demon decided that it would be fun to whack my fingers with the prized princess cup. Over and over again.
And then he’d look at me like:
I tried, “Please stop.”
I tried, “That hurts, I need you to put that down.”
And, “Honey, we don’t hit each other with princess sippy cups.”
And then, finally, I summoned all of my courage and threw down, “If you hit me one more time with the cup, I’m not going to buy it for you.”
On the inside, I felt like this:
If you could feel actual fear as you read this, you’ve probably forced an ultimatum on a toddler before.
We locked eyes. Time slowed down. Each of us daring the other to make the next move.
He then raised the cup, maintained eye contact, and slammed that cup down onto my hand, and possibly whispered, let’s see what you’re made of, lady.
Everyone with a toddler knows that this is the defining moment of your life.
Because now you know you have to follow through. If you don’t follow through, that child will for sure be living in your basement in about twenty years.
You know this, but still, you’re all alone and very scared.
Calmly, I took the cup and put it back on the shelf.
I then watched him explode like a toddler-sized grenade.
The intensity of his feelings for that pink princess sippy cup were otherworldly. Flailing, screaming, hysteria. If you’re curious about the depths of human rage, just take a coveted item from a toddler.
I abandoned ship, left my groceries in aisle ten and carried my child’s wiggling, snot-spraying body out of the grocery store and the rest I imagine is on the security cameras at Safeway.
I buckled him into his seat, got in, turned the car on, and started backing up.
I looked back at him, ready to say all the things I couldn’t say in public and…the little shit had fallen asleep.
Like, passed out, drooling, head lolling sleep.
I was left all alone feeling like this:
Why am I telling you this? I don’t know. I guess so that you know you aren’t alone. Toddlers are like a giant middle finger walking around drawing on priceless heirlooms with permanent markers.
They can wreck a simple shopping trip because their feelings are as big as exploding stars.
They literally just DGAF.
They would like you to try and stop them.
Hang in there, toddler parents. We’ll all get to the other side someday. The side where our lives are just a tad more predictable because we aren’t living our lives with a ticking human time bomb.
Until then, be careful. Be safe. And give each other looks of solidarity when someone else’s toddler is ruining their life.
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