To parents of toddlers everywhere, we want to wrap you in our arms and whisper, “It’s not your fault.” It’s okay to start weeping while we explain that you can be a wonderful parent and still find your toddler completely and utterly annoying. It’s normal, and no, it doesn’t last forever.
Eventually they will be able to have a normal conversation with you without falling into a heap on the floor in a meltdown because you declared you liked the red fruit snack more than the orange one.
Also know that your genes may shape your children far more than your actual parenting. That means there may literally be nothing for you to do but love your child and make sure they don’t end up killing themselves. Let’s cling to that when we see our toddlers consuming leftover food forgotten in a corner of the floor, or when they inform us we are mean for not letting them jump off their bed and into a cardboard box full of packaging.
Just know you can’t force your toddler to stop being annoying and driving you crazy. Instead, try to ignore it and stock your house with more wine while commiserating with toddler moms around you.
Here are 10 things about toddlers and their habits that you never knew could drive you crazy.
1. A Single Snack Can Destroy Your Entire Home
You may not have realized this before, but a single fruit snack or granola bar can actually destroy your entire home and render your basic sense of organization and cleaning senseless. Suddenly sticky bits of snack can be found in every crevice, from kitchen chairs to grooves in your hardwood floors. Crumbs are stuck in high and low places, including inside the bathtub, and nothing you seem to do actually cleans it.
In other words, your home will look like borderline hoarders live there and can’t fathom parting with snack wrappers and bits of food. Suddenly that princess fruit snack is the most important thing in your toddler’s life, and she won’t put it down or throw it out for any bribe in the world.
At some point, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. If they’re not endangering themselves or others, it may just work best to let them clutch that sticky snack until bedtime and then pry it out of their hands when they’re passed out after hours of arguing about why they have to go to bed in the first place.
Either that, or you can embrace French culture and not let your kids snack at all. Maybe they know something we don’t.
2. They’re Always There
Toddlers can be sweet and fun, with imagination and giggles to spare. But toddlers are also always there. And we mean always. When you close the bathroom door for a moment of quiet to relieve yourself, toddlers have somehow slipped in and are ready and waiting to help you wipe and clean your hands – despite the fact that they won’t do this for themselves.
These tiny humans are also there when you’re ready to sit down quietly while they’re enraptured in a game. Suddenly their game is stupid and they want you to play with them or chase them around the house while balancing a book on your head. They’re also there when you want to go to sleep. They’ve somehow snuck into your room and are waiting under the covers, ready to pounce.
3. Your Life is Ruled by a Tiny Dictator
Your will means nothing when living under the tiny iron fists of toddler dictators. Whatever they say goes, and if it doesn’t go, be prepared for an epic battle of wills. We all know the point of parenthood is to make our kids independent and ready for the world, but unfortunately, our idea of what that means clashes with our toddlers.’
Every moment must be micromanaged by your toddler. For example, you must first ask permission to open a yogurt tube and squirt it on top of no more and no less than eight pieces of cereal. Then and only then will your toddler eat it. If you don’t follow the rules, then you must throw out said yogurt and cereal and start again.
The same goes if you dare say that it’s a sunny day. Your toddler will yell at you for uttering such an injustice, tell you it’s awful, and they wish it were raining. After all, the weather is somehow your fault. The list is endless, and soon every sentence uttered is an invitation to battle it out.
4. Epic Tantrums are the New Normal
Communication goes out the window when you’re living with a small dictator wearing a robot jumper or princess tutu. Instead, a request to put their toy in their room before dinner results in a full body epic tantrum where screams can be heard next door.
Toddlers seem to feel that communication is best served up in the kind of escalating meltdown that lasts a bare minimum of six minutes. Anything less would not get their point across.
5. Playtime Involves Scripts
It’s no longer okay to watch your sweet little baby play quietly and occasionally come over to engage with smiles plastered across their little faces. Instead, imaginative play involves complete scripts. “No, you’re supposed to say ‘Pony is here to play’ when I pick up the pink pony! Not the blue one!”
Every move you make is carefully scrutinized, and it’s definitely your own problem if you don’t understand the rules. Rules are not fixed guidelines, but rather the whims of toddlers that everyone should know. Dare to break the rules of the game, and face the consequences of meltdowns and accusations that “you’re not doing it right.”
6. They Never Listen (Ever)
We all know kids don’t really listen unless they want to, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you’re the parent of a toddler. You can tell a toddler they may have one more cracker before heading out, and as soon as the sentence has left your mouth, they will ask if they can have another cracker.
Toddlers also suddenly can’t hear you when you’re shouting at them not to climb up the grandfather clock. Same goes for when they’re racing around the house with a broom stick underneath their legs and playing witches while destroying everything in their wake.
However, be forewarned that you must hear your own toddler at all times. Whether they’re whispering from bed, talking above noisy music in a restaurant, or simply thought they told you something, you must listen. The punishment for not hearing a toddler is epic screaming and grievances that you never listen or do anything for them.
7. Whining is the New Talking
Babies are cute when they’re babbling and stringing two-word sentences together. Meanwhile, toddlers have entered into a stage where whining is all the rage. And there seems to be bonus points involved if your toddler can sing-whine throughout the entire day.
Experts tell us the best thing to do is ignore the whining, and gently let our toddlers know we can’t understand them when they whine. In reality, the whining seems to only grow in both high-pitched scale and frequency until parents are left deaf and rendered useless to any other challenge in their day. So if you’re lying on the couch with a cold compress on your forehead, you’re not alone. You’ve just gotten served.
8. Food is Suddenly the Enemy
Toddlers are also wildly inconsistent about their dietary demands. One day they may adore grilled cheese sandwiches, whereas the next day they are horrified that you would serve such a monstrosity.
And you’re not alone if you’re convinced your toddler cannot possibly subsist on three raw baby carrots, five crackers, and one cheese wheel on any given day. Eventually they will in fact eat, and complain loudly about whatever it is they’re eating.
9. They Have Horrific Timing
It’s not that toddlers don’t have any sense of time, they just have really horrific timing. They will definitely need to poop or decide to just go in their pants the moment you’re about to leave the house for the airport with a stressful day ahead. They’ll also decide to announce you retrieved a pair of dirty underwear out of the hamper for yourself at the moment of your niece’s christening.
A toddler’s sense of timing is whatever suits their needs. There’s no avoiding it, so just be prepared with changes of clothes, snacks, and coping mechanisms to deflect humiliation. It’s the only way to survive.
10. They’re Incredibly Gross
Your child is dirty and gross. There’s just no way around that. Toddlers love to be sticky, muddy, and simultaneously picking their nose. They have little regard for bath time or soap and water. That is, unless it’s their idea and plenty of bribes are involved. Keep telling yourself their filthiness is good for immunity building and will stave off that next cold.
Being gross is a rite of passage for kids, and your household will survive. And if it doesn’t, you can always file to have your home bulldozed and start fresh. Just remember to wait until they’re grown and out of the house, because you still have the teenage years to get through, which we hear can be pretty similar to having a toddler.
What about you? What other kinds of things completely drive you crazy about your toddler? Let us know by leaving a comment below: