12 Signs you’ve reached Terrible Toddlerhood

We’ve all been warned: The Terrible Two’s! What they didn’t tell you is that the “terrible” part starts as soon as that little one learns to walk and talk, and doesn’t really end until they’re at least 4…If you ask me the worst is right when they hit about 3 years, they can run faster than you, talk in sentences and therefore tell you exactly why they aren’t going to do what you asked, and they are starting to learn they have their own say in what happens.

Here are 12 tel-tale signs you’ve entered into the Terrible stage of Toddlerhood:

1.  You argue over food. Try convincing a toddler that a graham cracker that has been broken in ½ is the same thing as one that is full-sized. I dare you. Hint: you won’t win.
2.  Everything is a playground. Nothing is off-limits anymore. Not the counter tops, and especially not all those doors you put the baby locks on.  Somehow in the last few months they’ve figured out how to master scaling every chair, how to make those baby locks obsolete, and now they can reach every door handle in the house too.  Start locking the bathroom door…
3.  Costco is your #1 shopping place. Since you are now in need of mass quantities of mac n cheese and fruit snacks.
4.  You’ve forgotten what it feels like to not have a small child attached to your limbs at all times or your toes stepped on constantly. Or hearing the words “up, up, up” on repeat 24/7.
5.  You live inside the Shadow Game. Everything you do or say is repeated over and over and over.
6.  Every time you turn around your kid will have another bruise, and most the time you have no idea where it came from. Running into the table, sure. Falling off their chair, of course!  Refer to #2…
7.  They want to help. With everything. Ev.er.y.thing. Don’t even try to feed the dog without letting them help fill up the bowl or be prepared for an instant tantrum.  Get used to everything taking twice as long…but don’t worry, all those newly learned skills will translate later in their lives, right?
8.  If you have any pens, pencils, crayons, markers in your house, lock them up or forever hold your peace. Your toddler will find anything that makes a mark and apply it to every surface of your home. Maybe just accept that you will be re-painting every wall in your house in the next few years.
9.  They never stop moving. Even in their sleep. If you have a camera monitor you’ll see them literally roll all over their bed, spinning full 360’s over and over all night long.
10.  Say goodbye to adult conversation until after bedtime. Unless you like being constantly interrupted and trying to pick up where you left off for the zillionth time.
11.  You will have to interpret every word they say. Especially in public. If you don’t then every other word out of their mouth will sound like “fuck” or “shit”. Think about it, they don’t have enough enunciation for the T in trUCK, and everything ending with –it will sound like a cuss word.
12.  Most the time you’re not sure if you want to laugh or cry.  When your little munchkin has been so oddly silent for the last 20 minutes and you discover the reason has to do with a permanent marker and, well, anything in your house, for instance.  Laugh at the rediculousness of the circumstances? Or bawl like a baby?

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Choose your battles…aka why I let my little one run around with a screwdriver

Don’t run with scissors

The age-old saying.  Obviously some logic to it.  Sharp edges + potential for tripping = imminent injury.  Well, in the last 20+ months one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned for motherhood is choosing my battles with my little spitfire.

J’s always been a hands-on boy.  All boy.  He wants to get into everything…e.v.e.r.y.thing. And he wants to do it all on his own.  Don’t dare try to open his string cheese for him, or you will then have a tantrum on your hands.  It doesn’t matter if he’s actually capable of doing the task itself, it’s the principal.  He will do it. Period.

I don’t remember exactly when J developed his attachment to screwdrivers.  He loves all tools really, and loves to “help” his Dada with projects around the house.  But at some point he almost constantly asked for a screwdriver – or an “ee ewww” as we now call it.  Doesn’t matter how big, which one, or what kind.  But more often than not, he will ask for one.  And if you want to avoid a huge fit, you may as well just give in and give him one.  So yes, I let my 20 month old mini-tasmanian devil walk, run, jog around the house with an ee-ewww.  It has a pointy end and could certainly do him harm in he were to fall into it or onto it…I try not to think about that part and instead focus on the fact that he knows what that ee-ewww is for and he is content with trying to find every screw around the whole house to fit his ee-ewww into.  Real world skill, ya know.

#2 best thing I’ve learned about almost-toddlers is that giving realistic choices can help save not only time but your sanity as it decreases those oh-so-fun tantrums by a noticeable amount.  “Do you want to open your cheese, or do you want help?”  gives J the option of trying it himself as he so loves to do, or asking for help to get it started – thus avoiding the tantrum (usually).  Plus it gives these power-loving little ones the sense that they actually have the power.  It was their choice after all that they wanted yogurt for breakfast instead of oatmeal…they don’t realize then that they didn’t have the choice of a chocolate donut…which they would fight tooth and nail for it you didn’t give them two very specific items to choose from.

Then there are times when you give choices first and there’s still a tantrum.  A very particular little boy (or girl) will get what he wants come hell or high water, so sometimes it’s just not worth the 20 minute fight when you’ll end up giving in before the day is through.  Yes, there are the things that you will stick to – no running in the street, for example.  But with a toddler I try to remember that while I want to keep him safe and teach him what is right/wrong, I also don’t want to always be saying “NO”.  I want him to have as many experiences as he can.  And if he wants to go around the house playing Mr. Fix-it, than I’m certainly not going to stop him.  He is a sponge and he’s trying to absorb the world around him.  He’s always been hands-on, and I will nurture that learning style to the best of my ability.