Every time I get to a new stage with my kids, I feel like there are 1,067 things I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. I mean, how did I get to be this old, have read this many books, have done this much schooling, taught this many children, and I somehow failed to get all these tips/tricks/information I absolutely NEED to know? Because that’s really the astonishing thing here.
So, my oldest is all of 3 right now, and then I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old. We’re swimming in toddlers over here. And here are the top 10 things it would have been so much easier if you had told me.
10. Motherhood was, is, and always will be a competition. This one from previous Top 10 lists just continues on past pregnancy, early infanthood, toddlerhood… it never ends. Yours took longer to potty-train, eats from only one food group, sleeps less every night, taught herself to read, colors in the lines better than mine. This is the real Olympics for women – motherhood.
9. Buy costumes, dress-ups and princess dresses. Out the wazoo. Everyday is a new opportunity to reinvent yourself if you’re a toddler.
8. When you’re a toddler, throw around big words you don’t really understand, like a new college grad. I just heard something like this today: “Mommy, I usually shutted the door indeed because Daddy wasn’t here.” Just throw those around like confetti – they’re hilarious. Really – gut-busting hysterical!
7. Completely irrational fit-throwing becomes an art form. I know that I know that my kids are betting with and daring each other to throw the craziest, most outrageous, most absurd fit over the color of a sippy cup. They speak in code, with hand signals. I know they do, I just can’t prove it yet.
6. When your child is melting down in line at the store, a sign magically appears on you that says, “Give me advice about this situation.” “Please stare at me and give me advice.” You’re sweating so much, even the ice cream in your cart is melting faster, and another helpful woman thinks what you need is a new trick. So whoever you are in this scenario, BITE YOUR TONGUE.
5. PRESCHOOL IS LOOMING. Just when you think you can start to relax a little bit, your kid is talking, eating mostly on their own with utensils, putting on their own Crocs, starting down the potty-training road (I’m going to get to that one – hang on), someone drops this A-bomb on you at a playdate, “So, is Claris starting preschool this fall? Did you already sign her up?” Sweating. Blood pressure goes up. Preschool? Seriously? Is it already time for that? Hyperventilating.
4. Preschoolers are fickle; completely unpredictable. Today I might like taking a bath, tomorrow I will not. Today I might like Dora, tomorrow I will not. Today I might like broccoli, tomorrow I will not. But I will alwaysalwaysalways love macaroni and cheese. Every. single. day.
3. You still have that baby weight. Just get over it. You can run when they graduate.
2. Around about this time, they decide they need less sleep. And there goes nap time. But you know what, not all the time. Not everyday. Just sometimes. Refer back to #4.
1. Potty training. I have done a lot of things in my lifetime. Not necessarily Nobel Prize worthy, but I’ve taught school, I’ve translated books and had them published, I’ve worked in college admissions, I’ve waited tables, and nothing – NOTHING – compares to potty training. And you “we-did-it-in-3-days” people, just stop talking. Because nothing even comes close to training a child to do their business in a toilet. So even if someday I do invent a cure for malaria, potty training will still go at the VERY TOP of my resumé. Forever.