Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Explaining Toddler Parenting

If you come here often, it's probably pretty clear that I love motherhood. It's been the making of me, and I wouldn't change it for anything you could offer me. But that isn't to say that it isn't really, really hard. I won't say it's the hardest job in the world, because, like, coal-mining looks pretty tough, and I can't imagine that being President is a picnic, but it's certainly harder than any job I've ever had. The hours are terrible, the daily company excessively demanding, and there is of course zero pay or social cache. Can you see where I'm going with this? I'm about to complain, friends.

If I had to describe the challenges of parenting a toddler to a non-parent in one task, it would be this; imagine brushing someone else's teeth against their will. No, really, take yourself through that. How would you go about it? Maybe you have to pin them down on the bathroom floor. Maybe they won't open their mouth, and you have to lever it open with your finger, which they bite. Maybe there's thrashing and running away. Best case scenario, they wail and you can actually get in there. Now imagine doing that twice a day, every day, for the rest of your life. (Ok, not that long, but it feels like it).

In other areas of our lives, we may or may not have a good idea of what needs to happen at any given time. Should we buy that house? Should change careers? Should I grow out my bangs? I don't know; there's probably no right answer. However, as a mother I know exactly what needs to happen, and yet SHE WON'T COOPERATE. She needs to eat something, she needs to let me change her, she needs to brush her goddamn teeth and, eventually, FINALLY, go to sleep.

Changing looks easy too, right? Newborn babies coo angelically while you take all the time you need to clean up their comparatively sweet-smelling milk poo. Toddlers, on the other hand, jam their hands down south to point out 'the'gina', and squirm away while you try to wipe off the bigger globs of corn-y, smelly, real poo.

People always say, 'oh, isn't it easier now that they can communicate what they want?' I suppose it would be, if it were rational. Yesterday morning, she lost her mind because she asked for some water, and I gave her some. She has the wrong spoon. I won't let her put a doll in her soup. And so on.

While I'm at it, humans do need to sleep, right? Even the small ones? This isn't just a myth that's circulated post-adolescence? If they do actually need to sleep, and it's my understanding that they do, why can't they just shut their eyes and GO TO SLEEP? I promise, Girl Scout's honor, that I will not allow any wild animals into the room, or drop you from a height, or move to Belgium while you sleep. It's safe. It's cozy. It's charmingly decorated. Sleep. In. Your. Room.

Then of course she does something miraculous and life-changing (like sleep for 12 hours), and everything is wonderful again. And I'm grateful for all of it, I really am, but my god, toddlers are not reasonable creatures. They are not.
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