There’s something that parents of young children rarely like to admit, much less discuss (especially with their childless friends)… and it’s that toddlers are fucking crazy.

As a mom of an almost-2-year-old, I’m forced to deal with an unpredictable, spatially unaware, politically incorrect little human day in and day out… Ok fine, “forced” is a strong word; after all, I DID sign up for this… but did I really?

Nobody ever fully warned me about Hurricane Toddler. Sure they mentioned that “they’re a handful” and told me to “wait ‘till the Terrible Twos” – I also recall hearing faint whisperings of a recent construct called the dreaded “threenager”, but that’s all abstract bullshit. I needed something that I could genuinely relate to – a comparison that I could easily visualize, to help me prepare me for life avec toddler.

Clearly it’s too late for me now; I don’t need to visualize anything… I’m living it! But through my experience, I’ve figured it all out. I’ve landed on the perfect comparison to help moms and dads everywhere mentally prepare themselves for what’s to come about 18-months into their parenting career….

Remember that drunk friend you had a few years back? The one that you somehow developed a soft spot for? The one who incessantly begged you to go to McDonalds with them after the party? The one you always ended up taking home with you because you thought for sure he would somehow manage to kill himself during the journey between the front door and his bed?

Well that friend is back, and now he’s two feet tall and leaving him to his own devices when he’s being the absolute most annoying version of himself is actually prohibited by law.

The kicker is that when he gets completely belligerent and starts demanding that he eats something RIGHT THIS MINUTE, the nearest fast-food joint won’t cut it.  No, instead, you’ll have to carefully prepare a fully organic, well rounded, gourmet meal for him; and guess what? If he doesn’t like what you’ve made, he’s going to nonchalantly throw that shit on the floor, right in front of your very eyes.

And God help you if you have to bring him out in public with you.  Leaving the house is the biggest production of life – it won’t matter how many times you tell him he’s putting his boots on the wrong feet, he’ll just pretend his ears don’t work.

And do you think he wants to zip up his coat or put on a hat? Fuck that! He is invincible! Cold ain’t got nothin’ on him! He knows what’s best and he’ll throw himself right down on the ground in protest if you suggest otherwise.

If and when you do make it out of the house to, say, the grocery store (kudos to you, my friend), if you don’t watch him like a hawk, his lack of balance and spatial awareness will mean the guy will be knocking over displays left, right and center.  He’ll incessantly beg you to buy him a bag of Goldfish and insist on opening the juice boxes while you’re still exploring the aisles.  Oh and don’t be surprised if he tries to steal a chocolate bar at the checkout line; this dude cannot be trusted.

He’ll laugh at the most inappropriate times (don’t bother even trying to bring him to a funeral), randomly refuse to wear pants, and the unfortunate truth is that if he goes into the bathroom, there WILL be pee on the floor for you to clean up afterwards.  Once he’s done destroying your powder room with his excrements, he’ll come out ready to chat, and you best believe that he’s going to tell you the same damn story over and over and over again until it’s finally time to try to coerce him into going to bed.

Step 1: Catch him, hold him down, and force him to brush his teeth.

Step 2: Try to get him into his pajamas as he thrashes all over the place and somehow turns his limbs into jello, making the whole process almost impossible.

Step 3: Ignore all his talk of “not being tired” – it’s a hoax. Once he gets upstairs, he likely won’t even be able to get both feet up on the bed before passing out completely.

Once he’s been sleeping for a few hours and you finally decide to break out the “good” wine and cuddle up with your man, he’ll reveal himself to be the worst third wheel of all time. Like clockwork, the minute you settle into your moment of peace and quiet, you’ll hear, “I’m thiiiiiiirstyyyyyyy! Water!! Juice!! Thiiiiiiirrrrrrstyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!”, and up you’ll have to go to make sure he’s hydrated and to remind him that it’s “night night time” and tell him not to bug you again until morning (at which time, he’ll wake up starving and demand blueberry pancakes at 6am).

And there you have it – the unspoken truth about toddlers.

So I guess we owe our drunken idiot friends from days past a big Thank You for arming us with the patience and dedication required to put up with a small child. Things do seem to happen for a reason and people tend to show up in our lives for a purpose.

The lesson here? That belligerent friend you couldn’t seem to shake in college stuck around to teach you some extremely valuable lessons that you never would have guessed you’d one day be applying to parenting.  And just like that friend, once you’re convinced that you’ve finally reached the end of your rope with your toddler, he’ll give you a giant bear hug, tell you he “wuvs you” and all will be forgiven.  Talk about life coming full circle, huh?

*Cover photo of my little dude taken by the talented Brittany Knapik

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