Recently, my Facebook status updates have been filled with vodka (or any alcohol) ad ideas. Picture this: photo of screaming toddler with any of the following taglines:
“We got you into this, we’ll get you through it.”
“You need us more than we need you.”
“Yes, we come in economy size too.”
“16 more years until she’s off to college. Better stock up.”
And let’s not get started on tags with the same photo for birth control…
If you haven’t guessed, I’ve got a two-year old. My adorable, perfect, smart, genius baby seemingly overnight hit full-on-toddler stage. She’s cute and happy one minute, and then suddenly I’ve got the exorcist child on my floor, screaming and crying about some injustice that has just befallen her. Generally the answer “no” to her request to watch Little Einsteins, eat a cookie, or skip brushing her teeth.
*Sigh.* I miss the days when it was enough just to keep her alive. Actual parenting is hard work.
While it would be so much easier just to cave into my child’s demands, I know that if I did, I’d have a spoiled-rotten, couch-potato kid who ate nothing but chips and cookies. I don’t exactly see that as giving your kid the best foundation for a healthy life-emotionally, physically or mentally.
So I hang tough and say “no” to the demands, and deal with the tears and cries even though it would be easier to cave in. And it’s ok that she freaks out, because I know this is normal behavior and beyond being there to try to soothe, there is nothing I can do except wait it out. I’ve been known to pour myself a martini and watch the half hour show taking place on the kitchen floor waiting for those little emotions to run their course.
Maybe one of the benefits of being an “older” parent (according to my doctor, age 37 is ANCIENT in reproductive terms) is that I have a more laidback attitude about my kid. I know that she’s going to make a mess, spill her milk, and accidentally break things around the house. So I keep the good crystal and china out of the way, and our furniture has been scotch-guarded.
Nothing drives me insane like a parent who flips out when his/her toddler acts like a toddler. I recently witnessed this the other day at the Kids’ Museum. A mom caught her son who must have been about 18 months drinking the play water. She overreacts by immediately pulling her child away and angrily yelling at the dad about what he was doing—as if somehow the 18-month-old tot was willfully defying her. Needless to say, the poor little guy was scared and crying, not understanding what was going on. C’mon, I’m not an expert but even I know that an 18-month-old doesn’t have the capacity to defy anyone. And really, kids eat all sorts of gross and germy things—trust me, that water will be the LEAST of your concerns when he hits a public pool.
I have to say that day I realized that I’d rather spend my day with a bunch of two-year-old than some of their parents who act like two-year-olds themselves. At least the little tots are cute.
But then, I’ve been ominously warned by friends that age three is far worse than age two. And let’s not talk about years 12 to 22. And some of the parents I’ll encounter in schools and activities aren’t ever going to mature.
Mommy’s going to need more vodka.