So, when you become pregnant, you sit down with a big stack of books and read what to expect while you're growing a human (or two). You might even read a book about newborns, one about nursing, a few about sleep training, and one about raising a happy baby. Heck, for fun, you might even read a book about potty training. The thing is, when you're pregnant, you have LOADS of time to read about what to expect. This is particularly the case when you're on bedrest (as I was, for 9 weeks). And there are LOADS of books to tell you all about what it's going to be like when you have a Newborn. So, though you might be scared and brand-new to parenting, you've at least got an idea of what to expect. And an arsenal of books to reference when the going gets tough.
Then the Newborn(s) arrives and you figure that out. Then the Newborn becomes Infant and you figure that out. These are all still stages you've read about in books. Probably sometime between Newborn and Infant you read a few more - perhaps on making baby food and playing with your baby. You got the Infant thing down pat. Life is good.
Infant becomes Toddler.
What. The. Heck?
Not one of the books you so studied says ANYTHING about the Infant becoming this foreign creature! You've got no reference of what to do! Suddenly parenting is 100 times harder again and guess what? YOU'VE GOT NO TIME TO READ ABOUT WHAT TO EXPECT!!
So, if you currently are pregnant or have a Newborn or Infant, here's a head's up: soon you will have a Toddler. And you're life will never be the same!
You won't be able to leisurely watch the Today Show and drink a cup of coffee while Toddler sits in the high chair content with just looking around. Oh no, that kid wants to GO. NOW.
The looks you get from strangers at the store aren't sighs of loving longing about how sweet your Newborn is. The looks are stares of terror as your Toddler won't stop screeching and has a mega fit because you won't let her hold the kitchen counter spray (true story).
Anything nice you have in your house will effectively be destroyed. Hide your stuff NOW. And be prepared to have to buy new furniture in about 4 years.
Nothing will melt your heart more than hearing "momma momma momma" in a sweet tone. Nothing will churn your stomach more than hearing "MOMMA! MOMMA! MOMMAAAAAA!" in a freaking-out-having-a-fit tone.
You'll break a sweat trying to change a diaper. Because first you'll have to run around the entire house trying to catch Toddler. Then you'll have to pin him down to take off diaper. And, as he stands up and begins to jump, you'll have to put a diaper on one handed while holding him in place with the other. Luckily, this skill gets easier after you do it 100 times.
Remember how successful you were at feeding your Infant all-organic, homemade, high nutrient foods? Remember that dream about doing so with your Toddler? Throw that out the window and buy some chicken nuggets and cheese sticks, because that kid ain't eating anything but that for the next 3 weeks.
Oh, and you may as well buy a dog now to eat up all the vegetables that get dropped on the floor. And the yogurt that gets flung across the kitchen. And the blueberry muffins that get crumbled and smushed into the high chair. Remember. Only. Chicken. Nuggets.
And then teething continues. This time with a vengeance. Molars and Eye Teeth appear and turn your Infant into a crazed maniac Toddler who cries 23 hours a day, no matter how much Ibuprofen you give her. (Serious: I follow all dosing instructions to the letter. Don't worry. Neither of my Toddlers are constantly drugged).
Everything - EVERYTHING - will take twice as long as it used to because you cannot force Toddler to do anything that is not on his own time frame. So, you need to be somewhere at 9:30, you better start getting ready for it at 8:30 (please read the diaper changing tip above). In the event that you do need to rush somewhere, you better bring ear plugs. Cuz Toddler's gonna cry about it.
You darn well better love Elmo. Enough said.
The word "Mine" creeps into Toddler's vocabulary and suddenly nothing in your own house belongs to you anymore. Your shoes? Toddler's. Your toothbrush? Toddler's. Your coffee mug? Toddler's, or so she thinks. No one gets Momma's coffee.
Buy Oxyclean by the truckful. Unless you have a very docile Toddler who keeps her bib on while eating. I don't. So we have a lot of really dirty shirts.
Don't get me wrong. There's lots that is great about Toddler. Toddler can do some things for herself. She can be loving and sweet and cuddly. She can be friendly and play independently. He can explore new things and listen to directions. He can play games with you and go for long walks to look for bugs on the sidewalk. He can get excited when an airplane flies over and wave with excitement to a bus driver. These are all GREAT things about Toddler.
But, just thought someone should warn ya about the Truth About Toddlers. No one warned me, and what a surprise it was!