The absurdity of toddlers

Toddlerhood is defined by Having Opinions. Our youngest (a.k.a. “Hurricane”) is current smack dab in the middle of Toddlerhood, and so has some Very Definite Opinions, not just on food, but on life in general.  We currently believe:

  • We Can Do It All By Ourselves
  • Animal Mechanicals is Very Silly
  • We are Afraid of the Bathtub
  • Daddy is Very Silly
  • Mommy is the best source of all snacks, and therefore her location must be known at all times
  • We Can’t Like Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • Honeynut Cheerios is the Best Cheerios
  • LET. ME. DO. IT.

If you have not had the mindmeltingness joy of a toddler in your life, imagine your new housemate is a miniature, incontinent Saddam Hussein, complete with lots of shouting, garish outfits, and absurd demands. Here you are, trying desperately to retain what little sanity you might have remaining from having reared them this far, and then they enter The Phase.

It’s as if there was a coup in Nowherezistan and you are now facing a determined terrorist opposition.

Like the United Nations, you meet feverishly with the rest of the security council. There are a lot of speeches made. The new regime is denounced. First, you try to reason with the new dictator and are stonewalled.

Put on your shoes so your feet don’t get cold.

No I caaaaan’t find my shoes.

Carrots are employed.

If you put on your shoes, we can go to Starbucks and you can have some popcorn.

No I want to stay in my jammies!

Sanctions are threatened.

If you don’t hold still and let me put on your shoes, you won’t get popcorn!


Finally, the conflicted is escalated.

*Grabs half dressed, screaming child and carries child out of the house*

*screams, cries, kicks, goes stiff as a board to avoid getting strapped into a car seat*

Eventually you win the battle, if only because you’re bigger and stronger and have figured out where on the hips to press to fold a child in half without doing any internal damage, but you are fighting never-ending war of attrition.

I have chemical warfare going on over here. In my pants. Where's your bright red line now?
I have chemical warfare going on over here. In my pants. Where’s your bright red line now?

Without doubt, though, the most frustrating Toddlerisms are food related.

Our children don’t eat so much as graze continuously.

I have been told this is better for them for a variety of reasons –smaller stomachs, faster metabolisms– but for me, it means I can never get the kitchen cleaned up and raisins are everywhere.

Open the bread cabinet, see ... rat droppings? No, just the game "Hide the Raisins"
Open the bread cabinet, see … rat droppings? No, just the game “Hide the Raisins”

And then there’s just the sheer randomness of it all:

  • Cereal, but only Honeynut Cheerios, and only if the milk and cereal are presented in separate containers and he is allowed to pour the former into the latter BY HIMSELF
  • Grilled cheese sandwiches, but only from Panera
  • Chicken nuggets, if presented in pleasing shapes, like dinosaurs
  • Peanut butter and jelly, but must be cut into halves diagonally so as to form triangles, but don’t you dare cut them into quarters or I WILL SHANK YOU

I get it, I have to feed my children, no need to call social services. Also, I have an amazing and wonderful wife, so the kids will always have box of wine three square meals.

We start’em young in the Nostrikethat household

I have been through this four times now, and in a way it does get easier, if only because the bar was set to “survival” a long time ago.

There are perks, though.

No seriously, it's exhausting.
This is moderately worth it.