Thursday, April 18, 2013

Domestic Enemies of the Mom with Toddlers

This post comes to use from our friend Julie. Here's what you need to know about her:
Julie is the wrangler of a little girl who wears glasses and a fuzzy pink eye patch and a little boy who does neither. She also writes nonsense at In her real life, she makes words sound good. In her superhero life, she saves kittens from burning buildings. Her parents think she is weird. They are right. Julie enjoys a dry sense of humor and a buttery chardonnay, preferably mixed together. She sucks at Twitter, is OK at Facebook and rocks The Pinterest.
And now we present, the Domestic Enemies of the Moms with Toddlers:

Woeful Ones, Terrible Twos, Trying Threes, you name it. Toddlerdom is hard. 
And the littlest thing can set your toddler's delicate psyche off. Like their milk being too cold. Or too hot. Or too cold and then too hot. Or too hot and then too cold. Or not of the chocolate variety. Or that the milk is in the pink cup and not the purple one. Or that they wanted to pour the milk from the 5-pound jug into the tiny cup themselves. Or that it is milk and not water. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
There are myriad domestic enemies of the parent of the toddler. These are just a few. 
Basic Human Hygiene
Toothbrush, shampoo, Q-tips, these methods of toddler torture are Domestic Enemy #1. Trying to keep a toddler from smelling ripe and looking like they just crawled out of a gutter is hard work. They fight you at every turn with the ferocity of a honey badger. Brush their hair? NEVER! They would rather you waterboard them while making them watch footage of Caillou kicking a kitten. And don't even thing about cutting their nails. That is the lowest form of torture and completely unnecessary. Who doesn't want to have claws like Wolverine? Duh.
Wardrobe Malfunctions
Getting a toddler dressed is like trying to stuff a water snake through a key-hole. Pointless, infuriating, and in the end, impossible. And that is just the actual physical side of getting a toddler dressed. The fashion side is an even deeper issue. God forbid you try to put your toddler in a Hello Kitty t-shirt when they want to wear their Batman pajamas. Such a blatant misdoing will most certainly result in a tantrum the likes of which this planet can surely not survive. In the long run, it really doesn't matter what you picked out for them to wear. It could be a vest fashioned from live puppy dogs that bark your child's name and it will still be wrong. Man, I want to wear that…

Even if your baby was an adventurous eater who would shove everything from caviar to canned dog food down their gullet, chances are, once they hit toddlerdom, a new sheriff will take over Dinner Town. Dinner time at our house generally makes me want to stab myself in the thigh with a rusty fork. One day, my daughter loves fish sticks. The next, she acts like I filleted our cat and served it up to her on a plate made of bat wings when I offer her fish sticks. What gives? Is it just me or are toddlers bi-polar when it comes to eating? The most infuriating? If your toddler wolfs down everything from quinoa to roasted beets at school and won't so much as touch a single grain of rice at home. Every night at our house is kind of like a terrifying game of culinary roulette. Will I win, or will the grapes I offered up as homage to the toddler god result in me losing a finger?
Public Places
Toddlers have a sixth sense when it comes to when their tantrums can be the most epic. At home, you can just leave them to whine and wail in the living room while you go freshen up your chardonnay in the kitchen. But when you are at the Drs office, or the grocery store, or Grandma's, you have to heed to their demands. One more cookie? Sure thing. Coming right up. Just please don't freak out while we are at the DMV. Now honey, please don't stand on that chair. You know we don't do that. Honey, that is not nice. Please don't poke that man in the face with your toy truck. Oh, screw it. Just do whatever you want so I can get these damned plates renewed.
The Sandman
So you finally got your baby into a pattern where they sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time in their own bed? Awesome, right? Wrong. Chances are, toddlerdom will change that. Toddlers are wiley. They are master manipulators. Your baby couldn't make requests for a glass of water, one more story, more cuddles or a potty break. But your toddler can. And they will. Over and over again. And now that they are in a big kid bed and not a cage, I mean crib, they have free access to Mommy and Daddy all night long. Because they needed to tell you that they went pee pee in the potty at 11:38 and 2:00 and 3:15 and 5:07 and… Wait, why did we let them out of the crib again? 
Potty Time
Potty training sucks. BIG TIME. I have found it is a lot like prison. Why? Because no matter how hard you try to get out of it, you are going to have to do your time. Your can't beg, plead or cry your way out of your sentence. You are about to be locked in a cell the size of, well, your bathroom for the next month…or more. You are stuck for the majority of your day with a cellmate that can be super annoying. And, even after your release for good behavior, chances are, you will be sent back to prison for violating parole. A new baby, daycare, illness, brand of milk, etc., can all send your cellmate into a tizzy that will result in you getting sent back to the slammer diaper duty.

Do you want to know what the last words I might hear before I have my final rage stroke are? "No! I can do it by myself!" Toddlers are an independent lot. And after a year of raising a baby who has nothing but needs, that can be kind of awesome. However, toddlers want to do EVERYTHING by themselves. Put on their coats, tie their shoes, pour their cereal, do their taxes, cure world hunger. Which is great, except A: they are still unable to do most of these things by themselves in less than six hours B: them doing these things by themselves usually ends in a huge mess and C: just let me tie your damn shoes so we can go already! What? Oh, sorry. I think I blacked out there for a minute.
The Spanish Inquisition
Toddlers are curious. Very curious. They often ask deep, insightful questions, such as, "Why is black?" that tend to boggle the parental mind. And there is always, "Why". The Why phase is a Domestic Enemy all of its own. It is one of the most exhausting phases of toddlerdom. Why are you taking a shower? Why do I have to brush my teeth? Why is the sun hot? Why are you scratching your leg? Why did you get a mosquito bite? Why does it itch. Why? Why? Why? The questions are non-stop from sun-up to sun-down in our house. And all lines of questioning end the same way: with 362 repetitions of, "Why?" The word "Why" has caused me to have a permeant eye twitch that even wine can't remedy. I feel like Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction. Say "why" again. Say "why" again. I dare you. I double-dare you, motherf*cker. Say "why" one more goddamn time.
Getting a Stiffy/Going Limp
This might be one of the most defeating of the Domestic Enemies of the Parent of a Toddler, especially when it happens in public. Trying to buckle your child into their carseat? They get as rigid as a schoolmarm on sex education day. Trying to get your toddler dressed because you are already 10 minutes late for work? Your kid turns into a bowl of JELL-O. Where is the bottle of Toddler Viagra/Toddler Muscle Relaxer when all you need to do is get your kid's pants on and buckle them in the carseat so you can haul ass to the office for the TPS Report meeting? And why do they always go limp and refuse to walk when you are in public? Then, once you finally pick the toddler puddle up off the floor of The Target to load them into the stroller, they pop a stiffy. I need a drink.

For more from Julie, check out I Like Beer and Babies.

(c)Herding Turtles 2009 - 2013


  1. Ahhhhh! Hahahahaha!!! SO absolutely true! But wait! This is only getting you ready for TEENAGERS! You may not need to potty train teens, but you will do a lot of other smelly things....

  2. Every word of this was like a snapshot of my life OMG. But it made me laugh anyway. Thank you!

  3. ..bahaha! Good grief that was all a little too eerily true - but you made it hilarious! Which is all we really can do, right? Laugh at it. I fear the only other option is rocking in a dark corner while my right eye twitches.
    Thanks for keeping the fun rolling here mamas!

    (*Grammar queen side of me wants you to know you introduced her saying "use" when you wanted to say "us".... you're welcome, mom brain. lol!)
    needle and nest design

  4. You just described my 3 year old daughter to a tee! LOL!! She's a monster, I think Dinner time is one of my least favorite times of the day!

  5. So appropriate for this tiny terrorist (who treats being 2 and a half like it's her job) went completely boneless this while screaming NOOOOOOOOOOO PANNNNNNNNNTS! NO PANTS! NO PANTS!

    1. I'm 39 and often scream that very same thing. Your daughter is just advanced

  6. Thermonuclear Threes. 'Nuff said.

  7. I have never laughed so hard in my life. Coffee just shot out of my nose. I keep telling my dear husband that our three year old isn't really bi-polar, that it's just a phase, that every 3 year old is like that. He doesn't believe me. As I read this aloud he didn't laugh with me. He looked horrified. Perhaps he's scared that these little jerks are going to stay this way and take over the world with their miniature tyranny? Personally, I'm glad to know I'm not alone in the toddlerhood wars.

  8. You. Are. Hilarious!!!!! I love you!!!

  9. The "Why phase" doesn't end after they're no longer toddlers either. I must have fielded 36 questions from my 7 year old before we even made it out of the neighborhood on the way to school this morning! I've gotten to the point where it takes real conscious effort to control the exasperated, annoyed tone in my voice when responding to my kids' saying "Mommy?" because I know what's next: Some bullsh*t question that they can figure out for themselves if they thought about it for .5 milliseconds, but noooooooo... Let's bug the crap out of Mom instead! ARGH!

    1. Right there with you. I have a 3 year old and an 8 year old. And it doesn't matter if another adult is sitting RIGHT NEXT TO YOU, its still Mommy, why? Mommy, what if? Mommy, wouldn't it be neat? I love that my kids are inquisitive, I just wish I could love it smaller doses and not in stereo!!

    2. Oh so true. I completed an hour long car ride with my 6 year old and 9 year old boy recently and I had eye twitching mixed with the feeling that my brain may actually shut down from complete overload. Throw in the arguments about who interrupted whom when neither of them actually stopped talking long enough for anyone to know where one stopped and the other began. However, no longer having to deal with getting a board stiff child into a car seat does kind of make it better.

  10. So my 3.5 year old twins really aren't hell on wheels? LOL, great post.

  11. Hygiene: Oh man. It’s finally improving a little, but both my 2 year old and my 4 year old scream bloody freaking murder about having their hair washed.

    Wardrobe: “Trying to stuff a water snake through a key-hole”. SO true. And total freak-out if I pick the red Optimus Prime shirt instead of the blue Optimus Prime shirt.

    Sustenance: My main issue is getting them to FOCUS and eat. Sometimes I have to remind them, ever so gently,to take a freaking bite Every. Freaking. Time.

    Public: Yeah, they totally know they’re in charge in public because I’m so afraid of the loud public meltdown…and can’t beat them in public either. How brave of you to even attempt the DMV with yours.

    Sandman: UUUUGH. My 2-year-old girl cries in bed for me to fix her blanket. To get her a “little bit” of water. To find her “baby rhino”. Strangely, she doesn’t usually get out of her bed. Just screams. My 4-year-old boy, on the other hand, gets up to go potty twelve times a night, or to ask random ridiculous questions.

    Potty: BOOOOO. I don’t even want to potty train my girl. I’ve made a few lame attempts, but am way too impatient and lazy this time around. She can stay in diapers for a bit longer…

    Self-Fulfillment: Daughter: “All by mineself!” Son: “Let ME do it!” Again with the maternal impatience and rage.

    Inquisition: My boy is SOOOOO in the “why” phase. Sometimes I enjoy doling out super complex scientific answers to boggle their little minds, but more often than not they get “Because.” (I talked about this recently

    Getting a Stiffy/Going Limp: RAGE.

  12. I spent yesterday in tears because I just couldn't handle the 2 and a bit year old "She-Beast" that currently occupies my house and consumes my life. This is exactly what I needed to hear this morning - Thank You! I couldn't bring myself to laugh about it yesterday but today my sense of humour has returned and I may not have to vanquish the "She-Beast" today after all :)

  13. omg. this is so spot on it's terrifying. best thing i've read all week. potty training is like prison. YES - except hopefully without the killing for cigs?

  14. This is brilliant! The bipolar eating is sooo my 2 yr old and the screaming "I do it mysewf!".
    Can I add another one to the list? Toddlers are suicidal! It seems they are intent on killing themselves. My firstborn was thisclose to sticking a metal key into an uncovered electrical socket at a friends house when she was two. Between sprinting towards large bodies of water, climbing up the highest parts of playgrounds, and hitting their heads on every table corner and wall in the house, I swear my only job from the time they can walk til the age of four is just to keep them alive... And trying not to have a heart attack in the process. :)

  15. I made the mistake of breaking a cheese stick in half saturday. It has not been forgotten.

  16. Can I add something about having a selective memory? My 3-year old can remember that her sister tripped her a month ago but can't remember that she is not allowed to have chocolate for breakfast. :)

  17. Oh gawd... I REALLY needed this after the day I had with my three and a half year old monster girl. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  18. It's like you're at my house!!! I love it! And I'm so glad I'm not the only one with that scene from Pulp Fiction running through my head after the 15th "why?" this hour!!

  19. My two year old (birthday was yesterday) constantly wants to "helpy". I have to wait until she is in bed to wash dishes or she's dragging a chair over to help and I spend as much time trying to minimize the water mess as I do washing dishes.

  20. nailed it! i, too, often feel an overhwelming urge to stab myself in some body part with a utensil ;)




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