I was on the floor when it happened. My daughter had been running around the living room, cackling like a lunatic. We were playing a game that consisted of her bringing out toys and piling them up on my chest while I laid on the floor. If the sounds she was making were any indication, it was the greatest moment of her life. Even I was having fun because all that was required of me was laying on the floor. Actually, I may have been enjoying it more than she was.
It knocked the wind out of me and for a split second I thought she may have actually done some real damage. I rolled onto my side, coughing and gasping for air as she let out another peel of that manic laughter and ran away, presumably get more stuffed animals so that we could continue our game.
After I recovered and was sure that I wasn’t going to die, I had an epiphany. Everyone always jokes that toddlers are like little drunk people. What nobody ever says is that sometimes they take a break from trying to kill themselves to try and kill you instead. Then I thought of all the other things that, despite the hundreds of articles I have read on the topic, nobody ever mentioned about toddlers.
- Toddlers are gross. Their feet that were once cute and oh-so-kissable, now resemble those of a runner after a race. They smell, they are sweaty, and there is toe jam. This does not bother them in the least and they will still try and put their toes in their mouth.
- They put everything in their mouths. I know that’s not exactly news, it’s basicallyToddler 101. So I did expect it, but I expected toys, my cell phone, and the like. What I didn’t expect was that by everything, they meant ev-ery-thing. A tuft of cat hair that blew out from under the couch, into the mouth it goes. A fistful of sand from the water table, in the mouth. A loose bottle cap from the ground, mouth!
- You do a lot of yelling. And I don’t mean that you’re constantly correcting them (although real talk, you are always correcting them), I mean the volume of your voice becomes naturally higher. Maybe it’s because you are compensating for the amount of noise a toddler produces. Maybe it’s because nobody ever listens to you. Maybe it’s just because you have lost all control of your life.
- They are strong. Like, Lenny in Of Mice and Men, strong. Strong enough to yank their shit covered leg out of your hands and flail it around so it gets poop on everything you love and hold dear. Strong enough to make you work up a sweat while trying to pry something from their sticky death grip. Strong enough to make you question how effective a sleeper hold would be. I kid, I kid… kind of.
- There is a high probability that you will be on the receiving end of a head-butt that breaks your nose, cracks a tooth, or just completely knocks you unconscious. There is no shame in admitting a toddler kicked your ass. It happens (cracked tooth, checking in).
- You will alternate between absolute boredom and balls-to-the-wall mayhem from minute to minute. I feel like I spend all of my time mere feet from my daughter; watching her play, or reading her the same damn book over and over and over, bored to death. That is until I am spending all of my time chasing her from room to room yelling, “No” or trying to catch her after she has taken off running with something that she shouldn’t have. And how did she get that thing she shouldn’t have when I was previously just a few feet away? NO GOD DAMN CLUE. Which brings me to…
- I firmly believe that toddlers possess some sort of goblin magic. One minute my daughter will be sitting quietly on the couch watching TV, the next she’s got something that she shouldn’t have. And by shouldn’t have I mean, we don’t even own that particular toy, I have no idea where it came from, and did she just pull it out of the couch cushions? Magic. Nobody talks about it, but it’s real.
- There will be times that they do something wrong, and as a parent it will be your job to correct them, but instead you will be focused on making sure that they can’t see you laughing. Because some of the shit they do, while wrong, is freaking funny.
- Nobody is more self-absorbed than a toddler. Oh, this entire group of people that are sitting down and quietly talking in the living room? They would much rather be sitting in shocked silence as you stand in the middle of the room shrieking at the top of your lungs while lifting up your shirt and pointing at your belly button.
- You may find yourself simultaneously afraid that another child is going to injure your toddler, and afraid that your toddler is going to injure another child. They are simultaneously the bull in the China shop and the China shop.
- There may be times that you get irrationally angry at other children for the way they are interacting with your child. Maybe you want to punch the little boy at the playground in the head because he’s being shitty to your kid. Maybe it’s your kid that’s being shitty and you kind of wish someone would punch them in the head.
- It gets easier. Sike. That has not been my experience.
It does change though, almost daily. So far this has been my favorite part. This wild, unpredictable, toddler stage has been my parenting sweet spot. I won’t get too comfortable though. It’s when I let my guard down that things start to change. It’s also when she senses weakness and is most likely to pounce, and deliver that final fatal blow.