One night last week, Gabe ate only tortilla chips for dinner. While watching TV. This exact scenario has also played out with ice cream.
Recently while having a playdate with another mom and her toddler, my friend commented that she smelled poop. I did too, and we checked both boys’ diapers, but neither was messy. When we got home, I figured out where the smell had been coming from: Gabe had poop IN HIS SHOES. (Yes, his own. From the day before. I’m an awesome mom like that).
A few days ago at the mall food court, Simon and I were giving Gabe a Chick-Fil-A kid’s meal of GMO-ladden chicken nuggets and MSG-drenched fries, with about 25 grams of apple juice sugar as a beverage. Gabe stood up on his chair, turned around, and leaned over too far, causing the chair to crash to the ground with him in it. He smacked his forehead on the tile floor and started screaming hysterically. A woman in line at Chick-Fil-A said under her breath, “Oh my God, they let him fall off a chair!” (Thanks, Sanctimommy. He was ok by the way).
Gabe has watched Toy Story three times in one day before. So like four hours of television; twice the years he is old. It’s fine.
I use chocolate chips, marshmallows, and pretzels as bribery ALL THE TIME. If not as bribery, at least as bargaining chips. Oh, and my iPhone. Child knows how to use YouTube better than I do.
I have all the lyrics from obscure Frozen songs committed to memory. We’re talking about “In Summer” and “Fixer Upper.” (“Let It Go” is not his jam). If Gabe asks for “Frozen,” and I bust out the wrong song, I am immediately attacked by an irate boa constrictor.
Toddlers. They are not playing around. I’m convinced this is their motto:
Let’s establish a working definition for these short crazy people:
It’s just so HARD, isn’t it? Living with a toddler? Coexisting with a small but mighty dictator? There’s a reason behind those mommy confessions, my accolades on the (not) mother-of-the-year list. Because this work is really hard. Being the mother of a toddler is a full-time, no-thanks, run-you-into-the-ground sort of job. It’s EXHAUSTING. It’s CONSTANT. And I’m only human. I can’t be SuperMom all the time. So here’s what happens:
Yep. Survival is the name of the game. And Toy Story and YouTube and marshmallows help me do that.
Oh and here’s another confession while I’m at it: I find little flecks of chocolate smoothie (with a thick, hard-to-remove banana and avocado base) ALL OVER MY HOUSE. On every wall, every door frame, every blanket, you name it. Also — all over the inside of our Kia Sorento. I can’t keep up with it and/or do not have the energy. It’s disgusting. My house (life?) is disgusting.
Obviously I generally pick the top and left choices above. (Almost) anything to keep them happy, right?!
And they are precious but they do stuff like:
(Gabe hasn’t actually flushed my phone down the toilet. But he did chew on my charger until it no longer worked. I took it to the Apple store and they sneered at me and remarked, “This shows signs of water damage.” And they wanted me to shell out $60 for a new one. I turned on the crazy eyes that communicated, “My whole LIFE has toddler damage. Do you want me to start crying?” And then they gave me a new one for free).
I keep telling my husband that Gabe is breaking him of his Type A tendencies. His primary method? TRASH THE HOUSE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
And cause general frenzy by demanding as much as possible:
Ah, yes. Toddlers have their own rules, their own ways, and there is really no winning with a two or three-year-old (well occasionally you win, but only because you made them thinking THEY were winning. Jedi mind tricks). They rule the roost and it is draining, aggravating, trying work.
But I try, try, try to remember this:
Grace. We must show them grace. How else can they learn to be gracious and forgiving of others? They have so few days and so little height. They are small and needy. We must dignify them even when they do not dignify us.
And then I realize this. The time is truly short when I think about it this way, though it feels eternal on a Tuesday afternoon.
So, my fellow weary travelers, let’s pick each other up and try to:
And in the meantime:
My precious angel baby loves giving everyone and everything hugs and kisses (or “bo-bo’s” as we say, the Korean word for kiss). Mama, Dada, stuffed animals, toy trains, the Toy Story DVD box, etc. Today he hugged and kissed the mushrooms before putting them back in the fridge.
My sweetie-pie lovie face wants to say “hi,’ “bye,” and “night night” to everything outside his bedroom window every night. “Hi trees!” “Bye houses!” “Night night dirt!” It’s too freaking adorable.
Gabey Wabey Baby just LOVES my pregnant belly. Loves it. More hugs and kisses, naturally. And he loves anything and everything to do with “the baby.” He climbs into the Rock n’ Play and wants to be covered up with the baby blanket; he climbs into the infant car seat and just hangs out in there. And he’s developed a love for a baby doll of his own, whom he enjoys snuggling, carrying, and feeding. He keeps telling my belly, “Baby out!”
Crazy face even threw a fit yesterday that I thought was adorable (and thankfully I didn’t let him know this). It involved him squatting on the kitchen floor and pleading with precious mispronunciation and sad puppy eyes, “More chocolate! More chocolate!”
Goofy monster snuggle butt has the most intoxicating laugh, the most twinkling smile, and the most joy-filled expressions I have ever seen. He does everything times ten. He weeps bitter tears and throws highly dramatic tantrums, but HE LOVES TO THE MAX. He adores his grandparents; he loves play time with his aunts and uncles; he is OBSESSED with his best friends. He has a huge heart and it’s beautiful and humbling and inspiring.
Take heart, mamas and papas. Surely these obnoxious and draining toddler behaviors won’t be maddening us forever…and surely the sweet and precious moments will also fade quickly. May we approach the former with all the patience and resolve we can muster, and may we soak up the latter with gratitude and endless stolen kisses.
Yours (tired and not showered),
PS: If anyone has solutions to the car seat craziness, please let me know. That karate chop action is hard to do while 36 weeks pregnant.