Toddlers are a strange group, and just like cats, have created their own online niche, with entire sections of the internet devoted to them. And they deserve it, because they are so damn weird. Living with a toddler is like being in a National Geographic documentary. “Did you see that Niles? Write that down!”
So, here are some things you’ll need to survive.
1. A sprint plan. And not of the cell phone variety. Sometimes your 3 year old is going to haul ass in the opposite direction you are. Sure, you could let them run, but there’s a bus coming and plenty of witnesses. Hike up your skirt and book it. And fervently hope there are no teenagers videoing you for YouTube, because you’re pregnant. And you’re hitting a speed Kenyan marathon runners only dream of.
2. An aversion to shame. There’s no room for shame when parenting a toddler. When they’re wailing in the checkout line because you wouldn’t let them get the dog a penguin squeaky toy, it’s time to gird your loins and pointedly ignore the judgmental vibe you’re getting from young singles and menopausal women. Sure, you’re drenched in fear sweat. But I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if my fingers tremble while navigating that convoluted check out computer machine that I’m not tall enough to see. #petite You can berate him when you get in the car. But by then he’ll have forgotten about the squeaky toy all together.
3. Family restroom radar: He’s finally potty trained! And he’s gotta potty. Bad. But you already got him in the cart with his sister. This is a problem only a family restroom can solve. It’s like gaydar, but it smells more urninal cakey.
4. Snacks: Did you want to get anything done on this errand? I’m like the snack fairy. Boom! Cheerios. Boom! Fruit snacks. Boom! Juice box. I don’t care if Hansel and Gretel could follow behind us with the shrapnel trail we’re leaving. I couldn’t wait another day for toilet paper.
5. Collusion: You’re going to get home. You’re not going to recall buying that refrigerator magnet. But you’re already home. So, you’ve just become an accomplice in a petty theft. “Maybe a friendly stranger gave it to him while I grabbed the milk” #complicit (See: An aversion to shame)
6. A Magic Eraser: I see you had a creative urge and used the flat screen as your canvas. I hope you like watching Curious George on a tv that looks like it came off the set of “The Ring.” Enter: Mr. Clean.
7. An iron will: There will come tests. So many tests over so many things. You’ll think he should nap, he thinks he shouldn’t. Let’s go to war. You’ll think you want to win, but there will come a time when you just want to lay in the hallway and cry and let them do whatever the hell they want. They probably know what’s best right? NO! Hang in there like Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy came around eventually, and it was really, really worth it.
8. A good hiding spot: Because you want to eat those Cheetos alone. You earned them. You just spent 30 mind numbing minutes waiting for him to finish up on the terlet. But make sure you’re hiding spot is sound proof too. Cheetos are crunchy and toddlers are like zombies, they’re attracted to noise.
9. A false enthusiasm: Toddlers really like you. And they’re really easy to trick, because they aren’t smart yet- even though they hold themselves in the highest regard. “Guess where we’re going? It’s such a treat! THE STORE!!!!!!!!!! You’re so LUCKY!!!!!” Clap, dance, and generally act as if somebody just scored a goal in soccer. They’ll bite.
10. Technology: If all else fails, throw that kid an iPad. “And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”