I was in the gym locker room last week as a mom and her teenage daughter readied themselves for the day after working out together. While there were a lot of similarities between this angst-ridden teenager and my 9-year-old, the similarities between her and my toddler were even more apparent. The biggest difference between the teenager and the toddler? The teenager quietly stewed and rolled her eyes at her mother, while the toddler has no problems screaming her distaste and throwing herself to the floor in epic meltdowns.
If Vivi were capable of understanding or using the word hate, these would be her major complaints against us — her terrible, terrible parents.
1. We wash/comb/style/touch her hair.
HOW DARE WE?! I don’t know how in the world we got two kids with these amazing heads of hair, and both of them HATE having anything done with it. As soon as I begin combing Vivi’s hair she begins rubbing her hands through the parts I’ve already detangled, turning my task into an even more difficult one. Add to the fact that she hates having her hair washed, runs away whenever she sees a comb and insists “I’M NOT STINKY” when we mention bath time, and I’m not totally against a pixie cut on my 2-year-old — luscious locks be damned.
2. We run out of things.
In Vivi’s mind, we should have a never-ending supply of the things she loves the most. Just the other day there was an epic meltdown because we were out of bananas. I don’t know anyone who can be fully stocked on perfectly ripe bananas 24/7, but this injustice was just too much for Vivi. Other things we have run out of: bubble bath (which is one of the only ways we can get her into the bath), crackers, mandarin oranges and chocolate milk. She’s just beginning to understand the idea that things come from the store, so I’m figuring our next battle will be “WHY ARE YOU NOT GOING TO THE STORE RIGHT NOW TO FULFILL MY NEED FOR BANANAS?”
3. We keep her safe.
We make her wear a helmet, we don’t let her jump off the stairs onto the trampoline, we don’t let her play with scissors. The worst offense of all? We strap her into her car seat as tight as she should be strapped in. Oh, it makes her mad. “NOT TIGHT. NOT TIGHT!” Sorry kid, love you too much to have you flying around the car. *kiss kiss*
4. We lose interest.
Look, kid. We love you, we love your imagination and your desire to have us sit on the floor all day with you and eat the pretend food you serve us. We love that you use manners, take our order and insist that we eat more, but we can’t stay all day. Thank heavens you have a sister who will sit with you and play for hours and hours, perhaps this says more about me and my loss of childlike imagination — but playing ponies under your very strange rules for hours on end just doesn’t hold my attention, sorry about that. I’m really doing my best without losing my mind.
5. We make her wear clothes.
Oh, to be the eternal toddler nudist. Normally I don’t really care about clothes, but given how cold it’s been and that we do head out into public on fairly regular occasion, clothes are the norm. I will say Vivi is lucky I don’t care as much about what she wears as I did with Addie. Addie’s outfits had to match perfectly and be ready for a toddler fashion magazine at all times. As long as Vivi is covered? Eh, good enough — her pants will hit the floor as soon as we get home anyway.
6. We don’t give in to her every demand.
If Vivi had it her way, she would eat nothing but fruit snacks, watch nothing but Mickey Mouse, wear no clothing and listen to the Frozen soundtrack on repeat until every speaker in the house wept from playing “Let It Go” for the eight zillionth time. Thankfully for her (and someday she’ll realize this) we make her eat sensible things, play with her sister and listen to music beyond what she thinks she wants to listen to. She screams in protest about all of it, but we know we’re right and someday she will, too.
So, what does your toddler hate you for? How do they voice their displeasure with your incompetence as a parent? It’s certainly not pleasurable, but just think, soon enough they’ll be teenagers and refuse to talk to us at all! IMAGINE ALL THE SILENCE! IT WILL BE GREAT! (I kid, of course.)
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her on any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.