“Tale of the Tape: Babies vs. Toddlers” originally appeared on The Good Men Project and was reprinted with permission.
Let me put this out there: I love both of my daughters equally, so let’s not turn this into a “Doyin-loves-one-kid-more-than-the-other” thing. Stuff is too serious on the Internet nowadays, so just sit back and enjoy a lighthearted post comparing how the baby and toddler stages are different.
And let’s face it — your favorite kid in any specific moment is always the one who is behaving the best.
Let’s get started.
Babies: For a while there it was just my wife’s boobs, so I was off the hook on that one. Now that she’s eating solid foods, it’s much different. If I’m not paying attention, she’ll swat the spoon across the room like Dikembe Mutumbo circa 1994.
Toddlers: “I don’t want it, Daddy!” or “I don’t like this, Daddy!” or “I want to eat [insert unhealthy food here], Daddy!” Sure, I roll with the “If-you-don’t-eat-this, -then-you-don’t-eat” philosophy, but damn that gets old after a while.
WINNER: Feeding babies
Babies: Doing the “Daddy Bounce” with your melting-down baby in the aisle of an airplane while other parents offer crappy unsolicited advice to get her to calm down is extremely annoying. Yes, that happened to me before and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.
Toddlers: If they get antsy, just let them borrow your iPad, load it up with their favorite shows/movies, give them some headphones, and it’s a wrap. However, if your iPad runs out of juice on the flight/car ride, then that’s another story.
WINNER: Traveling with toddlers
3. Getting dressed
Babies: Super easy. Hell, you don’t even have to put pants on them and they can be ridiculously adorable. If I’m going to nitpick, I really can’t stand those onesies with the button on the back neckline. Yes, I know it’s for babies with big heads, but it’s murder on dudes with big hands like me.
I could probably sew a onesie from scratch quicker than it would take me to fumble around buttoning one of those things while my kid squirms around. Whatever. I guess I could easily solve that problem by not buying them.
Toddlers: When they get to a certain age (aka, threenagers), these kids think they can do a lot of things for themselves — like getting dressed.
The good news is oftentimes, they’re right.
The bad news is it usually takes them a Frozen-and-a-half (yes, I’ve created measurements of time based on Frozen … just humor me and let it go) for them to put on their underwear, shirt, pants, and shoes. If you need to be somewhere in a hurry, these tiny humans will not help your cause.
WINNER: Getting babies dressed
4. Potty time
Babies: The location plays a big role here. It’s not very fun to clean up a blowout if we’re at home (is it ever fun?), but at least it gets done.
Cleaning up a diaper in public is even worse, especially if there are no changing tables available in men’s restrooms. How is it that we have cars that can park themselves, and smartphones that can practically cook breakfast for you, but many facilities don’t have changing tables in men’s restrooms? It’s a complete joke.
That said, I was an advocate for California Bill 1350 that would’ve put changing tables in men’s restrooms if one already existed in an adjacent women’s restroom (a no-brainer, right?), but unfortunately Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the bill last year. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy about that.
Toddlers: It also depends. If they’re not potty trained, then multiply what I said above by 100.
If they are potty trained, then you still have to deal with the 3 AM wake up calls to tinkle — but that’s only if you’re lucky. If they decide not to warn you, you’ll find them in the morning rolling around on a soggy mattress comprised of their own urine.
Then of course, there’s the occasional “Daddy, I went poop!” while you’re at the playground and said toddler is rocking undies instead of diapers. There’s no amount of therapy that can make you un-see that.
5. Getting them to go to sleep
Babies: You rock them, you soothe them, you put them in a baby carrier, etc. and then comes the time every parent dreads: the transfer from your arms to the crib. One wrong move, and your baby is screaming bloody murder and you’re back to square one.
And I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but babies also tend to wake up during the middle of the night. I just thought I’d throw out that little-known fact.
Toddlers: Unlike babies, keeping them asleep usually isn’t the hard part — it’s actually getting them to go to sleep. “I want to play, Daddy!” or “Daddy, I’m thirsty!” are common in my household. You would think you’re sending them to the electric chair instead of to a restful night’s sleep due to the crazy stalling tactics they use.
WINNER: Getting toddlers to go to sleep
6. Eating out
Babies: By “eating out,” I don’t mean Chuck-E-Cheese or McDonald’s. I’m talking about a nice, sit-down restaurant. Since most babies aren’t going to eat anything on the menu, it’s really not much different from being at home. Give them a bottle and some baby food, and they’ll probably pass out from a food coma moments afterwards.
Toddlers: Newsflash — toddlers don’t like to sit still for long periods of time, and when you tempt fate, it will only be a matter of time before your kid is running through the restaurant with his/her pants down.
WINNER: Eating out with babies
7. Story time
Babies: Yes, I know that reading books to babies is really important for their development, but lately I find myself spending more time trying to keep her from ripping out the pages than reading the words on them.
Toddlers: I’m just used to the fact that my daughter channels Barbara Walters whenever I read a book. The questions just do not stop. But hey — if she’s asking questions, it means she wants to learn and she’s paying attention. I’m cool with that.
WINNER: Story time with a toddler
8. Handling tantrums
Babies: Effectively negotiating with a screaming baby is about as likely as yours truly being invited to keynote the annual Ku Klux Klan convention.
Toddlers: Yesterday morning my kid had a tantrum because she dropped a knee on my Hang Low and was upset when I wouldn’t let her kiss it. #NoThanks
So after all is said and done, the winner is …
Yes, you, me, and all of the other parents of babies and toddlers. This time we have with our young ones goes by so fast and before you know it, they will be grown up, dating, and heading off to college. Even though things are crazy right now, I know I’m going to miss all of this when it’s over.
But damn, I’d really like to get a good night’s sleep.
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