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WITHOUT FOOD AND SLEEP THEY ARE BASICALLY HILL CANNIBALS
March 25, 2014 9:10 PM   Subscribe


 
Yep. Babies/toddlers are cats+dogs+teenagers=none of the good parts. They're super cute but they can't clean up after themselves, they can't make healthy choices, they certainly can't fucking drive, and they leave evidence of their grooming habits all over the goddamn place.
posted by padraigin at 9:23 PM on March 25 [2 favorites]


Today my toddler threw an hour-long screaming tantrum because I wouldn't give him back the toy car he whacked his brother with (on purpose) until he apologized and HE WASNT GONNA. After an hour he found a book instead and hit his brother with that, after which it was fortunately bedtime.

This is still an improvement over the time we were walking and he didn't want to turn the way I wanted to turn and so held his breath in rage until he passed out and we ended up in the ER.

My first child was so easy to reason with or distract at this age. My second one ... I just don't even.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:25 PM on March 25 [73 favorites]


This has some great lines:

Regardless, when you’re trying to figure out why a toddler is acting the way she is, just remember: she thought she was a god, then learned that she was not.

May the gods help you if both the SLEEP and FOOD boxes remain unchecked because I’m pretty sure that’s how you get the Reavers from Firefly.

Some days you’re just looking for a box to put them in so you can mark it FREE CUPCAKES and leave it out by the curb.

They have the good sense the gods gave coked-up lemurs.

posted by medusa at 9:29 PM on March 25 [14 favorites]


The author's rant on gendered toys that's linked in this blog post is pretty amazing: Boy Toys, Girl Toys, And Other Cuckoopants Gender Assumptions.
posted by medusa at 9:32 PM on March 25 [14 favorites]


Ours is like an F1 pit crew in trying to kill himself. Run into the kitchen, try to get in the oven, try to get under the sink to eat poison, try to open a drawer to get a knife, and runs out. All in under 8 seconds. it's amazing.
posted by Lord_Pall at 9:40 PM on March 25 [65 favorites]


held his breath in rage until he passed out

Wait, you can do that? I wish I'd known that at age 3.
posted by zompist at 9:43 PM on March 25 [10 favorites]


As a father of a toddler I would like to emphatically state that Peppa Pig is on 24 hours a day in my own personal hell.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:48 PM on March 25 [16 favorites]


Timely, as mine just turned two today.
posted by Slothrup at 9:50 PM on March 25


Yeah, this guy's rant on gendered toys - and gender in general - is better, but this is good. Best is the line: Toddlers are Proto-Teenagers.

A lot of this was outside of my experience, because we had a girl. The 25-point list would have been different, had he been the parent of a girl child. Half the observations, anyway.
posted by kozad at 9:52 PM on March 25


I was all prepared for TODDLER TOUCH THEIR PENiSES ALL DAY AND RUB OATMEAL IN THE CARPET AND DONT YOU WANT TO STRANGLE THEM AMIRITE but these were actually fairly wise observations. This is coming from someone who's now survived two category 5 toddlers and read every child behavior book out there.

Truth be told, ages 2-3 are my favorite. Meltdowns are generally predictable and certainly controllable, unlike a four year old who can swing and kick and cause some damage. Kids at this age are neurologically incapable of lying and they are sponges, soaking in the universe and how it all works. The things they say are utterly profound and true, to the point of generating surprise and delight on a daily basis to this bitter old misanthrope.

I like the analogy: discovering that they are not in fact a god. Explains so much. I always have found tantrums *hilarious*. The only time I really considered physically harming one of em was on night number 25 in a row when they were tossing and turning and just needed to GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP. But for the most part, I think age 2.5 is when human beings peak.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:58 PM on March 25 [13 favorites]


Some of this was really good, and the author has a really funny voice.
posted by Night_owl at 10:13 PM on March 25


Truth be told, ages 2-3 are my favorite.

Two and half to 3 1/2 was my favorite time.
Smart enough to understand things, mobile enough to play with, curious about everything.

And that toddler, half-waddle, half-walk thing? I can watch little kids do that all day at the playground.
posted by madajb at 10:22 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


Also, Curious George is kind of a jerk.
posted by madajb at 10:23 PM on March 25 [11 favorites]


held his breath in rage until he passed out

I remember a guy doing this in high school. He fell out of his desk and had to go get medical attention.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:25 PM on March 25 [1 favorite]


26. They teach you to mitigate your response to annoyance.

27. They are surprisingly durable.

28. Parents tire of talking about their toddlers with the same frequency that New Yorkers tire of talking about New York.
posted by vapidave at 10:36 PM on March 25 [21 favorites]


Yeah, this guy's rant on gendered toys - and gender in general - is better, but this is good.

Yeah, that article was the one titled, "BOY TOYS, GIRL TOYS, AND OTHER CUCKOOPANTS GENDER ASSUMPTION", right? Ok, so what were you saying about this one, then?

A lot of this was outside of my experience, because we had a girl. The 25-point list would have been different, had he been the parent of a girl child. Half the observations, anyway.

Oh, OK!

Anyway, I have a two-and-a-half-year-old girl and she's *just like this*.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:41 PM on March 25 [13 favorites]


My first child was so easy to reason with or distract at this age. My second one ... I just don't even.

Same here.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:42 PM on March 25


My toddler spent the hour after dinner raging against the cruelty and injustice of a world that requires you to do things like wear pants in the front yard. Once bedtime rolled around, he fought the good fight against the cruel, cruel woman (me) who makes nonsensical rules like "in this house, we don't wear pants in the bathtub."

He is currently in his crib, curled up with a truck, a digital thermometer, and a yoga block, all of which were essential for sleep tonight, but will probably be offensively wrong tomorrow.

So basically, yes to all of this.
posted by ThatSomething at 10:54 PM on March 25 [34 favorites]


14. SOMEONE MAY ACTUALLY SNEAK INTO YOUR HOUSE AT NIGHT AND TEACH THEM STUFF
The number of times I gaped wide-eyed at my daughter and asked "Where the fuck did you learn that?" and she just shrugged.

Alien teachers! It' all so obvious now.
posted by fullerine at 10:54 PM on March 25 [4 favorites]


"Wait, you can do that? I wish I'd known that at age 3."

Yep, in a certain percent of kids, more boys than girls, the emotional response of the anger so overwhelms the nascent brain that it overwhelms the autonomic breathing system temporarily (you've all seen this in the horrible silent breath-holding instant before a badly hurt child starts to cry) because all brain resources are being diverted to rage. Usually once they actually faint the brain "reboots" and they start breathing normally now that unconsciousness has shut off the rage-cascade. USUALLY. Which is how we ended up in the ER because that time he stop breathing, fainted, and forgot to start back up. (He's fine!) The other, oh, fifty times he held his breath until he passed out, he just turned alarmingly blue, fainted, and woke up fine.

Most kids outgrow it by 3 1/2 ... The brains get sophisticated enough to feel extreme rage AND ALSO remember to keep breathing. It is medically known as "breath holding syndrome" in the medical literature we got from the hospital which basically wanted us to know we had to go on with normal discipline even if it made our child faint repeatedly. The joys of parenting!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:54 PM on March 25 [71 favorites]


They are highly tuned into the parent frequency

I love this observation. Quite true in my experience as well.

Also: 15. TODDLERIAN FEARS

Holy hells, yes. I still remember quite vividly the night my 2-year-old was utterly convinced that a giant spider was on the wall, watching him while he slept...he was so completely in thrall to this idea that by the end of the night I was checking every single wall in our house and not just to humor him. I was starting to believe him!
posted by Doleful Creature at 11:09 PM on March 25 [3 favorites]


Mark Twain covered this topic in a rousing dinner toast in 1879 to a room full of Civil War generals. "The Babies"
You soldiers all know that when that little fellow arrived at family headquarters you had to hand in your resignation. He took entire command. You became his lackey, his mere body-servant, and you had to stand around too. He was not a commander who made allowances for time, distance, weather, or anything else. You had to execute his order whether it was possible or not. And there was only one form of marching in his manual of tactics, and that was the double-quick. He treated you with every sort of insolence and disrespect, and the bravest of you didn't dare to say a word. You could face the death-storm at Donelson and Vicksburg, and give back blow for blow; but when he clawed your whiskers, and pulled your hair, and twisted your nose, you had to take it. When the thunders of war were sounding in your ears you set your faces toward the batteries, and advanced with steady tread; but when he turned on the terrors of his war whoop you advanced in the other direction, and mighty glad of the chance, too. When he called for soothing-syrup, did you venture to throw out any side-remarks about certain services being unbecoming an officer and a gentleman? No. You got up and got it. etc..
Audio version
posted by stbalbach at 11:16 PM on March 25 [18 favorites]


Kids at this age are neurologically incapable of lying

My daughter turned 3 about 2 months ago, and she lies like a damned rug. She tells me that "mommy said it was OK" when mommy is sitting RIGHT THERE and did NOT say it was OK to have chocolate chips straight out of the bag for breakfast. So they are not effective lies, but they are lies nonetheless.

She's also learned the trick about asking one parent and then, if they say no, sneaking around to ask the other parent the same question and then letting us discover the discrepancy in the time-space continuum later on. Monster.
posted by 1adam12 at 11:25 PM on March 25 [27 favorites]


Let me retell my favorite story about children learning.

One night, I was watching an old war movie on TV, the brave good guys were sailing into battle. About a half hour into it, Wee, my (at that time) 2 year old granddaughter, wandered into the living room and cuddled up to watch with me.

I got involved with the movie, when I heard Wee say, in the dramatic voice that only a two-year-old can muster, “Oh NO! MINES!”.

Onscreen, sure enough, the good guys were sailing into a minefield. Waitminute! Wee is TWO! How the h-e-doublehockeysticks does she know about Naval MINES?!?!

I just looked at her, dumbfounded.

The next morning, I recounted the story to her mother. She was amused, then reminded me that Wee had watched Finding Nemo about 200 times, so of course she knew what mines are!
posted by pjern at 11:43 PM on March 25 [13 favorites]


My current theory is that at some point I am just going to adopt a teenager because I actually get on reasonably well with teens but the more I learn about children, the more I am just "oh hell no".
posted by Sequence at 12:32 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]


Kids at this age are neurologically incapable of lying

I remember the day my oldest niece learned to lie. She was maybe 3 and had done something bad in front of three adults then bold-faced claimed she hadn't done it. Then she realised that she had but was saying she hadn't but we knew she had but she could do that and the entire world tilted on its axis, time stopped, the fourth wall cracked asunder, everything shifted and then she lost it completely for a few hours. When she came to she was reborn as an inveterate liar and her mom and aunt missed it because we were up on the roof drinking wine and letting our ears recover from the epic meltdown. Her dad was there and recounted the whole tearful revelatory speech about how she knew she was lying but couldn't stop to us later, good for him.

She's still a terrible liar. I often struggle with the temptation to teach her to lie better.
posted by fshgrl at 12:56 AM on March 26 [16 favorites]


I am super looking forward to all this. My 7 month old baby already has mini tantrums when

a)The toy is slightly out of reach (usually because he knocked it out of reach)
b)He is tired, but cannot get to sleep in the cot
c)He is hungry
d)He is not hungry stop trying to feed him come on!
e)He does not want to be on his front anymore!
f)He does not want to be on his back anymore!
g)He does not want to be sitting up anymore!
h)Daddy has stopped making him fly because daddy's arms are tired
i)Daddy sang along to the flaming lips, which is nowhere near as good as "10 green bottles" I mean come on!
j)Some other reason I don't even know please let me just drink this cup of tea child and then I will look after you please I just want a 5 minute break oh my god I think my eardrums burst.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:58 AM on March 26 [16 favorites]


I am honorary aunt to a 2 and a half year old, and it's quite an experience. It's just *amazing* how fast things go. A couple of weeks ago, there was a mini soccer ball lying around, and so she picked it up and I held out my hands, and she threw it. And I tossed it back, and at the start she's clumsy in the way she had always previously been when playing catch -- if I tossed it very carefully when her hands were in the right position she could catch it against her chest but otherwise it would fall or bounce off somewhere. And then she started to catch it more often. And suddenly she caught it with just her hands. And she kept catching it, and her tosses got more accurate and quicker, until at the end we did 20-30 exchanges in a row.

It was almost terrifying, her nervous system was rewiring itself *right in front of my eyes* over a period of less than half an hour.
posted by tavella at 1:10 AM on March 26 [66 favorites]


This is the best article ever and I have just gone and purchased three of the author's books on the strength of it. Thanks so much for posting it here.
posted by alasdair at 1:25 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Those 25 negative things are completely undone and made meaningless when your toddler climbs into your arms, gives you a kiss on the cheek and says "I love you daddy". If that is not the absolute best feeling in the whole world I don't know what is.

That's the one thing you need to know about having a toddler. I can only feel pity for the childless people who will never, ever experience anything like this.

And I am guessing that the misanthropic author of this piece is well on the way to making all those negative observations come true. No one needs a parent like that, but I see lots of them and I feel sorry for them and sorry for their kids. If you can't see the joy in being a parent - despite the challenges - you're doing it all wrong.
posted by three blind mice at 1:54 AM on March 26


As the parent of an 8-month-old I am quaking in my fucking boots.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 2:01 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


If you can't see the joy in being a parent - despite the challenges - you're doing it all wrong.

From the article:

"But it’s important to note that, really, toddlers are just little humans, and as humans, they can be surprisingly capable of empathy. They feel bad if you feel bad. They want to make your boo-boos feel better. They laugh just because you find something funny, not because they actually understand it."

Please do read the entire thing. It is nowhere as cynical as you appear to believe it is.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:05 AM on March 26 [34 favorites]


I can only feel pity for the childless people who will never, ever experience anything like this.

If I may disagree, I don't think that's wise of you. Some people are childless and happy. Some people have children and are unhappy with this state - they perhaps deserve your sympathy. But it takes all sorts. Pity is a difficult emotion, and you may be better concentrating on why you feel this rather than projecting onto another person's life.

Secondly, I think you should go and re-read the article in light of the comments above: taking away the message that the author is misanthropic surprises me greatly, and think would surprise the other commenters. I'm not saying you're wrong - I don't know the author - but your reading of the article seems to be completely at odds with most of your fellow readers. Not that being in the minority makes you wrong automatically, of course, but you might like to re-check your comprehension.
posted by alasdair at 2:06 AM on March 26 [69 favorites]


tbm, I don't get the impression, from your comment, that you actually read the article.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:13 AM on March 26 [39 favorites]


My nephew Zach was a small shy two-year-old fellow and was very afraid of strangers. He could kind of walk but crawling was his emergency mode. His memory lasted less than a week or was capricious it seems because I visited every Sunday and you have never seen a two-year-old anything crawl as fast as my nephew away from me. He would look up at me, his uncle, who he had fun with just last week, pivot, and bail like I was made of monster. He was all hands and knees and suprisingly fast.

I could have caught him of course but nothing is more terrifying than a two-year-old that is afraid of you.

The days he did recognize me he made up a game that we used to play over and over; he would stand across the room with his back to me, his hands on the wall, turn and smile and, with his little tiny legs, run at me and when he got close he would launch himself, headlong, knowing I would of course catch him.
posted by vapidave at 2:21 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]


every day with a toddler is like that moment in Jurassic Park where the velociraptors learn how to open doors.

This is quite apt, really. I often look at my son (4 years) or daughter (1), and think, "Clever Girl."
posted by naturesgreatestmiracle at 2:44 AM on March 26 [20 favorites]


Huh. I regularly call our 15 month old " The Velociraptor". I often just announce "Welcome to Jurassic Park" when he does something that requires his little brain to have glommed onto something.
posted by JPD at 3:21 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


My number one tip for living with toddlers is to lie on the floor as much as possible. You're down at their level where they can communicate easily, they can amuse themselves for a long time by climbing on you and pulling or kicking bits of you, and meanwhile you're getting some rare and much-needed rest.
posted by Segundus at 3:28 AM on March 26 [49 favorites]


Upon seeing a sign for an all night pediatric clinic this weekend, our three and a half year old created the character of 'Doctor Baby' - a baby who is also a doctor, but not a very good one. Instead of giving you medicine or shots or bandaids, Doctor Baby gives you poo-poos, ga-gas, and farts.

Doctor Baby's development deal with Comedy Central is progressing quickly. It has been weird adjusting to to Toby, the toddler's new PA, but having that extra set of hands on deck for when a toddler's natural emotional instability is compounded by exposure to Hollywood has been a big help.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:47 AM on March 26 [19 favorites]


I love seeing the neurons make new connections in my 3-year-old niece's brain, even if it's something like "Do not trust Auntie Katemonkey, because she'll let you play with her My Little Pony toys, but she is totally taking them back later on."
posted by Katemonkey at 3:49 AM on March 26


The best part of toddler-lying is they're bad at it not just because they don't have poker faces, but because the lies are so BOLD. My kid has been spending hours every night finding excuses to not go to bed, or reasons she needs to come out and see us instead of sleep, so every night we put her back to bed about three or four times. But the other night, she stayed in there for hours. We kept waiting for her to need a story or a light turned on or a light turned off or some milk or to go potty, but nothing!

Finally, as soon as we let her guard down, she comes out, stretching her arms above her head, and she looks at us and says, "Good morning!"

After we stopped laughing, I replied, "Nice try," and she said, "Thanks!" with a smile on her face as she went back to bed.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:02 AM on March 26 [53 favorites]


Jerry Seinfeld said it best, 'A two-year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don't have a top for it.'

My little guy was actually a pretty mellow toddler. He was always climbing, running into things and otherwise destructive (and self-destructive), but we really had very few meltdowns, other than obvious Hungry/Tired ones. Now he's 5 and holy cow he is making up for it, but now he has the advanced language and physicality that I no longer feel like I dodged a bullet in the earlier years. Or more like I dodged a bullet only so I could stand in front of a howitzer.

But he's cute and last night in the middle of tantrumming he told me he was so angry he was going to "get a gun and shoot poop all over your head so you can't see and walk into walls" and it's all good I suppose.
posted by Mchelly at 4:25 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]


“Thomas the Tank Engine and Blaine the Mono in SODOR AND GOMORRAH.”

This is goddamn perfection.
posted by a hat out of hell at 4:26 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


In fairness to toddlers, I'm also a hill cannibal if sufficiently deprived of sleep.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:32 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


That's the one thing you need to know about having a toddler. I can only feel pity for the childless people who will never, ever experience anything like this.

Aunts and uncles can get the "I love you, auntie" moments, without having to go through the actual child-rearing bits.

We win.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:43 AM on March 26 [63 favorites]


I don't have kids, but I do have two nephews and a niece. Last spring my sister and her husband came to Toronto and we took her son (a year and a half old at the time) and daughter to the Ontario Science Centre. My nephew was a little young for most of the exhibits at the time, so at one point I was asked to play with him in this area for toddlers they have set up while everyone else went off with my niece. So we're hanging out and he's toddling around, picking things up and dropping them, as toddlers do, and then he sees this plastic peach sitting on the ground. His eyes lit up and he grinned ear to ear ("UNEXPECTED FOOD TREAT!!!"), he hustled over as fast as he could, picked it up and tried to take a bite out of it (it was big enough that there was no choking hazard, so I didn't try to stop him). Well. He instantly realized it wasn't a real peach and his Unadulterated Glee turned into Terrible Rage. He threw it to the ground as hard as he could in disgust ("WHAT A DIRTY TRICK!!! FUCK THE WHOLE GOD DAMN WORLD!!!") and for about three seconds he seemed angrier than I have ever been about anything. Then he forgot about it and was off to the next thing. I was discretely laughing my ass off; I wish I'd gotten it on video.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:50 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


Those 25 negative things are completely undone and made meaningless when your toddler climbs into your arms, gives you a kiss on the cheek and says "I love you daddy". If that is not the absolute best feeling in the whole world I don't know what is.

That's the one thing you need to know about having a toddler. I can only feel pity for the childless people who will never, ever experience anything like this.

posted by three blind mice at 4:54 AM on March 26


That's a singularly uncharitable reading of the essay. You might want to read it again.

And forgive my derail, but you might also want to remember that are plenty of people who deliberately choose to be childless, and are perfectly happy with that choice. Some of us have given a lot of thought to having children, and after carefully looking at our lives and our life goals, decided that ultimately we didn't want kids.

We realized that the only way you get the phenomenon you describe above is if you actually want to be a parent and are ready to be a parent. If you're not, parenthood can be a grueling and miserable experience for both parent and child.

Every child deserves to be wanted. People who choose not to have children don't need pity. They're actually doing the world a favor, by not having unwanted kids.
posted by magstheaxe at 4:55 AM on March 26 [100 favorites]


Guiding and negotiating with a toddler is like playing one of the C-list text adventure games from the 80s. You know what you want to happen, you know what commands should get you there, but the parser is inscrutable and unpredictable and you'll spend ten minutes trying EAT FOOD and OPEN MOUTH and CHEW FOOD and STOP SCREAMING only to find that the only answers it'd accept are XYZZY, BLOCK PANEL WITH SATCHEL and QUARLB FLAGMULF.
posted by delfin at 5:16 AM on March 26 [55 favorites]


And forgive my derail, but you might also want to remember that are plenty of people who deliberately choose to be childless, and are perfectly happy with that choice.
There are also people who didn't deliberately choose to be childless and for whom that's something ranging from a mild disappointment to a source of profound grief, and rubbing their face in your pity strikes me as a kind of ugly thing to do.

But whatevs. That was a charming essay, and his rant on gendered toys is also great.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:18 AM on March 26 [43 favorites]


Rule 17 ftw
posted by fistynuts at 5:26 AM on March 26


I'm not yet blessed with a toddler, but from what I remember about my childhood and my brother's, toddlers lie constantly but don't fully grasp the idea that things don't become true because you've said them. When I told my mom that Grandmother was the one who hid the half-eaten stick of butter in the recliner, I'm pretty sure I was somehow hopeful that would turn out to be the case.
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 5:29 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]


8. not all children’s books are created equally, either

You can stomach almost anything if you read it in Cookie Monster's voice and try to make it FUN.

“Big Z
Little Z
What begins with Z?
I do!
I AM ZIZZER ZAZZER ZUZZ AND AS YOU CAN PLAINLY SEE ME! LIKE! COOKIES! NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM!"

*CUE MANY BELLY KISSES*

Nowadays I deliberately get things wrong in the stories I'm reading. It drives them nuts, keeps their attention and lets me know they're reading along with me.

"Okay, the title of this book is 'Alexander and the Super Duper Silly Happy Fun Day'"
"NO?! It says, 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day'"
"That can't be right. I'm sure it said 'Alexander and the Super Duper Silly Happy Fun Day.' After all, Daddy never gets anything wrong."
"BUT it says RIGHT THERE..."

The best part of being a parent is making them laugh and giggle and snort and getting to laugh along with them.

LOVED this blog entry. Thanks so much for posting it.
posted by zarq at 5:50 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]


20. THEY’RE BASICALLY PROTO-TEENAGERS

I’m older, now, but not so old I forget what my teenage years were like. Let’s see… inexplicable behavior? Check. Surly for no reason? Yep. Unpredictably disrespectful? Mm-hmm. What else seems familiar… needy? Tantrums? Hungry all the time? Solipsistic egotists? Toddlers are just unformed teenagers. Which means I’m going to see this behavior again in ten years, yay.


This. So. Hard.

-- Father of a 13-year-old girl
posted by briank at 5:53 AM on March 26 [13 favorites]


Mother of a going-on thirteen year old girl: Oh, yeah. Y'all just wait. JUST WAIT.
posted by jfwlucy at 6:11 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


I can only feel pity for the childless people who will never, ever experience anything like this.

If you feel that declarations of love are enough to make up for everything else, great, I'm glad you decided to have kids. I'm glad some people read these sorts of things and find it amusing or endearing or ultimately worth it. I read this sort of thing and the place it hits is "nightmare made flesh". Would probably still do it if I had a partner to whom it was really important if they were willing to run interference on at least half of this, but as long as it's just me, it's not going to hit "worth it" unless the secret joy of toddlers turns out to be that they periodically lay gold eggs. I am relatively good at dealing with irrational people who are old enough to communicate their feelings in reasonably adult dialogue, but take that away and I find the notion petrifying.
posted by Sequence at 6:30 AM on March 26 [12 favorites]


(sigh) We should have just gotten another cat.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 6:41 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


held his breath in rage until he passed out

Wait, you can do that? I wish I'd known that at age 3.


Pff. Amateur hour. I wish I'd known Google was one day going to be $1150 a share when I was 3.
posted by Naberius at 6:43 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Sarah & Duck for the win.
posted by jbickers at 6:53 AM on March 26


three blind mice: "I can only feel pity for the childless people who will never, ever experience anything like this. "

Uhh, what? I am not a parent yet have experienced something like this. Plenty of intentionally childless people have kids in their lives who they love.
posted by desuetude at 6:58 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


She's still a terrible liar. I often struggle with the temptation to teach her to lie better.
I did this. The Jury haven't come to a decision on whether it was a good idea, but lets just say not one of them looked at me when they filed back in to court.
I can only feel pity for the childless people who will never, ever experience anything like this.
We took the decision to not have kids, then spectacularly failed at achieving said goal.
But as wonderful as my daughter is, I admire people who make that decision because they've thought longer and harder about it than 90% of the parents I've met. If you think the love of a child is some sort of unachievable pinnacle of human emotion then I'm sorry but you're as myopic as those people who say having a cat is the same as having a child.
posted by fullerine at 7:02 AM on March 26 [11 favorites]


My due date is next Friday and I am currently stuck in a rocking chair with my five month old nephew who just just just fell asleep after screaming his little face off for an hour. Bring on the toddler years, please. PLEASE.
posted by lydhre at 7:04 AM on March 26


[Needless to say: fine to talk about having kids, fine to talk about not having kids. General up/down referendum on becoming a parent though? Given the fraught history of that specific flavour of discussion here on MeFi I think it's fair to kindly and pre-emptively suggest sending that particular derail straight to bed AND NO XBOX. Thanks!]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:09 AM on March 26 [29 favorites]


Total side note, but I'm pretty sure Curious George is M. mulatta.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:09 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Apparently when my brother was little it was really tough reading Curious George books to him because he identified so strongly with George that whenever George got in trouble my brother just Could Not Handle It as the whole thing was all too painful and real for him.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:13 AM on March 26 [14 favorites]


Toddlers are Proto-Teenagers.

Actual conversation with my 2-year-old this week:

"Momma, I'm a little despondent."

"What's wrong?"

"I don't want to talk about it. Can I have some ice cream?"

Mine is fairly tame by toddler standards. Not much by way of yelling or chaos. But oh, the manipulation. Last night, we had an epic bedtime battle. We have friends visiting and she Just. Did. Not. Want. To. Sleep. After an hour of evasion and meltdowns, she's finally quiet in bed. I think I'm home free. But as I'm making my escape to dinner, she sits up, looks at me with her big toddler eyes, and says, slowly and carefully, "Mama, I really love you and wish that you would stay forever."
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:16 AM on March 26 [15 favorites]


"BEWILDERING LEAPS IN INTELLIGENCE" – one of my favorite experiences of living with toddlers.
posted by studentbaker at 7:20 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


That's the thing, it's bewildering leaps in intelligence followed immediately by "how did that thing that I desperately hope is not poop get on the wall again?"
posted by delfin at 7:23 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


My mother always said that at this age Cute & Profound>Maddeningly Unpleasant, so as you are charmed enough not to kill them. Thankfully you remember enough of the profound cuteness that you still love them as teenagers.

I hold in my heart beautiful moments from each of my kids toddler years (man was the imaginary friend 'Frank the Contractor' fun). It starts with the week my oldest was first putting sentences together about 18 months. One morning she came out of my room with a bra around her neck dragging behind her on the floor. To her this meant we were now equals and she kept it on all day, chattering away to me as if we were both adults with SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT. Also NO HIGH CHAIR OR NAPS OR PLAYPEN WITH A BRA ON, NO SIRREE!
posted by readery at 7:24 AM on March 26 [18 favorites]


Oh, Mrs Pterodactyl, same bra wearing child was inconsolable when George hit the rock and broke his bicycle. She was so drawn to that picture but it tore her in knots. Had to hide the book for a bit.
posted by readery at 7:27 AM on March 26


Imagine trying to wrestle an angry octopus, and you get the idea.

Yes, indeed I do. This is a very evocative analogy.
posted by kiltedtaco at 7:35 AM on March 26


God, it is refreshing to see someone who gets that the Curious George cartoon is about the best preschool TV out there. I think I'd take it over Sesame Street. Ok, so it's a total bastardization of the books, but have you read the books lately? They're disturbing, weird, and kind of racist in a way that I can't put my finger on. Like Africa is a savage place that exists for the white man to take what he needs.

Anyway, here's my cute toddler story, something that happened just yesterday. Toddler Bartfast is fascinated by my coffee drinking ritual, every morning reading the news on the iPad, eating breakfast, sipping coffee for half an hour. He's always saying "hot coffee!" and wants to blow on the cup and pretend to drink it. So yesterday I sit down as always to my coffee and eggs and google news when I hear Older Son calling to me from upstairs and I go up to check on him. When I return 5 minutes later, Toddler is sitting in my chair with a toy wooden coffee cup and he's already finished my breakfast and he's pretend sipping while swiping the iPad.

So yeah, they are learning they are not gods, but they also are discovering their parents are even bigger gods and they think every little thing you do is amazing!
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:37 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


The moment I became comfortable with the idea of having children was being told by my girlfriend, who is in the midst of a developmental psychology PhD, that two years old is the "little scientist" stage. They're not little shits trying to break all your possessions, they're learning the laws of physics. That's fascinating.
posted by Turkey Glue at 7:45 AM on March 26 [9 favorites]


If you can't see the joy in being a parent - despite the challenges - you're doing it all wrong.

One of the many joys of being an adult is not being obligated to care when other people tell you how you're supposed to feel. I know how I feel, and my feelings are not less valid than yours. While it would be easy to accuse people of faking it when they tell me that parenting is an unalloyed pleasure, I don't, because I don't have access to their inner lives. For me it has its joys, but parenting is often a miserable, thankless job. This is something I didn't expect and, frankly, could not have known before I became a parent myself. The alternatives are to laugh about it or to cry, and I (usually) choose laughter. Telling people having a hard time of it that they're "doing it all wrong" by coping with their feelings with gentle joking is cruel.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:55 AM on March 26 [22 favorites]


My first child was so easy to reason with or distract at this age. My second one ... I just don't even.

Same here.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:42 PM on March 25 [+] [!]


So I actually spent a long car ride yesterday pondering the fact that the second child of basically all my friends and relatives has been waaaay more difficult than the first. Every time we get an AskMe about whether the OP should have another kid I want to bring this up, but it seems like the kind of thing where everyone will start yelling confirmation bias. But the more I look around, the truer it seems to be. I don't have kids myself and thus have no insight into why this might be but if any parents have a theory I sure would be interested to hear it.
posted by HotToddy at 8:16 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


The 25-point list would have been different, had he been the parent of a girl child.

Maybe if he had been the parent of your particular girl. My daughter's toddler years were a revelation, as in, "Now I know why some species eat their young." She was the second-born, the first being a boy. His toddler years? Easy peasy.
posted by cooker girl at 8:16 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


First, here is a piece of advice when you have a young child (in my mind a toddler is a child for which walking is still a novelty): write down the shit they say and save it. Your sleep-deprived, tantrum-addled brain will not be able to remember what s/he says and it is worth it.

Second, I recall at around 18 months my son threw a tantrum that was a drop-and-flail. Since I'm a firm believer in tantrums don't work unless they have an engaged audience, I stepped away and sat down to read. 45 minutes. It was 45 minutes of screaming and yelling and kicking and flailing until, like a scaled up hex-bug robot, he wedged himself into a corner banging he head on the wall every time he flailed his limbs.

Third, you develop coping skills, especially for the crap you hate doing because if you can't laugh at the ridiculousness of this existential drama, it will eat you alive. For about a year, when I changed my son's diaper before heading to daycare, I wrote a love note to nobody on the from in Sharpie. When I grew tired of reading Curious George (by the way, Man in the Yellow Hat? Watch your fucking pet. Everything that he does is your fucking fault because you hardly set boundaries and you sure as hell don't enforce them), I started to read them like I was narrating a Sam Spade work.

Fourth, nearly every year gets better and better in terms of what you see develop and what you can do with your child. Seriously. It's awesome. I love taking my kids out on one-on-one "dates" and try to do so at least once a month. Mrs. Plinth took our daughter to a play that my son had absolutely 0 interest in, so instead we went out for a businessman's dinner, which included a brief period for old business and new business.
posted by plinth at 8:19 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


So I actually spent a long car ride yesterday pondering the fact that the second child of basically all my friends and relatives has been waaaay more difficult than the first.

Second comment and then I'm done. They're just different. For all the trouble my daughter (2nd) gave us when she was a toddler, she was a ridiculously easy baby, the tween years were fine, and she's turning 14 next month and is pretty much perfection personified (don't worry, I've never told her that). My son (1st) was a difficult baby, easy toddler, made me want to run away to a tropical island between the ages of 5-12, and has been pretty easy-going since then.

They are their own people, for sure, and those personalities change throughout the years.
posted by cooker girl at 8:19 AM on March 26


hey're not little shits trying to break all your possessions, they're learning the laws of physics.
posted by Turkey Glue at 10:45 AM on March 26


...by breaking all of your possessions! That doesn't sound fascinating to me--that sounds both rage-inducing and expensive!

I admire all parents who can put up with it. God bless you all, you're amazing human beings.
posted by magstheaxe at 8:21 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


A little over a decade ago, I asked fellow mefites; "What have I brought upon the earth? Dear god, I've given birth to an Elder God, why is it destroying everything?" And fellow mefites laughed and shared their toddler stories, and we all climbed down off the exhausted ledge. But now that my son is a tween, and has felt the first irrational surges of hormonal adolescence, I'm beginning to remember the toddler years fondly...
posted by dejah420 at 8:37 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


8. NOT ALL CHILDREN’S BOOKS ARE CREATED EQUALLY, EITHER

We got a copy of "The Poky Little Puppy" because it was my sister's favorite book as a child, and holy mother, it is TERRIBLE. Long, repetitive, boring. I don't know how my mother survived it. That said, I rather enjoy "Hop on Pop", which is good, because I pretty much have it memorized these days.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:41 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


I wish I could skip around time, because I want to know what kind of person my daughter is going to become, but I don't want her to stop being a kid just yet, either.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:42 AM on March 26 [4 favorites]


I love "Fox in Socks". My daughter challenges me to read it faster every night.
Through three cheese trees three free fleas flew.
While these fleas flew, freezy breeze blew.
Freezy breeze made these three trees freeze.
Freezy trees made these trees' cheese freeze.
That's what made these three free fleas sneeze.
One day I'll get it.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:43 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


The first rule I've come up with on my own is: anything that belongs to the kid is boring. Anything that does not belong to him must be a totally bitchin' toy.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:47 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Goodnight Moon and Dr Seuss are great. OK, sure, yes Goodnight Moon is kinda creepy and possibly "Lynch-ian" but David Lynch is also awesome. And Dr Seuss is silly and imaginative and fun to read, with excellent illustrations. This guy is wrong on kid's books.

A lot of this list has me bracing myself. My daughter is just over 16 months and has been nothing but smiles and giggles and fun so far. She dances to my dub playlist and the Clash, with a huge smile on her face. She loves her books, runs up to me with one and says "up" and just wants to sit in my lap while I read to her, over and over. She is still not at all interested in TV. She puts up very little fuss when it's bedtime, and in the mornings we can hear her babbling and singing over the baby monitor. She even loves to brush her (few) teeth! I know at some point there's going to be some frustration, but so far so good. I was prepared for much worse, and frankly most of our friends and relatives had a more trying first year than we had.

It's a lot of work, daycare is expensive, she tries to eat stuff off the floor that's not food, and yeah it's messy, but that little goof is a lot of fun and it's been great to watch her grow. I feel like she's probably saving all the bad stuff for when she's 2.
posted by Hoopo at 8:47 AM on March 26 [5 favorites]


if any parents have a theory I sure would be interested to hear it.
From my second-hand experience.

The first seems ok because you have no idea how bad it is going to get.
The second you already know, so those initial horrors are not mitigated by blissful ignorance.
By the time the third comes along you just don't give a fuck as long as they're safe and quiet.

Disclaimer : Only had one ourselves, mainly because I couldn't see how on earth I could possibly love another child as much as I love my daughter.
posted by fullerine at 8:51 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


People who enjoy this combination of subject and writing style would probably also like Jeff Vogel's Story About the Baby and Story About the Toddler.
posted by roystgnr at 8:59 AM on March 26


The moment I became comfortable with the idea of having children was being told by my girlfriend, who is in the midst of a developmental psychology PhD, that two years old is the "little scientist" stage. They're not little shits trying to break all your possessions, they're learning the laws of physics. That's fascinating.

And depending on how you tweak them, it never stops, but they learn to measure their results. :P
posted by tilde at 9:05 AM on March 26


“Thomas the Tank Engine and Blaine the Mono in SODOR AND GOMORRAH.”

Hahahaha. Blaine the Mono is all I can think of when I see Thomas and Friends. Is there an episode where they tell each other riddles? That would be awesome.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:05 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


I can only feel pity for the childless people who will never, ever experience anything like this.

I am childless, but I have some very close friends with a 2.5 year old little guy who I love so much. And the little guy is quite fond of me as well. When he reaches his arms out and says "up".....and I pick him up and he gives me a strong hug and says "i make your boo boos all better" my eyes get a little watery. That is the closest I will come to feeling the love of a child and it is indeed a gift. And I am grateful to his parents for allowing me to get close enough to experience those feelings.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 9:07 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Reading this article made me limp with relief that we're through with this stage until we become grandparents. We too had the proverbial easy first child so we thought we were ace parents. Then along came number 2. Unlike Eyebrows McGee's kid ours would do the not eating until she passed out rather than not breathing. At 21 she still can't be out-stubborned but it's a strength as an adult rather than the immense challenge it was when she was little. And oh yeah -the third kid - the one who got away with murder because we were just.too.tired.

Toddlers are amazing - fun, exhausting little creators of chaos. We used to score temper tantrums like you'd score skating routines....
posted by leslies at 9:12 AM on March 26


As the parent of an 8-month-old I am quaking in my fucking boots.

As the parent of a 6 week old, this sounds like an improvement.
posted by bizzyb at 9:23 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


My favorite sociopath thing that my sister has overheard her children saying:
M, aged 4: Let's go play with this on the stairs.
G, aged 3: Mom said we're not supposed to!
M: (whisper, exasperated) We don't have to tell them.
posted by something something at 9:33 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


Timely, as mine just turned two today.
My granddaughter turned 2 this morning as well. I was watching her while reading this. I was finding it cynical up to around #12 or so, and then gave him a little slack. My granddaughter is in full two-hood, but it doesn't sound like his kid. Then again, boys that age seem much more prone to do the coked-up lemur bit.
posted by MtDewd at 9:36 AM on March 26


I don't know about Goodnight Moon, but Goodnight Dune is legitimately Lynchian.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:40 AM on March 26 [7 favorites]


Way creepier than Goodnight Moon is Love You Forever

The mother sings to her sleeping baby, and rocks and holds him every night as he grows, including when he's a grown man with a family and she drives a cross town with a ladder to climb in his window and cuddle. Other people find it heartwarming. We hid it in the trash.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 9:50 AM on March 26 [19 favorites]


Also way better than Goodnight Moon is Goodnight Goon, which my daughter loves.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:54 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Childless. Totally happy with that. Better for me, better for potential child who would be subjected to two parents struggling with mental health issues, better for my partner, better for my cats, better for everyone. Love other people's kids; love my childless life just as much. Feel free to save the pity for others, either childless or child-having, who are not happy with the side of the coin they ended up on.

That said, it was clear to me that the article was written with a great deal of love and joy about parenting, and was not negative at all. I'm not sure how you get from that article to that reading of it.

This was a lot of fun to read, and I'm also having lots of fun reading my child-having friends' delighted reactions to it. Thank you for posting it!
posted by Stacey at 9:56 AM on March 26 [8 favorites]


I've suddenly remembered a moment from when my niece was two, at the wedding of one of my cousins. Everyone had all booked rooms at the one same hotel on Long Island, near the wedding venue, and we'd all been bused to the reception hall. Sometime during dinner, my niece started to have a bit of a meltdown, and my brother and sister-in-law took her out of the room for a while - and while they were out there, suddenly my sister-in-law remembered that her own parents were about a ten-minute drive away. She called them and explained the situation; could they maybe take care of my niece just during the reception? They'd do her one better, they said - they'd take my niece in for the whole night.

About a half hour later, brother and SOL came back to the reception with a little bit of a gleam in their eye. It was a gleam that grew brighter as the evening wore on. I didn't think of what it may be coming from until we were getting ready to go back to the hotel, and I suggested to my brother that I come grab them from their room when I was about to go get breakfast at the hotel so we could eat together. My brother hesitated, then quietly told me, "Okay, look - this is the first night in a very long time that my wife and I have not had to worry about our two-year-old. So - I love you, but I will not want to see you tomorrow morning."

Message received. Although I did leave a note for them at the hotel front desk stating that I hope they'd had a very pleasant morning.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:57 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]


HotToddy: "So I actually spent a long car ride yesterday pondering the fact that the second child of basically all my friends and relatives has been waaaay more difficult than the first. ... But the more I look around, the truer it seems to be. I don't have kids myself and thus have no insight into why this might be but if any parents have a theory I sure would be interested to hear it."

There are definitely stages I was braced for with my second one, that were hard with my first, and the second one just skipped them, and I was like, "Huh. I had no idea how hard that thing was to go through with the first, because it was just my baseline of normal." The things that were easy with #1 stand out as a SHOCK with #2 when they're hard because I never had to cope with it before! My first one went through a phase starting at about 18 months when he first learned to walk where he took off ALL THE TIME and climbed EVERYTHING disassembled everything in reach and kept trying to use the floor ducts in the house as Jeffreys tubes and could take off his diaper and would poop on things and then put the poop in strange places and everything was awful all the time (and I was pregnant and had pneumonia) and there was secret poop everywhere and we spent six months duct-taping him into his diaper, I am not even kidding, and one time he moved furniture and disassembled a second-floor window and was crawling out onto the roof stark naked in the middle of the night and basically we couldn't even leave him alone in his CRIB. And I just thought, that's what all parents go through, so I was ALL READY FOR THAT with child #2, and he just skipped that phase completely -- nicely held hands, informed me "stinky butt, mommy!" when he pooped, left his clothes on, stayed in his crib, has not required duct tape at any point. On the flip side, #1 was easy to reason with once he was about 2 1/2 and getting into tantrum phase, and #2 is a tiny little terrorist when thwarted now that he's at that age and I just do not even know how to cope with this because #1, I just offered him a different train or gave him a hug and tantrum over!

Which is a long way of saying, they're different at different phases, and the things that were easy with #1 but hard with #2 definitely stand out because you've mostly got this parenting thing going pretty well, but suddenly it's like ENTIRELY NEW PARENTING CHALLENGE THAT I AM UNPREPARED TO HANDLE!

Hoopo: "A lot of this list has me bracing myself. My daughter is just over 16 months and has been nothing but smiles and giggles and fun so far. "

No, toddlers are really great fun. They go through bad phases but they are just phases, and phases are so short in kids. Toddlers are good buddies because they like to spend time with you and they think everything is interesting. Today we went to the hardware store for hooks and my toddler was like, "WE ARE AT THE SHOP, MOMMY! GET A HOOK!" and he was super-excited. They are fun to go through life with because they see everything with such fresh eyes and can express their ideas now, often in hilarious ways.

I am sure if I were writing this comment between 4:30 and 6 p.m. this evening, I would be talking about selling my children on e-bay because they will predictably be nightmares for that 90 minutes, but the rest of the day they're pretty charming and amusing and fun to be with.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:01 AM on March 26 [26 favorites]


All of life is a parade toward death

I'm gonna try that one out on the next toddler I interact with.

I've had good luck with "at my house, we call sugar 'white death'" and "yes, you're right that smoking is bad, but what is WAY worse is criticizing adults."

In context, of course.

Besides life being a parade toward death is true and, with perspective, quite lovely.
posted by janey47 at 10:02 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Secret poop everywhere.


I'm sorry, I just had to.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:06 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]



All of life is a parade toward death

I'm gonna try that one out on the next toddler I interact with.


One of my favorite moments of interaction with an upper-toddler-range-end nephew:

"Uncle Drastic? What things make you die?" Piped up utterly out of the blue.

"Um." Recalibrating! "Well, a few things..." And there followed a short discussion about the importance of the brain and it both staying intact and needing oxygen.

Minutes later I was committing great cruelty by making him not chew on a board game.
posted by Drastic at 10:08 AM on March 26


My second one ... I just don't even.

Same here.


What is it with that second one? First one was quiet and docile, even hated getting his hands dirty in anything. Second one prefers to be bathing in mud whenever possible. In the past week he has jumped/fallen down the basement stairs and also done a face plant onto the sidewalk. Starting to look like Rocky Balboa after a fight. This morning he was trying to stand on and ride a mini finger skateboard down the hallway. Won't even be 2 for another couple of months.
posted by Kabanos at 10:12 AM on March 26


The toddler conversations are the best though.

7:15 am. Kabanos Jr. walks into the kitchen.

Jr: Do you know that a macaw, when you say something to it, it says it back? It repeats it?
Me: That's right.
Jr:
Jr: Do animals die?
Me:[panicking, trying to stay calm and casual] …Yes?
Jr: Do cats die?
Me: …um, Yes…
Jr: When Yoda [family cat] dies, can we get a macaw?
posted by Kabanos at 10:22 AM on March 26 [27 favorites]


I miss my two-year-old kids the most. And that's including the one who had two or more forty-five minute night tantrums almost every night until he was four (second kid - most difficult by far all the way from day one until he left for school this morning). It's so cool seeing them figure out rules for how the world works. It's nice having kids who can communicate and sleep and mostly function on their own, and who only occasionally respond to discipline attempts by screaming, throwing things, or going limp on the floor, but age two is so much more fun. They invest 100% of what they've got into every activity, and you can just watch as that squawking, squirming blob of poop turns into an actual person. With its own thoughts and feelings and sense of humor. Also, the kind of melt-into-you cuddles that leave all other cuddles behind in the dust.

I always liked Goodnight Moon, and it is probably the least Lynchian of the books by Margaret Wise Brown. The Runaway Bunny and Mister Dog creep me right the fuck out. Love You Forever, however is the worst book in the world. Not only is there a creepy stalker-mom who dies at the end, but it actually gives kids who might not have thought of it the idea of flushing mom's watch down the toilet. Kids do not need extra inspiration to flush inappropriate things down the toilet. Of course all four of my kids loved it.
posted by Dojie at 10:24 AM on March 26


The people I feel sorry for are people with no empathy skills at all, whose outward selfishness would be disastrous if they had children. And, if I ever have a house party, those are the people I would invite so that I could troll them with the pre-K children of other guests.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:28 AM on March 26 [1 favorite]


As someone who does not yet have kids, my favorite part is the learning about lying. Because it's so clear that they understand cause and effect with regard to speech pretty early. And then at some point they get that you can say things that aren't true. "Holy shit," says the little person, "I can get whatever I want"

But they don't yet have the idea that some things that aren't true could be and others can't. And so you get things like "I have 200 uncles. They are all in the NBA." (True story)

And it is hilarious whether you play along or not.
posted by PMdixon at 10:54 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


As a parent with two young adults (one 21, the other 17), I'm just chuckling. Because they grow up to be very, very similar to what they were like as toddlers. So some of you on this thread? Oh, dear lord...you have no idea what's coming.
posted by Kokopuff at 10:54 AM on March 26 [3 favorites]


Eyebrows, that is the funniest thing I've read maybe ever. I am not a parent by choice, but I'd read a book about your parenting experiences in a heartbeat.

Duct tape.

Thanks for the post - I enjoyed even as a child free person.
posted by Punctual at 11:00 AM on March 26


I can only feel pity for the childless people who will never, ever experience anything like this.

I'm child-free for now but I'll never forget the time that my goddaughter was running to give me a hug and half-ran/half-tripped-and-fell into my arms. She was maybe 18 months and had ticked off the world's most patient dog by mixing up "gently petting" with "thumping in the head with all of your strength." But that hug made my heart grow. And it has continued to grow when I see her. It grew when we walked around the frozen yogurt shop and she went down the list of about 78 flavors, telling me which ones she has tried and whether she liked them or not. It grew when we went to a hockey game and, after telling her which team I liked, she first said she was going to root for the other team "to be fair," then switched to cheering for my team towards the end because she didn't want me to be sad.

We're not blood relatives but I love having her in my life. Feel pity for me if you please but there are plenty of better alternatives.
posted by kat518 at 11:02 AM on March 26 [10 favorites]


Nice article - very nice thread here too. Still smiling. What is with that beastly Love You Forever book though? Creeped me right out.
posted by glasseyes at 11:04 AM on March 26


Our second child has definitely been more adventurous and what the experts euphemistically call "high-spirited." My own pet, just-so theory for why that might be is that second children can see their older siblings are still alive and well after who knows how many years, and so they figure their parents must be pretty skilled at keeping kids alive, which makes them more willing to take risks. Either way, our first child lulled us into a false sense of parenting competency. Our second has made us feel like over-age newbies.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:05 AM on March 26 [2 favorites]


(Sorry for any confusion; that was in response to the talk a little up-thread about second kids being more challenging.)
posted by saulgoodman at 11:24 AM on March 26


O: mommy, where's my grandpa?
Me: he's in heaven
O: that's far away. (silence)
O: mommy?
M: uh uh?
O: my grandpa is your daddy.
M: yes sweetie
O; hmm.
O: mommy?
M: yes?
O: where's my daddy?
M: I think he's watching tv in the living room.
O: oh ok. (Silence )
O: mommy?
M: (rolling my eyes) yes moo moo? (her nickname)
O: your daddy is in heaven?
M: yes moo
O: oh ok
O: I can share.
M: share what?
O: I share my daddy with you ok? It's good to share
M: aw thank you moo moo
O: then I get a quarter for sharing.
M: !!!

I love my little capitalist terrorist!
posted by ramix at 11:26 AM on March 26 [59 favorites]


Just to put it in perspective my second child is docile, self entertaining, easily comforted, and never ever refuses a snuggle. My first child, who by the way is my favorite child without reservation, is devious and destructive. The only difference between him and a super villain is the lack of henchmen and since starting school, he's well on his way.

my retirement plan is to live off the worlds supply of gold and uranium stockpiled in his underground volcano hideout
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:47 AM on March 26 [6 favorites]


I used to think I didn't want children, and that I would be perfectly happy as an uncle. But then my brother had children -- three little boys -- and I have spent a fair amount of time, and my feelings are changing.

I'm not sure I even want to be an uncle anymore.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:38 PM on March 26 [27 favorites]


I am not even kidding, and one time he moved furniture and disassembled a second-floor window and was crawling out onto the roof stark naked in the middle of the night and basically we couldn't even leave him alone in his CRIB

Oh man, this reminds me of this one neighbor kid I babysat years ago. Super bright--frighteningly bright--and at about 18 months old or so was figuring out stuff most 4 year olds I know haven't hacked yet.

She was so adept at escaping from her crib that her parents had to install a crib cage. (For those of you unfamiliar, it's like a pop-up tent that fastens down on top of the crib, with a zip flap to open and close.) They also had a night vision baby monitor that was hooked up to a tiny TV monitor so you could watch her. Maybe this is normal these days?? but back in 2000 or so when it was going on, this was a pretty big deal.

Anyway, parents informed me that after I put her to bed I could do whatever I wanted, but I needed to check back in on that screen vigilantly to make sure she was still in her crib. Every time I'd look at it, I'd just see her glowing little eyes staring right back at me. Like some kind of big African cat on the hunt. Every once in a while I'd look and she'd be hanging upside down from the crossbars of the cage, which the parents assured me was fine and normal. But mostly she just sat there staring at the camera, watching.

And then at one point I looked and she was gone. I couldn't see her in the crib, she wasn't hanging from the bars, nothing. I ran up to her room to look, and she was sitting on top of the changing table (behind the camera setup) pulling baby wipes out of the container and throwing them up into the air. The crib cage was still zipped up, and there weren't any gaps or openings anywhere. Terrifying.
posted by phunniemee at 12:50 PM on March 26 [50 favorites]


The saying I've always heard is that your first kid is cute and cuddly and easy in order to trick you into having another one.
posted by LizBoBiz at 1:21 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


No, toddlers are really great fun. They go through bad phases but they are just phases, and phases are so short in kids.

One of my best friends runs a day care and sometimes regales me with stories. One of my favorites was when two of the two-year-old boys were having a total screaming fight, and for some reason she put on Fisherman's Blues to distract them and within seconds they were dancing to it, arms around each others' shoulders in full-on "I love you, man" bro mode.

History does not record whether it ever worked that well again, but I've been sending her lots of Waterboys and Great Big Sea for gifts ever since.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:26 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


Every horror story about kids is so hilarious when they aren't your problem. This thread is just a joy for me to read until I remember that I actually like the parents in this community.

This is also why I make a bad uncle because every escape attempt or brilliant use of kid logic that frustrates parents forces me to suppress a smile or high five.

Way creepier than Goodnight Moon is Love You Forever

The mother sings to her sleeping baby, and rocks and holds him every night as he grows, including when he's a grown man with a family and she drives a cross town with a ladder to climb in his window and cuddle. Other people find it heartwarming. We hid it in the trash.


Oh God, my mom and I were both given this book when I went away for high school at 15 by a well-meaning someone who apparently decided it was a good idea to stoke the very mixed feelings my mother had over her eldest child not just leaving home but leaving home a few years before she had always planned. And we both cried and cried over it.

As an adult, I am unashamed to admit, even though maybe I should be, that I actually love my mother tons more than my teenage self did. But we can barely be bothered to text or like each others Facebook messages, let alone imagine a time when we'd cry over stalking each other like in a way that we once found so endearing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:28 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: Fisherman's Blues

Every kid I know that has heard that song becomes entranced by it...

MCMikeNamara: Every horror story about kids is so hilarious when they aren't your problem.

Ehn, half the time when my daughter was being a little terror I had to bite my cheek to keep from laughing at how adorable her evil was. Horrible kids are often hilarious even in the moment.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:29 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


My eldest just wiped her baby sister's face with the toilet cleaning rag.
Right after stuffing the rag into a power outlet.
And that happened right after she grabbed a handful of poopy cat litter and fed it into the humidifier.
And that happened after I found her sitting on top of the cat's climbing post, having pushed the cat off.

Within half an hour.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:35 PM on March 26 [9 favorites]


Okay, so funny we couldn't punish her:

The last time my daughter didn't come out of the bedroom once avoid bedtime was about four months ago. We could hear her doing SOMETHING in there, but going in is a trick that she takes as proof it's not actually bedtime. This goes on for a half-hour, when finally we hear her say, "Mom, Dad, I need help."

We go in and see:
  • Her, stripped out of her footie jammies, except for one foot that was stuck
  • with her overnight diaper down around her ankles
  • standing on her bed in a puddle of her own urine
  • covered head to foot in Desitin.
We just stare at her, and she holds her foot up and says, "I'm stuck."
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:50 PM on March 26 [20 favorites]


These stories get funnier and funnier the more comments you read!
posted by Omnomnom at 1:52 PM on March 26


Once my two-year-old picked up the cat's litterbox and spun in a circle, flinging cat poop, pee, and litter a full 360 degrees around himself onto medium-pile carpet. I was at work when this happened, and I am glad that I was told about it via text message from my husband, because he would have really resented it if he knew how hard I laughed when I read it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:04 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Copied and pasted from my now-defunct livejournal, almost five years ago:

I was looking after my friend Jessica's daughter Moira today. Moira is four months older than Lillian; she'll be three at the end of June, and she and Lillian are really good friends. Moira is also all but potty-trained now. She typically goes all day without an accident, but Jessica sent her to my house with a pull-up under her underpants anyway, just anticipating that a new place might cause some regression.

Moira was doing a great job getting on the potty and doing her thing, and Lillian was even QUITE interested, which was awesome. At one point she decided she wanted to go -- we'd taken the potty seat off and put it on the big potty as an adapter, because that's what Moira is used to -- and so she took off her boots, and her pants, and her diaper, and climbed up on the potty for ten seconds, and then announced "All done!" and went on her merry way. The day had started off cold but by this time it was like 65 degrees so I didn't hustle her to get her boots back on.

About an hour later, after we'd had storytime, I smelled something whiffy and checked Lillian's diaper. Yep, poopy. So I went to change her, leaving Moira looking through a picture book, and discovered the most amazing diaper ever. This was, like, an eleven-wipe diaper. I'm not sure how, but there was gooey, sticky poop all down her inner thighs to her knees. so I snicked the diaper out from under her and began piling wipes up in it as I scraped the crap off her body, trying not to get any on anything. Of course, Lillian was squirming and wriggling everywhere.

Then Moira said "Kaffryn! I need to use the potty!!!"

"Aaaaa!" I said. "Um, can you do it yourself, or do you need my help?"

"I do it myself!" said Moira, which was really fortunate because the wipes had chosen that moment to clump together in the package, so that I was trying to shake them apart with gravity with one hand while holding Lillian's ankles up off the bed with the other hand, and keeping her hands out of the poop with one ankle and the force of my will. Finally I got her all squeegeed off and a new diaper on her, just in time for Moira to say "Oh no, I stuck!!"

So I tried my best to get the crapsack diaper into a puck to throw it out, but there was poop literally all over it. I grabbed what I thought was an empty plastic bag to put it into, but it was full of Sesame Street I can read it! books, so I had to shake those out all over the floor with one hand and my teeth. That accomplished, I thrust the diaper into the bag, twisted it shut, held my disgusting hand up over my head so as not to touch anything, and barged into the bathroom. "What is it, honey?"

"Kaffryn! I stuck in my underpants!"

OK, great. I wiped my hand off on a towel, making a mental note to have it burned later. Sure enough, Moira had gotten her pants off but her undies were stuck on her shoes, so I helped her negotiate the underpants over those while she started to get her pull-up down.

At this exact moment, a huge, perfectly formed turd fell out of her pull-up and plopped directly into Lillian's boot.

I felt a tiny piece of my soul leave my body.

Moira turned her gorgeous, innocent face to me, eyes like saucers, and said "Oh no! There's poop in those boots there! That's dirty!"

I bit my tongue and said evenly, "Yes, Moira. That is indeed an event which has just occurred."

"How did that get in there?"

"Well, I suppose through a combination of biology and gravity."

"Oh." A beat. "Can I have some privacy please? I need to use the potty."

I managed to squeak out "Of course you can, honey!" before grabbing the boot and walking out, past Lillian's room, leaving behind the cries of "Oh! My boots! I want boots on!" to go empty the boot into the toilet. On the way back to the laundry room, I started to laugh and just simply could not stop. The kids found me sitting in the hallway, helpless with laughter, tears pouring down my face.
posted by KathrynT at 2:28 PM on March 26 [13 favorites]


Our 25-month-old just unlocked the prestigious One Pinto Bean in Each Nostril achievement a week or so ago. She was the proudest I've even seen her.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:12 PM on March 26 [11 favorites]


I dunno about lying but my daughter is an engaging fantasist.

On dropping her off at daycare, one of the carers enquired about the bruise on her head (a result of walking into the table).

"How did you get that bump on your head, Quynh?"

"Daddy did it," she blithely replies. I wonder if they believed me.
posted by smoke at 3:50 PM on March 26


IKEA Reataurant
Weekend
Dinnertime
Kabanos Jr suddenly has to go #2
Mad dash for washroom
Don't make it in time
No replacement undies
Oh well you can just wear your shorts and go commando
Back to Dinnertime
Kabanos Jr suddenly has to go #2 again
Mad dash for washroom
Don't make it in time
Half way across the restaurant Kabanos Jr drops a solid deuce clean and clear right down his shorts' leg and onto the floor.
Freeze.
Mrs. Kabanos swoops in with lighting speed super-mom precision and scoops up poop with napkin.
IKEA customers are none the wiser.
Dinner resumes like nothing has happened.
posted by Kabanos at 4:06 PM on March 26 [5 favorites]


Love You Forever, a book I dislike for the artwork and creepiness, is according to the authors about grief after a miscarriage, representing the life that might have been for a child lost.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:22 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]




I am somewhat ashamed that Love You Forever, for like the first year of my eldest's life, would generate tears every time. Every single time. That book is a test. Deep down, is the real you, your id, cynical or sentimental?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:40 PM on March 26


I'm sentimental and fuck you!
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:41 PM on March 26 [4 favorites]


I'm crazy-over-the-top sentimental. I've read Guess How Much I Love You to my kids hundreds of times over the last eleven years, and damnit, I have tears in my eyes right now just thinking about it. There are quite a few children's books that get to me, but that one's the worst.

But still detest Love You Forever. Even knowing the back story. Hate it hate it hate it.

Stupid Nut Brown Hare making me cry again.
posted by Dojie at 7:07 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]


LYF has that effect on me, too; I can't read it to my son without tears. Every time. My mother had the same problem.

I regret nothing.
posted by ChrisR at 10:04 PM on March 26 [2 favorites]


My crying-every-time-I-read-it book is "I Love You, Little One" by Nancy Tafuri. I had to go get it out of my daughter's room just so I could type this.

Deep in the woods
in a dirt-dug burrow,
a little rabbit asks,
"Do you love me Mama?

And Mama Rabbit says,
"Yes, little one,
I love you as the earth loves you,
warm and snug around you,
giving you a warm place to sleep.
I love you as the earth loves you,
forever and ever and always."


... and it goes on like that, with each little animal asking the mama animal the same question, and the lyrical responses just flow across the pages and my tears just flow down my cheeks, like small pearls, dripping onto my chest.

Kids.

At times I feel like strangling the little demons, but every once in a while there is a transcendent parenting moment that makes it mostly worthwhile.
posted by math at 6:08 AM on March 27 [7 favorites]


Oh man. For me it's On the Night You Were Born. Cannot read without getting all verklempt.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:14 AM on March 27


"Momma, I'm a little despondent."

"What's wrong?"

"I don't want to talk about it. Can I have some ice cream?"


I too am despondent. Is there any ice cream left?
posted by scalefree at 4:03 PM on March 27


The saying I've always heard is that your first kid is cute and cuddly and easy in order to trick you into having another one.

As the mother of a child who was a demon as a toddler, I agree. She's an only child.
posted by Margalo Epps at 3:45 PM on March 28 [1 favorite]


This week's This American Life episode is about really badly-behaved kids, and included this lovely quote from Yale psychologist Paul Bloom: "Families survive the Terrible Twos because toddlers aren’t strong enough to kill with their hands."
posted by Mchelly at 4:15 PM on March 31 [4 favorites]


I listened to that TAL episode yesterday. The story of the mom who's afraid that her one son will harm or even kill herself, or her two other children is terrifying. Somehow we need to provide much better support to families in that situation. When she described how calm and relaxed her children were when her son had to stay in the hospital for a few days to have his medications adjusted, it struck me that she and her two other kids are probably suffering from PTSD. Only not the "Post" part so much as its ongoing and will be for God only knows how long.
posted by marsha56 at 5:24 AM on April 1


As a father of a toddler I would like to emphatically state that Peppa Pig is on 24 hours a day in my own personal hell.

[Once seen cannot be unseen warning]












Personally I find her entire family's resemblance to a cock and balls scrawled on a pub dunny wall highly amusing. Papa Pig particularly, which seems apt.
posted by flabdablet at 9:26 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Kids.

At times I feel like strangling the little demons, but every once in a while there is a transcendent parenting moment that makes it mostly worthwhile.


You can spot other parents by their wry smiles at the way you chose to include the word "mostly" there.
posted by flabdablet at 9:28 AM on April 2


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