Babies suck. Toddlers suck. Preschoolers really suck. Oh sure, there’s some joy in there too, but each stage comes with new milestones that you can’t wait for them to reach, and then you’re eating your words. Don’t believe me? Either you don’t have a toddler yet or you’re in denial.
1) Mobility. You spend so much time carrying around this helpless little human who just wants to be in arms that you begin to long for the days they can take themselves places without you having to carry them. “Oh what a grand thing it will be to have them mobile” your naïve new-parent self says as you rub your aching back. But then it happens. And suddenly you have this little creature who takes off the second you set them down on the floor to rest your aching back. And oh look, they’re headed straight for that breakable object or piece of paper to put in their mouths or any other number of things that are NOT the millions of baby toys you brought out in hopes of entertaining them. And then they can walk. And they can REACH things now. And they learn how to RUN. And they are FASTER than you. You do laps around the house trying to catch them. You long for the days when they were in that baby carrier and unable to get into shit all the time.
2)Eating Solids. You’ve got a baby at your breast. Or you’re mixing bottles. Either way it’s a constant job just keeping them fed and happy. And you think “oh, I can’t wait until I can just set food down at the table and have them eat it, and not have to do this anymore. And then it happens. And the poop gets grosser and smells. And then you might not be changing their diapers anymore but you’re wiping their butts. And then you’re also fighting with them to EAT THE GODDAMN BREAKFAST THEY ASKED FOR BECAUSE THEY DECLARED THEY WERE HUNGRY AND ACTED LIKE YOU WERE STARVING THEM. In THEORY, they should eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. But instead they’re hungry, have a bite, then say they’re full. Then you shrug and try to take their plate. They scream that they’re hungry. You give it back. They don’t eat. A part of you dies inside and soon you hate mealtime and don’t care if your kid is eating the same apple from three hours ago because at least it will finally get eaten.
3) Talking. You long for the days when your baby stops crying/screaming and can actually tell you what’s wrong so you don’t need to guess anymore. “Oh how much easier will life be when that day comes,” you think to yourself as your baby is screaming in your ear. But then it happens and soon your kid not only knows HOW to ask for what they want, they know how to DEMAND it. They SCREAM it, and you can tell them that they can’t have what they want and it will bring on epic tantrums and “I don’t like you!” and “bad mommy!” From what I remember of my teen years, the hell is just beginning. Are we sure that King Triton didn’t secretly pay Ursulla to take Ariel’s voice? I won’t judge him harshly if he did.
4) Dressing. You spend the first 2 years trying to wrestle a squirmy baby/toddler into their clothes. It takes a lot of effort. Half the time if you’re not going anywhere you leave them in a diaper and the other half they’re in their pjs because the effort is just not worth it. And then magically one day they can dress themselves and you think “yay, less work for me.” Except they can now DRESS THEMSELVES. Wait, wasn’t that kid in a different outfit a few minutes ago? Yes, yes he was. Where is that outfit? On the floor, and the floor is dirty because he used that shirt to mop up the juice he spilled. So more laundry for you. YAY! Wait…why are you taking off your shirt? No. No, honey, that shirt is CLEAN. There’s nothing wrong with it. Oh. You want the Batman one instead. Yeah, I see that, but you don’t need to throw the other one on the floor…yeah, okay fine. Don’t mind me, I just work here.
5) Getting their own snacks. You’re constantly having to fix meals and snacks because your toddler is hungry and you think “won’t it be great when they can get their own snack out of the fridge?” because then you won’t have to be up all the time to do it for them. Except that now they can HELP THEMSELVES TO THEIR SNACKS. And sure, in theory you could put one of each thing in their “snack drawer” and they can go in there for their snacks. But kids are smart and they mock your attempts to be reasonable. I told my son he could have ONE banana and hid the rest up on the top of the fridge. I thought he would respect that rule. I was wrong. Your kid knows where you’re hiding the rest of the snacks. Your kid will sneak the rest of the snacks when your back is turned. It will not get easier as they get older. How do I know this? Because I recall all the times my dad tried to cleverly hide the package of Oreos and I found that shit, snuck 6 more cookies and if he was planning on having a snack after me and my brother went to bed, well let’s just say he’d have figured out that I had found his stash when he opened a half empty bag that had been just bought the day before. If you want to hide the snacks keep them in your room…except that won’t work when they’re older. I found that stash too. You’re screwed. We’re ALL screwed.