Learning What It’s Like to Live With a Toddler. At Least, I Think So

By Angela

Zelda turns a year and a half tomorrow. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown. At the same time, those dark nights of feedings every two hours and cleaning up diaper blowouts seem like they were a million years ago. I wrote a post last month about all the indicators that we have a toddler on our hands. It’s bittersweet, really. There’s so much I miss about Zelda being a newborn, but there’s a lot to love about her being a toddler. That being said, I’m kinda terrified about what comes next.

I might be guilty of reading too many Scary Mommy blogs. I’ve read horror story after horror story about raising toddlers. A sample:

Today, my daughter cried because my son took away her imaginary rocket ship. She was crying over something that does not exist.

As soon as he’s done chewing ice . . . He steals another fork and commences banging. There is only one thing to do. I get out my phone and hand it to him because I am easily defeated, and I want to have a conversation with my husband that doesn’t involve someone else’s feces.

There is no need to switch out stuffed animals at 3 AM. They are stuffed and they have no real feelings. I, on the other hand, do, and when you wake up and refuse to get back in bed at 3 AM, the feeling I feel most is anger.

Combine those with some of the horror stories/videos I see on my Facebook feed, and I’m feeling slightly uneasy about the times to come.

A tantrum after reading a book for the 30th time

Zelda’s already starting to show more signs of toddlerhood. At the moment, she’s not trying to open all the cabinet doors and toss down the Windex, but I’m waiting for the day I turn to Matt and say, “Well, time to toddler-proof the cabinet under the sink.” She’s fond of opening the one next to the stove and throwing all of the spare pot holders and dish towels on the floor, but that doesn’t bother me much. She’s tried to climb the cat tree a few times and attempted to scale the couch, but for the most part she’s content to run throughout the house and toss her books all over the living room. That doesn’t bother me much, either. What does bother me, but is slightly endearing at the same time, is when she cries at the end of a book.

She did, however, crawl through the cat door once and get into the study beyond, where the we keep the cat’s litter box. I rounded the corner in time to hear the unmistakable sound of her sifting through the litter. She got a bath immediately afterwards.

Having fun at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

In public, she’s pretty well-behaved. She prefers to walk as opposed to sitting in her stroller, and she likes to try and escape her high chair in restaurants. If I try to hold her hand in a crowded place, she shakes me off and tries to walk on her own. The biggest source of anxiety is when she starts to scream over something, which is probably an entire different post on its own. For now, I’ll say I’m not a huge fan. Judgment abounds and it makes me so edgy I want to start screaming myself.

Don’t even get me started on mealtimes. It’s a battle. It usually ends with me sweeping and mopping up the area around her high chair, because she loves to throw food over the side to the dog. When I tell her to stop, making sure to keep my face in stern, rigid lines, she does one of several things: gives me a hammy grin, claps her hands, or throws more food over the side.

As I type she’s screaming bloody murder in her crib. I put her in bed at the normal time, but she’s refusing to lie down and go to sleep.

Someone asked me recently about parenting, and my reply was, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” It’s true. Matt and I both don’t have a clue. I mean, we could read all the books we want or listen to all the advice we could possibly stand, and we still would probably be clueless. That’s the funny thing about parenting. It’s like putting together furniture with no instructions. You just kind of guess how everything is constructed until something works.

Stay tuned. The next six months should be interesting.

Being a ham