You Say Jerk; I Say Toddler

You say jerk; I say toddlerToddlers are a species all their own. They’re tiny humans with big opinions and even bigger attitudes. Many of them aren’t even housebroken. Though jerkish by nature, toddlers can flip on a dime and become sweet little cherubs who just want to cuddle up next to you and eat snacks.

Luckily, the toddler phase will lift on its own with little to no medical intervention. These tiny humans will eventually become functioning members of society.

Here’s a list of common symptoms relating to toddlerism, along with some suggestions to help alleviate the discomfort you’ll likely endure.

  1. Hair-pulling; pinching; biting; scratching; eyeball poking; throwing objects at you, the dog, their siblings, etc. These sweet kiddos are merely establishing dominance and practicing their self-expression through physical means. Consider purchasing a scratch pad to help wear down their sharp nails.
  2. They hate your cooking. That dinner you just spent hours slaving over? They will likely detest it and spit it out in front of you. A good rule of thumb to live by: if you make it, they will hate it. Who’s to say cookies, chicken nuggets and yogurt aren’t all part of a balanced meal?
  3. Steer clear: They know what they’re doing. Anyone who has lived with a toddler knows there is a lot of “I can do it. No, I do it!” thrown around. They can do anything you can do — except twice as well. To help perfect their skills, give them chores like scrubbing the bathtub, whitewashing the backyard fence or washing the baseboards.
  4. They are proud dictators. As the parent, you probably think you’re in control. You’re the adult. You’re the rational one. Yet, your little pipsqueak actually has the power to determine what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. For example, say you wanted to run errands and have a quiet afternoon. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself at the indoor playspace at Chick-fil-A among a half dozen other chump parents.
  5. They don’t share their toys or snacks or anything else tangible (also known as the “Mine! Miiiiiiine!” chapter). Translation: Toddlers are learning possession and value of their toys. In the toddler playroom, it’s eye for an eye and toy for a toy.

Truth is, these kiddos aren’t monsters — they’re just toddlers. They are discovering independence and how to express themselves. They enjoy making everything an adventure, no matter how many meltdowns are involved.

However complicated or inconvenient or stressful they can make everyday life, try to keep a sense of humor about it. There are also hundreds of resources available to help stomach the toddler years.

Alex lives in Midtown (born and raised in Westport), having only left Kansas City to attend Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. She lives with her husband; toddler daughter, Olive; and chocolate lab. She and her husband met in sixth grade and started dating in eighth grade. Alex works full time as a marketing director for a wealth management firm and sporadically as a freelance graphic designer. Outside of work, Alex spends most of her time chasing her daughter and volunteering in her community (she's a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters and is involved with Kansas City Women in Technology). Reading, soaking up all the hilarious aspects of living with a toddler, discovering great music, buying fancy pens and working out are among her favorite things to do. Alex is hell-bent on "having it all" -- minus sleep.