Toddler parents love their toddlers so much but also want to die of embarrassment from their behavior about a dozen times every week, if not more. If you’re a toddler parent, most likely you have occasion to apologize on behalf of your toddler for several, if not all, of the following offenses on a regular basis.
Acting like a huge jerk for no good reason.
I know that “toddlers are jerks” is a huge cliche, but it’s true. Toddlers do things all the time that are completely uncalled for with absolutely no precedent. Toddlers throw things at you (sometimes heavy things, like books) because they think it’s funny. They swap out their plastic swords for wooden spoons and hit you with them. They lay down in the busy grocery store aisle and play games or make ridiculous demands. As you can’t reason with toddlers, it’s all but impossible to put a stop to this behavior completely.
Making you feel like a huge jerk for telling them “no” for a perfectly good reason.
Toddlers also make you feel like a huge jerk, even when you’re telling them “no” or giving them a consequence for a perfectly valid reason. My toddler son frequently throws things when he’s told “no,” often at people. Having a fork thrown at your face because you told them no they couldn’t climb on the table isn’t fair. On occasion, in response to being told “no,” my son also throws himself on the ground or makes a pouty face and threatens to cry.
All the times they stole your phone/Kindle/iPad or hijacked your computer.
It doesn’t matter how many amazing toys toddlers own or are able to play with at friends’ houses, grandparents’ houses, etc. Electronics are still more interesting. Toddlers have no problem going into other people’s homes and walking off with someone’s phone or wandering into another room and playing around on the computer. Once toddlers have said technology, it’s amazing how quickly they get into trouble with it. Did you know that you can make a 9-1-1 call from a phone’s lock screen? I bet you did if you have a toddler.
Trying to interrupt what you were doing for no good reason.
I can’t tell you how many times I sit down at the computer to write a four-sentence email and immediately get interrupted by my toddler. He can be all the way across the house, fully engaged in something else. The second I’m at the computer, suddenly he’s whining and crying at my feet, over nothing. He’s not hurt, sick, in trouble, etc. Of course, it’s impossible to explain to a child under two years old that it will only take a minute. The same thing happens all the time when I’m going to the bathroom as well.
Trying to throw things at you or hit you when they weren’t even mad.
It’s not cool when a toddler throws something at you when they’re told “no” or are upset about something. It’s really not cool when a toddler throws things at you or hits you for no reason whatsoever. Toddlers not only think it’s okay to hit people and throw things at them, they think it’s funny. It’s so nice to get a block chucked at your head and then have the tiny human who threw it at you laughing about it.
Throwing perfectly good items way because they don’t understand the difference between “putting away” and “throwing away.”
To a toddler, there isn’t any difference between putting socks away in a dresser drawer and throwing them in a garbage can. As such, we’re pretty sure that our toddler threw away the TV remote that’s been missing for six months now. Sometimes it’s tough to retrieve these thrown away items because they’re in the kitchen garbage amidst eggshells and meat wrappers. Other times, you don’t even notice the items are gone until it’s too late because toddlers are so darn sneaky.
Tempting their pets with toddler toys that frankly, look a lot like pet toys.
Toddlers who like cats or dogs are very likely to try offer their toys to said animals. If the animals are friendly and aren’t terrified of toddlers, they’re likely to take the toys. And the results are often disastrous, especially with dogs. You can’t get mad at the pets because one, they don’t know any better, and two, so many toddler toys look a lot like pet toys. For example, there have been multiple dogs that have snatched or almost snatched Tommy’s Wubbanub giraffes. Even when they don’t outright snatch it, Tommy might offer it, not knowing what will happen. Also, I have to share this similar toy example because I think it’s hilarious. We have this tunnel for our cats and a smaller version of this tent set for Tommy. The tunnels are exactly the same. The pet tunnel is just a scaled down version.
Attempting to steal pacifiers, bottles, sippy cups, and toys from babies and other toddlers.
Toddlers have no shame about taking anything they want whenever they want it, even when it belongs to someone else. It doesn’t matter if they have the exact same item in their hands. They still want what another baby or toddler has and will steal it unapologetically. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a toddler with a pacifier in his/her mouth walk up to another toddler and snatch his/her pacifier. And yes, Tommy does it, too, so I can’t in any way begin to pretend that my toddler is above this behavior.
Offering other children and adults half-chewed food.
Despite their completely selfish nature, many toddlers do try to share on occasion. Sometimes it’s sweet, such as offering a favorite toy or pacifier. Other times, it isn’t so sweet. When I say half-chewed food, I literally mean half-chewed food. It’s one thing when you finish a child’s half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s another thing when take a chewed-up bite of said sandwich and try to get you to eat it. Toddlers will offer half-chewed food at any time and in any location. This means that your entire family may witness this behavior during a holiday dinner.
Behavior in restaurants that looks incredibly ridiculous and inappropriate but is 100% normal.
Until I became a parent, I had no idea the lengths that toddler parents go to in public to keep sh*t from hitting the fan. I’ve become much more sympathetic to toddler parents dealing with ridiculous behavior, particularly in restaurants and at church. During an average meal in a restaurant, a toddler is likely to do any of the following: throw food, throw silverware, use a straw to spray a drink everywhere, smear food on the table, cry, scream, and demand to get down from the high chair/booster seat and run around. Most of the time, they aren’t engaging in these behaviors to be naughty. They’re just being toddlers.
When you see a child watching TV or playing a game on a tablet or phone in a restaurant, don’t be quick to judge. For most parents, this is a special treat for their kids, so they can have, at best, 10-15 minutes to eat and talk with minimal interruption.
Behavior in church that looks incredibly ridiculous and inappropriate but is 100% normal.
If you’re part of a church congregation where there are lots of families with toddlers at services/masses every week and people are understanding of their behavior, you’re very lucky. This is not the case in many churches, and it makes for a rough road for parents. You have to remember that church is the only time that most toddlers are expected to sit (relatively) still and be (relatively) quiet for an hour at a time. Most toddlers aren’t naughty and are doing their best to keep it together. But their attention span is about a minute long, and many of them, especially boys, have a ton of energy.
During a typical mass, it looks like I’ve brought enough snacks, drinks, books, and toys for an entire family during a road trip. At least once, my toddler completely melts down (usually because he’s been told no or he’s hurt himself) and screams and cries uncontrollably for what feels like an eternity but is at most a minute or two. To distract him or keep him in good spirits, I’ll often do something to make him laugh. I realize how all of this looks to people without toddler children.
Not understanding anyone else’s feelings.
Toddlers have no undestanding that anyone else might be tired, hungry, feeling sick, etc. When you’re having an off day because you don’t feel good or you’re in a bad mood because you’re starving, your toddler won’t symphatize in any way whatsoever. At best, a toddler will understand that he’s hurt someone and try to make up for it with a hug or kiss. This is about as far as their empathy extends.
Toddler parents, what offenses has your toddler committed?
Share your best stories!
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10 Things Parents of Young Children Don’t Want You to Say to Them Anymore