• J Mess

TODDLER TAWK


They say that kids say the darndest things. But I actually think it's the parents who say funnier things. At least they probably seem funny to us because they are so ridiculous when you sit and think about it. My daily conversations with Nathan are absurd. Absurd because in reality I'm mostly talking to myself. He's either just flat out not listening or has absolutely zero concept of what I'm saying. Even when he does understand me, which happens more often than I think, he doesn't exactly respond in any words I can make sense of or do what I'm asking. Also absurd because I find myself desperately trying to reason with a toddler on a daily basis. Which is honestly less fun than repeatedly slamming your head into a wall and at the same time strikingly similar.


Your logic has no place here lady.

Nathan has occasionally begun wanting to walk out of school like a big boy. Usually I just carry him because it's much faster and he's still in that phase where I'm not exactly sure what he'll do when let loose. Like will he just bolt off in an unknown direction? Freeze and refuse to move? Revert to crawling? So I just carry him. But one day when we got outside, I put him down and held his hand all the way to the car and apparently this really made an impression on him. Because the next day as soon as we left the school he began squirming and freaking out to be put down. But for some reason when I put him on the ground, I ended up having to basically drag him, he got upset and had a tantrum in the mud, then when I picked him up to put him in the car, he kicked my coat with his muddy shoe then proceeded to kick mud all over my car. No idea what set off that chain of events, but needless to say I wasn't pleased.


So when he wanted to be put down the next day, I was wary. But he proudly walked all the way to the car, beaming and loving every minute. However when we arrived at the car, his mood changed. "Nathan, you did it! Here's our car! We have to get in the car now," I stated matter-of-factly while he stared at me with an angry, defiant face. "Nathan, come on, let's go!" Still nothing. "I'm confused Nathan. How are we going to get home if you don't get into the car?" No change in the face. I mean, was I actually expecting a thoughtful response to that? "Nathan, I see you enjoyed walking over here, I'm so proud of you! However unfortunately we cannot also walk home. That would take way too long. That's why we have to get inside the car, okay?."


OMG I want to punch myself in my own face. What am I even saying!?

If anyone in this parking lot heard this conversation they'd have me committed. I'm trying to have a rational discussion with an 18 month old. He clearly doesn't care about my assessment of how far our house is on foot. He's decided that walking is his new preferred form of transportation and being strapped into his car seat is far less acceptable. But just because I enjoy torturing myself, I tried one last time. "Hey Nathan we can't stand in this parking lot all day. We have to go home." Then I grabbed him, shoved him kicking and screaming into the car seat and drove away muttering to myself about how "unfortunate" his behavior was, like he cared.


When we arrived home, I assumed he'd be jonesing to get busted out of his car seat. Yet again, my logic was misplaced. How dare I expect reasonably normal occurrences to happen. I undid his seat belt and he immediately tried to put it back on. "Nathan, look honey we're home, don't you want to go inside?" He shakes his head no. Almost everything these days is "no," which sometimes means no, and sometimes actually means yes. It's confounding and honestly this kid better figure out the rules of consent quickly.


"Nathan, mommy doesn't understand. I thought you wanted to not be in the car. Should we go inside the house now?" He continues to try to re-buckle himself into the car in the freezing cold. After a couple minute stare off... "Nathan let's go, mommy's leaving see?" I took 3 steps toward the house and he barely bothered to lift his head to call my bluff. How does this tiny 18 month old think he's the boss of me? Has this power struggle started already? He's begun testing me and exerting his will and he's not even 2 years old. This cannot continue. I am the parent. I am the alpha. I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me. I tell myself this repeatedly as I struggle to tear him out of the car. "Nathan, clearly you haven't realized that I am stronger than you and you are not in charge here. This is my house and you will do what I say while you live under my roof." Oh my god I'm turning into my parents...

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