When parents of toddlers are at wits end dealing with diapers and temper tantrums and other fun aspects of parenting a toddler, they comfort themselves with the promise that this whole parenting business will get easier over time. I certainly did so. I'm not here to burst anyone's bubble, but I've recently noticed that those dreams I had of parenting becoming easy street have in fact not quite become reality.
1. Neither tweens nor toddlers grasp what clothing is appropriate in the winter.
One very cold day, my toddler put on boots and announced she was ready to play in the snow. The problem: the boots were all she was wearing.
Fast forward 8 years: I've had recent discussions with my tweens about why it is good to wear sleeves when the wind chill is below zero and why she is not allowed to wear sandals in the snow. The idea of changing into the sandals at the beach-themed park district tween night had not occurred to her. Apparently, the thought of how snow feels on bare feet had also not occurred to her.
And yes, eating snow still happens. Although catching snowflakes on the tongue is a bit more popular now.
2. Toddlers and tweens can both be picky eaters.
I thought that we'd made progress with my tween trying new foods, but then we sat down to dinner last night. I asked her if she liked the raspberry sauce that I had served to go with the pork chops. She said, "No." I asked if she had tried it. She said, "No. But I know I don't like it." I said, "You like raspberries." She admitted that was true, but made no move to try to the sauce. After she was instructed to do so, she was shocked to discover that she liked it. Shocked, I tell you. I have no idea why she was shocked.
3. Messes. Toddlers and tweens both make messes.
Many moons ago, as I cleaned up the plastic Legos and Melissa & Doug puzzle pieces that were strewn among with little plastic dress up items and crayons, I thought to myself, "One day, my child will clean up after herself. One. Day." Guess what? I'm still waiting. Yes, she's gotten better and yes, I know it is my job to teach her to be responsible and organized, but my 10-year old is not the paragon of neatness and order that I was hoping for 8 years ago. I'm keeping hope alive that one day she'll get it (and all her stuff) together.
It is fun to see how the mess changes, though. Now I'm annoyed that her flute and piano music is disorganized and some of it is on the floor. I will say that's better than the Lego messes. Stepping on a piece of sheet music does not unleash a string of profanity like those stepping on those Legos did.
4. They can drive you absolutely crazy with stubborn attitude, but they sense when they're on thin ice and then turn on the charm.
Both toddlers and tweens can drive a parent to the edge. They also can turn on a dime and be the sweetest creatures on Earth. They can make you fold like a cheap tent. And they do it in such a precious way that you really don't mind.
Source: ChicagoNow - http://goo.gl/4bLT3