At this point in time, my youngest child, a 3.5-year-old, is both my most frustrating and my most adorable child. Everyday she vacillates between melt-my-heart cuteness and pull-my-hair-out annoying. I was trying to think of a parallel, of who else in my life has put me on such an emotional roller coaster, and I realized: she is like a really bad boyfriend. She treats me like crap but I’m so hooked I keep coming back for more.
Here are 8 ways that toddlers are like a bad boyfriend:
1. They take you for granted and don’t appreciate all you do for them…. They don’t care how busy you are, they just keep asking for more, more more. “Give me” this, “make me” that, “No, I said I wanted this instead!” You can train them to say “please” and “thank you” but you know they don’t really mean it most of the time, they are just trying to butter you up so they can get what they want.
2 … but one smile and you gladly give them anything. Just when you can’t take it anymore and are ready to take a break or a self-imposed timeout, they flash you a smile and say something crazy funny or sweet and your heart melts and you get all ga-ga for them. Their charm is irresistible.
3. They get insanely jealous if you even look at another kid. They want you all to themselves and will freak out if you put another child on your lap. They will say things like, “MY Mommy!” or, “She’s mine!” to put the other child in his or her place. In a jealous rage, they might even try to push a baby out of your lap.
4. They are free-loaders. They eat all your food, mess up your house and car, but they don’t pay for anything and their clean-up efforts are pathetic.
5. They have poor hygiene. Going into the bathroom after your toddler has just gone potty by him- or herself is like walking into a raw sewage plant: it smells like shit and there’s pee everywhere. You have to beg them to bathe, and then once they are finally clean, they somehow end up covered in food again five minutes later. And the poop smell is back.
6. They are needy. “Mommy, I need you!” “Don’t go, Mommy, pleeeeease?!” They are not afraid to cry in public to get you to stay with them another two minutes. They will even follow you into the bathroom because they cannot bear to be separated from you.
7. They are into P.D.A. And so are you, even though you usually despise public displays of affection. Pecking them on the cheek at the park, exchanging sweet nothings as you stroll down the supermarket aisle (“Who’s my cutie patootie? You are, yes YOU are!”), holding hands everywhere you go, hugs and kisses every time you drop them off or pick them up somewhere. What have you become?
8. They’ll say anything to get in bed with you. No matter how many times you tell them no, they still keep trying to get into your bed night after night. Even after you tell them, “No means NO” they still think “no” means “yes,” or at least “keep trying.” They will come up with a variety of excuses – they had a nightmare, they can’t sleep without you, they’re lonely – but don’t fall for it, they are only after one thing. When they finally wear you down and you give in, you make them promise to go right to sleep, with NO fooling around. “I promise! I’ll just sleep!” they reassure you, but two minutes after they’re under the covers they’re all over you.
There you have it. Toddlers are like bad boyfriends. But unlike adults, toddlers can change and grow into wonderful, responsible people. And unlike bad boyfriends, they love you unconditionally. They don’t care if you put on a few pounds, if your hair is a mess and you don’t wear make-up; they forgive you when you lose your temper or make mistakes; they laugh at your jokes and love your singing voice (well, mine don’t but I understand most do); in short: they love every single thing about you, no matter what.
So in my 3.5 year old daughter I’ve got a terrible boyfriend, but I’ve got one amazing little girl. She’s a keeper.
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