Toddlers and Teens: 7 Surprising Ways They Are The Same

Toddlers and teens both begin with “T”, but that’s not where the similarities end . . .

Ellen: I don’t know about you but when I first started thinking about having children, I was really thinking about having babies.  Cute, cherubic, immobile babies. My vision didn’t really see past burp cloths, bibs, and binkies.

Erin: Oh, really now. Do tell. I have FIVE kids and they are knocking into the teen years like dominoes falling over a ledge. How did I really not see this coming? Where were all of my sensible friends with their little crystal balls to show me my future?

Ellen: I think I just explained that we didn’t know any better either, but you would have thought by number five you would have had some inkling.  If you really think about it . . .

Erin: And squint your eyes?

Ellen: The teen years are not so very different from the toddler years.

Toddlers and Teens: 7 Surprising Ways They Are The Same. They both begin with "T" but that is NOT where the similarities end. - Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

1. Olfactory Offense

Toddler – The aroma of dirty diapers and unflushed toilets wafts through the air like a radioactive cloud.

Teen – The stench of teen spirit – rank sneakers, bubbling B.O., and body spray—permeates every pore of your upholstery.

2. A Day Out Requires A Sherpa

Toddler – Going out requires packing a stroller, snack, juice box, spare sippy cup, change of clothes, diaper bag, lovey, coloring book, sunscreen, and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the patience.

Teen – A day out means a SUV packed with homework dioramas, homeroom donations, gear for multiple sports, musical instruments, a bajillion water bottles and enough extra food to feed the Prussian army. And you might want to remember your patience – Level: Ghandi.

 3. Up All Night

Toddler – “Read me one more story.” “Can I have a glass of water?” “The tag on my pajamas is itching.” “There is a monster under my bed.” “I peed my bed.” “Can I sleep with you?”

Teen – “Can you drive me and my friends to this party and pick us up at midnight (so that you can’t have that glass of wine, can’t put on your PJs, can’t go to bed, and can’t stop your mind from swirling about all of the things that can go on at parties).

 4. On The Weekend, The Early Bird Gets . . . Exhausted

Toddler – In your room at the crack of dawn to snuggle, pee on you, demand breakfast, dribble water, and commandeer the remote for Dora. You move through your long morning like a zombie in jammies.

Teen – You’re in their room at the crack of dawn to pry their butts out of bed with a crow bar to drive halfway across the state for their 12 hour soccer tournament. Wearing jammies is a red card worthy citation. You move through your day like a zombie in yoga pants.

5. Mount Laundry

Toddler – A miniature wardrobe of outfits succumb to jelly spilling, finger painting, toilet dipping, mud splashing, and potty training each and every day. The hamper piles up.

Teen– Burns through a gazillion outfits per day due to gym class, club meetings, band concerts, sports practices, and fickleness. Leaves a trail of clothes starting from their closets, leading to their school lockers, circling back to your minivan, and ending on the bathroom floor.

6. Speaking Of Underwear

Toddler – Potty training means plenty of stain stick and many o’ pair sacrificed to the garbage can.

Teen – Keep that stain stick handy, but add bleach to the list . . . to flush your eyes out after the horrors you will see.

7. Safetyville

Toddler – Cover all the outlets! Pad all the sharp edges! Gate all the stairs!

Teen – Invent a way to bubble wrap the world.


– Ellen and Erin


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22 thoughts on “Toddlers and Teens: 7 Surprising Ways They Are The Same

  1. Real Life Parenting

    So funny–I just said to my 12 yr old daughter this morning that her room reminds me of the playroom when they were little except that I’m not dealing with toys … I can’t see the carpet for all the (insert various nouns here–clothes, hangers, books, towels, cups, purses …). I guess the good news is that stepping on clothes in the dark isn’t as bad as the piercing pain of a single Lego to the naked arch of the foot!!
    Real Life Parenting recently posted..Doin’ the Doggy PaddleMy Profile

  2. Vicky

    Oh man. Just having a 9 year old boy is bringing me back to the stinky days. It will get worse? When will it end!???? I used to be happy that my kids are good sleepers. But then I realized it’s setting me up for terrible disappointment when they are teens because when I’m up all night til they get home I’ll be twice as mad when they’re late because they ruined 15 years of great sleep! Oh, and bubble wrap the world… perfectly said.
    Vicky recently posted..Why I’d like to be one of my kids for a day…My Profile

    1. Jessica

      I know what you mean. I really hadn’t thought about the fact that all those pick-up promises are going to cut into my wine and sleep time!

      My son is almost 8 and I can sort of see the teenager that is soon to emerge. No stink yet, but the laundry horrors are definitely starting!

  3. Pingback: Guesterday’s News: Toddlers and Teens – 7 Surprising Ways They Are The Same (Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms) | Momopolize

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