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.
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.
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
Check out our books, please, “I Just Want to Be Alone” and “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.”
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