“I can do it myself” are the five words all parents of infants fantasize about. If you have not yet had a baby grow into a toddler, you may be under the false assumption that these words mean your child has become independent and you, in turn, will gain back your ever-desired adult freedom. You would be wrong. So wrong.
Parents of toddlers who insist on doing it themselves know that life was a hell of a lot easier when mom and dad did it all. Here are the absolute worst situations for your child to say this dreaded phrase.
The most soul crushing realization of potty training is that you still have to wipe your child when they use the bathroom, and you can no longer wait for a commercial break to do it. So it’s no wonder that parents fantasize of the day when their kids can finally complete this horrific task on their own. And then that day comes and you realize you didn’t know how good you had it. Kids are the worst wipers. They either use too little or too much toilet paper, and they almost never leave the bathroom, shall we say…fresh. But once they have it in their heads that they are doing something on their own, they don’t want you to be any part of it. So in order to keep things hygienic in your home, you find yourself shouting “bend over right now!” while chasing a pantless kid more often than you’d like to admit.
Making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich solo takes roughly three minutes. Making one with the help of a three-year-old takes a solid 45. My children, both thrilled and terrified to be given permission to use a butter knife, dip this deadly instrument into the jars with the speed of a slug and the precision of a drunk girl in stilettos. Several “little tastes” along the way add minutes to the process and an array of bacteria to the jars that your kids have double-dipped in. Because they have spread the jelly everywhere except the bread, instead of enjoying a sandwich of your own, you will spend your lunchtime cleaning sticky goo from every surface in your kitchen. Inevitably, your kids will realize and admit that they lack your cooking prowess after all, throw out their version, and ask you to make them another sandwich.
Oh fantastic, now not only do you get to go through the painful process of getting your child into the tub, work on the futile task of trying to prevent them from drenching the entire bathroom with water, and then drag them out before their lips turn blue, but now you get to do all of that and end up with a still stinky toddler. Toddlers are fantastic at scrubbing their tummies with a foamy shower poof, but inept at washing their private bits and that weird place under their neck that they use for food storage. This means that you now have the choice of having the stinky kid in school or holding down a slippery, wet child in the tub in order to clean their nether regions.
The day my daughters channel their inner Sally Draper and fix me a Manhattan will be the day I know I’ve made it as a parent, but we’re a long way away from there in my house. At this point, it’s a miracle if one of them is able to carry a carton of milk the entire three feet between the refrigerator and table without dropping it and splattering milk on every surface within a ten foot radius. This is before they even attempt to pour anything into a cup, inevitably creating a river of liquid they will either casually stroll away from, or use an entire roll of paper towels to haphazardly wipe up. In order to save yourself from an afternoon of cleaning and an evening of “find the sour milk smell” a week later, when your kids argue that they can pour their own milk, you suggest they instead help themselves to a sugar-packed juice box from the pantry.
Washing the Dishes
My five-year-old has a fascination with washing the dishes, and, since, in 2016, we are the only house in America without a dishwasher, I’d love nothing more than to let her do so. I learned the hard way that it’s best to wait until a kid knows how to tie her shoes before giving her free reign over your kitchen sink. Kids do not know how to wash food and grime from dishes, but will insist that they do and will beam with pride at the “clean” dishes in the drying rack. Re-washing them in front of their proud faces will only damage their fragile egos, so you now have to wait until after bedtime, when you are completely drained of all energy, to re-wash the load. This wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if your kids hadn’t also “washed” all of the clean tupperware they pulled out of the drawers – you know, “to help.”
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so allow me to present the following photos without further comment.
So, parents of babies, the next time you are changing a diaper or fixing yet another bottle, appreciate how good you have it. Actually, that sucks too, so just pour yourself a glass of wine and know that, it might not get easier in a year or two, but you’ll be too
drunk defeated to know the difference.
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