I’ve been a father for six years, and while it’s been a rewarding experience, I learned parenthood is a learn-as-you-go proposition. Sure, you can pick up a parenting book or do a Google search, but that’s time-consuming.
To save time for those considering starting a family, I compiled my list of Things No One Tells You about Two-Year-Olds.
You Spend a Lot of Time Chasing Them — Remember how excited you were when the baby took his first steps? The excitement fades when you’re chasing after him. I coach running, I’ve led many speed drills. Few prepared me for a hyperactive toddler possessing the curiosity of an MIT student and the speed of Usain Bolt. Over the past year, I’ve chased Cristian around playgrounds, up and down Rockaway Beach’s boardwalk, and through the aisles at Target. The cashiers at the supermarket barely look up as I’m chasing him as he turns lap after lap, while my better half does the grocery shopping.
Projectile Vomit — You thought diaper blowouts were bad, wait until you’re cleaning puke. I’ve heard my share of horror stories but figured they were like nightmarish stories of appendix and gall bladder removals — not something everyone experiences. Then it happened. It starts with a splashing sound, and you find the baby standing in a puddle of vomit. It’s not just on the floor — it’s on the walls, the bedding, maybe even the ceiling. Think it’s over, not a chance. After changing the bedding and scrubbing the room with Fabuloso and bleach, he’ll puke again, just to keep you on your toes.
Tantrums are New and Improved — You thought those early tantrums were bad, wait until the baby turns two. Those early toddler tantrums were mere tremors warning you of the full-fledged earthquake looming on the horizon. Two-year-old tantrums include screaming, tearless crying, kicking, banging his head on the floor, and Daddy rushing off to the bar so he could meet his tantrum-support group.
Establishing a Regular Bedtime Routine — Getting there takes work and differs from child to child. Some only need a bottle and they’re good to go. If this is you, I hate you. We turned Cristian’s bedroom into a sensory-deprivation chamber. Soundproofing the walls, putting blackout curtains on the windows, and tiptoed around like a submarine crew rigged for silent running. Establishing a regular bedtime is important for a child’s development and his parents’ sanity.
The Consequences of Breaking the Bedtime Routine — There will be times when you break the baby’s routine. A word of warning, Keep this to an absolute minimum. Life happens, friends visit, running errands took longer than planned, or he was so cute playing with blocks and puzzles you put him to bed an hour later than his regular bedtime. It seemed like a good idea. Like in college, when you downed that fifth tequila shot the night before finals. Waking up the next morning with a monster headache, and a massive sense of what did I do is nothing compared to waking, dressing, and dropping a pissed off sleep-deprived baby at daycare.
Babies Have No Sense of Sleeping in on the Weekend — This runs counter to my last point. Two-year-olds haven’t grasped the concept of sleeping in on a weekend morning. Call it Baby Logic. You had a long week and decide to keep him up until 2 am feeding him Coco Puffs and Cotton Candy washed down with three Red Bulls is the best way to get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning. Guess again. I guarantee he’ll be chirping the alphabet and climbing out of his crib at 6:30 the next morning.
Mommyitis 2.0 — In previous posts I described Mommyitis as: the baby emitting ear-piercing screams, similar to those an adult makes upon stepping in a bear trap. Two-year-olds scream just as loud, but now it takes less to trigger them. My son once became upset when he couldn’t find Mommy during a game of peek-a-boo. Children are an extension of their parents. Watching him clutched onto my better half, has convinced me of this.
You Spend Less Time Visiting Friends — Say goodbye to socializing with all but your closest and bravest friends — especially if they haven’t childproofed their home. We spend much of the visit eating in shifts. My better half and I take turns chasing the baby and keeping him from climbing furniture, cabinets, and entertainment centers. That’s just for starters. We’ve been blacklisted from a few homes, having small dogs that couldn’t defend themselves.
Two-Year-Olds are a Great Source of Birth Control — If you follow my blog, you noticed I’ve never mentioned having another child — not even once. I’m a responsible parent. I’ve gone to great lengths educating those who think raising a child is just like taking care of a puppy. I’ve taught, written, and chased 19-year-old employees at Costco, GNC, and Target around the store, armed with words and a fully pissed-off tantruming two-year-old. Sure, the wife shakes her head and pretends she doesn’t know me while I doing this, but it’s for the greater good.