I have two toddler boys. My wife always says that she wants to get a shirt that says, “I Support Wildlife,” because the boys are like wild animals and I agree. They are very active and special challenges. I specifically have a one-year-old toddler, and I recently graduated from Terrible Twos and entered the world of Tenacious Threes.
In this post, I share my #toddlife experience. Specifically, I’ll highlight the obstacles that I face when cultivating my knuckleheads.
The Little One
What’s it like having a one-year-old toddler? For me, this is a huge challenge. One-year-olds are sponges, and Kalel is like a little machine that feeds on my negative actions.
Did I yell?
Did I say, “Stop” rudely?
He screams, “Top” right back at me.
Toddlers learn by mimicking actions, and my one-year-old is trying to keep up with an entire house full of cool people that can walk on the sticks below their waists. Though Kalel is almost 16 months old, he doesn’t toddle much. He still crawls to keep up. In fact, he crawls because he wants to keep up so much. He hates being left behind. I see the frustration and aggravation take over whenever he is ignored or told that he cannot do something that his brother can.
Raising a one-year-old is beyond challenging because it makes me reflect so much on my flaws. I have to ask if I’m too aggressive or limiting? Am I providing him with enough love or enough opportunities to get play and interact? Do I spend too much time on my phone?The answers to all these questions and more are yes, no, and yes. Therefore, I have to be more mindful and self-conscious.
I can do these things. I can. But when this crazy toddler is screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night because he’s teething, and I find myself with less sleep each day, that becomes a challenge.
The big question for raising Kalel is, “How patient and nurturing can I be with only 5 hours of sleep in my system?”
Oh. My. Golly.
Twos are hard. Don’t let anyone convince you that raising a two-year-old is not a challenge.
But. The. Threes.
A three-year-old is a walking, talking, fire breathing miniature version of you. These toddlers think they are thirty, behave like they are one, but have the minds of actual three-year-olds. These little-bitty things are like walking robots. They consume a wealth of information at hourly rates. They can learn something new by breakfast, practice it by lunch, and master it by bedtime.
For example, Kairo was a pest. (I don’t care what you think about my description of my toddler. That’s the nice version of how I felt).
Tiyaanah and I had to move in with my mother for a few months before we left the country. (I’ll have an update on that soon). During our stay at my mom’s house, Kairo was able to break all kinds of rules because grandparents give no cares about their children’s “parenting techniques.” There was another “problem” too. My niece lived in that house, and she had a way of getting under my son’s skin like my sister did mine back in the day.
Due to these circumstances, Kairo became nothing short of a gremlin. He screamed. Shouted. Whined. All day.
But things changed when we moved to Abu Dhabi. It wasn’t because Tiyaanah and I are great parents. (We are, but we couldn’t get Kairo to return to being sweet. He was just all around…Argh!) Still, I had an idea.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
I read about Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood after researching “best television shows for toddlers.” The link I found said something about teaching kids to become emotionally responsible.
I showed this jet-lagged kid like four episodes before lunch. By dinner, he was polite and sweet, sharing with his brother again. He was able to alter his personality and practice kindness after just a few shows. For two days, my tenacious toddler wouldn’t say hello to anyone after exiting the plane. After DTN, Kairo waved and greeted people like he was one again.
I will dedicate an entire post to Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood in the future.
Threenagers are tough because they have so much to learn. Hormones are fueling most of their decisions, and parents have to constantly discover new ways to avoid body slamming them.
Toddlers are every bit as menacing as people have made them out to be and I haven’t seen one television show do them justice. They are far more terrifying than anything I have ever watched. Still, they are so cool to have around. Kairo makes me laugh and smile in new ways.
Tantrums only last about sixty seconds to three minutes (on an awful day) in our household. Both kids may share a maximum of fifteen tantrums on a really awful day. That means that I get to enjoy almost ten hours of raw fun with our toddlers each day. There is no way that I would trade these psychotic outbursts for anything. They come with the territory.
It takes a lot of energy to raise toddler boys, but I can handle two. If my wife asks for three again, I’ll have to consider finding her a second husband in my spare time. On that note, early submissions for applications are accepted. Women carrying newborns will be considered, but it’s ultimately Tiyaanah’s decision.
**So, you ever hear the joke about raising two toddler boys? I didn’t think so. There isn’t one.