I agree, Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince. Parents don’t understand. And it’s a foolish battle that nobody can win, whether you’re the adult or the child. And there’s this moment in time when the reckless child you once were morphs into the stern parent you swore you’d never become and it’s so swift and sudden that you don’t even notice it. You’re too busy cooing over your new baby and not sleeping for a full year and then one day you’re like, ‘Wait, what? Wasn’t it, like, yesterday that I was telling my parents they ruined my life and then stomping off to my room?’ Not understanding your kids is basically a rite of passage, and you probably wouldn’t be normal if you did understand them, but that doesn’t make the frustration any easier.
This isn’t to say that parents are a walk in the park either. I know that even as an adorable little toddler, Thumper has a mental list of things I do that confuse and annoy her. Things like, ‘why do parents have drawers with handles if I’m not allowed to open them?’ And ‘why do parents leave kitchen chairs unattended and then act surprised when I use it to climb on the counter?’ And ‘why am I not allowed to play or run with scissors?’ I also know that when Thumper is a tweenager and, God help us, a teenager the confusion between us will get even more irritating. I know this because I was a bitch of child to raise. (Sorry Mom. And Dad...And Sister and Brothers...)But since I spend a lot of my time trying to avoid thinking about Thumper in double digits, I’ll stick to the things about toddlers that I do not, for the ever-loving life of me, understand. And the top ten are as follows:
10. Why do they beg for Cheerios like you’ve neglected to feed them for their entire lives, only to wait until after you pour milk in the bowl to tell you that they do not, in fact, want Cheerios?
9. Why do they all of the sudden desperately need to play with that toy that they hate and have ignored since its purchase only because another child wants to use it?
8. Why do they cry every day when first thing in the morning, you put them on the change table to get a fresh diaper? This is what we do every morning. Get used to it.
7. Why do they scream ‘NOOOO’ after taking three bites of scrambled eggs? And why, when you then ask, ‘Are you all done?’ do they scream ‘NOOOO!’? And why, when THEN you ask, ‘Oh, do you want something else to eat instead?’ do they scream ‘NOOOO!’ a third time? WHAT OTHER OPTION IS THERE?
6. Why do they have to cling to your legs and cry when you try to say hello to your baby nieces and nephews? It’s not like you’re trying to, God forbid, hold the babies.
5. How can they remember exactly where the cookies are hidden at Grandma’s house but not remember how to wait for their turn and not slap another baby upside the head because they are ready to play with Barbie right that second?
4. Why do they have to stir during the night right after you’ve fallen asleep? They couldn’t have done that 15 minutes earlier, when you were awake? Exhausted and lethargic yes, but technically still awake.
3. Why are they shocked when you attempt to brush their teeth? We do this twice a day, every day. It shouldn’t be a surprise anymore.
2. Why do they scream and run away when you tell them it’s bath time, and then once in the bath, decide that 30 minutes is not long enough to stay in the tub and they will need more time?
1. Why must they poo after you’ve put them down for nap or buckled them into the car seat? Why must this happen every.single.day? And why is that when you actually wait for it to happen, it just never happens? Why? Why, God? WHY?
There are many, many more things I could add to this list. And as the years go by, there will be many, many, many more. But like I said, this is par for the course. If you became a parent expecting to understand your offspring, then you are either dangerously optimistic or taking some crazy-ass pills. In which case, I might want some.