Kara Evans writes on parenting for the Armchair Mayor News.
COLUMN — While we’re already a few days into a new year, it’s hard not to look back at the past year and remember what we may (or may not) have accomplished.
I hereby present to you a list of lessons learned in the past year while raising a toddler:
You can brush their hair when it’s wet but if it’s dry, forget about it. Attempts to do so will result in screaming and flailing fits coupled with proclamations that they “don’t want to be beautiful.” As a result, you may or may not debate giving your two-year-old a Sinead O’Connor-esque hairstyle. And putting it back into cute little ponytails? Forget about it; in less time than it took to complete your masterpiece you’ll find hair ties scattered all over the living room floor.
It’s okay to use bribery. In the Evans’ household it started with mealtime and the promise of something fantastic in exchange for three more bites of dinner. Now it’s used for bath time, naptime, potty time, and any other time that proves to be more challenging than it should be. (Which is alarmingly frequent.) As a parent you become an expert negotiator, and I’m fairly certain that if I can convince my daughter to eat the rest of her potatoes then I can create world peace, one bite at a time.
(A plus to bribing a toddler is that they tend to have the memory span of a goldfish and will wake up from their naps forgetting about the chocolate bar you promised to them if they slept.)
There are times when “toddler logic” trumps all forms of negotiating and bribery. For example, they may refuse to do something like coming to sit down for lunch because they’re “too crazy.” Toddler logic also applies to the foods that they’re eating. If you’ve made pot roast for dinner and they are excited to eat it because they think it’s chicken, go with it, especially if they generally don’t like roast.
And just because they love one food one day doesn’t mean they’ll like it the next day; cranberry sauce may be the only thing they clean right off their plate during one Christmas dinner but during the next one five days later it may be repulsing.
Learn how to operate the locks on your bathroom doors before your toddler is tall enough to operate them. While they may be able to lock the door, Murphy’s Law states that they won’t be able to unlock the door, leaving you to rescue them. Not all interior door locks are the same and it’s better to learn how to unlock them before you have to have your husband rush home to break down the door.
Finally, the biggest lesson I’ve learned in the past year is that no matter what challenges come your way as a parent, it is possible to overcome them. It may take time, and it most certainly may take some patience, but once everything is said and done we can add another honour badge to the collection. Here’s to another year of living and learning as a parent!
Kara Evans tweets from @KaraEvs and blogs on http://www.shewriteswords.com.