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 ***Warning: This Mama is kinda punchy. Proceed with caution!***

     Can we take a moment and talk about toddlers? Yes. We can. (Why? Because I'm the one writing… I choose the topic, Friends, and today, I need to rant about the small people aged 1-3!)

     Toddlers are this crazy half-breed of oversized-baby and grumpy old man, have you ever noticed that? They're partially non-verbal (which leads to a great deal of frustration for themselves and others), they walk with an awful lot of falling if there's not a supportive object to hold onto, desperately want their independence but need someone to make sure they aren't eating the deodorant again, require their food to be mashed or cut into small chunks, should wear a bib but what's the point of even trying, need some bathroom assistance (or things get pretty messy pretty quickly!), get grumpy easily and without provocation (particularly if a nap is missed), love to play with keys but probably should not be driving, have about half of their teeth, thin/fine hair, and are chunky in all the wrong parts.

     Sound familiar? It should. Because toddlers and grumpy old men make their presence known more than the average person. Seriously, my little man farted in the doctor's office today and smiled sweetly when he was finished. You know who else did the same thing? The old man about 4 seats away from us. (He, also, smiled sweetly.) My older toddler sneaks into the pantry to get junk food when no one is looking, despite being told 'No' about a thousand times. You know who else used to do the same thing when he was alive? My grandpa. Tell the man a million times that he has diabetes and can't have chocolate, and he'd pop one of those candies into his mouth, barely taking the time to unwrap it first!

     It's like toddlers are just practicing for the day when they can shuffle around the Senior Center, whacking unsuspecting people in the shins with their canes. Do you wanna know why toddlers aren't like little old ladies? Because little old ladies are NICE. Toddlers, quite frankly, are pint-sized jerks. (Ok, not all the time, but A LOT of the time!) Case in point….

     Today, I needed to go get my allergy shot. I noticed that the line was incredibly long, so I took my munchkin to the lovely air-conditioned store so we could pick up a few items while we killed a bit of time. But munchkin was not happy in the air-conditioned store. Rather, he was not happy that he had to sit in the shopping cart. He proceeded to share his dissatisfaction with the entire store, exhibited by screaming, grabbing things off the shelves and then throwing them, grabbing things out of the cart and throwing them, standing up in his cart and trying to crawl out, and smacking me every time I got into arm's reach. So… that was fun.

     To save the other patrons a headache, I let my gremlin loose on the ground. Finally… he stopped screaming. However, he did clear off the bottom racks of at least two aisles before I was able to catch him. He also shoved my cart over my sandaled toes, hit a saleswoman, and pulled down three pairs of sunglasses from a full rack, nearly toppling it as he did so. He also decided to learn the word “No” today… he practiced it loudly and frequently. He did not like it when I practiced it back.

     We finally made it to my allergist and, lo and behold, Mr. Mood Swing turned on his big cheesy grin as he shared his bag of Cheerios with a couple next to us. This was before he made a mad dash for the elevator and threw himself against the door in a screaming fit because it wouldn't open to let him inside. Once we were actually in the elevator and going back down to the 1st floor, he threw another fit because he wanted back out of the elevator. (I mean, who can argue with that kind of logic, really?)

     And what's with the irrational fears that go along with this crazy little age? Loves the vacuum cleaner but is terrified the grass. Doesn't blink an eye at fireworks but loses his mind when water touches his face. The two-year-old has also decided that fear shall rule his world without reason. He's decided to be terrified of clouds. Why? Because he's afraid that every cloud he sees will bring thunder. And how do you explain to a toddler that white clouds on a sunny day and storm clouds on a rainy day are different? Oh, you can't. Don't even try. Because either way, whatever the cloud-type, this is what you'll get….

     This is followed by sobs and half-prononced words like “FUNDER!” and “POWER!” He also believes that every evening, the power goes out. Why? Because the sun goes away. Nevermind that our lights still turn on… we have lost power. Plain and simple. And if you dare suggest catching lightening bugs outside, be prepared for a short-legged little man to go barreling past you at full speed, holding his ears and screaming “FUNDER!” the whole way. (Please. For the love of God. Call them fire flies!!)

     In order to make a little more rational sense out of the picture, my husband offered up this beautiful portrait as a replacement.

At least this would make sense, right??

At least this would make sense, right??

     I'd like to say that it'll be better when they're older, but I have two older children, so I know that's a lie. And I'm pretty sure I've never met a rational teenager, so that's probably out of the question, too. One thing is for certain: children do NOT get more lucid as they age. It appears that people show small amounts of rational hope somewhere around mid-life, but then it's back to that half-breed we spoke of earlier.

     So, until mid-life, I'll keep picking up thrown objects, hugging in between punches, and devouring the shared Cheerios… even if they are slimy and covered in dog hair.