It dawned on me today that two-year-olds are actually geniuses. They are slowly taking over the world, starting with the destruction of the two people who stand in the way of their plans for total world domination – AKA their parents. Don’t be fooled by your toddler’s small stature and cute lispy voice – they’re actually very subtly (and not so subtly) destroying your will to live. Be warned, and watch out.
Method 1: Sleep deprivation
By age two, most kids are regularly sleeping through the night. Not all of them, however. Some kids are just BAD sleepers from birth, like they come out of the womb knowing that as the years drag on, their parents will slowly but surely succumb to their every whim out of pure exhaustion. Accumulate two years of constant night waking and you’re so tired that you literally don’t know what’s going on every day. “You want puffs for breakfast, sure, go for it. While using my toothbrush to clean the floor. Great. Can I go back to sleep now?”
Method 2: The “No” word
Is there a two-year-old out there who doesn’t use this word to answer every single question and statement that’s thrown out there? It may sound like typical toddler defiance, but it’s actually a subtle way of exerting their dominance over you as the pack leader. After hearing “NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOO” fifty million times a day, you’re so happy that they’ve stopped yelling at you that you willingly hand over the iPad and queue up the PlayDoh and Disney egg videos.
Method 3: Non-Stop Go Go Go
If you weren’t already exhausted from the constant night waking, you’re pushed over the edge by the boundless energy of a two year old. Up and down stairs over and over and over and over. Endless games of catch in the living room, just to put their shoes on. Never stopping still for a second until they pass out from exhaustion themselves (and you collapse right afterwards). You’re being slowly and surely worn out until you’ve aged a decade and they’re only starting pre school.
Method 4: The Wet Noodle
This clever tactic saves toddlers from leaving any place where they’re happy. Toddler goes completely limp and boneless, like said “wet noodle”, sliding through your hands into a puddle of whiney child on the floor. The wet noodle is sometimes accompanied by the more traditional tantrum of lying face down and pounding ones hands and feet on the floorboards. Designed to embarrass the crap out of you in public, this highly tactical maneuver guarantees that your two-year-old gets to stay in the playground/toy store/ice cream shop as loooong as they want.
Method 5: Nap Refusal
For two years now, you’ve been surviving day to day based on one constant – the sacred nap. At age two, something happens. The nap isn’t a guarantee anymore. It’s now a battle of the wills between you and your toddler. And as with all battles with toddlers, you already know who’s going to emerge the victor – the little voice that’s yelling “muuuuuuummmyyyyy …. NO NAP!”.
Method 6: Hunger Strike
Kind of like the Hunger Games, it’s a battle to the end, with only one winner. The toddler who has refused all the nutritious food you’ve lovingly slaved over by shoving frozen mini pizzas in the oven, then condescendingly agrees to only eat, you guessed it, more puffs.
Method 7: Cuteness
Here is the true genius of the toddler. Just when you’re ready to give up and you think you can’t take it for another minute, they do something that is just so INCREDIBLY cute that you forgive it all (SUCKER) and give them your exhausted heart to trample all over again.
Game, set and match.