My thoughts today do not come from the teacher in me, they are mommy thoughts. Although, I'm sure many teachers will be able to relate.
My youngest son is almost 5, so I was growing a bit nostalgic about the toddler years. Those cute baby faces with big, rosy, squeezable cheeks, the emerging independence, earth shattering excitement about a butterfly or a worm, and the sweet kisses freely given. Ahhh, the good 'ol days...
Yes, I also remember the terribleness of those toddler years, the tantrums and "No!" and the exasperating dawdling. But it was only a part of growing up. That part is over now.
Then, my oldest boy turned 13.
I know those of you who have teens, have raised teens, have taught teens, or even just seen teens in a mall are shaking your heads right now saying, "Bless your heart."
The moment my sweet, intelligent, thoughtful, helpful, respectful, responsible 12 year old boy turned 13, all his brains drained right out of his ears. Gone. They were replaced by hormones, clinical level distractability, questionable sanity, and something that smells funny.
Wait! What!? Where is my boy?
Oh, look. He's in there. He's just been possessed by a toddler.
Now, if your kids have not yet reached the teen years, I am sorry to have to tell you this, but toddlers and teenagers are exactly alike.
Yes, that's right.
And if you're a middle school teacher, well... Bless Your Heart.
So since becoming a mother of a teenage boy, I have discovered several ways that teens and toddlers are alike:
- Temper tantrums: “But I want to wear the blue shirt!” A toddler might lay in the floor and kick, while the teenager slams a door, but essentially it’s the same thing. Copious amounts of pouting, screaming and crying all around.
- Sleep: They both sleep about 14 hours a day and get really cranky when they don’t get enough sleep. At least teenagers don’t wake up at the butt crack of dawn.
- Talking: Most of what they say makes absolutely no sense 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time, they’re whining.
- Demanding: They both demand we meet their needs immediately, and if we don’t – well - see #1 above.
- Listening to Reason: "Don't do that - you will get hurt!" falls on deaf ears for toddlers and teens. And teens even have the nerve to say, "Nuh uh. I know what I'm doing."
- Decision Making: No need for explanation here. Actually, I would bet that toddler decision making trumps teenage decision making.
- The Mess: Seriously. The Mess. And neither is very good at cleaning up.
No, I don't have to get out baby gates and the time out chair. This time around I'll need wifi passwords and phone privileges.