They're roughly three feet tall. They can't quite pronounce "sh" words yet. They have small hands, and yes, they sometimes smell like cabbage. They bring us copious amounts of joy and within seconds they can have us on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Here are the Universally Irritating Things That Toddlers Do. If you have one of these beings in your house, I'm sure you can relate...
1. Every day around 5pm, you're guaranteed to hear this phrase "Dinner is yucky!"
Even if it's spaghetti (their favourite). Even if it's ice-cream. It doesn't matter. If it's served in the dinner hour, and you call it dinner, it's "yucky."
2. They wiggle and fidget and squirm.
Always. Especially when you're trying to help them get their snowsuits on. You're hot and sweaty in your own snowsuit. It feels like an ancient torture technique. You just want to get out the door to play in the snow, dammit. But there are hats, and mitts, and gloves, and so many zippers. Your toddler doesn't care. They're too busy telling you a story about a magical-gypsy-toothbrush-fairy while trying to scratch their ass. "C'mon! Just put your arm in your coat. We're almost....done." They lean the other way, and topple over.
3. They ask why.
This is normal, and real questions are fine, but one's like this drive me to drink;
Me: "He's done work for the day."
Me: "Because he finished what he needed to do."
Me: "That doesn't even make sense."
4. They're slow and they get distracted.
They can climb up onto the countertop in .5 seconds, but it takes 12 hours to climb the two foot ledge into the minivan. They finally get both knees up and then need to take a break and examine a Cheerio that has fallen on the ground. Not only that, they take the time to make commentary and ask questions about the fallen Cheerio. It's -25 degrees outside, their baby sibling is screaming in your arms, yet the distracted toddler pays no attention. Three hours later, you buckle them into their carseat.
5. Toddlers turn into manipulative liars at bedtime.
It starts out sweetly with a few bedtime stories and some much needed cuddling. Once the lights go off, it's game over. "I have to pee." Five minutes later. "I think I have a tummy ache." Shortly followed by this entire list: I'm hungry. I'm scared. I have to pee again. Do you know where my teddy is? I love you. Don't leave. Just one more minute. I'm hungry again. I need medicine. Just a little bit. My foot is cold. I want my socks on. Take my socks off. Are dinosaurs real? What sound does my penis make?
6. They never listen when they're supposed to and always listen when they shouldn't.
Of course they don't hear you when you ask them to help pick up their toys, but suddenly they're asking questions about the neighbour's dog who died, "What does put to sleep mean?" And you're instantly regretting speaking too loudly on the phone and can only imagine what bedtime will look like tonight:
YOU: "It's time to go to sleep."
TODDLER: "Sleep? You want to put me to sleep? Nooooooooo!!!!"
7. Their independence always comes at inconvenient times.
Guaranteed the first time your toddler will want to dress themselves is the exact same time you need to evacuate a building due to a fire. That's just the way it is.
Yet despite toddler's unique ability to irritate the shit out of you and push you to the edge, they also possess the uncanny ability to sense exactly when they should come over and give you a hug with their deceptively strong arms (and small hands that yes, still smell like cabbage). Hearing "I love you Mom," can instantly extinguish any anger that may be pulsing through your veins. Even if ten seconds later, it starts all over again...