As a parenting educator, I thought a lot about the transition from toddler to young child and what I found the most challenging. I know parents of teens are losing sleep, having fights, and feel stressed, too, but I think the physical marathon of raising toddlers can be more taxing on the body.
I used the word "marathon," so I thought of how it would make life easier if we could train for this marathon—not 26 miles, but the distance measure between a child's first and third... third-and-a-half... no, fourth birthday. (Let's remember all the wonderful aspects to raising young children while we're laughing about the tough stuff.) Oh, and please don't show this to any expecting parents!
I thought of all the wild and crazy things parents of young children do that I certainly had no clue about. If we were actually going to train to be a parent of a toddler, the training program might look something like this:
Toddler Marathon Training Regime
1. Set your alarm to go off during the night
a. at three hour intervals three times a week
b. once in the night, twice a week, and
c. at random times and frequencies the other three nights.
After the alarm goes off, get up and walk down the hall three times. After the third time, get into bed for two minutes, then get up again to do three more hall laps.
Once a week, try to find clean sheets in the dark during one of your hall laps, just for practice.
2. Oh, and set it to go off at 5am—that is your new wake up time. Find an alarm sound that is the highest, shriekiest sound; pick that one.
3. Each time you are about to sit on the sofa, jump up and run to touch the wall beside an electrical outlet. Do three repetitions. After the three reps, sit on the sofa and read aloud the same children's book four times in a row.
4. Each time you realize you are hungry, set your timer for thirty minutes, and eat after the timer goes off.
5. Eat peanut butter sandwiches (if you do not have allergies) twice a day for two weeks, and spaghetti for supper three nights in a row.
6. Drink two glasses of water per day.
7. Do not go to the bathroom in the morning, and hold it until you are on your way to work.
8. Walk around for at least two hours each day hunched over with your hands near the ground.
9. Ask a farmer if you can chase one of her chickens and do that once a day.
10. Do all house chores and meal prep in less than ten minute intervals.
11. Actually, just clean your house once a month.
12. If you have a pet cat or dog, try to wriggle that animal into and out of a snowsuit at least three times a day. If you don't have an animal, you can fill a water balloon and try to get that into a jacket without bursting the balloon.
13. Select a training playlist that includes these phrases recorded at a loud volume, "ME DO IT!" "I HATE YOU!" "YOU'RE THE WORST MOMMY EVER!" and "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Put that on repeat.
14. Work on your vocal training by putting your playlist at maximum volume then having a dinner conversation with your partner.
15. To prepare for random flying projectiles, have your partner or friend suddenly fling full glasses of water (we'll spare you the spilled milk), plates full of food, and crackers at you.
16. At least five times a day, bang yourself with a hard object into your knee, stomach and skull. After the five hits, do another two directly into your forehead.
17. Carry two duffel bags, a cup full of water, one 20 pound sack of potatoes, an umbrella, and your purse all AT ONE TIME twice around the block.
18. Collect a bin full of small objects and throw those around the living room each night. Pick them all up just before going to bed.
Did I miss anything?