Toddlers are the worst, period! There, I said it. Terrible twos, threenagers…it’s only been getting worse. Don’t get me wrong, I love Erin more than anything and most of the time she is the sweetest little girl, but the whining and random tantrums are getting out of control. Last night I tried to put on her pajamas (that she picked out) which resulted in her crying, then screaming her head off, and finally throwing her soaking wet flamingo towel at me. Given the fact that our nightly routine is exactly the same every single night: bath, towel dry, pjs, this lovely outburst sounds totally reasonable right? So when I started to realize it was time to face some toddler transitions in Erin’s everyday routines, the thought of disrupting her way of life was completely terrifying. I’m already dealing with the existing tantrums that occur based on things we do EVERY DAY, what will this kid do when I start to change her routine?
If you’re a first time mom like me and are looking for toddler advice, you probably read all the Scarymommy blogs (www.scarymommy.com), ask for opinions from your other mommy friends, and if you’re up at 3am with a child singing Disney songs at the top of her lungs in her room, you might even resort to a desperate help post in your local Facebook moms group. Recently I’ve been blog-lurking for advice on facing 3 specific toddler transitions: potty training, taking away the pacifier, and converting the crib to a bed. And listen, I know there are bigger problems out there right now like electing a leader of our country, but guys, I can’t even watch a debate if this child isn’t sleeping (which might be for the best) so the struggle is real.
Right before Erin turned two, we attempted potty training. I figured she would be ready, after all, I potty trained myself by the age of two. But I soon realized I must have been a potty training prodigy because each time I put Erin on the potty she would cry hysterically. Like, real tears streaming down her face kind of cry. After this would happen, I’d back off for a month, then try again. This continued for 10 months and I started losing hope. Occasionally she would sit on the potty, but just to fart because she thought it was hilarious, then would ask me to put her diaper back on and she’d pee in it. Fantastic, going nowhere fast. Then one day I bought Elsa underwear and suddenly, she started asking to sit on the potty. After 2-3 weeks she was consistently using it and letting me know when she had to go. Eureka! I’d like to take credit for this for continually pushing her to use it, but I’m assuming she just needed to be ready on her own time, and I’ll also give some credit up to Elsa, the toddler whisperer.
On to the pacifier. Silly mommy decided it would be a great idea to take away Erin’s binky at the same time we were potty training her, because self-torture. We had many many battles about it. She used this binky everywhere; I was starting to think I’d send her away to college with it because there was ZERO chance she’d ever let it go (see what I did there). I bought a book about a binky fairy who takes away a binky and gives it to a baby, which I thought would inspire Erin to give her binky away, but then she cried hysterically at the end of the book. Well, that was a flop. One long weekend when we had no plans I figured, let’s give it a go. Instead of going cold turkey and just taking them all away, I cut the tips off of all the nipples, thanks to the advice of one of my first time mommy friends, @stamfordmommy. That night, Erin grabbed a binky, looked at it funny and said, “It’s broken, I don’t need it” and went to sleep. WTF! Was it really going to be this easy? The answer is yes and no. After that first night Erin never even asked about her Binky again, however, she also stopped taking her consistent (my savior) 3 hour afternoon nap.
Now there’s no way I could possibly go three for three on the toddler transitions, could I? Well, last week, I put Erin in her bed for some “rest time” and I was dozing off in the next room watching the pathetic Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football team losing to DUKE. I was awoken by a loud THUD. I jumped into action, sprinted into Erin’s room, and she was standing on the floor, holding her head and crying. After the tears and snot stopped flowing she told me that she “was being an acrobat flying out of my crib but hurt my head and won’t do it again.” This incident, in conjunction with my husband recovering from recent back surgery, gave us no choice but to convert her crib to a toddler bed or as Erin calls it, “her big girl bed.” It’s been a little over a week and the kid is sleeping like a rock. Fingers still crossed on this one.
Looking back at my fears of toddler transitions, it turns out they’re just that…MY fears. Kids are so much more adaptable and resilient than we give them credit for. It’s really just us parents who need to get over the fact that they’re growing up from babies to toddlers faster than we ever thought possible. And I know one day Erin will thank me when she’s headed off to college, sucking on a bottle of cheap vodka as she should be, instead of that f’ing binky.