15 Facts that prove toddlers are aliens
It’s 10PM and after quite the struggle to get my toddler to bed, I finally get the chance to complete some much needed, “normal” adult tasks – like taking a shower. As I scramble to get everything done in record time so that I can enjoy just a tad bit of me time (which brings me to the decision between Netflix or sleep) before the first wakeup of the night, I replay the past 12 hours in my mind. A day of chaos that has now become my “normal”. Let’s face it – life with a toddler is everything but normal, in fact, it’s a rollercoaster ride with many ups and downs and lefts and rights with literally no time to catch your breath, so instead you just scream and laugh and cry as you hold tight for the ride.
Anyways… as I reflected on the happenings of the day something hit me straight between the eyes – how could I have missed it all this time, how could WE have been so blind? And now my fellow moms and dads I will share 15 facts that prove that our toddlers are in fact ALIENS:
- Toddlers are fearless
I mean have you met a toddler? They have no fear whatsoever, It’s like they do not understand the term FEAR. “1..2..” has become a warning signal in my house, and no not the “1…2… “ that never ends because your toddler decides to listen to you, no, because that one he finishes himself with a “3!” and then giggles as he runs away (just another true sign that they have no fear of consequences). This “1…2…” that I’m talking about is the countdown my toddler gives before jumping of anything too high for me to climb on! Yes, fellow moms and dads, I get a 2 second gap to run through the house like a maniac screaming “nnooooooo”, find him and try to catch him as he proudly screams “I’m big” before he makes the jump. This is but one example, Im not even going into the details of them thinking spiders are their best friends, holes in the ground is a secret hideaway, and narrow dark spaces are the perfect spots for hide and seek. This alone, makes keeping these little aliens alive, extremely difficult and a full-time job.
2. They have “imaginary” friends – or are they “imaginary”
Because every parent just loves walking into a room where your toddler is in a full out conversation with an invisible uncle. I mean of all the things I am going to point out today, this one might just be scariest, weirdest, freakiest one of them all. Yes, my 2-year-old can have lengthy conversations, in an unknown language, with a someone he calls “uncle”. Let’s face it, he’s 2 – the only names he knows are “mama, dada, aunty, uncle, friends, teacher and Jog the Frog” that’s not much of a variety to choose from.
3. Toddlers are clever and wise beyond their years
-I often look at my toddler in awe – the things they come up with, the things they say, and the things they do are pretty amazing for someone who couldn’t do a single thing for themselves just 2 years ago. My toddler can complete tasks that his teenage brother struggles with – like cleaning up behind himself (while singing the clean-up song – how’s that for multi-tasking), putting trash in the bin, washing his face and brushing his teeth without me asking him to do so (multiple times a day) and even problem solving! Toddlers are amazing at problem solving, just try closing a door of a room they are not allowed in or hiding your most prized possessions. That’s why baby proofing is exactly that – BABY proofing – because once they reach toddlerhood there is no proofing anything – they will get to it, they will open it, and they will find it. Speaking about problem-solving, have you seen them using a phone, tablet or computer! It’s like Siri has been their lifelong friend and they know exactly when and how to charge a phone, where to find my YOUTUBE and how to phone Ouma and Oupa and lets not forget filling up my phone storage with photos of the roof, his toes and even a nose here and there. Toddlers also say the darnest things. My 2-year old’s vocabulary by far exceeds my teenage son’s “Fine”, “Okay”, and “Cool” as he stares blankly into his phone or TV screen. Any parent will know that you need to watch your mouth in front of them, because anything you say will and can be held against you – in public and during debates of how the blue cup they wanted is not the right blue, and that the yellow cup next to it is in fact the blue cup (Confusing right!? Now you know what it feels like to be in a debate with a 2 year old).
4. Toddlers are master manipulators
Toddlers can twist anyone around their tiny little pinky finger but the most vulnerable of all are the big, hairy, male specimen called DADS! Somehow toddlers can get away with anything around their dads with grandpa and grandma coming in at a close second. See toddlers are master manipulators they know just what to say and do to make our hearts melt and give in.
5. They eat anything but food
I kid you not I once found my toddler trying to eat our cat! See a toddler’s diet consists mostly of grass, sand, bugs, and anything else they can find lying around, but place a plate of food in front of them and their face pulls in so many directions I don’t even know where to try and put the spoon. We spend hours in front of the stove preparing them a delicious, nutritious plate of food and all we get is a “no tank you mama” – at least it’s kind of polite? Also, once they find something they consider as fairly decent (and mostly unhealthy) they choose to live of that for months on end and anything else being placed in front of them results in a breakdown of note. Toddlers also see food in an entirely different and unique way – In a plate means its confetti and a possible snack for the dog, whereas on the floor or in someone else’s plate means it must be delicious.
6. They are scared of their own shadow
Hmmm I wonder why someone as fearless as these little “humans” fear something as harmless as their very own shadow – maybe it’s because they see something we don’t – the true reflection of their little alien self? Make of it what you want – I’m just putting it out there.
7. They NEVER sleep
Even vampires need sleep BUT toddlers – nope they have a special kind of energy. It takes about 3 hours just to get them to sleep for 1 hour and then wake hourly thereafter. Yeah sure they become miserable, tantrum throwing, moody little creatures after some time, but then the dreaded 2nd breath kicks in just as they almost nod away, and it becomes quite entertaining after that. Honestly there is just nothing normal about a toddler’s sleeping habits – who on earth wakes up at 4:30 in the Morning for a snack and some playtime!? No! Sleep is nice, sleep is good. Sleep is necessary for our human bodies to function – so the fact that toddlers can function and thrive with no sleep whatsoever, should be proof enough. #justsaying
8. They HATE wearing clothes
Trying to get a toddler dressed is a whole gym session on its own – sock on – sock off, top on – top off, nappy almost clipped – nappy off, one leg in-other leg out and just as he is finally dressed the police knocks on the door because the neighbor filed a noise complaint. Yes, toddlers hate wearing clothes and it often takes some screaming, chasing, diving, wrestling and a little crying and praying to get them ready for something as simple as school or bed. Not to mention buying the appropriate clothing like pants that can be tied to avoid the embarrassment of a toddler walking with pants on his ankles in the public or shoes that can’t be loosened to keep shoes, socks and pants from being removed. Toddlers love being naked and that’s why you will often find them making a dash just before bath time. What is it with toddlers always running away from adults – do they really think those little legs can outrun us?
9. Toddlers are full of Mischief
“I can’t let him out of my sight” is not a cliché when living with a toddler. It’s true – silence becomes very very suspicious when a toddler is around. It’s the one heads up we get as parents that something is not right, and no matter how hard we try, we fail at keeping them away from mischief multiple times a day. They don’t find mischief, mischief finds them. Yes, my toddler almost flooded our house, drank some olive oil, broke my makeup palette, emptied numerous tubs of creams, bathed our DSTV remote, and I’m not even going to mention the amount of stuff that went missing which we are pretty sure travelled down our flushed toilet bowl – This all within a few minutes of enjoying a cup of coffee or doing my makeup!
10. Toddlers are INCREDIBLY strong
Any mom or dad who has tried to suck clean their toddlers’ nose, administer some medicine, or picked up a tantrum-throwing toddler will back me up here. Dynamite comes in small packages is definitely a relevant term to use when it comes to toddlers.
11. They have an excellent sense of smell
Toddlers are amazing – they can smell our fears and weaknesses from miles away, but to top that off they can also smell when a mother decides to lay down her head for some much-needed rest that non-parents would call sleep. Yes, I promise you I have tested this over and over again, and no matter what time of the night I decide to go to bed my toddler will wake without fail. That special sense of smell is stronger than a deep sleep cycle.
12. They have their very own language
What may sound to us like just a couple of toddlers babbling and giggling might just be something much bigger. I mean, how is it possible that they understand each other so perfectly when all we can hear is made up words, letters and sounds? Toddlers, as mentioned earlier, is incredibly smart and this supports the possibility that they might actually have their very own language that they use to communicate in when adults or older children are around. To top it off toddlers also pick up other “foreign” languages very easily (and they learn these by copying every single word you say like some kind of robot) and therefore they can not only understand the languages spoken around them, they can also use those languages to communicate with the rest of the world. Scary!
13. They can control adults
And the sad part is that after a while we become so accustomed to their ways that we no longer even notice it. Toddlers control our daily routines – we work when they sleep and the rest of the day we spend walking around behind them while we feed them, change them, play with them, pick up after them, clean their messes, etc. Toddlers also control when we do shopping (whenever they are not with us, anything else results in chaos), how we cook (usually with one hand), where we go and how long we stay there for (let’s just all admit that having a tired or bored toddler when visiting friends is no fun – especially if those friends have no kids of their own), how and how much sleep we may get (yes if they are not in your bed pulling the blankets of or kicking you in the spline they are in their bed calling or crying for you), and they even control what programs are allowed on the television and who may sit where at the living room table. Toddlers are little control freaks with high pitch screams and mind controlling powers because even though you remember saying “NO” a thousand times, you find that they have indeed gotten their way and that somewhere between all the nagging, moaning and puppy eyes you gave in despite the determination you had before.
14. They get sick A LOT
Toddlers a.k.a carriers of germs. GEEEEEZZZZZ!!!!! Need I say more? I have only one conclusion with regards to this and that is that their new human body still need to adapt to the atmosphere of this world. I guess it takes some time for their lungs to get used to the very “pure unpolluted” air that earth offers, but seriously!
15. They are ADORABLE
Babies are cute, BUT toddlers are ADORABLE. There is just something about them that makes everyone fall in love with them – snotty noses and dirty faces and all. Imagine all of the above wrapped up in the cutest, sweetest, silliest, funniest little package – that’s toddlers for you. They have a way of making everything fun and exciting. Toddlers are so much fun to be around; they find joy in the simplest of things and they make that rollercoaster ride worth it. Their cuteness is what keeps them alive, because just as you feel like you are going to lose your mind they come up with something sweet or funny and all will be forgotten – even if it’s just for 5 minutes until they strike again with something naughty or mischievous.
Tips and Tricks For Earthly Moms and Dads
Okay okay, I admit, the above may be a slightly exaggerated truth of some VERY real events but if we really think about it, toddlers in their essence, truly are “aliens” to our world. They view the world differently than we do and experience life in a unique, pure, child-like manner. Toddlers are new to our world, and this can become incredibly overwhelming for them. Suddenly there are rules, boundaries, expectations, and wrongs and rights, all of which they are not used to. I recently read an article “The Alien Toddler” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tovah-p-klein-phd/the-alien-toddler_b_5239894.html) that explains this perfectly. Toddlers need our help, now more than ever, to understand this “new world”. Here are a couple of ways in which you can help your toddler transform from “alien” into “human child”
1. Remember toddlers don’t understand concepts like time just yet – when you say “later” or “in a moment” it could leave your toddler feeling confused. Toddlers live in the now and the then so when they are hangry and your tell them that supper will be ready in 20 minutes just wait, it could leave them feeling overwhelmed as their need for food is not met immediately. Teach your toddler the concepts of time by giving them something small and telling them that you will give them another in 1 minute if they wait without moaning and honour your word. Start slow and slowly increase the time.
2. Toddlers are ruled by their own emotions and although they might have a big vocabulary they still might not completely understand the emotions they know the names of. As adults we don’t always understand how powerful a toddler’s emotions can be and we might mistake our toddler’s behaviour as being rude or malicious. We need to understand where our toddler’s emotions are coming from for example when standing in a line and a friendly stranger walks up to your toddler wanting to engage in a conversation your toddler might react with a “no, go away” leaving you feeling ashamed or embarrassed, but this reaction may come from a place of fear (of a complete stranger walking up to him/her) and not a place of disrespect. It is our responsibility to help our toddlers deal with these big emotions and we can do this by teaching them regulation strategies. The best way to help your toddler understand and control his/her emotions is through modelling it every day. Try to avoid your own little tantrums. Other ways of helping your toddler understand and manage different emotions include: expressing your own emotions verbally, labelling your child’s feelings for him/her, acknowledging their emotions and showing empathy, giving your toddler a “calm down plan” , asking your toddler to identify other people’s emotions, talking about each other’s day, playing feeling games or songs and reading books on feelings.
3. Toddlers have a boundless curiosity and are driven to explore the world using all of their senses. Give your toddler a safe environment to explore and develop and allow them to use all of their senses. Sensory play activities are great for this. Let your toddler help you around the house, help you cook, etc. Be careful of saying “no” too much.
4. Set boundaries with respect and love – and stick to them! Toddlers are made to push the boundaries but they also need them to thrive. Boundaries and rules help toddlers develop self-confidence and make them feel safe.
5. Give your toddler some freedom as well. As much as toddlers need boundaries and rules, they also need a safe place to learn from their mistakes and make their own decisions. You will find that meltdowns and tantrums decrease tremendously when your toddler gets to make some of their own decisions. So let your toddler choose their own shoes, or their own sweetie. Give your toddler options rather than having them choose from an entire closet. My 2 year old refused to eat any veggies until I started giving him a choice between 2 and he had no choice but to choose which one he wanted to eat.
In order to help our little “aliens” understand and grasp “our ways” we need to try and understand the world from their point of view.
And above all watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you. Because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it – Roald Dahl
There’s joy and wonder everywhere when you see the world through they eyes of a child.