Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

Parenting toddlers

Toddlers are tiny bullies!

The following post I wrote back in 2014 when I was in the midst of parenting a toddler. If you are currently or ever have parented toddlers, I’m guessing you’ll relate!

I love my children. They are awesome. OK, now that I’ve cleared that up, let me continue with my premise that toddlers are tiny bullies. My daughter, at 4-1/2, is past this phase, but my son at 16 months is just getting into the thick of it. And, oh my, is he ever in the thick of it! I know my daughter did many of the things her brother is now doing, but he’s also different from her in many ways and pushes the limits of pushing the limits.

Toddlers are adorable and sweet. They really are, but they do resemble bullies in some ways. As such parenting toddlers can push you to your limits — and beyond!

1. Bullies and toddlers are food thieves.

While bullies may steal your lunch money, toddlers just steal your lunch — or breakfast or dinner or snack or anything you think you’re going to eat without sharing. It doesn’t matter if my son has the exact same food on his tray as I do on my plate; he still thinks my food is way better and I must share it. If I don’t, he protests.  

Just last week when he was off schedule and I was eating lunch while he wasn’t eating, I paid him off in the oyster crackers I was having alongside my salad just so that I could eat without him screaming at me the whole time.

2. Bullies and toddlers are physically abusive.

I’ve never been hit by a bully, but I’ve been hit plenty of times by my kids. I’ve been head butted and smacked. My nose has been pinched and my lips pulled and contorted.  We won’t even discuss the internal organ squishing I endured while they were in my belly.

3. Bullies and toddlers think only of themselves.  

It’s true. My son is a sweet boy, but he wants what he wants whether it’s hard on anyone else. If he wants to stand on the back of my legs while I’m kneeling at his sister’s bed reading her a story, then he will. He won’t consider whether that might not be comfortable for me. If he wants a cuddle in the middle of the night, he won’t consider that maybe I was trying to sleep.

4. Bullies and toddlers can make you question your self worth.  

I know we’re not supposed to take toddler actions personally. I don’t always, but there are times I’m tired and weary when question if I even know how to be a mother. They wear you down!

5. Bullies and toddlers are unpredictable.  

You never know what you’re going to get. One day when I go get my son out of his crib, he can hardly wait for me to pick him up. The next day, he wants to stay in his crib for a few minutes and teasingly play with me. And let’s not get started on food. One day grilled cheese is like manna from heaven that he can’t shove in his mouth fast enough. The next day it’s the most disgusting food he’s even seen or tasted, and woe to the person who puts it on his tray.

6. Bullies and toddlers can hold you hostage.  

OK. I don’t know if bullies actually do this, but toddlers sure do! When my son isn’t feeling well in some way, he doesn’t want to go to sleep alone in his room. I have sat on the floor, laid on the floor and slept on the floor.  I’ve been his hostage knowing that if I leave the room even to go to the bathroom across the hall that he will erupt in wails.

7. Bullies and toddlers have no regard for your personal space.  

My son does not understand that anyone has a personal bubble. He steps on my toes while I’m making dinner without a care in the world. He plops in my lap with no regard just as I was starting to get up to go to the bathroom. At any given time, he crawls all over me. He delights in putting toys down the front of my shirt. Personal space for me? No way. Instead, I’m his personal, portable playground.

8. Bullies and toddlers are possessive.

Everything that’s mine is his. If it’s his sister’s it’s his. Everything that’s his is his. And, of course, everything that is my husband’s is his. Just yesterday he was lugging around his big sister’s backpack while she was trying to put things in it. It ended in a battle of wills between the two of them with one yelling for him to let go and him just yelling that someone was trying to take what he felt strongly was his. I won’t even begin to explain how he also is sure everything in the trashcan is his. That’s an ongoing battle around here.

9. Bullies and toddlers are loud.  

I don’t think any of the bullies I knew as a child were ever described as the quiet kid in the corner. (Nope, that would have been me!) Toddlers are the same. My son pays no mind to where we are, what we are doing or even who might still be asleep as his hollers and carries on whether he’s making happy noises or distressed ones. He gets quiet when we’re out to dinner or in public oftentimes because he’s too busy observing everything. People remark about his quietness from time to time. I want to tell them how they’re being fooled. I usually just smile. The boy is not quiet.

10. Bullies and toddlers want their way and get mad when they don’t get it.

If the dog is sitting beside me on the futon in his room, then the dog must be moved. This can best be managed with force. If I’m in the middle of making dinner and he comes to the kitchen holding a book up for me to read to him, then he’s going to be loudly (see number nine) angry when I don’t comply. When I remove him from gathering contraband from the trash or standing on the end table for the 10th time, he turns into a spaghetti noodle and flails about protesting on the floor.

Parenting toddlers has its pros as well

All that said, bullies and toddlers do have their differences as well. Toddlers can be quite lovable, entertaining and funny. I’m pretty sure if this wasn’t the case then humans would have died out long ago. Because there are just as many times that he comes to my lap for a cuddle or gives me his huge, sparse-toothed smile that melts my heart. There are many times I see him love on his sister, his dog or my husband and I burst with pride and love.  

This toddler/bully stage still has some time to go. My son is learning how to interact with his world. My husband and I are teaching him. We’re teaching his super sensitive big sister to not give in to him all the time because he’s upset or crying. And we’re getting there. We made it through toddlerhood once before. I’m sure we’ll survive this final time. Pretty sure. Mostly sure…

Jokes for kids

A growing list of jokes for your kids

Every school day, I send along a note in my kids’ lunchboxes. I promise you that I’m far from super mom. Mostly, writing is my love language, and the notes evolved from there. My oldest is now in sixth grade, so just like I have gotten creative with the food I send, I have also gotten more creative with the notes. It started with Wacky Wednesday, which is when I send a joke for the kids or something funny in their note.

Now it includes a theme note for each day (some of which I’ve shared on here before).

Motivation Monday: an encouraging quote
Truth Tuesday: a Bible verse
Think or Thank Thursday: an interesting fact or something I’m thankful for about them
Fun Friday: stickers, fun facts or just something silly

I use paper from the Dollar Tree and a sticker or two on each note per day, because I love stickers! I keep a folder of all the supplies in a drawer in my kitchen to make packing lunches easier. It’s definitely time to share some of our Wacky Wednesday jokes for kids. Who couldn’t use a good laugh at a clean joke?! Fair warning, I LOVE puns!

Food jokes for kids

What is fast, loud and crunchy?
A rocket chip!

Why did the teddy bear say no to dessert?
Because she was stuffed.

What has ears but cannot hear?
A cornfield.

Why did the cookie go to the hospital?
Because he felt crummy.

What did the little corn say to the mama corn?
Where is pop corn?

Why did the banana go to the doctor?
Because it wasn’t peeling well.

Why did the girl put her cake in the freezer?
She wanted to ice it.

What is cheese that doesn’t belong to you called?
Nacho cheese!

Where do hamburgers go to dance?
The meatball.

What kind of keys do kids like to carry?

Space jokes

How do you stop an astronaut’s baby from crying?
You rocket!

What do you think of that new diner on the moon?
Food was good, but there really wasn’t much atmosphere.

What’s the best way to throw a birthday party on Mars?
You planet.

What did Venus say while flirting with Saturn?
“Give me a ring sometime.”

Why did Mickey Mouse decide to become an astronaut?
He wanted to visit Pluto.

Animal jokes for kids

Why does a seagull fly over the sea?
Because if it flew over the bay, it would be a baygull. (This one does well read out loud!)

What animal is always at a baseball game?
A bat.

What do you call two birds in love?

Why couldn’t the pony sing a lullaby?
She was a little horse.

What do you say to a rabbit on its birthday?
Hoppy Birthday.

What do you call a sleeping bull?
A bull-dozer.

Where do cows go on their first date?
To the moooooovies!

Why do fish live in salt water?
Because pepper makes them sneeze.

What do you call a bear with no teeth?
A gummy bear.

What do you get when you put three ducks in a box?
A box of quackers!

Why was the fish excited to go to school?
He heard they had bookworms.

Nature jokes

What is a tornado’s favorite game to play?

What do you call a funny mountain?

What does a cloud wear under his clothes?

Why is grass so dangerous?
It’s full of blades.

What did one volcano say to the other?
I lava you!

What happens when it rains cats and dogs?
You have to been careful not to step in a poodle.

What did the ground say to the earthquake?
You crack me up!

Motherhood requires a sense of humor

Sometimes laughing keeps you from crying — or screaming!

This is a post I wrote back in 2013, when my son was a few months old and my daughter was a preschooler. I recently shared this story with my son. We laughed about it as a memory. So, I had to share it with you guys. Though I am past the phase of tiny babies and their messes, I still stand by the importance of keeping a sense of humor in motherhood. It gets crazy!

Motherhood is a constant learning process that requires flexibility and a sense of humor. And just when you think you have it all figured out, your children like to remind you that you certainly don’t.

For example, a couple of weeks ago I had some time with just my baby boy while his big sister was with my parents. I decided to go shopping for some clothes I needed. Shopping with a baby is easier than shopping with a preschooler. He sits in his carseat in his stroller and dozes. She wants to look at and talk about everything. 

Sure enough, he fell asleep on our way to the first store. He woke up just as I was leaving the store. He needed to eat. I decided I was a capable and experienced at motherhood. I was going to be brave and feed him in the dressing room at the next store. It was too hot to sit in the car, and I really didn’t want to go back home, yet. I still needed a few things.

I picked a couple pairs of capris and hit the dressing room. Unfortunately, the large dressing rooms were taken, so I squeezed us and our stroller into a small one with a tiny bench. I was silently applauding myself for my flexibility and making due instead of freaking out. 

I got us settled and started nursing him. He was fussy. I put him on my shoulder to burp him thinking that could be the problem. What a good mom I was to know these things!

Things take a turn

And that’s when I felt the wetness on his back. The dressing room was warm. I wondered if it was sweat. I took a peek. Nope. Not sweat. It was a massive diaper blowout. 

He’s my second baby. I’m not new to diaper blowouts. But, holy moly! The little guy had been going through a growth spurt which means lots of eating and then, usually, a giant diaper. Our shopping trip was his choice for making the giant diaper.

I was determined not to be ruffled. I whipped out the changing table pad. It just barely fit on the tiny bench. I got to work. I opened up my wipe container and realized it was almost empty. OK. I could handle this. I wasn’t going to freak out. 

With sweat running down my back, I took care of his diaper. Bless my husband’s Aunt Shirley for having sent us diaper bags to put dirty diapers in. I used one for the diaper and wipes and another for his outfit. It was bad.

I got creative with my wipes I had and used every single square inch of those wipes and then pulled out some Wet Ones that I keep in the diaper bag for his big sister and cleaned off my hands and the changing table pad. 

Fortunately I carry a clean onesie with us, so I got the little guy all changed and settled in. I stuck him back in his seat and got everything put away. Then I sat for on the bench for a short breather. I was sweating and felt like I’d been running a marathon after all the work I’d just done dealing with that massive blowout. And then I started giggling.

Keeping a sense of humor

When I was new to motherhood, almost four years ago, I’m pretty darn sure I wouldn’t have giggled. But, I did. I’ve been a mom long enough to learn that a sense of humor is a must. Because sometimes when crap happens (yeah, pun intended! I couldn’t resist!), you have to learn to laugh when you really feel like crying and giving up. 

I had a professor in college whose philosophy was, “If you’re going to laugh about it later, then laugh at it now.” I’ve learned that and managed to do that a few times in my life, especially in motherhood.

Part of me that wanted to give up, throw in the towel and head straight home wondering why I even bothered to leave the house in the first place. But, a bigger part of me thought, “Man! This is a story I’m going to tell. This is a blog post I’m going to write. And it really is kind of funny!” I survived. So did my son.

I pulled him back out of his seat and finished nursing him. He was still a bit fussy, so I hurried through trying on capris. I found a pair I liked. We left the dressing room probably a good half hour since going in (all the while I was hoping and praying there were no security cameras watching us!). I even managed to peruse the children’s department and pick up a couple of things my daughter needed.

My shopping trip definitely went differently than I had planned. But, life and motherhood seldom go according to plan. In the end, my son and I were both fine and I even left my shopping trip having gotten what I set out to get — plus a good giggle and story to tell.

Mmmmm. Halloween candy!

Even as a writer, I have to acknowledge when a story is better told through a photo. This is one of those times. Enjoy!

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