It happened overnight, it seems. Where I once thought that having children far apart in age was a good thing, I’m now dealing with both a teenager and a tot at the same time and I’m losing my friggin’ mind! From the the moodiness to the mess, I’m not sure which is harder: Raising a teenager or raising a tot. So here goes…The Smackdown: Teenagers vs. Tots!
My 13-year-old daughter now sleeps on the weekends until at least 1 pm. This is sometimes annoying, especially if you’re waiting for them to wake up because you’d actually like to do something with your day, and you’ve been up already for hours. On the other hand, every night my four-year-old refuses to go to bed, and getting him into bed and then getting him to stay in bed often feels like an eight-hour ordeal. I’m not sure what’s worse: having a teen who sleeps like she’s in a coma, or a tot who acts like bedtime is a jail sentence.
As my 13-year old gets older, her clothes get smaller. Suddenly I’m seeing stomach-baring shirts and skirts so short, they would fit an 8-year-old. My son, too, picks out his own clothes, leading me to wonder if he’s drunk most of the time, because how many superheroes and ninja turtles can one tot wear at the same time? Also, while my teen can walk around in winter in next to nothing, it takes me twenty minutes to bundle up my tot. I’m not sure what’s worse: seeing my daughter dress like Britney Spears during her, ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time,’ days, or having to completely bundle up my tot, which can take up to twenty minutes, as he constantly whines, ‘I’m too hot! I’m too hot!’
My daughter suddenly wants to go to the mall to buy bras and makeup. My son wants to go to the mall so he can hit the Lego Store. Since I pretty much hate all malls, having a teen and tot who both want to go to the mall, for very different reasons, is brutal. And expensive. Neither the Lego Store nor Sephora is cheap. Both the teen and the tot are making me broke!
If I even glance at my teen the wrong way, she may burst into tears. There are lots and lots of tears these days. My tot also bursts into tears if he doesn’t get something he wants, which is pretty much all the time. My toddler, like my teen, cries for the most irrational things. They both have moods that change quicker than the time it takes to say ‘moody’, and my toddler in particular can turn on me in a nanosecond. One minute he’s happily playing, the next he’s on the floor kicking and screaming, having a tantrum so wild I kind of want to pretend he’s not my kid. And I never know when he’ going to turn on me; there’s no rhyme or reason. When my teen gets mad, I hear the sound of a slamming bedroom door. I’m not sure which sound is worse.
Both my teen and my tot make huge messes and don’t clean up after themselves, unless I repeatedly tell them to. While I’m like, ‘F**k, I just stepped on another Lego!’ my daughter’s washroom looks like Sephora was in a tornado and all their product ended up in my teen’s washroom.
Suddenly, it’s like I have two lawyers in my house. My teen is pretty damn smart and will argue with me. I’ll admit, she’s pretty convincing. I rue the day she joined the debate team, because now I have to learn how to debate too. Likewise, my tot begs for ‘five more minutes’ of playtime on repeat until I just throw up my hands and give in. It seems mommy is losing both battles.
My tot is a little tattletale. He’ll call everyone out and often tell on his older sister. ‘YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO FEED THE DOG FROM THE TABLE!’ he’ll scream, after my teen does. Meanwhile, my teen, I just found out, has been teaching my tot a whole whack of bad words and showing him YouTube videos.
While my tot is trying to figure out full sentences (‘Is her going with us?’) my daughter no longer tells me everything. Actually, neither does my tot. Ask him what he did today, and his answer will be, ‘Nothing.’ Ask my daughter how school was and I’ll get an, ‘It was good.’ I’m not sure what’s harder: the realization my teen has started to keep things from me, or the fact that I can’t get any information out of my tot. Plus, I don’t like tattletales, but a little information would be appreciated.
Both are extremely picky eaters, for different reasons. With my tot, I’ve never seen someone who eats so much junk food and needs chocolate milk at every meal. The kid loves chocolate, quite possibly more than he loves me. My teen, however, refuses to eat anything that is not organic or healthy. Both can get incredibly annoying.
Yeah, that’s going, going, almost gone, or so it feels. My teen makes her own plans now, meeting her friends for breakfast or after school to hang out at Second Cup, while my tot, at the same time, is learning to be incredibly independent. ‘No! I can do it myself,’ is a phrase I hear from both. Yeah, it does sting.
For 13 years, I’ve been teaching my now-teen to say, ‘Please,’ and, ‘Thank you.’ My teen seems to have forgotten these words and will say things like, ‘I’m going to take dance next year and you have to drive me!’ I feel like she’s regressing in the manners department and, again, I’ve had to start reminding her to use those magic words. My tot, likewise, needs to be constantly reminded as well.
I think most parents are most worried about surviving the teenage years. But when you’re trying to survive the teenage years, while raising a young tot, you kind of feel like you’ve gone down the rabbit hole. So…teens versus tots? Who wins the smack down?