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Holidays with Toddlers: Horrendously, Hilariously, Delightful

Oh the tiny toddlers that dictate our every move – the little ones who are now speaking actual words and throwing tantrums beyond our wildest dreams; these not-so-tiny babies have a major impact on our holidays.  They make every half-eaten Christmas cookie just a little bit sweeter, right?

I have polled the masses and now come to you with the absolute best – and worst – reasons that toddlers make the holidays crazy.

Before I start dishing on all my discoveries, I need to tell you that I currently have a 2 month old daughter, a 19 month old (into everything) son, a 4 year old son, and two more, ages 6 and 8.  Our holidays have been everything but quiet for a few years now! I am in no way a toddler expert, but I like to drink wine and wrap presents for the ones who drive me nuts, so that basically makes me awesome.  Awesome trumps expert today. So there.

A few things that I have learned about toddlers and holidays:

  • Decorations must be hung 3 feet or higher.
  • Snow globes are a disaster waiting to happen. We break 2-3 every year, I still have no idea how it happens.
  • Poinsettia plants can cause vomiting if ingested. (It would take about 500 leaves or more to truly be severely poisoning, but tiny tummies can be effected by just a few leaves)
  • Little mouths love to spread happiness. Hearing your tot say, “Happy Holidays!” to everyone who walks from now until January (maybe February) will make your season bright.
  • Toddlers above the age of 2 understand presents and will try to find them in the house.
  • Do not over-drink on Christmas Eve; a hangover is not your friend as a toddler squeals in delight with his new noise-making plastic object.
  • Beloved family members will criticize your every parenting move from extended breastfeeding to having a glass while nursing said toddler. There is just something about the holidays (and booze) that brings the honesty out in everyone.
  • Toddlers do not care who brought what gift, or in what order you would like these gifts to be opened in. Along these lines, there is no need to use name tags; your little one will open everyone’s presents.
  • Purchase two pairs of holiday pajamas; something will happen and you will need the back-up pair.
  • The wrapping paper and boxes will be the best part of the holiday. I just enjoy a mimosa and push away my Type A, and I try to roll with it all.
  • Grandparents will try to step in as active parental figures, and you will bite your tongue, start a family feud, or walk out of the room and take it as a sign for a mommy nap.
  • Traveling with a toddler sucks. Hosting your entire family is easier than packing, traveling, repacking, figuring out how to haul 10,000 gifts that your toddler doesn’t need, and traveling back home to unpack and get back into your normal routine.
  • Try to limit sugar and keep strong with all other dietary restrictions. A toddler loaded with sugar and foods that don’t play well with his overall happiness does not make for a fun holiday.

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Tales from the Toddler Holiday Trenches:

Lorelei and I were Christmas shopping and I mutter under my breath how everyone is in my f*cking way...I don't think she hears me...we turn the corner and more people were in the way...she shouts, 'hey, get out of my mother’s f*cking way!'  So much for holiday cheer. -Maren

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We let our tot stay up until he crashed on Christmas Eve.  We were all having a grand time and didn’t want to end the night early.  On Christmas day, we didn’t have an excited 3-year-old running toward the tree; instead, we tried waking him at 8:00am and were told, “Don’t take my presents. I’m going back to sleep!”  Gifts weren’t opened until lunch!  -Elizabeth

We don't "do" Elf on the Shelf so up until recently, my kids had NO idea what it was. My sister took Em, who was about 4 at the time, to a holiday breakfast at a friend's house where the Santa was making a special appearance for story time. Em saw the Elf on the Christmas tree - presumably ready to make his journey yonder north - and ran over and snatched it off the branch. You should have seen the looks of horror and the tears streaming down the faces of these poor children who were convinced my daughter just stole their Elf's magic. My child, of course, was completely oblivious as to why everyone was freaking out. -Liz

My own mother told me that my toddler was too old to be breastfeeding. Sorry Mom, but this kid is getting milk with his Christmas cookies! - Annonymous

Toddlers are already going through so much developmentally, add in the sugar, grandparents, presents, and thrown-off schedule and the tantrums are in full-force! My daughter opened a gift and began bawling because it wasn’t the right color dress.  The meltdown lasted 30 minutes and she refused to open another gift. -Jennifer

My grandmother had the audacity to tell me that my toddler (hopped up on the sugar that she fed him) would be better behaved if I spanked him. She drove the point home by telling me that he would respect everyone better if I hit him hard in front of everyone. Let’s just say that left for a little breathing room after that. -Anonymous 

My toddler had just recently been potty trained, to the point that we were not constantly asking him if he needed to pee.  On Christmas morning, he couldn’t contain his excitement and decided he couldn’t make it to the bathroom.  He dropped trousers and pee’d, right on the tree. When I screamed, he just shrugged and said, “Daddy pees on trees sometimes.” – Annonymous

Baby sitting on a counter top mixing dessert mess

 

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