Out of all the phases our kids go through, the toddler stage has to be the most challenging. They're not babies anymore and have minds of their own -- but they're still not quite old enough to roll with the punches and listen to every word you say.
And I guess that's why it's really no big shock that most of us do whatever we can to move the toddler years along -- in the hopes that we settle into big kid territory as soon as humanly possible.
But of course, our kiddos aren't in any sort of rush to reach a point where they can do things for themselves. You gotta wonder what goes through their heads when we're all stressed out about whatever sort of behavior they aren't picking up.
If I had to guess, I'd say their thoughts go a little something like this when we're getting our parenting on.
You're doing everything in your power to potty-train your 18-month-old who is obviously WAY too young.
He thinks: "This is such a joke. She'll clean me up as soon as I shit my pants, so what's the point of sitting on this uncomfortable plastic thing?"
You put broccoli on his plate and tell him it's "magic" food in the hopes he'll learn to love veggies.
He thinks: "How dumb does she think I am? I'm not eating that garbage. No way. But wait ... I'll bet if I swallow a bite and throw it back up, she'll give me the potato chips I really want and call it a night."
You're desperately trying to get him to go to sleep. You're exhausted ... but he's wide awake at 11:00 p.m.
He thinks: "Suckaaaaaa! The more I whine, the more she whines. If I keep this up, she'll start crying and give up and go to bed and then I can stay up and party like I planned."
You tell him it's time to give his paci to the binky fairy because he's a "big boy" now.
He thinks: "Not on your life, lady. If you take my binky away, I'll just stick my fingers in my nose and suck 'em right afterwards so you'll give me the damn thing back."
You tell him to sit still and be quiet in the restaurant or else he's never going out to eat with you again.
He thinks: "Score! As soon as the food comes, I'll start screaming my head off so we can go home and watch Dora. Problem solved."
You keep repeating the ABCs in the hopes that he'll learn to recite the alphabet by age 2 so you can brag to all your friends.
He thinks: "Why does she keep singing that stupid song? Duh. Of course I know it. But I'm not about to give her the satisfaction of hearing me sing it out loud. If I do it once, she'll expect me to sing it for EVERYONE."
You drop him off at preschool for the first time and try to sneak out of the room while he's distracted with a toy.
He thinks: "Wait ... where'd she go? I know how to find her. WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! (There she is! Success. Works every time.)"
Do you ever feel like you've been outsmarted by your toddler?
Image via Radius Images/Corbis