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Teen in Training

Have you ever noticed the similarity between the toddler and teenage years?  I am noticing some glaring likenesses between our fourteen year old and our soon-to-be-two year old.  Maybe that’s why when you ask how old their toddler is parents roll their eyes and reply “3 going on 13!” Or maybe why parents of teens often ask them “why are you acting like such a baby?!” Hmm are toddlers teens in training or are teens somehow reverting toddlers in an attempt to skirt adulthood?  Either way the resemblance between the two are remarkable.

Here’s how:


Toddler tantrums are more slam fists on the floor and scream gibberish and cry (always in public), while teen tantrums are more stomp away and scream hateful words that make parents want to cry (never in public).  But I say a tantrum is a tantrum and there is really no other way to describe such raw displays of disappointment and frustration.

Complete Defiance

Tell a toddler to go pick up that book they threw on the floor.  What do you get?  I get “no!” and usually several more books tossed on the floor for good measure.

Tell a teen to pick up that plate that has been sitting at the table for several hours after dinner.  What do you get?  A plate that has become infested by wildlife when you wake up in the morning.

Both ignore you and somehow make the problem worse.

Difficulty with following directions

Go to your room and do you homework, you tell the teen.  They go to their room and listen to music, text their friends, and try on all the clothes in their closet (That’s what they are doing right? That must be why the clothes are always on the floor and not on hangers?).

Take off your shoes and put them away, you tell the toddler.  They go sit down and proceed to remove their shirt, shorts, and diaper but leave the shoes on.

Being able to follow two step directions is a big toddler milestone.  Apparently it is also a teen milestone that is often overlooked.

Impossibility to wake up

Tip toe around a toddler who has just dozed off for a nap and he will snap to attention.  Try to sneak off to the grocery store before the teen wakes up (at noon), they meet you at the front door dressed with a list of prepackaged junk food they need.

Try to get either of them up for school?  

Turn on all the lights – toddler is oblivious, teen has the good sense to pull the blanket over head.

Shake the bed – toddler is still oblivious, teen mumbles some unpleasantries in your general direction but does not open their eyes.

Blast music – toddler does a little involuntary booty shake but does not open eyes, teen groans loud enough to drown out the music but still does not budge.

Angels when you’re looking, devils when you turn your back.  

When they have your undivided attention.

Toddler – obedient, happy, puts diapers in the trash and leaves them there.

Teen – sits at the kitchen table and asks thoughtful questions while diligently working on their homework.

When you turn back.  

Teen – lies about finishing homework and reasons they need stay after school.

Toddler – makes a mural on your wall with the contents of the diaper that you watched him dutifully put in the garbage.

Moods change at the drop of a hat.

Teen – OMG I love you you’re the best parent ever, I’m gonna work so hard to pay you back I promise.  Thirty seconds later OMG That’s so unfair! Why do you hate me!? You are TOTALLY RUINING MY LIFE!!  

Toddler – Mommy, I wanna go outside and play, goes and get shoes and happily shuffles towards the door.  When it’s time to come inside.  Becomes completely limp and crumples self to the ground yelling “noooo!” repeatedly while you drag him in by his shirt.

They both take forever to bathe

Teen I’m going to take a quick shower. 45 minutes later you knock. OMG I just got in here!

Toddler – wash face, scrub muddy knees, clean cheese toes and wash hair – 5 minutes.  Taste, play, and display all 26 foam letters in the tub Are you ready to get out? no! puts each letter back into the water and then throws them out of the tub- 114 minutes.

Rooms stay clean for approximately 30 seconds per week

Every other second it looks like the same tornado tore through both rooms.

Toddler – I’m not sure, why anyone bothers to clean a toddler’s room, it’s like issuing a challenge.  Mine walks in and his face lights up and I can actually see him deciding what he can throw onto the floor first.  The basket of neatly folded school shorts?  No, definately the basket of perfectly matched tiny socks.  The set of 3 pull and go cars? Haha yeah right, try the tub of 57 toddler legos.

And Teens?  My theory is they manage to stuff all their crap just barely out of sight so you stop yelling, then when they open the closet/drawer/magic wardrobe it all just springs back out into the same areas of the floor they have always occupied.  Something like the way that can full of snakes works I believe.


So is that why people generally avoid teens and toddlers in the same house?  Is it nature’s natural evolution to generally have children slightly closer together?  Would it have been too much to ask to have someone warn me?!

One thing they can both do that doesn’t make me cringe?  Their chores.  Sometimes.  Well, that one time.

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