I have decided that one of the things the universe is missing is a “toddlers for teenagers” swap.
Parents of toddlers are up to their eyeballs in keeping their little kamikaze children from killing themselves while learning to climb the stairs, keeping them on track with the potty, and keeping them fed with wholesome, organic, choke-proof morsels.
Parents of teenagers are up their eyeballs in – well, rolling eyeballs – and resistance to showering, late sleeping, grumpiness, and the odd hormonal rampage.
Parents of toddlers want to go take a shower alone. To sleep past 6 AM. To go several hours without having to pick someone up. And to not have to handle the personal care needs of another person.
Parents of teenagers want cuteness and to feel needed. And cuteness.
Each wants what the other one has. So I propose a (temporary) swap.
Parents of toddlers can put their rental teen in front of an electronic device and proceed to take a shower in peace for as long as they’d like. They can sleep late without being awakened by requests for water and blanket repositioning. They can rest knowing that they will not be required to lift anyone or provide assistance in the bathroom. They can ask the teenager the secrets of the universe and be treated to all of the answers, since every teen knows it all. They could even – I know this is radical – have a conversation with their borrowed child that extends beyond what dinosaurs might like to eat for lunch or how scary the dark is.
Parents of teens can revisit the cuteness of tiny children who willingly hold hands to cross the street and gaze at adults with unadulterated admiration. They can bask in the presence of a child who is totally innocent and unlikely to accidentally share some words they learned today at school. They can revel in the joy of being asked questions as if they would surely know the answers to anything and everything. They can cuddle and play make believe and discuss the mysteries of dump trunks and puppies. They can even pick the child up and move him/her wherever the adult wants them to be instead of begging and pleading a bigger-than-them child to get a move on.
After 24 hours the challenging aspects of the borrowed child are sure to come to the surface. The parents of toddlers will be longing for those cuddles and adoring looks. The parents of teens will long for a moment of silence and the company of someone who isn’t dead set on impaling herself with a fork.
Maybe then there could be a decompression period where the teens take care of the toddlers for a few hours so everyone gets a clean slate before returning recharged and refreshed to resume their current stage of parenting.
I don’t know about you, but I think this could catch on.
Who’s got a toddler for me?
My sister-in-law, Debbie, wrote me a letter once when she said she missed the days of putting a struggling tot into a car seat and clamping them in. Scream if you want, you are going with me anyway! People in dr’s offices compare notes when their kids are infants. My child could crawl at 6 months or walk at 10 months, etc…. Bragging was easy back then. Parents of teenagers don’t compare notes in the dr’s offices anymore. The comments if uttered would be “My son is still alive although after what he pulled last week I wanted to…. Or maybe “I tried to fake my own death” Nope, no one compares notes of teenagers until you get my age almost 60. Then we drag out our worst kid stories and laugh so hard. ‘My kid was more obnoxious than yours…” But only the honest ones do that. My current best friend is someone I worked with 28 years ago and we now see each other 2x a week for Mahjong and Hassenpeffer. Yup, she had 3 boys…. Her stories win!