I sure don’t see anyone patting me on the head just for saying thank you…welcome to ParentalGrit, where today we look at several items that are adorable—or at least tolerable—in children but absolutely deplorable in adults. The ol’ toddler double standard, as I call it, exists anytime you smile at or praise a child for an act or habit that would get him or her punished a decade or even a year later. Grab your pitchforks and saddle up your outrage because us poor adults somehow, for whatever reason, do not receive the same grace and adoration our children receive.
- Sloppy Eating
Occasionally, especially when I’m at home, I can get a little messy eating some chicken wings or ribs (or anything else…I’m not a graceful eater); what do I receive from my wife? Scornful looks and disgusted glances. Meanwhile, our infant can regurgitate pureed sweet potato, rub it in her hair, and my wife runs for the camera while she starts cooing incessantly at the 20-pound meatball making a mess. Not only that, but the 3-year old is simultaneously getting broccoli stuck in her nose and even she is receiving nothing but giggles and attention. Poor dad gets a wad of baby wipes thrown at his face.
- Mismatched and Out-of-Season Outfits
My daughter has reached the age where she believes she should get a say in what she wears. Inevitably this leads to random summer days in snow boots and tutus plastered across leopard print pajamas. It doesn’t matter if the shoe is on the wrong foot, the socks are mismatched, and the shirt is inside out, somehow my little girl emerges strikingly adorable no matter what. Meanwhile, if I mistakenly use two different shades of brown in my outfit, my wife gives me a perplexed look with a “You’re wearing that?” critique as I walk out the door.
- Protruding Bellies & Chunky Thighs
I think this just about sums it all up…if only grown-up flab had the same charm as baby blubber and toddler chunk.
- Temper Tantrums
This one is definitely not an all-the-time phenomenon; in fact, temper tantrums by children usually are just as annoying in children as they are in adults. However, on certain rare occasions, it’s hard not to smother giggles when a young child rages maniacally for something incredibly trivial (like the color of crayon you handed him or her). It also depends on the age; a six-year old throwing a fit in public will earn nothing but judgmental glances from the surrounding public, but a two-year old whimpering about carrying a banana throughout the grocery store may earn you an empathetic glance or two. As an adult: 100% intolerable and awkward to witness.
This needs lumped in right alongside temper tantrums as something that is usually frustrating but sometimes hilarious; the age disclaimer, once again, applies as a toddler developing their first sounds of sass is much more understandable than a 12-year old providing the same friction. Regardless, I can’t help but often laugh when my oldest Eliza (toddler) learns a new phrase and spits it out in anger: “You’re not my best friend!” “What in the world!” and “*random gibberish delivered at the pitch of a dog whistle*” are my daughter’s current favorites. While sass can certainly be frustrating for parents, I’ve found that watching the young ones fight through anger, frustration, fatigue, and sadness can be a bit entertaining at times. Watching a co-worker work through the same emotions? Not. So. Much.
When my wife’s not looking, I occasionally take a little one out in nothing more than a diaper. Somehow these little rugrats get away with shedding and adding clothes based only on comfort…meanwhile it’s not a habit looked on favorably in adults.
- Sleep Habits
My daughters can whimper, snore, drool, and toss and turn and my wife coos and melts. Me, on the other hand, I get sharp elbows to the rib cage should an innocent bedtime violation occur. I mean, is a toddler snoring really all that attractive? Okay, okay, it’s hilarious and beautiful all at once. But drool? Well, still somewhat adorable.
I think gassy children are pretty much on a sliding scale of parental appreciation. While there’s nothing quite like a newborn unleashing random pandemonium, the amusement eventually begins to fade…
Newborns: HILARIOUS AND ADORABLE
1-2 Years: HILARIOUS
3-4 Years: CUTE
5-6 Years: TOLERABLE
7-8 Years: GROSS
9-10 Years: DISGUSTING
11 Years +: INFURIATING